Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bonus Mission #2: Second Life as online community

In this era, it has become a trend to meet someone online. IM, social networking site, or other online community sites are the medium. Second Life (SL) is one of the popular sites to meet somebody and for a relationship. For me, Second Life is like online community and also a game.

A game is a structured or semi-structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes also used as an educational tool. Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interactivity. Games generally involve mental or physical stimulation, and often both (Game, 2007).

SL is game where it provides certain enjoyment and makes us feel happy from playing it. But what makes SL is not a game according to Wikipedia is SL does not have a goal, a certain goal that every game has. In SL, we create our own avatar and go around from one place to other places, get a new friend and form a relationship. With this capability, SL is also considering as an online community.

Second Life
What is Second Life? Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is an Internet-based virtual world. Developed by Linden Lab, a downloadable client program enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another (Second Life, 2007).

Second Life is like World of Warcraft whereas, players of the game enjoy the form of community rarely seen in the real world (Levy, 2007). In SL what the players can do is they can join group that has the same interest or hobby.

SL also has its own economy. Like a real community, if a players (residents) want to build or create something they got to buy a land first before they could sell their creation. At here, money exchange are happening, from real money to Linden Dolar (SL currrency).

The most significant aspect that differentiates SL as a game and online community is in SL, we do not have any goal. We could go wherever we want to without any certain task to accomplish or meeting strangers without killing them.
Besides that, in SL you can kiss or even get married with strangers. It’s online community that could allow this action to happen.

But many players consider this site is also a game whereas you could use your creativity to gain profit by selling your product. It got rules and regulation in the SL which is the features of a game.

SL is not only a game but also an online community. We use it as a game when we use our creativity and we follow the rules and regulation that come along with the game. SL is an online community when we use it to meet somebody and to form a relationship. The key points that differentiate SL as a game and online community is SL does not have a goal to accomplish like a game.

Game. (2007). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 4th, 2007 from

Levy, S. (2007). World of Warcraft: Is It a Game?. Retrieved April 4th, 2007 from

Second Life. (20007). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 4th, 2007 from

QotW10: second life= second me?

Introducing to you guys a new 'game', called Second Life (SL). Well, at her you can create another you (not specifically), with different name, face and etc.

My avatar name at SL is Mariani Cortes. Why I choose Cortes because if you get my initial name its become MC, which exactly the same as my real life :)

So, firstly i got to introduce to you guy about my avatar. Why I edited my avatar like this? Well, I still choose to be female in my SL :P and keep my black hair. The other appearance? Just to make my avatar look good, nothing special behind it :)
The clothing is the kind I wont wear in my real life except for the red pants. As you can see, my avatar is a little bit taller than my real height. For the face, ignore it. My real face is even prettier :P

Well, let me bring you to my favorite place, it's called "Perfect Prefabs Cyan". Just click the 'search' tab and click 'places'. Type 'garden' and it in the first in the list. As you can see below, I am flying(WOW!) as the place as my background. It got beach, gazebo, and waterfall. Such nice place to hang out in SL.
Inside the main building, it got a room where you (your avatar) can rest and relax? As you can see below, I am relaxing on one of the couches. And it got beds to let you sleep on!! Well, I think this one suppose to be the study room? I got an action that make your avatar look like reading a book :D Well, I do not know what room is this, but it got a lot of chair like the one my avatar was sitting on.Well, this place is the one of the places that I like to visit in SL

Come and joinSL, do not forget to add me :)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

QotW9: STOMP- news from You, by You, for You.

As technology becomes more advanced, we can update news almost anywhere at anytime. Using just digital camera or camera from mobile phone, one can be journalist reporting news that would not be covered by local newspaper or television. News that are reported from the citizens give us different perspective of events that happening around us everyday. Blog is one of the places which provide this opportunity to people like to become a journalist of my own. As Dan Gilmore mentioned “To understand the evolution of tomorrow’s news, we need to understand the technologies that are making it possible. The tools of tomorrow’s participatory journalism are evolving quickly.”

