Saturday, April 28, 2012

BDSM Clubbing

There's nothing either good or bad ... but thinking makes it so!

William Shakespeare

As part of my ongoing series of blogs about BDSM in Second Life (SL), for this blog, I am going clubbing across several BDSM clubs inworld to see who is there and what is going on.

Unlike most of my inworld trips I am accompanied by a friend, GraciAnne Harte.  GraciAnne is a neighbor of mine in Nowaki whom I met as I was getting to know my inworld neighborhood.  She is an aspiring model.  Many times when I’m inworld, I see her going to classes and practicing in her home.  A loyal reader of my blog, she once asked if she could accompany me on one of my inworld trips. I quickly agreed hoping that I wouldn’t destroy our friendship in the process.  Also, GraciAnne is not a participant in the BDSM lifestyle so this is a new experience for her. 

GraciAnne and I meet one evening in front of my home.  She is wearing a eye catching leather body suit quite suitable for where we’ll be going.  (It’s one of those outfits that men dream about in Real Life (RL) and women say only a man could dream up such an impractical garment.  I’m learning that most inworld fashions would never survive in RL because of the laws of physics and the tedium involved in putting them on and taking them off.  But I digress!)

Our plan is to visit three BDSM clubs, check them out, mingle with the locals, and try to get out without getting into too much trouble.  I’m also hoping to come away with leads for future stories. 

As the fates would have it, we’re off to a bad start.  I TP to the first club, send a TP request to GraciAnne for her to join me and voila – nothing!  GraciAnne isn’t permitted entry.  She receives a message saying no valid parcel can be found.

I ask if she has been age verified and GraciAnne replies in the affirmative adding that when she looked that morning she was still an adult.  We decide to move onto to the next club as we’re losing time. 

I TP to the next club and we make a little progress.  This time, GraciAnne can land on the club’s roof but yellow ban lines prevent her from entering.  This is beginning to get frustrating.  (But, wait, isn’t this what BDSM is supposed to be all about?)  The clock is ticking so I throw out the script and take a chance on a place I’ve only visited briefly.  (Later, Significant Other observes that this is reminiscent of when we go out.)

I TP to the Truth or Dare BDSM club in Pyromania.  This time the fates are with us and GraciAnne arrives without issue.  And as this is an adult sim letting her in, we’re both at a loss as to what happened previously.  (I’ve deliberately not mentioned the name of the two prior sims so I can speak with their owners first and give them a chance to look into this.  I can understand not letting me in but GraciAnne?  Something’s wrong here.) However, I haven’t spent much time here so this is a shot in the dark for me. 

It’s nightfall when we arrive and few are about.  We walk across a beach and into a club.  Deserted.  GraciAnne activates a TP portal and we rezz into a site called the Sex House.  Again, nightfall with no one about.  (Can I pick ‘em or what?) 

We walk up the front steps and into the ground floor which is occupied by several king sized beds.  This place is definitely set up for group sex action.  We go up another set of stairs to an open balcony which contains several pieces of BDSM equipment. 

Situated around the room are pose balls associated with the equipment.  GraciAnne begins to experiment with these and finds herself hanging by her wrists from the ceiling.  I don’t help matters any when I do a little experimenting myself and she ends up suspended in midair spread-eagled upside down.  GraciAnne complains about the blood rushing to her had.  I manage to free her but not without inverting her first.  She next gets herself caught in a sex cage.  After getting extricated, we decide to leave for our next stop.  GraciAnne diplomatically suggests that maybe we could find a place with people.  (Obviously, my charms are starting to wear a little thin right about now. Or, maybe she thinks that she’s less likely to get hurt in a crowd.)

I next TP us to Bondage Island .  There is a recently opened club here and we head there.  Fortunately for us, the evening’s festivities have already begun and a crowd is dancing away to the music.  Although, oddly, I seem to be the only man about.  I wish I could dance as well in RL as I seem to able to in SL.  GraciAnne and I dance for a while and enjoy ourselves with the others.  (Keep your minds out of the gutter!  As Glorf Bulmer would say, this is Not That Kind of Blog!) 

After a bit, we leave the party and wander over to the Castle and go exploring.  We find the usual, large master bedroom for when someone wants to invite the local mob over to share intimate moments and a standard sized orgy room. No one is around as we wander the hallways of this large and impressive castle. (Ivanhoe eat your heart out!)

Unfortunately, our earlier misadventures force us to hurry.  So, we TP off to our third and final stop, the KL Nightclub and Mall which specializes in BDSM. RL commitments now cause GraciAnne to leave. Despite everything that has happened this evening, she’s game to head out on another one of my walkabouts on the grid.  I thank her for her time and commitment, not to mention, the pleasure of her company. 

