In response to Chloe’s post, an immersive environment is an artificial, interactive, computer-created scene or “world” within which a user can join and interact. “Immerse,” meaning, to engage in something, can be beneficial in a way for people to “escape from reality”, but sometimes this also creates a diverse environment where you don’t need to treat other users who you interact with as you would in the real world. In Stephen Doheny-Farina’s book titled ‘The Wired Neighborhood’, there are a few parts of the chapter that I think demonstrates exactly this.
“In the fall of 1993 I found what I thought was a new kind of public space. It was a compelling online enterprise through which I could interact with others who shared professional interests involving electronic communication networks and cyberspace.
“What I had discovered was MediaMOO, a specific kind of multi-user dimension (MUD) for people interested in the intersection of media and cyberspace.
“According to its principal creator, Amy Bruckman (along with her colleague Mitchel Resnick of the MIT Media Lab), MediaMOO is a “text based, networked virtual reality environment” designed to serve as an ongoing professional meeting place for media researchers. That is, MediaMOO is like the lobby, bar, and hallways of a hotel where a convention of aficionados of new media is under way, where people meet, talk, and schmooze.”
“During those first few times I connected, I would occasionally find another guest in the closet or the LEGO/Logo Lab . It was in the L/L Lab that I took part in my first MOO conversation:
Striped_Guest has arrived
Striped_Guest says “Hi”
You say “Howdy”
Striped_Guest says “Ever been here before?”
You say “Yesterday. For the first time.”
Striped_Guest says “Where are you from?”
Striped_Guest says “I come here everyday”
You say “Northern New York. How about you?”
Striped_Guest says “Ottawa, Canada”
You say “Oh yeah? My wife and I go up to Ottawa every winter to skate on the canal.”
Striped_Guest says “The canal sucks”
Striped_Guest disappears for parts unknown
“I remember thinking, why did he-if he was a he-say that? I have been to a number of professional conferences, and no one ever said that something I liked sucked-at least not to my face.”
“Eventually though, it dawned on me. He had not made that comment to my face. He typed it into something labeled Guest.”
Through immersive environments that more people around the globe use (instead of just you), it is evident that you can be whoever you want to be with no strings attached. In ‘The Wired Neighborhood’ MediaMOO is something that many companies use, where meetings take place based on realistic environments. You can have the option of just interacting with your company or receiving more feedback from all sorts of people around the world. As the book mentions, most people are labelled “Guest,” meaning that they choose not to give their name. This makes it easier for these people to give feedback based on what “they really think” without the rest of the company knowing who typed it. It seems like typing is less personal than talking face to face, which can relate to other types of immersive environments where kids can be whoever they want to be as long as they type things that could be believed by others who interact with them. It seems like even as adults, we tend to feel more comfortable behind computer screens. No one knows who you really are, unless you tell them.
The Wired Neighborhood
By: Stephen Doheny-Farina