Avatar worlds are virtual communities on the internet. These communities require the use of an avatar for person to person communication. With an avatar you can socialize, work, explore and create in the virtual realm.
The ‘avatar’ in avatar worlds is your representation in the virtual realm. It is created by you and can reflect your actual appearance, your personality, your interests or be a complete fantasy creation. Having the ability to create a character that has any and all characteristics you choose is a large part of the fun. You can use different avatars for different purposes or just change the look of your avatar depending on your interests; fancy for fun and more serious for business like in real life.
Before entering a virtual world users are required to create an avatar. In the virtual reality game Second Life avatars are created in a few easy steps using the sites online creation modules. Your avatar can be composed of the basic elements available within these modules or you can add on specific items you have created yourself or purchased in virtual malls and stores.
This is where it is time to let your imagination roam free!
Your avatar will communicate to others in avatar worlds via text chat. Much more than a basic social website or chat room, the majority of virtual worlds includes many options for work, fun, and creating adventure. Throughout the world of Second Life you will find many people to chat and communicate with.
Communication can be done one on one or with a large group of avatars. In Second Life an IM (Instant Message) is used for private conversations and there are setting such as ‘whisper’, ‘say’, and ‘shout’ that allow you communicate with others without pause. Everything you type will appear instantaneously on screen next to your avatar for other members in a certain radius to hear. You can also send a message to avatars located in another region “area” or leave one if they are not present in Second Life.
Voice chat is the newest option to communicate with others in Second Life, speak up and let your voice be heard in the virtual world. Not everybody wants to use their real life voice when they are just having fun, but this option is especially useful for business and education purposes.
Work and Play
In the real world people work hard so they can play. The same is true in avatar worlds. Second Life has many different areas for both entertainment and business. The world even offers spaces where avatars can go to learn and take college classes. Find learning classes in Second Life, checking the events page, under the education category. You will see the daily classes available and their schedules, many of them are free.
Several large business organizations have a presence in Second Life. IBM hosts seminars and communicates with employees in this virtual world. They also roll out new products for a test drive. Over 5,000 IBM employees actively communicate using Second Life on a regular basis. IBM is working with Linden Lab, creators of Second Life, in several projects regarding interoperability between virtual worlds.
Universities also have a large and growing presence in Second Life. Harvard was one of the first to go online and now offers study groups, presentations, and streaming classes to registered students. The number of colleges, schools and universities is continuously growing in this virtual world. Second Life is considered an advanced eLearning platform.
Avatar worlds provide unending fun for members. Rock concerts from real world bands, nightclub acts, bars, and gaming venues are very popular with many users. Even creativity is honored in Second Life where fashion designers can sell their wares and artists can show their work.
Online avatar worlds will continue to grow as more and more people begin to use them as means to communicate. No longer just a safe place for techies to hang out, virtual environments are easy to use, hot and trendy and waiting for you.
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