Displaced Reality or virtual Identities harnessed for a more colourful Way of Life?

I didn’t quite realize before we went into the second class of the “Is One Life Enough?” module, what it will be about – now I think I found out …

It’s all about balance. As social media users, we have to acknowledge, that what we do, has or not has an impact on others. Either we will stumble in empty spaces in virtual worlds or remain without being taken notice of in blogs or our profiles, or we will experience an increasing crowd of interested people, maybe even to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, WordPress or Linkedin.
What makes the difference is, that we dare to make some decisions. We kinda need to hit some of our potential friends interests on the efforts we make on our presentations and the contributions, we send to the blog, to Twitter, to Facebook etc. People stay and we get followers, if we are capable to match some of the essential topics for many others, which they’d like to get more of.

It starts with our profile and a clear online identity, which we have to deliver. Why do we want to write about and to turn around just this topic? Is it clear for visitors, what point of view we write and present from? Do we grab topics of more general interest in our posts and do we do, what is necessary, by tags and categories, to make our voice easily accessible?

The class was held in two opposite positions of this:

  • Our online identity and what we make of it – clarity and horisonts for the blog content
  • Our real identity behind the avatar – the knowledge and skills we can share in posts

We were very privileged in class: Both all three lecturers were present, but also two students from the module “Is One Life Enough?” from the last semester were – for three new students present, wow!!

Image

Dudley and Inish as students from the last semester could tell us, that they have gotten closer and more skilled to shape their virtual identities through the study. Inish mostly appeared as a Pirate Captain and Dudley as a Sportsman – they did settle in their virtual identities by now …
And they used them actively by new networking.
They could tell, that the ways of collaboration during the study time and in their project teams were pretty diverse. A lot of social media was in use to develop and ensure their together work:

Facebook, Skype, Second Life with voicing, Dropbox, Emails, Twitter and YouTube.
The lecturers advised about using Google Docs as a collaborative tool.

In the way came our prepared 30 seconds Elevator Pitch, which I have promised to mention here. It was:

“Mike is a dedicated language teacher through many years, an early resident of Second Life, an active user of social media from the very beginnings and a citizen and participant in multiple cultures. These experiences make him seek for a way to combine these dimensions of his life. He is therefore happy for the opportunity for a new study. But he is also longing for calm times and new inspiration for his mission. He really loves to have time to enjoy the many sides of life, while he studies.”

After we all did our statement, the time had come to establish project teams with diverse tasks for the rest of the study. In the end we need to present as a group and covering the modes:

Text
Voice
Image, Flash, Video
3D

We went to the task right away, Alaskan, Bill and me and I will get back to our views and results soon.
For the next class we have to create our Linkedin account, and this one should be about our real life skills and experiences as well as ongoing or done projects. We also have to visit three new places in Second Life and to present them by looking at the semester criteria “Changing Tides”. We chose “Virtual Dublin”, “University of Texas” and “BABEL Language School”. More to come about this too.

Then I only have the hardest part left, and that is to explain, how to maintain the virtual identity as an extension of our real one on the background of the class discussions. I’d like to put it in a metafore:

“When Snow White was seen by the prince, who deeply fell in love with her, the seven dwarfs accomplished the new relationship and helped to make the wedding settle. Also the queen, who over and over again had asked her mirror, who was the most fairy in the country, was invited unknowingly to her stepdaughter’s wedding. As the queen showed up to the wedding ceremony, she had to face the fatal truth, that the bride was Snow White.”

I certainly admit, that we have more than seven kinds of social media today plus one, which is the prince’s favourite, only we still have to let imagination cover a part of our existence in real and other lives, or don’t we?

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