Barlow envisioned that virtual reality would take us away from the world of mundane physicality, but I think exactly the opposite has happened. Virtual worlds, in a variety of ways, have succeeded in reminding us of our physical embodiment and accentuating different aspects of our physical existence. Even in virtual worlds, we walk to places, sit in virtual chairs, and buy fashionable jeans.
Our bodies are so ubiquitous in both physical and virtual reality that they don't often don't appear to be objects worth thinking about, but the fact that bodies are ubiquitous in both worlds is in fact deeply interesting. What is it that our bodies do in virtual worlds? Why do we need virtual chairs if our virtual bodies never tire? It may very well be that embodiment carried over into virtual worlds because it is a familiar metaphor for interaction. And yet, if we interact and work in virtual worlds by borrowing a physical metaphor, do we end up limiting and constraining the potentials of being and interacting in virtual worlds? More importantly, what new forms of identity, interaction, and work might take place in virtual worlds if we could let our bodies go?
Re: Why So Seriosity. I see something similar to this in MMO's when it comes to guilds. We have toons in a vitrual world that can interact with each other, meet each other in locations when necessary, and emote to really rp it up. Yet, when we really, really want to get something done, like have a guild meeting to plan raids, we do it all on VoIP; which is basically telephone. So, as far as having a business meeting via technology, Telephone > 3D Virtual World. It's interesting.
I believe your notation Telephone > 3D Virtual World should actually be Telephone > Keyboard.
Reading this article, I thought a little about why I like virtual worlds (games). I usually try to make my avatar somewhat similar to myself, so that I can relate to the character I'm controlling, and care about what happens to it. But at the same time, I like to introduce a little variation (sometimes this is taken care of by the fact that it is 'me' in a game environment dissimilar from the real world). I think for some reason about Joseph Campbell and everyone's desire to explore mythology, go on personal 'vision quests,' etc. Maybe that's why we like to mirror our own reality, but introduce some LSD-like aspects, so that we are taking ourselves on a journey into the unknown.
Personally I like playing chicks.
Yes, I said it.
Oh, I tell everyone I'm male, no worries. But if I'm going to spend hundreds of hours starting at the backside of my 'toon, at least it's going to be something I *want* to look at...
"Oh, I tell everyone I'm male, no worries. But if I'm going to spend hundreds of hours starting at the backside of my 'toon, at least it's going to be something I *want* to look at..."
I occasionally play females ingame also, but in my last MMO, I didn't tell anyone that I was male (except for two long term friends who I'd been MMOing with for almost 9 years now.) I wanted to see if anyone would mistake me for female. I just acted like myself in guild chat and regular chat, with the only major difference was that I really watched my pronouns. And when I told stories that might give me away as male, I said "a friend."
I discovered two interesting things, one pertinent, the other sort of.
1) People that had "physically" interacted with me for a while thought I was female, but people in the guild chat that hadn't met me for a while, with their only interaction was through the chat window were surprised that my avatar was female. (I don't have any hard proof on this, although I might try again in another MMO.)
and 2) It's difficult editting myself for pronouns and the stories I told. I had to really change my way of thinking to get into character, so to speak.
All in all, it was an interesting experience, one I might try again in a different MMO.