19 Dec 2013

Imagination and Social Media Law

There is a website called Second Life.Social media lawyer
In a nutshell the website allows subscribers to take part in a virtual world.

For Second Life money, you can choose a character, their clothes, voice, occupation, virtues, husbands, wives and then you can just live the life of your character. It is a fascinating world if you want to lead an alternative digital life!

One day, out of the blue, I received an urgent telephone call from a woman who complained that she was being harassed on the internet.

As the conversation progressed it started to become clear, that the harassment and bullying of which she claimed she was the target of, was being carried out against her IN THE WORLD OF HER SECOND LIFE CHARACTER…

The character she adopted stood accused of being a liar and a cheat by the character’s ex-virtual boyfriend as well by a group of the ex’s supporters. And now she was on the phone to a firm of solicitors asking for legal help…

I can tell you that the woman’s pain was REAL AND INTENSE.  She was in GENUINE distress. It was no different to the pain of someone who was being bullied and harassed in the real world.

I decided to enquire a little bit more with this woman. It transpired that Second Life was in fact her only social world. She was a disabled person and house bound. Consequently she had very little interaction with the real world and real relationships.

Second Life offered this woman a lifeline. She had more connection with Second Life characters than with real people. Therefore, for her at least,  Second Life was a reality.

It was of course not her but her character that was being harassed on Second Life but this did not matter because at the end of the day we are what we imagine ourselves to be.

By: Yair Cohen

Social media lawyer

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