Mirror mirror on the wall, where the hell am I, dimensionally speaking?
This has to be one of the most bizarre stories about new media technology I have come across.
Here's the headline: boy meets girl in internet chatroom. Virtual chat leads to real relationship. They move in. Boy and girl create avatars (virtual egos) in the 3D online world, Second Life.
One day, girl wakes from a nap and finds real boy having virtual nookie with a virtual lady of the night. Virtual boy breaks up with virtual girl. But they still live together. For real.
Girl decides to test boy by hiring a virtual private eye to set a virtual honey-trap. Virtual boy, created by real boy, spends all night praising virtual girl. They get back together. Virtually. All is well.
Except, real boy gets real friendly with real girl from America. Just chatting using virtual alter egos. Apparently.
Now girl is divorcing boy. For real.
Read the full gory details here.
On the one hand this is a desperately sad story, but on the other it goes to show that human social interaction is changing its rules and domains with alacrity.
Technological determinism suggests that at some critical tipping point new technology embeds itself, become the accepted norm, and then unduly influences audience responses. This sort of story seems to suggest that humans are remarkably able at disrupting intended uses, finding new ways of engaging with technology, and periodically throwing up the truly unexpected.