July 24th, 2008

When it feels like you don’t fit in, remember there’s always Second Life.

The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research is running a research paper on the positive benefits of hanging out in the most open of MMOs for members of the gay and lesbian population who feel marginalized in real life.

Understandably, feeling out of place and alone is one of the biggest factors contributing to depression and suicide among the LGBT population. Being part of a game like Second Life, however, gives people the chance to find others whom they can identify with–giving them higher hopes for fitting in with the world outside their computer screen. I’d say the same benefits could hold for people who are kinky, or furries, or just about anyone with a non-normative leaning. If someone else in the universe thinks like you, chances are they’re on Second Life. Heck, they’ve probably even made an fuzzy mascot on the subject. And that’s nice to know.

Speaking of Second Life, am I the only one who didn’t realize Reuters has an in-world division? Their Lifestyle section seems sadly defunct, but still, that’s pretty awesome.

Tags: journalism, MMOs, queerness

6 Responses to “A Second Home for the Marginalized”

  1. Soulofaqua Says:

    Again, Second Life is no game It is a 3D social network service.
    And frankly this applies to any non-specific social network service. Like Second life, Gaia and basically the Internet itself.

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    When did you turn so hostile ;)?

    The definition of a game, obviously, is a loose and debated one.

    As for the internet as a whole serving the same purpose, it may be true, but this study was done specifically in Second Life. Also, the fact that SL provides a smaller community than the entire internet makes it more welcoming and supportive for people who feel marginalized.

  3. Guillaume Says:

    What surprises me is that Reuters still has an in-world division. Probably to check if Karadzic has a healing sim.

  4. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Yeah, it’s hard to tell how active they are, and the idea of reporting in SL certainly isn’t new, but it’s still fun to think of those guys roaming the world with their press badges on.

  5. Guillaume Podrovnik Says:

    As far as I know, Adam doesn’t anymore. He’s relying on people sending him in-world news. More successfully than CNN when they tried the same thing and failed miserably, trying to pay reporters in freebie CNN caps… How appealing. I once did a tour of deserted media sims, sort of a glimpse of what the big media headquarters would look in real life after the Bomb, very entertaining!

  6. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Yeah, that’s how a lot of Second Life looks when RL organizations come in and build. Things end up deserted and strange.

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