Skip to content

Lack of Identity in SecondLife

Lack of Identity in SecondLife: “Mostly, I’d like to note that SL doesn’t allow users to synchronize their real life and their second life. For some this is just fine and the reason they go to great lengths to develop a fully featured secondlife. However as an educator, I want my students to develop insights, explore new information and apply this learning in their real lives…Chester and Breterton (2007) conclude “cyberspace is not a virtual world without connection to the rest of people’s lives. What we do and who we are online are shaped consciously and unconsciously by who we are offline. The Internet is , after all a part of our real life””


  1. I get frustrated by this, too. I’ll get emails from SecondLife, saying “Bubba Horseface has sent you a message. Please log in to SecondLife to read it” or something like that. Who is Bubba Horseface? Why do I have to launch a 3D environment (which will more likely than not require an update of the engine before launching) in order to read a message from someone? Why not tell me 1) who it’s from, really, and 2) what the message is?

    And, why can’t I use my real name in SecondLife? I had to settle for “Darcy Malaprop” because when I registered, I had to choose from a list of predefined last names. Bizarre restrictions on identity…

    Monday, June 18, 2007 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  2. Mrs Durff wrote:

    Then aren’t virtual worlds part of our real lives, too?

    Monday, June 18, 2007 at 11:49 am | Permalink
  3. Hi D’Arcy – heh, I can relate. I, in my frustration, ended up taking the dubious name of “Whatever Russel” as an act of frustration. I’ve heard statements that 2L’s failure was to duplicate the physical world and it’s functioning rather than creating a completely new space limited only by our creativity. I agree with this sentiment. But some basic tasks – such as reading messages or our identity should integrate a bit better with real life…

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  4. Hi Lisa – yes, virtual worlds are part of our lives – my digital identity (as a blogger, speaker, writer, or whatever) forms part of who I am as a “real” person.

    Tuesday, June 19, 2007 at 10:14 am | Permalink
  5. Diane McCarthy wrote:

    Hey guys. Isn’t it about 21st century diversity and choice? Identity and personal disclosure in an open environment like SL may be better managed as a pseudonym initially – as we don’t know who we are talking to: their motivation, values, beliefs, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, age, or geographical location of their computer. But certainly an online community exists…

    We can adapt our avatars to resemble our physical selves if we prefer- so there is choice about how we appear to others. Some people act out their fantasies, others are closer to their “genetic and lived experience” look. One of my students called creating his avatars in WOW as ” rethrowing the genetic dice ” which some people do any way through costly surgery, including one’s gender.

    Perhaps once trust has been established by interacting and talking about our physical worlds ( as is starting to happen for some educators on Angel Isle):)(RL?) then perhaps SL could give us the option for being Diane McCarthy1233 and George Siemens007 with trusted online friends. This is evolving and some of us at CPIT are evaluating SL as a place for learning- but we want a secure environment that is safe for our students first.
    Have you been to Angel Island yet where they have set up an educational setting to play around with? Cheers Diane.

    Thursday, June 21, 2007 at 7:24 pm | Permalink