Second Life is the convergence of real and virtual life. Knowing that there are real people behind these avatars means real answers for why things are done can be found. This is going to be a main focus in the field trip studies. Understanding that Denise Carter’s lengthy investigations into Cybercity is something extravagant and outside the realm of what our purpose is, we will use her findings to understand how to get ours. Are avatars going to be honest when we ask them questions? Are some of the things we see going to be perceived correctly? These are things we might have to assume, because the places we visit that are popular might not always be so, and so on.
Understanding that my perception of what I experience is biased in ways that I cannot help, certain statements and theories may be presented from a specific, and possibly narrow viewpoint. This is OK though, as my methods will be formalized to my group members and we will all likely leave a destination with a similar vibe and understanding.
If we go in as a team with a plan, people will learn to respect us. Individuals will have their independent experiences that will vary, and some may be more respected or fit in better than others right away. This could be because of their dress or gender, or a host of other things. The point of having a group is to have some diversity of thoughts, focus, and ideas. Some obstacles we may encounter are language barriers, dress-code concerns, or untimeliness. If this happens, we will have to arrange to visit at another time, and be better prepared. Considering we hurdle these obstacles successfully, we should have no issue with ethical or respect related concerns. We might not ask the right questions right away. We might get lucky and see a bunch of action in the ‘nearby chat’ that affords us a data collection point. People will be receptive because the intent will be to gather information, but not in a forceful or offensive way. Nice conversation will yield better results anyway.
Between two mediums a great deal can be learned, the author speaks about them; “Interviews… focus groups” (Boellstorff 76). Using an interview type approach where I ask a lot of questions to the people around we in the places I visit, much will be learned. Some avatars might frequent certain places and be able to provide priceless insight into how and why things run they way they do in a given location. My focus group will be the classmates I go on these field trips with. We will ask questions of each other and develop a plan, and this will give our trip direction and purpose. If we use a “survey” (Boellstorff 77) format, we can each focus on different overall objectives and be able to get a larger idea of the location when we combine ideas in our private chat, or our post-trip discussions. Plus, with a survey, we can have consistency from destination to destination. This will afford us plenty of things to compare and contrast, making our fieldwork that much more substantial.