The loneliness in times of global connection

A dear friend sent an amazing video to me where Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and sociologist, talks about her study on how our devices and online personas are redefining human communication. She said: “We expect more from technology and less from each other”. It inspired me a deep thought and to write about how mankind became so lonely by experiencing a lack of real relationships.

Our little devices are so powerful and can change who we are and the way we face life and relationship. Those “toys” became so familiar that many people have a hard time being physically separated from their smartphones, tablets or Pcs, even when it’s time to sleep.

There is no eye contact anymore, as people are texting or checking e-mail and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr while you are talking. Instead of nice conversation during meals (IF family gets together for that), each one has a private solitary world to check. Nobody gives full attention to the other, but only to their devices. It seems people are becoming lonely and don’t enjoy or need personal contact anymore. Even being together at the same place it doesn’t mean they are really together. Technology is definitely changing the way people interact and face life and relationships. People don’t develop warm contacts anymore and are hiding their real inner from each other.

Another interesting behavior has been developed since Internet and social networks were born. Many people create their “virtual personas” (Avatars) and use Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Blogs, Virtual Worlds, etc like their shrink (analyst). They wake up and go to their “pages” to vent their frustrations or even to tell they are angry because of a neighbor who makes too much noise, or worse than that, many will have an “online argument” through “Twitts” or tell they are eating something delicious (and they take a photo and post it to share with their “followers”!). They “must” share everything. It became a need and addiction!

Even when these people do something good in their lives, they need to shout and spread their deeds. This is a problem of ego; it is not necessary to make announcements to everybody. Again social medias become shrink offices for those seeking acceptance.
Nobody has 1000, 3000 or 5.000.000 friends. Why people are feeling so insecure and are almost begging for followers and “likes”? Where is the real conversation, the nice face to face chat? We can enjoy much more than few short texts and emoticons to communicate. And most of all, we can have intelligent and pleasant conversation, but so many have nothing to say or don’t develop their intellect and are afraid; they don’t know how to chat.
Real conversation can’t be edited before you talk, like posting, texting or e-mailing. People present themselves as they would like to be and create their personas to please others. That’s why the more connected they are, the less real and warm relationship they get. They just post a beautiful quote and photo or text of others and get hundreds “likes”.

It is enough for many of them, as they hide behind avatars and their personal pages and don’t want others to be closer than that or discover who they really are. They are afraid of intimacy and don’t want to commit and share much feelings. Photos are overly retouched to hide imperfections, words are edited and copied/pasted to sound smarter, and “characters” conquer more “followers”, but where is the real person? This persona is lonely and enjoying a “virtual” stage.

Spreading wise words and beauty created per other people is very nice, for sure! I am not denying it, but we can’t use it to build our image and then, spread it through Internet and innumerous devices, instead of sharing real contact and who we really are. A very dangerous sign of our “connected” life is the way conversations, real contacts and warm relationship have been sacrificed. Are you happy with your virtual “friends”, whose probably you will never meet in real in 99%? Do you really think they all care about you? Try a self reflection. People are voiceless and prefer to write short messages, or worse, they prefer to use signs to express ideas and emotions.

Devices became so powerful that human beings depend on them 24/7. We can’t deny Social Media and those devices are genius and help us to live a richer life and, when explored wisely, it can be a perfect tool for Personal and business Marketing. We can reach millions and make the difference. But, balance is the key! Why can’t we turn off some toys for a while and invite somebody to have a nice chat? There is even a new “phobia” called Nomophobia – the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. The term is an abbreviation for “no-mobile-phone” phobia.

Mankind became lonely and millions are finding companion through tweets, texting, etc. But, are cold machines better than real relationships? Do they offer all “attention” you need? It gives the false sensation that you are not alone and when people realize it can’t solve all their problems, they panic and run to find any device, which can be their mobile or tablet.

I want to make it clear that I am not against Internet and computers, mobiles or tablets. They are very important and utile. But, I am concerned that so many people, specially the Y generation, are loosing the magic we can experience in a simple talk eye to eye…

Mankind is becoming lonely. Where technology will take us if we don’t balance the way we use it in our lives?
Let’s find some time to meet face-to-face and talk about what really matters.
Would you dare?

By Jussara / Ananda Valeeva

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Wish or Bucket List? 2012…2013…2014…. until the end…

Make your bucket list

Here we are again!
A new year has started. So it is common sense that many people (the ones who follow the Gregorian /Western calendar) feel the need of change or the urge of making things better.

Maybe the Holiday Season, the Spirit of X-mas and all celebrations of New Year’s Eve inspired us to think of goals, being a better person and also to finally make that “Wish List” work. But, have you ever paid attention to your “list”? How many years will you keep promising to yourself and others that you will do that or stop doing something?