Citizen Journalism

According to wikipedia (2007), citizen journalism also known as "participatory journalism," is the act of citizens "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information". Citi zen journalism is the news from citizen, by citizen and for citizen. So to get new from different point of view and the one that you cannot find in news paper, internet is the best source.

With internet and blog to make news available easily, we are no longer live in dark age where we have to gulp everything that have been written in newspaper.


STOMP (Straits Times Online Mobile Print) is one the citizens journalism that availble in cyberspace. STOMP integrates content and activities in the three platforms of print, online and mobile. It delivers content which is interactive and which will help develop new communities of Singaporeans bonded together by shared interests. The Straits Times Editor Han Fook Kwang explained, "In the new media environment, newspapers have to be more than just passive providers of news. They have to engage their readers in areas which appeal to them. We have to provide readers with new avenues to express themselves, to enable them to interact with us, and among themselves." (STOMP, 2006)

This site is very interesting and interactive. As I browsing through it, I noticed they provide a section where you can ask anything about a correct-spoken-English (you cannot find this in local newspaper) called English As It Is Broken.

Another thing is they also provide a section where you watch videos that being recorded in some events. This Stomp-cast section is very useful when you got no time to watch television and you can update the news from here.

What Can Be Done?

When I go through some of the news that being published, I noticed that the news is more like entertainment section in newspaper. As you can see in Singapore Seen section, they do cover news that you cannot find in newspaper with the readers point of view.
But what is lack here is the Journalistic kind of news and writing. I feel like I am reading an online magazine. Beside that, like Jiayi mentioned in her blog, STOMP can add a section about politic where readers can give out their thought, idea and opinion Singapore government. With this section hopefully Singapore can develop a truly democracy government where people are allowed to speak out loud their thought, not hiding it.

"Citizen Journalism" (March 28, 2006) From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Retrieved March 28, 2007, from

Gillmor, D. “We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People” (July, 2004). Retrieved March 28, 2007 from

STOMP (2006) From Singapore Press HoldingsRetrieved March 28, 2007 from

Saturday, March 17, 2007

QotW7: IMVU-what a great way to escape

Yes, I would like to consider twitter as online communities. Most of the COM 125 A/B members are joining twitter and we share everything there. It’s like we are having class discussion in cyber space.

Online communities are become more and more popular. We can be anything we want, do anything we want to and meet anybody that we do not even know. Rheingold would define virtual communities as “social aggregations that emerge from the [internet] when enough people carry on those public discussions long enough, with sufficient human feeling, to form webs of personal relationship in cyberspace”. I will describe virtual/ online communities as a place in [internet] where people with the same interest gather and share information and has a possibility to form a more personal relationship wit one another. (Fernback & Thompson, 1995)

Online communities such as twitter, skype or imvu have become some of the most popular site to form a community. So, what is online community actually is? According to Fernback & Thompson (1995), communication is the structural process that associated with community.

Well, in twitter or other online communities, people tend to share things that they won’t share in real life. They can have different personality but in the same body. So, what make people want to do so? Why they are not doing so in real life? Well, it’s to escape the problems and the issues of the real world. (Barlow, et al. 1995, p 43).

I do agree about it. I, myself, am engaging in so-called ‘second life’ at IMVU. IMVU is a graphical instant messaging client (3D chat) currently in beta stage with more than 3 million users. [1] It is developed by IMVU, Inc., by Will Harvey, a video game developer and founder of There, a similar 3D virtual world (IMVU, 2007).

In IMVU, you can choose your own avatar. They give you a choice of what kind of skin color you want, the shape of your hair, your eye and every other thing. Before you start the game, you will be given a tutorial of how using you avatar. Like you can see it’s a one minute tutorial where they teach you how to change your mood (you can even have a flirty mood!!), expression (imagine that your avatar are doing a puke expression :P) or even moves (like breakdance).

After the tutorial you can have a chance to chat with your friend or totally a stranger. You can have a chance to meet someone new just by clicking the ‘chat now’ button. As you can see below, I am meeting a total stranger and we are chatting in the room like starbucks.

