Virtual Online Community
A virtual online community is one of the hottest addresses on the internet. These communities allow people to conduct business, learn, network, have fun and socialize without leaving the comfort of home. All you need to enter the virtual realm is a computer and an internet connection and the virtual world is at your fingertips.
To understand the concept of the online virtual community think ‘real world, online’. You can do almost anything in the virtual realm that you do in your real life and even more. Attending college classes, opening your own business, and hanging out with friends after work can be accomplished in virtual communities.
Second Life is one of the most popular virtual communities. It boasts millions of users who sign on to interact in real time. This virtual community is completely controlled by members who can build islands, open shops, buy and sell real estate, and enjoy the many in-world perks offered by other users. It is the variety of activities that make participation in the virtual world so much fun.
To enter a virtual online community you must first become a site member. This is an easy process that involves filling out a short registration form. New members can choose to play for free or purchase a monthly subscription. Members with a paid subscription have more access to the site’s advanced features like the possibility of owning land.
During registering you will have the opportunity to choose the starting look for your avatar. You can customize your avatar in-world. An avatar is you in virtual space. You will chat with other members via your avatar. If you choose to attend university classes your avatar will sit in class. If you open a shop your avatar will be the shop owner.
When creating your avatar for a virtual online community like Second Life you can let your imagination run wild. Many users create avatars that are similar in appearance to themselves. Others go out of the box and design unique creatures or extreme characters (aliens, robots, vampires, anything is possible).
Using your avatar you can go in world and begin to explore. Second Life is composed of islands. These islands are both public and private. Public islands can be enjoyed by everyone but private ones require a personal invitation. You can ask for an invitation directly to the island owner or through the island group, if any available.
You will find islands that focus on education, islands that are created for fun, and even islands devoted to charitable causes. Even big businesses and governmental institutions have a stake in Second Life. IBM uses the online virtual community to communicate with employees, produce seminars, hold webinars, and launch new products.
A virtual online community may be overwhelming at first but as you explore the lay of the land you will begin to feel as if you have found a second home. You can meet people and have a drink, play a game of tennis, go to a rock concert, and network, all while wearing your PJ’s, with virtual communities. Enjoy what they can offer to you and have fun!
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