They Walk Results

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Previously I had written a piece describing my thoughts on encountering disabled people in the the Second Life Virtual World™, and it gained so much attention that I posted a reader survey to find out how many of you are actually disabled in Real Life.

It turns out that our survey showed a perhaps not-so-surprising result: 19% of respondents say they are disabled in Real Life.

Why is this result not surprising?

Because according to this statistic, approximately 18% of the US population is considered disabled, corresponding exactly to our simple survey results. In other words, the virtual people you encounter are more or less representative of the general population. I'm assuming a similar ratio exists for non-US countries as well.

But it keeps bugging me: why do I feel like I meet an awful lot of disabled people in the Second Life Virtual World™? I don't believe 18% of the folks I associate with in Real Life are disabled - what gives? A better question might be, "why do I meet so many MORE disabled people in the Second Life Virtual World™ than I do in Real Life?"

The obvious answer, I am afraid is: I don't normally associate with very many disabled people in Real Life. I speculate that the disabled are (by definition) less mobile and therefore the odds are less favorable for me to encounter them in Real Life.

Meanwhile in the Second Life Virtual World™, there are few barriers for disabled, and therefore you should expect to see just as many disabled people as occur in the general population. And we do.


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