Should we “look up” from Second Life?

“I have 422 friends… yet I am lonely,” begins Gary Turk’s now viral YouTube video designed to inspire us to look up from our screens and re-engage in real life.

“Look Up” is 5 minutes long, well-produced, and very much worth a view. As our relationship with technology becomes more enmeshed than ever, as the virtual reality hype sees a resurgence with the Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift; this video is both timely and thought-provoking.

At the time I write this, the video has had over 41 million views, 333,416 likes, 10,445 dislikes and received over 33,000 comments on YouTube.

Merely a privileged angst over first world problems, or another signal of society’s backlash to an impending technological singularity that we collectively dread? I see both sides, but I’m clear that when we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else.

One of the most resonating parts, in the context of my use of Second Life, is when he says:

“I am guilty too of being part of this machine, in this digital world, where we’re heard but not seen, where we type as we talk and we read as we chat, where we spend hours together without making eye-contact.”

Gary Turk’s “Look up”: A canary in a coal mine? Or the boy who cried wolf?

Watch the video, and join me this Wednesday, June 4th, 2014 at 1PM to discuss your views on this video at the Basilique Chat Salon.

As always, whether you can join me then or not, leave a comment below on what this video means to you.

By | 2016-11-18T13:15:45+00:00 June 3rd, 2014|Basilique, Second Life|7 Comments

About the Author:

Canary Beck has been an active Second Life resident since 2007. She is an SL blogger, artist, creator, merchant, sim owner, researcher, filmmaker and performing artist. Offline she works as a London-based internet marketing consultant and business owner.


  1. […] began the conversation by watching Gary Turk’s video: Look Up. The question was, “Should we look up from Second […]

  2. […] Should we ‘look up’ from Second Life by Canary Beck […]

  3. […] are many times when I can lead a double existence, though. Today while attending Becky’s chat salon, my avatar sat on a couch, sipping red wine and listening to the discussion. Offline, I carried my […]

  4. the dune mouse (CybeleMoon) June 4, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    we must be the masters of technology and not let technology master us!! ( I remind myself!) It’s tough as technology leaps ahead with bigger and better(?) ways to sit on our arses and do less work!!
    Great post!! Many of us have struggled with this I think. I had my own reflective thought on this one. I agree that we must unplug and get out there and live more fully and mindfully- easy to get bogged down in pixels. SL is wonderful entertainment and yes! emotional – like watching a great film or reading a book, but a film/book has an ending!! I do believe that the bulk of our emotions are better spent ( more satisfying) in our 4 dimensional world and all senses on go and engaged!

  5. don´t panic June 3, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    How to get featured in the media? Gary Truk – and I made a typo not to support this doing with another incoming link on him – a nearly unknown writer – but he knows how to make it. I dont want to copy the 5 reasons that have been published all over the media why he is wrong. I say “he is right: when you cant change the system then use it”. Google pays for youtube video reaching more than 1 million views depending on the value of the Ad quite a reasonable amount. So he is rich now. On this video I got an Ad presented for looking a football match on TV.

    There have others been before doing similar videos as Gary, just this guy made it to “breakfast TV” and the spot is quite professional made — well done his marketing!

    But the message is basically like my grandma said: dont look so much TV you will … or dont do risk-sports as you can break you a bone. I broke my shoulder and again I do skating! So I will not change what I like to do as I am able to reflect on what I do. To look TV has become boring for me over time (and for many others) … we as humans in the western world went long away what we did 100 years ago.

    I like to be on the frontier of new developments.

    I have admit: I dont use my smartphone, I hate it, so many not well usable functions, even the new calendar on my iphone sucks. Painfull to use it. I just use it as a phone and as a QR-Code reader. I also dont walk with it in hand along the streets to miss the contact of my life as this guy shows us. Let´s talk in Real Life about usability of what is already and what will be invented for the benefit of us 🙂 Hm Real Life? Is on phone real? Some talk on phone for hours a day and when asked why and what about: I have a flatrate!

    Art Blue

  6. Brian June 3, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    I read a book about this sort of thing some years back and it’s something I feel quite aware and mindful of, “The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember [and perhaps treat each other]” by Nicholas Carr.

  7. DD Ra June 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Goes too far. The machines are not the problem, just what you do with them. Second can be very real, you can have real emotions here. You can loose time without any connected device too 🙂
    Lot’s of mey friends have known their significant other online, and I have unconnected friends who are lonely.

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