As for me, I prefer to chat in IMVU rather than twitter. In IMVU, you can meet new friend from other part of the world (above is from Florida, but he is from Puerto Rican: so cool!!). I even learn other language too. Besides that, I have a body that represents me in the cyberspace. It likes you having a real chat. I am more and more addicted to it as I can be whatever I like; say anything I want without having a pressure from anybody in my real life to be someone that society wants you to be.

Second life gives you a chance to taste a different you!


Barlow, John Perry, Sven Birkets, Kevin Kelly and Mark Slouka. 1995. "What are we Doing On-Line." Harper's, August, pp. 35-46.

Fernback, J. & Thompson, B. (1995). Virtual Communities: Abort, Retry or Failure? Retrieved on March 15, 2007 from
IMVU. (2007). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved on March 15, 2007 from

Saturday, March 10, 2007

QotW6: No Tresspassing Please!!

In today’s era, cyberspace has become one of the most favorable place to expand your network. Websites like My Space ( or friendster ( provide internet users a medium to “socialize”. Users may unconsciously reveal some information that they will not reveal in Face-to-Face (FtF).

According to Rosen (2004), “…the easiest way to attract the attention and winning the trust of the strangers is to establish an emotional connection with them by projecting a consistent, memorable, and trustworthy image.” Is it worth? What I meant here, some people may reveal whatever information needed to gain the acknowledgement from strangers to become their friend. Take this privacy policy from my space ( collects user submitted information such as name, email address, and age to authenticate users and to send notifications to those users relating to the service. also collects other profile data including but not limited to: personal interests, gender, age, education and occupation in order to assist users in finding and communicating with each other. also logs non-personally-identifiable information including IP address, profile information, aggregate user data, and browser type, from users and visitors to the site This data is used to manage the website, track usage and improve the website services. This non-personally-identifiable information may be shared with third-parties to provide more relevant services and advertisements to members. User IP addresses are recorded for security and monitoring purposes

We may reveal such information due to our need to find a friend. Some people may reveal even more than that. Do we really need to reveal such information meanwhile we do not know who read it and that they gonna do about it. But it’s like health: When you have it, you don’t notice it. Only when it’s gone do you wish you’d done more to protect it (Sullivan, 2006).

One’s may feel certain emotional attachment by reading your personal information that has been published in the internet. But, can you really trust that stranger. Sure, you can read his/ her personal information in return. But can you guarantee that it is authentic. Is the stranger being sincere about himself?

Privacy in cyberspace is one of the most difficult things to be taken care of. Just click your name is search engine and voila there appear your name. What you may think the safest may be the dangerous think for you.

Yes, you want the freedom of speech, but we all must know the limitation of our information that can be revealed. Too much information revealed will be to dangerous, too little information is not enough.

My opinion about today’s networking is the boundary between privacy and public information start to fade out. What we all known as personal information in the past has become information that easy to get. Blog for example, has become the most popular medium to self revealing. As you can read in the internet, what you wouldn’t know through FtF communication can be found easily. Some people use blog to seek emotional support. When you feel down, you write. When you are happy, you write. People who keep in track with your blog may know and feel certain bond even you haven’t met them. This thing really sounds creepy for me, that is why I do not like to set up a blog. I prefer to write in book and face a small chance of being exposed rather than receiving a lot of comment for what I felt.

Like one of my friend, Susan (not her real name), she like to write her daily activity, what she felt, and load some picture in her blog. Well, she must not realize that how much information she has released without knowing there might be somebody using her information for something bad.

My picture, from my blog, has been used as a class’s web link without my knowledge by my teacher. I do not mind though, but I would prefer to be informed first. What I want to say at here is even a picture that you put for fun, can be used for something else without you knowing it.

ps: no offense for the last paragraph, just want to use it as example. peace! :D

Privacy Policy. (n.d.). Retrieved on 9th March 2007, from

Rosen, J. (2004). "The Naked Crowd". Retrieved on 9th March, 2007 from

Sullivan, B. (2006) “Privacy lost: does anybody care? MSNBC Interactive. Retrieved on 9th March 2007, from

Friday, February 23, 2007

QotW5: Online Identity: Anonymity in virtual communities.

