Medium is the Message

The start of this week’s class was a little bit rough. We originally decided to meet on Wednesday at half 8 however unfortunately as it often happens life makes funny turns and Glen was locked out of his house and was unable to join us for the class, so the class was rescheduled to Thursday.

The class is still very shy to speak using the mic, the BAVA students are much more open with the mic, possibly because they have more experience with Second Life and the class.

The main focus of the class was a text written by Marchall McLuhan ‘Medium is the Message’, after attempting to read the original text I could it extremely hard to understand as from experience I found out that theories and philosophy are not my forte. However the blog post that John also asked us to read came to rescue. Medium is the Message deals with how the way information is delivered is just as important as the content it bares. TV one medium that is used to deliver information demands your entire attention, radio a different medium which is not as demanding can be on in the background and people can multitask and society has gotten used to the radio. The radio divided the day up for people. It didnt really interfear with family life, not the way that TV did. TV disturbed basic human interactions such as dinner, the introduction of TV led to inventions like TV dinners. People have migrated from the kitchen to the living room and as a result of that the layout of the living room also changed.

The example of the TV and radio both relate to the idea of ‘sense ratios’ that McLuhan developed which simply put is the idea that human beings receive information through a ratio of senses such as hearing, touch and sight and a change to this balance has consequences. The example that Mclouhan uses is the example of the alphabet and how it shifted the humans from being mainly hearing dependant species to a more visually oriented culture. This is very well described in the blog that we were assigned to read. This theory of the ‘sense ratios’ can be applied to the shift that occured when the TV was invented which allowed the information to be delivered in a visually pleasing manner comparing to the previously only means of recieving information that was the radio.

McLuhan’s theory states that the ability to develop tools that humans have is what defines the mankind. The tools that we use as human beings shape how we communicate as human beings, for example the hammer. The tools that we begin to use begin to have an impact on the society. The impact is very often invisible, it may be hard to identify the impact the medium is having on our society. This leads to the belief that the tools that we use to carry the messages have a greater impact on our society than the message itself.

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Teamwork

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Team Operation Tips presentation – Armsite Madonna

This weeks class we were joined by the BAVA students who took this module last year and have decided to take it again cause they enjoyed it so much.

This class’ main objective was to teach us about teamwork in both real life and online. For this topic John invited Armsite Madonna who talked to us from his own experiences. The presentation that we were supplied with was packed with tips, facts and it also explaied how important the roles in teams are in order for the team to work to its full potential. At the end of the presentation I asked a question that I felt like it would apply to a lot of people, if an argument arises in the team how to go about solving it. John answered my question by saying that especially in the online environment we have to be extremely clear in what we say and how we say it, the punctuation, capital letters and language all play a big part in how a person will interpret the message. This question also related to what Glen has said about the use of voice and the tone of voice in the online environment as we cannot see the body language in Second Life to deepen the interpretation of what a person is saying.

The concept of how clear we have to be in the online environment is something that has sticked out to me as I related to that in a very personal manner. I prefer texting over talking on the phone for the simple reason that I feel it is more private as people around me in real life don’t hear what I’m saying, however with that comfort there is a consequence, very often the tone of my voice or the meaning of a simple message such as “great” has been misinterpreted and I always wondered why so after today’s discussion I decided to do an experiment to see how different the word “great” looks and feels when accompanied by other words and punctuation.

Great
Great!
GREAT
…great
…great…
oh that’s great!
well that’s great
greeeat

As it can be seen each and every one of those words looks different with the simple use of punctuation and addiotnal words. For example “Great!” sounds excited, happy, and uplifiting where in comaprison “great” sounds and feels sarcastic, pessimistic and negative. Of course the context of the message in which both of those have been used would also add to the sound and emotion that the word would be associated with.

This simple experiment highlights the importance clarity plays in how we communicate when we can’t see the person. Clarity in the online environment is extremely important for your point to be understood the way that you originally meant it, and if it isn’t there is nothing wrong with explaining your meaning because at the end of the day we all interpret everything differently and something that to me might sound happy another person could take offence to it.

This wraps up the blog post on this class, it was a very informative one and one that defintely made me thing for the several days after it, and one that I was constantly reminded of when I was interacting with someone through technology.

Stranger ? Who is this ?

Welcome to the continuation of my venture into SL. It sure has been a journey and I have some new news to share.

To begin, last Wednesday a second class of Is One Life Enough was held. During that class John mostly tied up some loose ends such as explaing to people who didn’t make it last night what they have missed. We did however were surpised by two strangers in the class, after a while of letting them sit and listen into what was happening John made a conversation with one of the strangers who went by the name Shymus Roffo, Shymus is a web devbeloper who worked in SL for 10+ years and owns his own business there too. Shymus claimed that many people in SL are “toxic” which was a very strong word to use and it shocked me as I myself from the very few that I met (will go into detail later) have been helpful. I will say that the sense of humour is totally different to the one that we are used to in real life. It is far more open and from the people that I have met a lot of sexual jokes have been made, which is something that not many of us are used to in real life.

Once Shymus and his friend  (didn’t catch their name) left we began out elevator pitches. The idea of an elevator pitch comes from Hollywood, it is a roleplay where you’re put in a scenario in an elevator with a film director and you have 30 seconds to pitch your idea to the director. The elevator pitches were a way of us becoming more and more accustomed to speaking in SL, as that’s something that the class seems to be struggling with. Throughout the class I myself became more comfortable with speaking to a computer.

