This is something I posted on my EdTech blog for school.  I thought the readers of this blog might find it interesting.

I posted late last year about a party in Second Life. At the time I was just getting acclimated to Second Life, and I didn’t quite understand what it was about. I’m still not completely sure I understand it, but I think I am getting closer.

From the two parties that I have attended, I’ve noticed three qualities:

Segregation of the social activity from the physical activity: The thing that I notices back in December was the way a virtual world can split the consciousness from the body. The dance party experience fits the general real life description of a “social function,” even though the mental socialization is limited due to the noise, dark lighting, etc. In Second Life, however, one can enjoy participating in the social function of “dancing” without giving up the ability to hold a discussion. By separating the activities of a person’s avatar from mental and social interactions, virtual worlds give us the best of both worlds (no pun intended).

Of course, one could try to simulate the dance party experience by not talking, turning off-chat, and cranking the music during the dancing. But if one wants to be so limited, why not just have a real life dance party? If we are going to enjoy the virtual world experience, we should consider enjoying all of the benefits that it brings, including constant communication.

Security of our own home: Virtual worlds allow us to enjoy the intereaction of a social function without leaving the comfort of our own home. We don’t need to worry about someone slipping something into our drink, or picking a fight, or whatever. Drunkards have little power over our party experience in the virtual world; we can just ignore them.

Continuity: There’s never any need to go “powder your nose” or visit the restroom in SL. If you do need to go to the restroom, you just get up and go while your characters is dancing. When you return, you can check the chat history and respond to any direct queries.

The flexibility of the VW is such that we don’t even have to decide what we want to wear; if we aren’t happy with our avatar’s outfit, we can change multiple times, mid-party.