#157 – The Psychology of SecondLife

Transcript

Wagner James Au is author of the 2008 book, The Making of Second Life: Notes from The New World. From April 2003 to February 2006, he was a contract writer for Linden Lab, creators of Second Life, primarily hired by the company to cover SL as an embedded journalist in an emerging society– its controversies, its personalities, its innovations and ambitions, along with larger themes of identity, social norms and organization, and cultural expression important to online worlds in general.

That contractual relationship has ended, but the story continues in his book and his New World Notes blog.

He’s been interviewed about his work as the embedded journalist for Second Life by CNN International, NPR’s All Things Considered, the BBC, The Los Angeles Times, Harvard Business Review, News.com, the San Jose Mercury, the Associated Press, Wired Online, Presstime, and the East Bay Express, among other publications. He has spoken on the subject for The Education Arcade (sponsored by MIT), twice at South by Southwest in Austin, and twice at State of Play (sponsored by Yale and New York Law School.)

(Psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.)

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3 Comments

  1. Bob DuBois
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    Among the best discussions yet. The college where I teach has encouraged me to add Second Life as a possible technology to explore in the classroom. I’ve been hesitant to give it serious thought. I did give it a first look and rejected it. Now, after listening to you and Mr. Au, I’m going to give it a second look. I see the possibilities now…

    Thanks for an excellent podast! I’m a weekly listener and try to encourage my students to listen to.

  2. Bob DuBois
    Posted June 14, 2008 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Among the best discussions yet. The college where I teach has encouraged me to add Second Life as a possible technology to explore in the classroom. I’ve been hesitant to give it serious thought. I did give it a first look and rejected it. Now, after listening to you and Mr. Au, I’m going to give it a second look. I see the possibilities now…

    Thanks for an excellent podast! I’m a weekly listener and try to encourage my students to listen too.

  3. Tony
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Your guest shrewdly asserts that “Second Life is not a consumerist society or a capitalist society” yet one has to spend real money in order to have a realistic or “attractive” appearance or to have a “home” in Second Life.

    Upon first visit to Second Life, one can encounter “attractive” avatars and notice that one’s own avatar is kind of rudimentary, awkward, and even homely in comparison. To most people this is a problem; just like in real life, there are social disadvantages for being unattractive.

    The remedy is a click away – there is a button that allows one to purchase Second Life money with real-world money, allowing the purchase of “attractive” or fashionable skin, hair, or clothing.

    Socializing is a major part of Second Life and socialization is hindered by possessing a basic avatar. The fact that one must spend money just to fully experience the social world of Second Life makes Second Life a consumerist society.

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