As for the work that we were assigned to do for this class we discusssed the different blogs that we were asked to look at and pay attention to the tone that the writers used.
Dolce Merda is written by a creative individual who is friendly and bubbly.
Brain Picking, is a blog that is a collection of articles on different but all creativity-related topics. The tone of that blog is not very personal as it is not written by one person.
Illustration Friday, is a collection of artwork that is shared to a large audience. It doesn’t use a very personal tone but they do interact with their audience through weekly competitions.
Chris Brogan, is a blog that uses a personal tone as it is ran by one person. It reminded me a lot of marketing as the author shares ways of how to make your blog more succesful.
We also briefly discussed the article that we were asked to read which set out guidelines on how to make your blog more succesful.

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Group exploration

Once the project groups have been announced my groups and I decided to log into SL to explore the place together. Trying to meet in the same place was much more complicated that I originally expected, the teleport wouldn’t work for us for some apparent reason and then we kept loosing each other and also at one point Laura’s computer crashed so she was unable to continue exploring with us.

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Paris 2000

To continue the exploration and meeting new people on SL I have logged in myself few days later. It is SO hard to find people in SL, I went through several locations such as Hawaii and Moma, and I finally decided to go back home to Dublin, this is where I had luck on my side.

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Awaiting for that prince in shining armour – Hawaii.

In Dublin I came across a pub where a few people came togehter, it was very nice to be greeted by a person who was already there. I explained that I’m on SL as part of a module and the guys asked me what would I like to know. I asked the question that I was most curious about “what brought you to Second Life?” as I still can’t wrap my head around as to why people would spend their time and even money there. The answers I got didn’t really help me to understand why. The people there were open and helpful but also did make a few inappriorate jokes that I am not used to.
I sended out friend requests to a few of the people that seemed the nicest from the nearby chat and I did manage to befriend one person, Londoner who turned out to be a fairly nice person. Pretty awkward and shy but I did keep on asking him a lot of questions so it is understandable why he’d get awkward. His reason for coming to SL was that a friend of his is on it too and they introduced him to the place. After a while of awkward conversation more and more people kept coming in, the place became very laggy and as a result my SL crashed.

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Conversation with a stranger, Dublin.

This brings me to the end of this blog! Hope I didn’t bore you to death, see you soon!

Venture Into VR

As the time passes more and more technological inventions are discovered, we now can even check our blood pressure on our phone! With the entire world going digitalised it’s time for me to venture into the virtual reality, do achieve this I have joined Second Life.

I have began my journey in second life with the dilemma of what I would like to look like in such place, the world is my oyster one would say but if only it was as easy as that. I believe that many of us are prisoners of the society that has been constructed years ago, society full of flaws but that particular society is buried so deep into our subconsciousness that even when I was choosing my character I instinctually chose the male persona. But why ? Isn’t gender a social construct after all ?
I was expecting the character customisation to be the very simple and straight forward like in Sims for example, but boy was I wrong. It took me several days of constant changes to finally stop and ask myself the question, “why do I care so much?” is this just another flaw of our society creeping in? This led me to the decision of leaving my avatar as it came to express that I’m the same as the person next to me, no better or worse.

First ‘Is One Life Enough’ class:

As part of my venture into the VR world I have chosen a module in college named ‘Virtual Environments: Is One Life Enough?’ This is a module which is entirely ran through Second Life, where we meet one a week and discuss different topics.

Last Wednesday, the 11th was our first class, it ran fairly smoothly and John introduced us to the basics of Second Life and the module itself too. During the class we had to choose a social media platform on which we’d share information about the class, Facebook was the winner and I volunteered as a tribute to create the group for the class.

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‘Second Life’ Facebook group I have created for this module.

During the class John mentioned that it’s a good thing to use a username that is not your real life name on Second Life to keep the sense of anonymity. That was on my mind for the days after the class and I tried to change my username but unfortunately I was unable to and the best I could do was to change my display name, but my real name is still below that name…

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Screenshot showing my avatar display name and username.

Time to explore what Second Life has to offer!

As I still am getting the hang of Second Life and how it operated I googled ‘great places to meet new people in Second Life’ in hope to give me some places that I could visit and interact with people on the same mission as me.

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Mission Impossible; easier said than done.

After googling places that I could visit was a bit of a fail I have went into the destination discovery bar and chose the Bay City as my first location to explore in Second Life. Straight away I noticed that Second Life is not what I thought it would be. I imagined it to be a place crowded with people but its quite opposite, at least at the time that I went on it. It’s a quite quiet place which a few locations where people gather to spend some time together, its the dystopian world that I imagined.
Also as you can see in the screenshot that I attached my avatar kept going invisible which I’m blaming my poor internet for and I also joined some random group to see what would happen.

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First location; Bay City

For my second location I chose a random one, Big Daddies 80’s Club… The name says it all. Big Daddys Club is a place that I wish not to visit again… I went in with the innocent idea that it’d be a club with 80’s music but no. It is exactly what the name says… One main thing that is clear from such location is that in Second Life everyone can find a place for themselves and don’t feel judged for. Maybe for some people Second Life is the only place where they can express who they really are, maybe Second Life is their first life, and their real life is their second life ?

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Big Daddys 80s Club

My third chosen location was Miami Beach, a place that I can definitely see myself go back to. Miami Beach reminds me a lot of the holidays I went on this summer to Tenerife. A nice quiet and chill place where one can relax and unwind. I am aware that such statement can be argued as it can be said that the reason why people go on Second Life is to relax and unwind but to do so there are all those locations where one feels at home and for now Miami Beach seems like that is the place where I feel at home.

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Miami Beach

Thanks a lot for taking your time to read my first ever blog! I’ll be back soon so stay tuned!