Why people decide to think better and deeper about their lives and behavior in December/January? Why people think about their mistakes or a way to make things better and different this time of the year? New goals, dreams, projects come to their minds and a wish to make things “right” this time.

But, I believe the “date” to start (or restart) those projects could be any date. Why not, instead of making a “Wish List”, everybody could make a “Bucket List”? It comes from slang: it is a list of things a person wants to do before they “kick the bucket”. Being simple, it is the list of things you want to do before you die. So, start it now! Doesn’t matter if December is gone. Your life is happening NOW! Your New Year, day or second is happening NOW!

Think about all things you’d love to do. Don’t worry if they sound strange or impossible. This exercise is perfect to create positive goals and to make you dream and act to fulfill them.
Clean your house/office/computer/tablet and all material mess you are facing. If you don’t use something for more than 365 days… hum… why do you keep it? Something material or virtual; a pixeled file or a 3 years old pair of shoes!

Then… go further and clean the drawers of your mind and soul. Leave bad feelings and memories in the past. They are useless and block your happiness. Feel the lightness of being free and allow yourself to create your amazing Bucket List. It is a long term “Wish List” and you will be surprised by the things you dream and can accomplish.

So, I have a challenge for you: after you read this, run and create your Bucket list. Do you want to climb the Himalayas? Do you want to surf in Hawaii? Do you want to meet your singer idol? Don’t worry if your list sounds too pretentious. What matters are the list and the exercise.
You also can create a simpler list of 365 small daily goals. It is very interesting and positive. Try it and be happy always. Don’t postpone life.
Your new year is NOW and everyday. Don’t wait December to dream and to make your wishes come true.
Happy today, happy present, happy life, until the last day!

By Jussara / Ananda Valeeva

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FOMO : Dependence on Social networks

Can you imagine yourself being disconnected/offline, having all your digital “toys” off and spending a weekend without them by your side?

It is not easy to understand the subtleties arising from PCs and Internet, besides all benefits already known. The computer age and its portability brought “urgency” and “needs” without which many people feel it is impossible to live. It’s a bit like trying to imagine life without electricity even before the advent of radio and TV. It’s like feeling empty and without purpose, even still, because this generation, accustomed to so much comfort, is not prepared to “only” light a lamp or candle and find something else to do, that does not depend on electricity or at least a battery powered source.

I recently read an interesting article on The New York Times, which inspired me to write. It talked about ideas and books by Sherry Turkle, a professor of social science studies and her thesis that “the online world is no longer a place of freedom and reinvention.” The digital age has brought great benefits of which I am a fan and I agree that when used in a balanced way, these resources are fantastic! However, the fine line between good use and dependence is not always perceived. Many people are already enslaved to the appeals of profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and Google +.

It is fact that social networks and virtual worlds are very useful for marketing, socialization and access to such instant “information”, conveyed in a few characters on microblogging. But, a social trend that has grown can be summarized in a term which defines what we are living in this digital age: FOMO (Fear of missing out). In a competitive and so immediate world, people need to know everything faster, buy something or attend to an event before the others, to avoid the fear of exclusion and the anxiety of making wrong choices.

There is certain nostalgia for well-written texts and the fast communication is summarized in words, which are lost in the jumble of unintelligible abbreviations of semicolon, commas and the “Internet” language. Languages are poorer. We must say all in just few characters and the dependence of an immediate response drags more slaves of fear of losing something. Read a book, even on your tablet (after all, you are at the forefront). Ahhh, such laziness if the text is longer than one page. Emotions are represented now by spaces, dots, brackets, commas and all kinds of symbols. The joy is so trivialized, isn’t t it?

Fomo is the urge of our time. Someone says he will attend to a show of the x, y, and z band. Another says: Today the club a, b, c has an amazing party. The Twitts are pumping on your screen and sending an avalanche of information about art exhibitions, meetings, events and everything that you enjoy. It is wonderful to receive so much information, but you’re there, facing so much stimuli and want to do everything. But, you know that it is impossible to attend to all events at the same time. You feel anxious: Did I choose the best party or should I have gone with another guy to dance?

This anxiety prevents you from living the “here and now”, when you could just have a delightful meeting with friends or someone special, and laugh, dance, enjoy everything there, at that moment; but, you share the attention with hundreds of screens full of information that arise. The technology releases also drive you anxious, even if you bought your smart phone or tablet just 3 months ago. It is impossible to follow the speed of our times.

