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THE POWER OF SOCIAL INTERACTION IN VIRTUAL REALITY

Written by - Manisha Misra

Being a VR enthusiast I am always looking for opportunities to try VR experiences wherever possible. Meeting and socializing with new people in the Virtual worlds is an activity that I enjoy a lot. This aspect of virtual reality is very exciting for me because here I get an opportunity to meet people from all over the world, in-person. Though we are in our avatars in the virtual environments we can talk to the people(other avatars) in our own voice.

It reminds me of the early days of the Internet, back in 1998, when I had made friends from all over the world using one of the popular chat interfaces of that time - ICQ and few other chat platforms. But meeting with people in VR social platforms has been a totally different experience.



VR social platforms allow us to meet people in various VR environments designed specifically to certain activity, location, game or an event. For example in the image here, you can see the list of social events that I have received from AltspaceVR - one of the well known VR social Platforms that I am registered with.

My initial, one-of experiences on these social platforms have also been very interesting though.

Once I was in an environment called Times Square of a social platform VRChat. There I met a boy from the UK who helped me explore the place since I was totally clueless about the possible activities in that environment. We went to the top of the building together, in an elevator and jumped from there to the ground without getting hurt. It was a short acquaintance but it was fun. Eventually, we drifted apart as we got busy exploring different areas of that experience and never met each other again.

So these VR interfaces, unlike the chat interfaces, are open to all. No one has to take your permission to participate in any activity and anyone can walk in these environments and explore. It is like you enter a space where everyone is busy in that event, you can also join, observe or introduce yourself to other participants and start talking to them. The other person might respond or just walk away without answering!

Every social platform has so many choices of different VR rooms that most of the time I end up hopping from one experience to another just exploring the activities. But I have seen a group of friends talking to each other sometimes. It looks like they have planned to meet in that virtual environment.

Some of the best and well-known VR Social platforms are - Facebook Spaces, VRChat, AltspaceVR, time, and Bigscreen.

I have not been visiting these social platforms regularly but I am sure if I would get regular here, I will meet many like-minded people and maybe make good friends across the globe.

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