Sl, as a looking glass, returns a slightly distorted but highly reliable image of our world. Real people’s interests, obsessions, fantasies, nightmares and wishes are directly transposed on this virtual platform and bounced back in their new virtual and fantastic appearance.
While musing on these thoughts I became curious to understand how people approach history and how they represent historical deeds in SL. Interestingly enough there are quite a few historical museums and historical memorials, some of which cleverly manage to display facts through the unconventional use of interactive games and virtual experiences.
I also found Hobsbawm conception of the 20th C as a ‘short century’ with rather no historical memory left but completely immersed in its present quite right also in this new millennium SL context (for Hobsbawm references see http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/paper/eric.html)
Lots of memorials are actually dedicated to quite recent and extremely impressive historical facts: 9/11, Chernobyl, Holocaust, Iraqi war but very few of them pay homage to minor or older deeds and this is quite significant of the way in which we connect to our history.
Historical memory plays an extremely important role in any historical period and I’m sure that social way of interaction such as SL, Facebook or Twitter could become instruments of great value to spread historical knowledge and supply people with an immense platform of communication and exchange of thoughts. With regards to this issue I’ve recently read an interesting article about the big importance covered by social web services in the recent election upheaval in Tehran: www.osnews.com/story/21673.
In times of economical and political uncertainty, with Iran’s President claiming the Jewish holocaust never took place (or much tinier and less important historical fakes, such as the ‘Lega Nord’ separatist Italian party claiming the descent of its people to be of Celtic origin (!)) we all should be very careful to judge social networks and virtual games as rubbish and then maybe believe in quite extravagant (and highly dangerous) historical myths!