Have you ever come across that online portal called Second Life? You get a chance to live a whole different life at minimal payment. It gives you a chance to live your dream, like you never could in the real world. If I had the money to spare for a second life, I’d probably be living on Sunset Boulevard, an established dancer, with 3 beautiful children, two adopted. (NOT psuedo-Angelina Jolie aspirations, may i clarify!) But, reality does not allow it, as all my spare money is destined to go to the apparel industry. sigh!
Anyway, meandering back to the point of this rumination, virtuality is becoming evermore reality by the hour. And a space, identity and existence in this parallel planet ( that, in my imagination, hovers above the real one like a cloud of ghostly mirrors ) has become fused, almost siamese-d, with the more tangible, if mundane, one.
And you don’t really need Second Life for this. Daily accessories like Facebook, Gtalk, Linkedin, Twitter and the entire blogosphere are big parts of mine. As they are of almost everybody i know. A day’s not complete without sharing pictures on FB, thoughts on Twitter, gossip on Gtalk and presses on blogsites.
My most memorable class at ACJ had to do with virtual identities. Our dragon of a New Media prof decides to have a virtual class, just to prove her point. So, we were all to log on to the Yahoo group created specifically for our class. Upon entering, we encountered our first assignment – to discuss how our online life is different from the realtime one and how the new identity makes a difference in our behaviour.
True enough, I felt waaayyy more comfortable putting my points across and asking questions in our online class than I’ve ever been in concrete ones. Maybe it was the anonymity that sitting in front of a laptop afforded, or maybe it was the fluidity of identities that the Web encourages, that made us all so vibrant. The shyness and hesitation evaporates, or maybe just gets hidden behind a veil.
And this goes beyond the class. I catch up with friends more often on FB than over coffee. I am more relaxed when Gchatting with friends than when I am in person. I find, and this is a no-holds barred confession, that I am a cooler person in my alternate online life. 😛 And the reason for such public display of private emptions is that I feel I am not alone in this perception.
And while some of us may always find ourselves just a step or two faltering, technologically speaking, building living rooms, personalities and conversations in net cafes instead of Nescafes, can’t be hard ever again, thanks to the Larry Pages and Mark Zuckerbergs of the world. The downswing, then, can only be a Wall-E kind of eventuality, where big Macs, obesity and one spaceship company owner rule the world. Horrifying as that may be, we’re going to continue surviving, if only in ‘bits and bytes’, eh!