During our talk in class about virtual worlds it became clear to me that some people frown upon virtual worlds because they just don’t get it. Why would a person want to live a life online and outside of the real world?
1. No geographic boundaries! Thats right folks… you yourself can sit next to your best friend who is abroad in Europe (via your computer screen) and chat it up. While this is great for social purposes (maybe you can make new friends from far away places), many businesses are also jumping on this gold train. By allowing their employees to use virtual worlds, some companies are cutting out the gap created by geography. One company using virtual teams is Boeing. They also build virtual worlds for testing their new planes.
2. Building a community of interests. You can join one of these virtual worlds and actually find people that like to talk about the same stuff that you do. Really into baking muffins and can’t find anyone in your local community to share ideas with? Check out a virtual world! While it may not be a living interaction it is live. You can create a “Muffin Guild” ( a guild is group of people gathered for a particular interest) in a virtual world that will allow you to hang out with other people who love baking muffins. You can share muffin recipes and have a great time! This brings us to my next and most important point…
3. Knowledge sharing… very important and very lacking in our flesh world. We can only gather information from those around us. This makes us very small minded because we are not getting the whole picture. If we are able to communicate in a more global fashion we will be far more informed about what is actually going on with the rest of the world. It’s much more personal and easy to take to heart when you are hearing from the individuals involved in the news, rather than hearing from some guy who wrote a story in a newspaper. If more people were involved in virtual worlds then each individual person involved would be surrounded by more varied viewpoints. We would be able to be more informed about the real world around us by being a part of the virtual world.
Two more fun virtual world tid-bits:
Clicking here will take you to a fellow WordPress blogger’s blog. While the majority of the blog is about doing business in a virtual world (particularly Second Life), this particular post talks about why Todd got into virtual business. It shares some very interesting facts about people who are actually making big bucks with these virtual businesses.
Another cool site (provided by Jordi a long long time ago) tells a little of the history of virtual worlds and where they may be headed in the future (especially in education).