Virtual realities introduce worlds both real and imaginative. Like Video games, these computer-simulated programs offer three-dimensional, lifelike realities, in which users can log in and operate their avatars, the graphical representation of the user in a character form, as they live, work and create within the world. Virtual realities have become a popular form of communication online, allowing users from all corners of the globe to socialize and interact with each other in their personalized character personas. By far the most popular online virtual world that exists today is called Second Life. Online, Second Life’s website invites visitors to “Enter a world with infinite possibilities and live a life without boundaries, guided only by your imagination.”
Second Life is a three dimensional virtual reality that was developed in 2003 by Linden Lab. Second Life Users are able to customize their avatars any way they like. You can choose to be a male, female, an animal, or even a vampire. There are a series of options to choose, from the realistic to the abstract. It is a hundred percent up to the user, allowing them to freely express themselves within the online community.
Second Life not only allows to communicate and make new friends by exploring through the different virtual realities, but also allows you to build and create new virtual properties and creations in the online world. They call this Content Creation, giving their users the creative liberty to create, use and even sell their product like in real life, thanks to Second Life’s efforts to protect their users Intellectual Property Rights.
Its unique for Second Life to build their platform for user generated content, however their builder interface seems to be far too complex for most users to avidly use, making the virtual community a far less popular than other means of social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter). Second Life differs from other virtual communities however, by involving itself in the real world with a virtual economy that’s dependent on actual money. A similar virtual reality to Second Life is Mine Craft, which also allows user to generate their own content, but in a more user friendly way, trumping the creative content ability of the Second Life program.
Although not used as much as Facebook, Second Life still widely exists ten years later as a major social media device. Users truly enter their second life, involving themselves in online relationships, talking, dating, even allowing users to get married and start virtual lives together. Anything is possible through the imaginative world of Second Life. Being the first user generated content program available in a virtual world, Second Life has given way to many more different new and improved 3D virtual communities, all trying to accomplish what Second Life hasn’t, as well as avoiding all mistakes that were made the first time. All of these online virtual worlds introduce a number of communities for anyone to become a part of.