I wander about by myself for a while.  This sim is more commercial than the others we saw earlier.  But there is a park with various pieces of bondage equipment about for people to use.  And unlike earlier when GraciAnne was with me, I run into people in various states of undress trying out the various devices.  (Remember this is an adult sim.) 

By now, it’s getting late even for me and I go home and then back to RL. 

This has been a fun evening for me (and, hopefully for GraciAnne) as I learned more about the BDSM clubs inworld, met a few more people, and, have no fear, definitely obtained a few more ideas for stories.  (More on these at a later date.) 

The BDSM community in SL is a very diverse and fairly well organized community.  Maybe that has something to do with its RL roots.  Most residents who participate in the lifestyle inworld have some sort of involvement with it in RL.  The same can’t be said for the vampires and nekkos whom I meet inworld.  Although, Goths may be able to make a similar claim.    

I’d like to thank GraciAnne Harte for taking the time from both her busy RL and SL schedules to spend an evening clubbing with me inworld.  I’m especially grateful to her for sticking with the program as everything seemed to becoming undone early on.

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1: GraciAnne Harte in BDSM Traveling Costume

Photo No. 2: GraciAnne Harte – Modeling Portrait

Photo No. 3: Truth or Dare, Pyromania

Photo No. 4: Sex House

Photo No. 5: Bondage Island, Club  

Photo No. 6: KL Mall and Club

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Back Among the Submissives

Thou art to me a delicious torment.

 Ralph Waldo Emerson

          As many of you know who have been following my recent story about a submissive in Second Life (SL) and a new BDSM club there I’ve been spending time with the BDSM community inworld. Why? This is what I do. I visit places and meet people and follow wherever the story takes me.  And, hopefully, my readers enjoy what I write about.  (I sure hope so, I’m certainly not doing this for the money!) 

During one of my exploratory trips I went to DAM BDSM/RLV Island inworld, a BDSM resort.  Here I met a young woman, Anuket Sands, who is on the staff there as a maid and submissive and who offered to help me understand the BDSM community in SL.  After a couple of preliminary meetings, we arranged an interview where I could ask more questions (and, hopefully, not wear out my welcome in the process) about what this new world, for me, is all about. 

A little background about Anu before we begin our interview.  She knows what she’s talking about.  She’s been a sub in Real Life (RL) for fourteen years.  Anu has had extensive BDSM experiences in both RL and SL as we’re about to see.  She’s had four owners, two in SL and two in RL, over her career and has been with multiple doms in both worlds. 

Anu presently owns her own collar and is without a dom or master.  She uses SL to fill in those times in her RL when she can’t participate in the BDSM lifestyle or to do things inworld that she can’t in RL due to either practicality or cost.  (As Anu suggests, try staying on a resort island in RL with your friends and see what it costs you.)

Anu and I meet on Bondage Island inworld where I have been doing more research.  (That sounds awful doesn’t it, but how else do I get to meet people and see what’s going on?)  Her avi is based on her RL body and stands about 5’ 1” and weighs about 110 lbs. Her shoulder length red hair is not that color in RL which apparently serves as a source of continual disappointment to her.  She is has a predilection for latex outfits.  (Most of which come from Graves , check this shop out if you’re in the market for such.  The quality is very good.) 

RLV is Anu’s viewer of choice and she has safeguards in place to ensure that she doesn’t lose control of herself.  (SL puts a whole new twist on the idea of “safe sex”.)

We begin to talk about BDSM and Anu’s views about it.  I must admit that I came to this discussion knowing very little and it turns out that the little I knew was wrong.  (Yeah, I know, I should be used to that by now.  Let’s not go there now.)  My first major fallacy was that BDSM was all about sexual pleasure, the giving and receiving of it.  Anu explains to me that while there is definitely that component, BDSM is not sexual or physical gratification but freedom.  She continues that this may sound contradictory, but that's what she gets out of it - the freedom to indulge in her desires and to subsume herself to the will and whim of another, to have freedom from all cares, doubts, and worries.

Anu expands on her position.  She says that it isn't about pleasure really, it is about freedom.  BDMS can be about pleasure, pain, and many other things, but mostly it is about power exchange, the freedom to trust and indulge, the freedom to...well, for a sub give up control, to trust someone that much that you can give up choices and such...but experience the freedom from responsibility, the pleasure of “serving” someone and making him utterly happy with you.