Being informed has become an overwhelming need and it is wide open for all to see. But, the amount is not accompanied by information quality. You can find millions of topics on the Internet on the same theme and lots of what is published has no scientific backing or truth. The Internet is a paradise and a maze of mistakes at the same time. What we do in the virtual world is doomed to over-exposure and, as it is said: – if it fell into the net… it will never go out.
You can create an online identity with profile on social networks or virtual worlds like Second Life. You can be whatever you decide to be, a real one or because you dream of being your Alter ego. Having a profile visited and known by thousands is like a treasure for many. It is your online identity!

Have we become slaves of the screens and connectivity? People feel chained to the keys of their computers, tablets, smart phones and all possible technologies. We created such expectation, that we expect more of the social networks and “technological toys” than people. Relationships and feelings are trivialized, as so many “love” strangers they never met or will meet in life and some talk too much to be accepted in such social networks. What is the usefulness and need to be dependent on their “followers”? We have never seen so much unnecessary exposure and futility. The contact with our idols is narrower, but it created also the loss of the “aura of myth”, because they behave like the normal people they are, and sometimes have awful arguments and problems in virtual chats with fans. People became disposable objects with a simple “delete”, “mute” or “block” and the true relations with affective interaction, which does not depend on a list of followers and instant “friends”, is relegated to just a few taps on your screen.

We live in a time that people need to be connected. Knowing how to use this advantage is a wonderful art and can be extremely positive. The question is how to interact and not become dependent and compulsive?

Virtual worlds have also caused dependencies, as people leave their real lives and frustrations, dedicating lots of energy to a dreamy and perfect “shape” or life (which could be a great stimulus, as an incentive to change what you don’t like in your real being and life). But, many people come in a vicious cycle of dependency on what happens there. They also need to know and feel anxious if they can’t login. This social phobia is very harmful for those who want a balanced life because when you enjoy less a real life to depend and put too much energy into avatars, tweets, posts on social networks, etc, it can be an extremely limited way of life.
It is normal now days to meet people in a lift, and they don’t even say hello, as they are checking whether they have messages to read in more than one cell phone / tablet / etc. Others are in a date at a nice restaurant, but they don’t turn off their electronic “gadgets” to really appreciate the company.
It is true that the Internet, virtual worlds and social networks have many qualities that we love, but we can not deny its alienating power. The most interesting is that so many people complain of excessive messages or do not want to speak to anyone and put themselves “invisible”. Why don’t you put away or even turn off your “toys” while you are busy? It is a matter of focus and priority.

It is perfect to have new tools to interact and socialize. The matter is not in the digital world and its wonderful ways to make our lives better. I think that people should learn how to use better those resources to ensure they will live fully, if sometimes they turn off their “toys” to have a face to face chat.

By Jussara / Ananda Valeeva

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UNRAVELING MESH

Second Life has experienced moments of elation after Linden Labs has released its new Viewer 2.0, version 3.x, which enables the display of Mesh creations.

Creators, who were attuned to the graphics capabilities of SL, already were familiar to the word “mesh”. But, for most residents the term needs to be better explained.

Mesh = collection of polygons, which share vertices and edges forming a connected network.

Before you assume that Mesh is something completely new and revolutionary, it is important to understand that everything in Second Life has always been made of mesh. If you press Ctrl-Shift-R you can see how SL is made of mesh. So what could be considered “new” now, since from the beginning there was always mesh in SL?

In fact you need to understand that the only change is that it gives us the possibility to edit, move and change the number of vertices and textures to work in more details. We can also move individual Sculpt vertices, however the big difference is that there are numerous limitations, which became more free and easy in the case of Mesh.

Creating in Mesh is freer than in sculpt, but some people prefer other resources. However, this is one way trip. Those who build in simple ways only and don´t know Sculpt, will experience problems. Perhaps the way to build will change completely with the release of Mesh, but this discussion will go far further.

Another advantage is the end of the 10 meters restriction as the maximum size for a prim. Prims have a fixed geometry, Sculpts have a fixed number of polygons defined by UV map and Mesh can have the number of polygons defined by its creator, also having up to 8 maps where to apply UV textures. You don´t have limit of points to work in Mesh. Also, in the case of clothing, for example, it will not be necessary anymore the use of multiple prims and attachments to have a perfect look.

Now it is even possible to create the avatar in mesh with random action and not only those two basic options offered by SL and with custom textures. The combination of textures will be perfect and simpler to work. You can work your bones and joints, providing incredible flexibility with moving animations.

So, know that the “newness” will make it easier for developers, but it still has its secrets.
Lets see what comes next! :)
Ananda Valeeva

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IMPORTANT NOTICE

My dearest readers, collaborators and partners of the InnerWorld,

After thinking a lot I write to you to inform the only reason that led me to decide to discontinue the publication of InnerWorld Magazine. The fact is that the original design was a monthly magazine and it also had more content. But, due to the limited time available for the designer to create the art, this project has undergone several changes to try to adapt to this. The issues are no longer monthly and the content had to be more concise. I supported and was flexible as much as possible to adapt the magazine to a new dynamic, but without the original design, the magazine has lost something of its identity that I liked.

