Yes I know it is spelt with a c. I spelt it with a k for two reasons. 1. There is a revolutionary in me [example : Amerika] 2. All the cyberculture (dot) whatever had already been registered.They are not being used, squatters no doubt hoping for a fast buck. I got Cyberkulture (dot) com. OK? (not ready yet)
I will be weaving strands of ideas and hopefully we will have a nice comfortable sweater at the end.
Wiki says :
Cyberculture is the culture that has emerged, or is emerging, from the use of computer networks for communication, entertainment and / or business It is also the study of various social phenomena associated with the Internet and other new forms of network communication, such as online communities,
.......online multi-player gaming, social gaming, social media, and texting and includes issues related to identity, privacy, and network formation.
I am a member of such a community. It is called Second Life. It is in 3d. There is a continuing debate as to whether it is real. Let me give you some idea what second life is like. Then we will see if it is real or not. Firstly let us look at Identity a key feature of any culture.
Firstly you have an avatar. The free ones are noticeably free. The first thing people do is buy a shape. There is a currency called lindens and you can buy lindens with your credit card. Secondly you will need clothes, you buy these too. Here is a picture of me, I mean my avatar (hm interesting slip a ). It seems pictures do not work here. [Note to Artists : The picture I wish to include is at cyberkulture (dot) com forward slash moi1 (dot) png resizeable of course. Your call]. You have the option to chose a name. I am Dude Starship. Above my head it just says Dude. (Yes It was a courageous move to chose "Dude". I suffered a tad but now I am Dude and sometimes The Dude. Yes I still get "Dude, where's my car?" I answer with a remark like "Its in the swimming pool"). You are now fit to mingle with other avatars as an equal.If you do not do this you will be seen as a noob or newbie and, tho welcomed, will not be taken seriously. You have not made a commitment to the ...I hesitate because to call it a community would be presumptuous at this stage. You understand.
If you right click on an avatar you get a menu , on it, is profile. Clicking on it brings up the full profile in a box on the screen.. There is a lot of information on the first page. There is artwork, your profile picture. There are varying degrees of image skills portrayed varying from a simple head and shoulders to a complex Photoshop enhanced image. This picture speaks volumes. Your screen name (Dude) and your login name (dudestarship2); your date of second life birth plus number of days and whether you have payment info. Under this is a box which says if you have a partner. a partner is someone you have made a commitment to, some call it marriage. Then there is a box listing the groups you belong to. Great indicator of what you do in second life. You can belong to 42. Below this you can write anything you like (500). Perhaps the most common is a summing up of your attitude to life (first and second), the universe and everything (apologies to Douglas Adams). Mine says:
Latest Motto: Live Fast Ride Hard, Die Laughing.. I'm English we tend to make fun of things we love. I met a Valkyrie she is my gf. she sometimes appears as an Angel. Shes called Catty
I live by the four Brahma Viharas, (Dwelling Places of God) : Friendliness, Compassion, Equanimity and Sympathetic Joy.
"The moving finger writes and having writ moves on. Nor all your piety nor wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all your tears wash out a word of it."
as I said Life,....etc
At the top are tabs. There are :
Web : Often left blank but some put in a video, their blog or a website. (I have my own irishsecure (dot) com, designed for this space)
Interests: This is where you tick various elements in second life, building, scripting, textures, whether you want work or hiring and more. There is also space to list languages spoken and skills.
Picks: Here you can list those places or people who are special to you in second life. There is a picture with text underneath. This tells a lot about a person.
Classifieds: You can put an ad here
1st Life: There is space for a real life picture. It is very very rare to see a real picture of the person. Underneath is a box for text. The text ranges from "Don't Ask" to "Ask".. It is very very rare to find real life information.
Notes: This is your space to put what you like e.g. likes long skirts eats chocolates very funny bit stupid etc etc. This is not visible to the avatar.
N.B. One of the things that you can do is "friend" someone. They become your friends and can see when you come online or offline. They appear in your friends list which means you can contact them no matter where they are in second life. You can also give them the ability to see you on their map and give them the ability to modify objects owned by you.
So we have a well dressed pleasing shape, with a name, dressed in nice clothes. We have a profile and we can view others.
Identity is pretty well established however it cannot be complete until you interact.
There are two systems of communication : a chat box and using voice (microphone). In public areas voice is often disabled. The chat is a resizeable box where you can place anywhere on the screen and it is divided . On the left is the name of the person or group who is speaking, next to it is the text itself. There are three types of messaging: Local where everyone chats, this is public and instant messaging which is avatar to avatar and is private. There is also group messaging where members of the same group chat. This can get quite hectic as you may be having several private chats while following the thread of public chat and group chat. Its called multitasking and women are better at it than men. However it is a skill that can be mastered. By the way the ratio of women to men is 5 to 1. Yippee its a great pick up joint.
You are interacting with fellow members.
The Chat Room
Oh My God! You can find loads of videos on my blog. sl (dot) irishsecure (dot) com. However let me describe one I know well. In second life there are clubs, just like in real life. On my second day I found a blues club called The Junkyard. This "chat room" comfortably holds 50 avatars. By the way avatars are the same size or a tad bigger than real life. Dude is 7ft 6 ins. The Junkyard has blue tiles and is open air with the theme based in the Gulf of Mexico, Florida. In the centre is a stage where the DJ is situated. The DJ has a microphone and controls the music stream so plays his / her choice and introduces the tunes. They are real DJs. AND they take requests and dedications. A session lasts two hours. The DJs cover about 18 hours a day seven days a week. There is also a host assisting the DJ. The host meets and greets new arrivals, keeps local chat alive, can give out group memberships and offers help to anyone who might send an instant message. He or she has a close relationship with their DJ. The host also has the power to eject a person from the dance floor into the near by sea if they annoy other avatars. They can also ban the person permanently from the club. I am a host in The Junkyard 12 hours a week. The club is open 24/7 and a blues channel radio is put on when there are no DJ.