This is new ground for me.  Anu describes the dom as the yang to her yin.  We turn to the practices that she prefers and her reply is that she likes is total power exchange, when she can get it, anal use, some humiliation (mostly calling and such), bondage of course, latex, some pain.  However, she’s not strictly a masochist.  She doesn't “like” pain
but enduring it for a dom's pleasure turns her on.  That includes flogging, clamps, crops, and things like that.  Anu likes things rough and to feel physically dominated. 

          I next ask whether D/s is about being straight, bi, or gay matters or is it about the act itself.  Anu replies that it’s the act or the power exchange really. Her preference is for male doms over female dommes.  She has worked with the latter but prefers guys.  Anu has tried switching to the top but prefers the submissive role.    

          Anu talks about BDSM in SL and cautions me that SL is not always the best way to be introduced to the lifestyle.  She explains there are a lot of people here who play at it and this is all they know of it.  While it is satisfying, it is one step removed from the very raw emotions and intensity one gets doing this in RL.  It is that distinction that so often divides the online BDSM community between those who do it RL, or at least take it as seriously, and those that only dabble online.

          I ask Anu if BDSM in SL is an end in itself for her or is it a journey.  She replies it is the latter and one of self-discovery mostly, allowing herself greater freedom to express who she is and actually realizing how much she can achieve even through adversity. She has always tested herself like that in life.

          My next question is what will her next challenge be in SL?  Anu replies building things.  She says that doesn’t even know how to arrange furniture. (I can relate to that one. Some of my inworld friends claim that’s why I have no furniture in my home.)  Anu also hopes to teach classes on BSDM inworld in the future. 

          As we prepare to go our separate ways, I ask Anu for any final comments that she may have.  She replies that she has a fairly traditional view of BDSM as defined by the RL community, but I shouldn’t rely on just her.  There are a lot of different views and anybody who represents their way of BDSM as the "one true way" is full of “crap”. Anu learns by observing what people do and how they do it.  People getting involved in BDSM should realize they don't become a dom/me or sub by just be grabbing a whip or putting on a collar.  People have to take the time to learn about it and do it right. If they do there are serious rewards, if they don't, they'll probably just end up hurting people and get labeled a tool.  Even bad subs can hurt good dom/mes.

Anu also leaves me with the name of a good book, Screw the Roses, Send Me the Thorns: The Romance and Sexual Sorcery of Sadomasochism, as a primer on BDSM.  I’ll check it out.  (Any trouble I get myself into after that is strictly my own fault.) 

I’m continuing to learn about the BDSM community in SL and its connections to RL.  There will be more visits and interviews in the future as I try to understand better its members and their lives inworld. 

I’d like to thank Anuket Sands for meeting with me at an ungodly early RL time for this interview.  I’m also grateful to her for her frank and intimate discussions of her BDSM life both in SL and in RL.  She has helped to understand better what BDSM is all about.  Although, I still have a long way to go.

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1: Anu Sands – Portrait I

Photo No. 2: Anu Sands – Portrait II

Photo No. 3: Anu Sands – Portrait III  

Friday, April 20, 2012

New BDSM Club

The number one job of the dominant is to continually seduce consent from the bottom.

Joseph Bean 

After my recent story about a submissive in Second Life (SL) I received an invitation to visit a new BDSM club inworld, Domus Dominari Pietas .  The invitation was from divadragon resident and I decided to drop by.  (Given what my social life is like inworld this wasn’t a difficult decision to make.) 

I arrive late at night to a dance floor in an old Gothic castle that would have done the Marquis de Sade proud.  I mingle with the other dancing guests and come away with more than a few ideas for stories in the future. 

The wardrobe for the guests varies across the BDSM spectrum.  I’m not sure yet but I’m beginning to believe that the closer one is to the top in BDSM circles, the more one covers up.  But this is only a theory of mine right now. 

Dominari caters to the D/s lifestyle and is owned and operated by a Real Life (RL) lifestyle family.  (Unlike my SL vampire friends whom I’m certain are not vampires in RL, I find many participants in SL BDSM also do so in RL.)  Facilities include a personals club and lounge, a vendors area catering to adult tastes, a 1/2 sim timed skytrack (I’m still trying to figure this one out), a comfort lounge for just hanging out with friends (voice/text optional), a hidden love grotto, Sin Box, dungeon, Zen room, bondage room, interrogation room, medical room, Dominari Connections - a place for singles to meet, a free movie theater and a formal ball room. Membership is free and allows full use of the facilities, Members and guests must be eighteen years or older and age verified to enter.

I will be interviewing divadragon , who is also the owner of Infinity Photography inworld, shortly for an more indepth look at Dominari and I plan on returning for additional visits to explore the various rooms and facilities further. 