And so it is time to break the cycle of this magazine and open another new cycle, which is more mature and experienced, reviewing new and old perspectives and redemptions that were changed in the course of nearly three years of existence. Decisions involve waivers; I believe that a perfect history must have a good start, a great plot and a flawless and unforgettable ending.

And now, a bit of our history for those who want to remember or learn a little more, if you have time and patience to read it :-)

Since I joined Second Life in 2006, I had a goal and wanted to write and spread the word of SL, as a natural extension of my RL degrees. I have written my impressions on this amazing virtual world from the beginning. Even before many people even imagined and we could see and read hundreds of blogs and magazines, I used to write to a Dutch blog, and then for the biggest Brazilian Blog and as a reporter in a magazine for a year, a columnist in another major RL/SL magazine and other blogs, as they arose.

I wrote countless texts since 2006 for many blogs and publications, and worked as marketing advisor and publicist among other actions, while others had different activities. I used to write for one of the few magazines in SL for almost a year, when I met a talented designer in 2008, Thereaver Barrymore; we became friends, and I thought it would be great if she showed her RL skills in SL, as it would be a waste not to do so. We worked together in another mag for a little while, but soon I felt it was time to create a magazine. That was my dream since the beginning: a Culture Center with an Art Gallery and a monthly artistic Magazine, which would release art, lifestyle, behavior, highlighting talented designers and special events. So, I invited her to collaborate with me as a designer and be part of my dream. This union was a perfect combination of our creative mind and crazy, perfectionist and artistic ideas and opinions of how to make a magazine.

Since then we met wonderful and creative people from all over the world and learned a lot from each other and those people. Each issue was like giving birth to a baby, and sometimes, some deliveries were difficult. But, because of them, we have built an intense relationship, full of passion for InnerWorld magazine and our mutual respect and love. We knew we were taking a crazy thing, since we were only two passionate women. Probably many marriages are not as intense and intimate, and I’m sure we gave our best to be flexible and understanding to each other, since no one is perfect and we made mistakes; every relationship is an exercise of tolerance and dedication, and I believe a friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway. It inspires me gratitude and pride to see the elegant, artistic and professional result that we have reached after nearly three years. We never “played magazine.” Everything we have done reflects our knowledge in real life and commitment to the best.

I say “This is not goodbye, this is a see you soon.” I hope this is the case with us, as I write my note as your publisher and will follow for new searches. The InnerWorld Magazine will stay online, of course, and I am just announcing that this is the right time to quit while it is so beautiful.

While my skills as a writer and editor brought me to Second Life, and fortunately, to the InnerWorld Magazine – my passion for living a healthy and peaceful life, writing and traveling will take me to the next chapter of my life and who knows what else will come next?

As a writer at heart you can find me in SL and Internet, because I will never fail to write, create, and act in art and communication and love challenges. Publishing, writing and editing this magazine was a beautiful privilege and an adventure. My efforts in the InnerWorld magazine marked one of the most significant learning experiences of my life.

I offer my gratitude to Thereaver for Everything she did in every way (and she knows what I mean), to whom I wish lots of success and luck in a new project that she decides to follow. You can contact her in-world. I am very grateful to the dear collaborators Silton Mindes, Vick Spitteler, AmabileSciavo Olivieri, Evora Laminsk, Geppex McCaw and Uriah Eulenberg and Betwixt Epsilon for their participation and valuable assistance. Thanks for the amazing support from Anderson Toll, of SexMachine, Alee Luik, of Horizontes and Dean Ashby, of Redgrave and Deep House Island, who offered their islands as a space for the Culture Center, Gallery and Magazine. I will keep such generosity forever. And finally, I thank all readers, advertisers, partners and friends. You welcomed us with open arms and it was a pleasure to serve you.

I humbly hope that our lives and dreams will evolve more and more. We all offered our best to make this magazine for you. Hearing so many compliments makes it worth our efforts and inspires pride. I’m so happy to have achieved this dream and will never regret my decisions, and an end. Rather, I will always celebrate the joy of all that was done and what existed.

And to sum up my feelings:

Everything always worth it, and if you want to be successful in any project, never measure or weigh your decisions. The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.

And remember, “see you soon.”
My best feelings and gratitude to all.

Ananda Valeeva

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Tamzin Xigalia @ InnerWorld Gallery

Teleport here: Deep House Island (89, 188, 22)

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Issue 21

Click on the Cover to read it

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