“Don’t you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask? Do you think life always lets itself be trifled with? Do you think you can sneak off a little before midnight to escape this?”
― Søren Kierkegaard
If we matter, then our words and actions carry substance too. Our existence within the Age of Virtual Reality, a period marked by digital innovations and rapid communications, keeps us safely tucked away behind our monitor screens. We become whatever we desire to be. Our avatars are not restricted to a face, and they abide in whatever scene best suits them.
Our virtual environment resembles a painter’s canvas, and is limited only by the reach of our imaginations. As social beings, we are compelled to piece our well-rounded lives inside compatible spaces, constructing a network of our own design. We strive to make our virtual life resemble our reality.
Yet, life does not come with a guaranteed number of perfectly shaped puzzle pieces, nor does it offer the smooth, stable surfaces necessary for the erection of a 3-D creation of our imagination. Whatever we do will affect those around us – this is one of nature’s laws. If we destroy our virtual neighbor’s property, we will face consequences for doing so. If we destroy people’s reputations online, we will be called out and confronted by our victims.
Everything we do is online is subject to the scrutiny of our peers. What is acceptable behavior within our neighborhood, may not be appropriate in a neighboring community of peers from diverse backgrounds. We might think it’s alright to exit…stage left, or to say, “goodnight folks; the show’s over!” But does our audience really believe us as they either shout for an encore, or continue throwing tomatoes at the stage?
You are the only person with the power to control your virtual performance, your setting, and your plot. You can contribute to your social network’s growth or it’s demise. That choice is yours alone. Just remember that the fabric of our society, whether online and offline, always has and always will depend specifically upon your choices and actions.