1. Chemy JMHT's Avatar

    There are a lot of concerns shared nowadays about the new wave of virtual reality media. It has been decades since the concept was first used in sci-fi as a dystopian tool to isolate and control the masses – a vision that has not left the minds of many, considering the response to that image of Mark Zuckerberg apparently presiding over an army of Oculus storm troopers! But are these wary types right to fear the impact of Virtual Reality on our sense of belonging and its power to increase loneliness? Will the new immersive technology leave us feeling isolated and adrift?

    It is tempting to imagine that one day we will all be sat in solitary cubicles, plugged in and feeding our interactive addiction through headgear. Effectively blocking out the real world from our sensory experience. How would these interactions feel? It is already evident to those using social media that online dialogues can not offer the same rich experience as being physically with a friend. What you can share are merely words and images, not a hug or a gesture. In the world of online dating too, we can feel isolated as we are reduced to an image and few lines of text. These interactions alone are not enough to ward off loneliness, surely. Would Virtual Reality improve our connections with others even over physical distances?

    • Social VR

    The immersive nature of Virtual Reality creates a genuine intimacy as can be felt in virtual meeting spaces such as vTime and AltspaceVR – it is unexpected and uncanny how the 3-dimensional video adds this quality. Meeting a friend in a space like this is not the same as real life, it is something quite different but it still makes you feel “in touch”. When used with realistic expectations, social media should satisfactorily accompany real life interaction. Virtual social media offers the same benefits, but is more sensory.

    Also, consider the fact that in this day and age, firm friendships are now being created online. On forums, and on platforms like Tumblr and Twitter, real people are brought together from miles apart to share in their mutual interests. Now imagine if these spaces were immersive – you could walk around your favourite message board or Twitter feed. People who felt unable to connect with the people around them for lack of shared interests would suddenly be so much freer to interact with others.

    You could also imagine how well this would work with online dating – how much more realistic would it feel to meet a potential partner in a virtual bar, rather than exchanging stilted dialogue by text? Here are some of our favourite social VR platforms that work in both friendship and relationship building.

    • The Beauty Of Solitude

    On the other hand, it has already been argued by Tech Radar that solitude is not the same as loneliness. The fantastic and important thing about Virtual Reality is that the experience is private to the user. Two people cannot share a headset, therefore the user shuts themselves away from company when they put one on. For anyone who is already a book worm or introvert, this is not an isolating or sad experience, it is sheer escape. It is wonderful to experience unique adventures, just as dreams exist only and especially for you.

    This writer on makeuseof.com argues that Virtual Reality will actually improve the lives of introverts. As long as the user is not neglecting love ones and causing them to suffer loneliness instead, the new technology could help introverts feel accepted in a world where the loudest are often the most heard. besides, would you want to share any of these experiences?!

    • Reality

    The reality is that Virtual Reality will probably not replace physical interaction – there is too much to be gained from being “with” a person in real time and space. I do not envision a future of plugged in VR-bots doing everything online. Some will choose this lifestyle, sure, but at the moment, VR is something you do as an activity. You dip into it, and it’s as fun to play as it is relieving at times to come out of. Personal interactions through virtual reality will, at best, serve to supplement our social lives as social media already does.

    However, maybe the next question to ask would be whether Virtual Reality will exacerbate the darker side of social interaction – eg. bullying, harassing, stalking – as much as it will enhance positive conversation. One of the pressing concerns of our age is how we protect ourselves from anonymous abuse online. In future posts we will be exploring the idea of the virtual “safe space”. Stay tuned!

    Source: https://www.freeflyvr.com/virtual-re....dCqUf4yk.dpuf
    12-18-2016 11:19 PM
  2. Graham Devereux's Avatar
    Even currently people debate over whether social media makes individuals more lonely or not but it depends on the user. For the example of facebook, users who were passive, not posting and merely observing, it increased loneliness while those who were active saw the benefits. I currently don't see how individuals could or would want to be passive in vr so I believe it could have increased benefits.
    12-18-2016 11:42 PM
  3. Chemy JMHT's Avatar
    Even currently people debate over whether social media makes individuals more lonely or not but it depends on the user. For the example of facebook, users who were passive, not posting and merely observing, it increased loneliness while those who were active saw the benefits. I currently don't see how individuals could or would want to be passive in vr so I believe it could have increased benefits.
    I think there is a factor of how the social platform is developed and how the public accepts it, I mean, Facebook was oriented in some point to share and being in touch with family and friends, but suddenly it was turned into a a marketing platform because some companies saw the potential of promoting products and/or services through it and then a wave of changes changed the whole initial point of Facebook, I think also some interference came from the anonymity so a lot of people is becoming more violent and less polite to give opinions, so for those who are sensitive to what people say about them turned more quiet.

    I remember an article where a women experienced some uncomfortable situations while using a social network in VR, so she felt bad and didn't want to repeat that situation.

    in this Thread EgoAnt gives some suggestions

    So it's something to see how it develop and it is solved in time.
    12-19-2016 12:09 AM
  4. Firegold21's Avatar
    This is a topic that's been brought up with practically every new piece of technology that connects people over distances. I can see how people might be more isolated from those around them, while I can also see how it might bring people together that otherwise would never have met.

    I met my wife online, in Second Life. We hit it off and started dating virtually long before meeting in person. I've now been married to her for 7 years. In my case, "virtual reality" brought us together online and that spilled over into reality.

    Just like in the other thread about the effect our avatars have on us, what we do online often spills over into offline. Attractive avatars lead to more outgoing behaviors both online and off. Taking on different roles leads to starting to act in that role in reality. Being more social in VR might just prove to be beneficial in reality.

    Posted via the VRHeads App for Android
    Chemy JMHT likes this.
    12-19-2016 05:26 AM
  5. pjs37's Avatar
    It is just a stigma of new technology confounding people and how they interact. They say that about the internet, chat, smart phones. Yet we have never been so connected with eachother as we are now.
    12-19-2016 02:47 PM
  6. Chemy JMHT's Avatar
    Everything that can take the hole world and make a twist on the society is taken very carefully in the better situations, I remember a Ted talk by Amber Case talking about how we are Cyborgs, not in the fantasy way we believed we will be, but in the way that technology is now a part of us.
    12-19-2016 10:29 PM

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