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VWN Product Reviews: I, Avatar: The Culture and Consequences of Having a Second Life

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Site Shop > I, Avatar: The Culture and Consequences of Having a Second Life




Ii> What is an avatar? Why are there nearly a billion of them, and who is using them? Do avatars impact our real lives, or are they just video game conceits? Is an avatar an inspired rendering of its creator?s inner self, or is it just one among millions of anonymous vehicles clogging the online freeways? Can we use our avatars to really connect with people, or do they just isolate us? And as we become more like our avatars do they become more like us?


Despite its name, this book, is not dedicated solely to the single virtual environment of Linden Labs? Second Life. Instead, whilst SL is mentioned quite a lot, the book is more concerned with the generic concept of an avatar form inside one or more virtual environments forming a true second life for the individual concerned.

The author attempts to trace the history of online avatars, right back to the earliest beginnings, and explores the way they shape and expand our online lives by focussing the mind?s eye on a person rather than a stream of text, or voice. They passively mediate our communication with others and contribute greatly to social interactions thus. The book moves beyond the avatar in some cases, looking at the strategies that humans use to present themselves when they communicate, work, and play.

 

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