You have a space to interact in.
Your avatar is animated however the animations that are free look free. It is the general rule that you buy something called an AO. For example Dude will stroll casually with his hands in his pockets, when stationary he (oh dear > "he") will assume a pose, looking cool. The animations in second life are superb, the dance animations more so. The best dance animations are made by filming real dancers and using stop motion techniques create animations. Many couples go to The Junkyard. In two corners are dance balls. One for couples, one for males and one for females. All the balls have a menu of about 15 dance styles. These range from jive to extremely sensual dances. There are many clubs in second life catering to every musical taste.
Imagine then a 3D chat room where you, an entity, chat with friends , dancing as a beautiful avatar, while listening to a live DJ playing your favourite tunes.
We have firmly established the presence of a network; a representative of yourself that you have tailor made to express your identity and the ability to interact at varying degrees of privacy and intimacy.
"Cyberculture, like culture in general, relies on establishing identity and credibility." We have seen how with the creation of an avatar an identity is created that is credible. "However, in the absence of direct physical interaction, it could be argued that the process for such establishment is more difficult." Not in Second Life. Sure it takes some skill but through observation of your peers and those that have been "in world" for some years, an identity that is appealing and "fits" is not difficult. Your avatar represents you.
Wiki : Specifically, the term "culture" in American anthropology had two meanings: (1) the evolved human capacity to classify and represent experiences with symbols and to act imaginatively and creatively; and (2) the distinct ways that people living in different parts of the world classified and represented their experiences, and acted creatively. Distinctions are currently made between the physical artifacts created by a society its so-called material culture and everything else, the intangibles such as language, customs, etc. that are the main referent of the term "culture".
Looking at second life we can see a commonalty that gives second life its culture. A society if you will. Firstly there are avatars in many and varied shapes but still avatars collectively with profiles. The 3D space has global characteristics that are present everywhere. Chat everywhere is the same. Viewers to view and interact any scene are broadly the same. There is a market place that anyone can access containing thousands and thousands of items that can be bought with lindens. There is a multiplicity of nations yet all conform broadly to standards. There are TOS which are adhered to. There are mutual interest groups. There are friends. In second life there are ratings which have their own regulations. These are general, mature and adult. You cannot for example be naked in a general area. In a 24 hour period there are between 30k and 50k people in second life. Avatars (people?) fall in love, fight and have sex.
An important feature of second life is the ability to own your own space. This may be a house, an island or land. i have a small tropical island. When I got it it had a few palm trees. It has taken me weeks to create what is now my second life home. Others I have visited are unique to that person. adjusting arranging can take hours as well as shopping for that perfect vase. Just as your home in real life reflects your personality so does your home that you have created in second life.
Second Life is a cyberculture but is it real?
We would say the mind body complex existing in a physical space, is us experiencing reality. However if I am communicating with another person, whether or not we occupy the same physical space this is also real. This communication can be via a keyboard and is in real time therefore it is real. In second life the chat is real. I may be a 63 year old male yet wear a female avatar and giggle when boys make jokes. My avatar my representation may be completely false i am treating second life as something real only to my avatar. Some say that second life is not real because the avatar is merely a construct. But it is the physical me who is manipulating the avatar, just as a puppeteer pulls the puppets strings. The puppet isn't real, the puppeteer is.
Human beings have an incredible ability to adopt a persona. Just look at actors who do it with consummate skill. They are not surrounded by the environment we see on screen but are surrounded by lights scenery cameras and lots of other people. Still they are able to act an intimate love scene as tho they were the only two people in the world.
What if on your computer screen I put a life like "person" and when I typed the "person" said the words? What if the scene was that of a club and out of the speakers a DJ spoke your name? What if others there would greet you as a friend? What if you were flattered and felt at home? What if you danced with an attractive partner, danced with grace and skill?
What if you fell in love?
Undoubtedly real relationships are formed.Friendships last years and through private messaging the real person shares their real life. Their real name, family details, work, where they live (Yes this has resulted in real life stalking). Photographs, real life, are shared... Partnerships formed in second life have led to the two people getting together in the real world. Great emotionality is generated in second life. Avatars do not experience emotion. In my opinion those that say second life is just a "game" are wrong. There is confusion. Read this :
[02:33 AM] aaa: OMG stop thinking real ,,, this is a game but unlike other games it connects to peoples emotions , I cried when dumped ,I cried when walked in on my wife dancing with a man , I cried when my husband in IW asked me to marry him .I cried when John decided to return to SL ,,, X has a SL wife no place for me but I wont cry this time because I have learnt to play the game
[02:34 AM] dudestarship2: thats why i'm introspective. this is a game?
[02:34 AM] dudestarship2: feels pretty goddam real to me
[02:34 AM] aaa: it can be a game that hurts
Those that say second life and real life are distinct separate entities are wrong.
In my humble opinion.
I cannot sign this Dude nor can I sign it Philip its
Dude / Philip