NO.....!You are Mr. Hyde!!!!!

As we all know, internet has improved its function from sending and receiving a message to finding a 'soul mate' in chat rooms. In these chat rooms people are sharing information to each other without knowing the sender or the receiver. Identity plays a key role in these communities. Knowing the identity of those with whom you communicate is essential for understanding and evaluating an interaction (Donath, 1996).

Unfortunately, some of the users in chat rooms prefer to be anonymous. This anonymity has its own positive and negative points.

Visual anonymity offers people with disabilities the potential to participate in the social world outside the prejudicial and stereotypic barriers based purely on physical appearance. People with disabilities have the opportunity to interact without automatically, or necessarily, exposing a stigmatized identity.
In problematizing traditional notions of reality, however, the online medium also has the potential to become a deceptive social space where people with disabilities become victims of malevolent acts (Bowker & Tuffin, 2003).

In the other hand, anonymity in cyberspace allows people to deceive other without letting know their true identity. People could lie about their gender, age, physical appearance, etc. In face to face communication physical appearance, vocabulary, grammar, other linguistic markers (including tone and accent), and nonverbal cues ordinarily influence the ways in which people initially form impressions of one another (Jacobson, 1999). But in online communities, a 'he' can be a 'she'.

Illustrating this, Van Gelder (1991) reported a famous incident occurring on a computer conferencing system during the early 80s where a male psychiatrist posed as Julie, a female psychologist with multiple disabilities including deafness, blindness, and serious facial disfigurement. Julie endeared herself to the computer conferencing community, finding psychological and emotional support from many members. The psychiatrist's choice to present differently was sustained by drawing upon the unbearable stigma attached to Julie's multiple disabilities as justification for not meeting face-to-face. Lack of visual cues allowed the identity transformation to continue, with the psychiatrist also assuming the identity of Julie's husband, who adamantly refused to allow anyone to visit Julie when she claimed to be seriously ill.

Without knowing someone's identity, one can be whatever he wants to be. As the video that you put in the website, it is clear that people can cheat their identity and find other partner without any sense that other party may cheat on you too. But why people have to be anonymous in online society?
According to Gia B. Lee(1996), people choose to be anonymous to diminish status dimension and to encourage free speech. Anonymous conditions online have "created an entire social world in which it doesn't matter what you look like. Looks are absolutely irrelevant."

It is fine to choose to be anonymous in online society. By not revealing their true identity (or condition), people can have the environment that they cannot get in real life. But for some people, they choose to be anonymous so that they could have fun or to avoid law for illegal speech. So, the problem here is how people gonna use the anonymity that available greatly in cyberspace?


Bowker, N., & Tuffin, K. (2003). Dicing with Deception: People with Disabilities’ Strategies for Managing Safety and Identity Online. Journal of Computer Mediated Communiation, 8(2). Retrieved February 7, 2007 from

Donath ,Judith S. ( 12 November 1996) Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community, MIT Media Lab. Retrieved on February 15, 2007 from

Jacobson, D. (1999). Impression Formation in Cyberspace: Online Expectations and Offline Experiences in Text- based Virtual Communities. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 5(1). Retrieved February 7, 2007, from w

Lee, G. B. (1996). Addressing Anonymous Messages in Cyberspace. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 2(1). Retrieved February 7, 2007, from

Van Gelder, L. (1991). The strange case of the electronic lover. In C. Dunlop & R. Kling (Eds.), Computerization and controversy: Value conflicts and social choices (2nd ed., pp. 364-375). Boston: Academic Press.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy V day and CNY.....

OK, few hours before I return to my hometown. Just want to wish u al happy b'lated V day.I know it kinda late....but...who cares? A BIG BIG HEART for u all....and I also wish u all Happy New Year, GONG XI FAT CHOI!