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Writing Material: Turkle Informal Reflection…

The idea that we often compare the virtual experience to the real one is very true. I have to say that I do not feel that they should be compared at all because they are completely different. The only comparison can be drawn by seeing how much one reflects the other, but not to say which one is better. Each version provides the individual with different things. I liked the statement that Turkle made regarding simulations carrying certain risks.

Simulation is a brand new technology and for that reason it scares a lot of people. But, why? There used to be those virtual reality games that people thought we so neat; what makes them any different from this new kind of online simulation? In both instances we are being presented with worlds that are not real, but are supposed to present a feeling of realism to the users. We aren’t saying that they are adequate substitutes for reality although I am sure the escapism aspect lures many users to these worlds. To me it is no different than playing a video game.

Turkle brings up the idea that some people prefer MUDS to video games because they are created by the people that actually frequent them. I think this plays a lot to the fact that over the past few years games with the option to create an original character are becoming more prevalent. I am specifically reminded of this option on the Nintendo Wii. The Wii has the Mii option that allows gamers to construct an avatar that looks, and dresses like them. If you ever wanted to know what you would look like as a video game character this is a good way to find out.

I also kind of felt it interesting that people (many teens) would now much rather talk online and through txt message rather then on the phone. There was a time before cell phones that I would talk on the home phone and have my friends call at a certain time. This was also a different age as far as security/safeness was concerned. Simulations such as online chat rooms can be much more perilous that talking with friends on the land line telephone in the olden days. The internet is a buffer or shield for people in order to change who they are sometimes.

Comments:

I commented on Stormy Knight's blog entry about this reading. I 100% agree that the internet is a buffer for people to create false personas for one another and highly over elaborated lives. Internet dating comes to mind more times then not when I am thinking about this subject. You are right on the money with your reference to the e-mail opener of Stormy,...opposed to the formal Dear Stormy,. I never thought about that until now. Recently I have come to the conclusion that the internet is a criminal’s dream land because of this ability to take on another identity. E-bay rip offs seem to be very low on the crime totem poll compared to cyber bullying and sexual predators.

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