Second Life and how it Connects People

By: Alli Utti

Virtual reality is much more than just gaming and entertainment; it brings people together.

Similar to how all forms of social media are changing the way people communicate, Second Life is no different. Second Life is an online virtual world where users can create avatars and connect with others. People can represent themselves through their avatars in whatever way they want, right from their home computer. This makes Second Life the perfect way to socialize if you have health disabilities, if you’re connecting with someone whose far away or if you’re just looking for a way to connect with others safely.

If you’re like me, you had no idea such a community existed. In this virtual world people can do everyday things. They can fundraise, have meetings and even go to live concerts-which we did in class on Wednesday when our guest speaker, Dr. Donna Davis, came and gave a presentation. Second Life also has a market place where users can buy and sell goods for currency.

Dr. Davis shared an inspirational story of a woman who had been a fashion designer. This was until she developed Parkinson’s disease. Because her disease limited her ability to do what she loved in the real world, she started creating clothing in Second Life and selling them for profit. She took a situation that could have not only taken away her passion, but also her income and found a way to not let it stop her. Through Second Life, she is still able to connect with her customers and she has the opportunity to keep living the life she loves; this is just one example of all of the inspirational stories accomplished through Second Life.

Second Life has created a whole new way for people to communicate and interact. No matter your location or health status as long as your online at the same time, you can connect with anyone. As Dr. Donna Davis said during her presentation, “VR takes things from ‘It should be so’ to ‘It can be so.’”

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This Article Has 10 Comments
  1. Maddie Landers says:

    I was not aware that second life was such a big reality for some people until last class. Since then, I have been noticing it more and more in places like Facebook, where I have seen video clips of funny things that have happened in second life worlds. These are things I may have skimmed over before, but now recognize as a legitimate experience. I thought Dr. Davis’ presentation was unique and one of the most relevant I have heard recently.

  2. Marisa Biggins says:

    I too wasn’t aware of the Second Life community and think it’s a great place for those who are limited with a disability to have no limits in this VR world. As I stated in my tweet during class, Dr. Davis’ presentation was a thought provoking one for me because I can see benefits of Second Life for others even though its out of the norm for me. It will be interesting to see if there is ever a cross over of Second Life with our real life, like with’K’ and ‘Joi’ in Blade Runner 2049.

  3. Kelsey Scott says:

    Hi Alli! Thank you for sharing! I also was unfamiliar with Second Life and was blown away by all of the features that it provides to its users. I absolutely love Dr. Davis’ quote that “VR takes things from ‘It should be so’ to ‘It can be so.’” This quote encompasses the possibilities that VR can bring to individuals that are physically restricted from certain activities in daily life. The discussion that we had on Wednesday regarding VR reminded me of a commercial I saw earlier this month that was sponsored by Samsung. The commercial showed a woman with a prosthetic leg using a VR headset during a therapy session. Before hearing from Dr. Davis, I had not truly realized the value of virtual reality in its ability to help individuals that struggle with physical handicaps. I can’t wait to see what this up-and-coming technology will bring to the table in the next few years in terms of healthcare initiatives and innovations in physical therapy.

  4. Hayden Skoch says:

    Hi Alli, I really liked your blog post! I was unfamiliar with Second Life before Dr. Donna Davis came and spoke with us about it. To me, VR always seemed almost creepy and wrong. However, the way Davis presented it as a way for people with disabilities or obstacles to socialize and interact with what they love made me think differently about virtual reality. I wonder how virtual reality systems, such as Second Life, will develop and normalize. It will be interesting to see if more and more users start to engage with VR.

  5. Mollie Markey says:

    Alli- I had no idea Second Life existed! To me, it almost sounds like a knock off version of Sims that allows you to connect with others. This concept is so crazy to me because I feel it is as if people can create a perfect life in the simulated world if they are unhappy with theirs in the real world. While stories, such as the one you shared about the fashion designer with Parkinson’s disease, are empowering and inspiring, the concept of a tool such as Second Life is not something I am personally wanting to participate in.

  6. Kelsey Fagan says:

    I only knew about Second Life before our class because my Sociology of Mass Media professor talked about it last term. When we talked about it in that class we were more focused on the sociological reasons as to why an individual might want to be seen as someone different in the virtual world, but it really hit home that it was an opportunity for someone who isn’t viewed as equal in the physical world to connect with others in the virtual world. I wasn’t aware of all the opportunities in Second Life for organizations and projects like the one Dr. Davis is a part of. I personally wouldn’t be interested in the platform, but I can understand the importance it might have for others.

  7. Celine De Clercq says:

    I agree. I also honestly did not know that Second Life was such a prominent platform still, and I was so moved by the stories. I think it’s truly wonderful that it can provide such a rich experience for people who may not be able to experience life in the same way. I really love that. The comment Donna made about how she basically had a third life (a second, Second Life) where she could go when she didn’t want to deal with the work of being her character made me laugh. Personally, I think my danger with trying Second Life would be that if I put that much time into creating a person and life in that virtual world, I would end up getting sucked in and lose sight of my non-virtual life.

  8. Tess Meyer says:

    Anyone else get thoughts of Ready Player One? As my dad has PD, this really hit home. I love that Dr. Davis is using the disease as inspiration to think strategically and creatively. This is something we should all strive for!

  9. Zach Rosen says:

    Like seemingly just about everyone else, I had never heard of Second Life either. I knew similar kinds of “simulations” existed, but I was shocked by just how realistic they had become. With the rise of VR this realism is reaching incredible levels, and while I understand the many benefits that some have mentioned, it still seems relatively scary – like one could easily start to shy away from their own real life and reside in their “second life”.

  10. Kyra Barker says:

    I really like your idea to go into depth on what second life is. Before our guest speaker, Davis, discussed second life I didn’t really see the point in VR. Now I have a completely different perspective of it and truly appreciate it.

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