 I had an enjoyable time at Dominari and appreciate the invitation to join them for their opening night festivities.  Even if you’re not practicing the BDSM lifestyle, I strongly encourage everyone to drop by, look around, and socialize.  Who knows?  You might like it! 

I’m learning that the BDSM community in SL is fairly large and diverse.  I’ll be visiting with them over the next several weeks and hope to bring back some different perspectives on the lifestyle inworld.  (That is, until they get tired of me and toss me out!) 

I’d like to thank divadragon resident for inviting me and talking with me during what was a very busy night for her.  I’m also grateful to all the other guests who made me feel welcome and who didn’t make fun of my dancing. 

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1: Dominari Dance Floor

Photo No. 2: Dominari Bondage Room Entrance

Photo No. 3: Dominari Bondage Room Interior  

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Back Among the Nudists!

What's wrong with being naked? I wanna feel the breeze.


After my visit to The 1920’s Berlin Project in Second Life (SL) several weeks ago for their first nude function in the Bath House I read in their blog that this was now a regular event inworld on second Saturday of every month at noon SLT.  What can I say?  I decided to go back.

Now, many may ask why.  Or, jump to a very erroneous conclusion about my reasons for going. (Shame on you!)

I decided to return for this nude pool event for several reasons.  First, the 1920’s Berlin community is one of the best organized and tightest communities that I’ve met in SL since I’ve begun my travels inworld.  (Go ahead, read my other stories, I’ve seen many of them.)  Next, the environment is safe.  Residents are enjoying a pool party and just so happen to be nude.  Then, I’m with friends.  I’ve met many members of the community as I’ve traveled about.  They’ve helped me get around and write my stories.  We’ve had good times together.  (Well, at least I thought they were good.)  Finally, there’s the technical and artistic quality of the sims which have to be seen to be truly appreciated. 

My feelings about this are as before.  This is a group of residents, many of whom are friends with each other, coming together for a historical simulation of an event that occurred many times during the Weimar period in the last century. This is not a sexual event.  (I hope I’m not offending anyone with that last remark.)  As I remarked in my last blog, it’s a lot easier being around nude people in SL (especially for a man). 

So, with all these reasons behind me, I head off for my second nude function in SL. 

Of course, this could not take place without my having some misadventures along the way.  Like when I decide to arrive early to avoid experiencing the notorious lag in the sim.  I purchase a period swimsuit so I could change and wander around the premises which have been renovated since my last visit.  I go into a changing room, close the door, and now experience what is known in the early Twenty-first Century as a “wardrobe malfunction”.

I cannot figure out how to open the package and put on my swimsuit.  (I still can’t of anyone from the sim is hopefully reading this blog.)  Here’s my predicament.  Do I leave, try to fix the problem, and then try and return through all the lag, or, do I stay naked in the changing room until the hour for permissible nudity arrives.  The bruisers who are the lifeguards and who enforce the “no nudity except when permitted” policy help me to decide to wait inside my little cubicle until the clock strikes noon.  (Even in SL, I value discretion over valor.) This is one difference from last month’s function, two, uniformed life guards are on duty,   

Another big difference from last time is the changes to the Bath House.  The facility seems bigger and better laid out.  There are now private baths upstairs and a new sauna downstairs.  Changing rooms and showers are conveniently located outside the pool area. 

But, I digress.  Once the bademeister blows the all clear, I head over to the pool area.  I sit by the poolside and dangle my feet in the water and watch what happens.  (Yes, once again, my SL parallels my Real Life (RL), I’m not terribly athletically inclined.) 

Unlike last time when a crowd of people were waiting as the event started, many aren’t there this time.  In fact, I’m the first one in.  Over the course of the hour the crowd slowly builds to about a dozen besides the two guards.  Towards the end, one of the latter remarks that this is one of the largest crowds yet in the Bath House. 

Unfortunately, none of my close friends are in today’s swimmers.  Those who do come, swim, race, and catch up on the local gossip.  The banter is good natured and friendly.  I chat with a few people around me. 

The only down side to the day’s activities is the lag.  I crashed once and had to reenter. Several times, all motion froze.  And, for much of the time, some of the swimmers didn’t rez completely.  One woman’s head is above water but underneath, she is visible only from the waist down.  Others appear to be wearing white body stockings. (Or, maybe they’re just shy?)

But, this didn’t stop everyone from having a good time.  As the guards gave the warnings that the hour was ending, people were reluctantly leaving to go shower and dress.  I leave for home at this time.

