Have you ever experienced that feeling of living in another world?
Though usually a very grounded person I found the use of virtual worlds made me doubt who was the real me. The more I engaged as an avatar of myself, the more I began to think that I was my avatar. I could be sitting in a work meeting and in my mind wondering what my avatar was doing, what she was wearing.
Of course that is preposterous because the avatar only existed on my computer and only did anything in the virtual world when I controlled her. I bought my avatar Armani clothes, a diamond bracelet, designer shoes and the more I customised her the closer my association with her. I questioned: am I my avatar?
Today everyone talks about metaverse but my experience was of the pioneering online virtual world Second Life.
In many ways it was like playing with my doll’s house as a child. Looking inside the house, moving figures around, playing at breakfast and bed time. My imagination transformed the little wooden figures into real people. I would get deep into play and for a short time their world became my world.
If my doll’s house was re-created in Second Life my avatar could go inside and be totally immersed in their world too.
We experimented with Second Life at work where my avatar met with the avatars of colleagues. We created our own private island for teaching and research and even held a graduation ceremony there. Our students met with employers for a careers fair hosted by eSkills. We replicated the real world in the virtual world and what we did had real meaning.
So much virtual world activity – is it any wonder that I began to think I was my avatar?
Have you experienced the feeling of living in another world?