Arriving home, I have time to think about my afternoon.  A quiet hour spent with a group of residents, chatting and playing around a pool.  Sounds terribly suburban doesn’t it?  Of course, no one had their clothes on.  But, then again maybe in some suburbs…

As an aside, when I’ve done recent Google searches for nudity in SL.  I don’t see much.  A few years ago there was a lot of activity and there’s SL wiki’s and forums, but, other than my recent blogs, not a lot.  I’m not sure why this is.  After my last blog, a resident commented that there are nude resorts in SL and recommended Wild Coast as being a proper nudist facility.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll take my exploration of nudity in SL to some new locations. 

I’d like to thank the residents of 1920’s Berlin in SL for their continued hospitality and friendship as I wander about in their world.  I truly enjoy my time with them.  And as always, my hat is off to Frau Jo Yardley for the superhuman job she does in organizing and running this sim.    

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1: Restored Bath House

Photo No. 2: Restored Bath House Interior

Photo No. 3: Restored Bath House Pool

Friday, April 13, 2012

Up, Up, & Away!

I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

My new Second Life (SL) friend, Jessii Warrhol, an inworld entertainment manager, recently reached out to me about three new events that she’s currently promoting inworld.  I had met her when I blogged about the March Military Expo last month.

The events are focused on aviation, WW 2, and vintage fashion.

The first event is the Airport Expo.  The purpose of this event is to bring attention to inworld airports and will give airport operators a chance to come together inworld and show their wares to a larger audience.  There will be music, events, live DJ’s, and contests.  The Expo will be held at the WW2 Memorial Park from April 22nd  to 27th.  There is a blog that will contain all relevant information. 

Why fly a plane in SL when everyone can fly without one?  I suspect the technical challenge along with the thrill of moving another object in simulated heavier than air flight is part of it.  (Bet you didn’t think I knew words like that did you now?)

Next up is the First Annual Virtual WW 2 Conference sponsored by the SL Flying Tigers.  This event is intended to promote awareness of WW 2 and educate people about it.  The program is ambitious as Real Life (RL) presenters will be reaching out to their audience via avatars.  Given how WW 2 is beginning to recede into memory, events like this are important for the recent generations to remember the sacrifices of those who went before us and what can happen when we stop paying attention to what’s happening around us. 

The Conference will take place on May 19th and 20th at the WW 2 Tribute Sim and the WW 2 Pacific Sim.

Finally, there is the Vintage Fashion Weekend from June 1st to 3rd.  The intent here is to bring together military and vintage clothing and accessory makers in the WW2 themed Flying Tigers' sims and to show off vintage creations in SL. More information can be found at their blog.

These events are additional good examples of how SL can be used to promote activities around certain themes and use social media.

Jessii and her colleagues have been busy preparing for these shows.  Even if you’re not a flying or WW 2 enthusiast, I recommend going.  The quality of the workmanship in these productions is always superb and the events are fun. 

For additional information, please contact Jessii inworld and she will be happy to assist you. 

I’d like to thank Jessii Warrhol for meeting with me.  Jessii’s been the one behind these new ideas and promotions.  I look forward to seeing more of her work. 

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1: Airport Expo Poster

Photo No. 2:
WWII Memorial

Photo No. 3: Vintage Fashion Weekend Poster

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Whither Second Life?

The future is called "perhaps," which is the only possible thing to call the future.  And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you.

Tennessee Williams
This week, I’m going to do something a little different, at least for me. I’m going to speculate a bit about the future of Second Life (SL).  Let me put it another way, will this virtual world so many of us call home always be there when we’re looking for a break from Real Life (RL)? 

What led me here?  Well, first off, my original story for this week fell through at the last minute.  (Don’t worry, we’ll reschedule, it’ll be a great story! IMHO)  So, while surfing the Web searching for the next “big idea” I came across several stories either portending future difficulties for SL or stating outright there will be issues. 

Before I go any further, I want to warn everyone that this will not be another “the sky is falling” story about SL.  While uncertainty may be ahead inworld, life, whether SL or RL, is always about uncertainty.  I hope that those reading this blog will be motivated to become more involved inworld and bring their friends in with them. Without the residents participating and bringing their concerns to Linden Lab (LL), the end will not be good. 

OK, let me then get off my soapbox and get to the point. 

Three recent blog posts have caught my attention. 

First, Daniel Voyager has written about Tyche Shepherd’s recent analysis of the main grid regions total in SL dropping below 30,000 for the first time since January 2010.  Not just another interesting statistic, this tells of LL’s revenue base slowly receding.  A related point, LL has recently discontinued publication of its remaining inworld economic data.  I suspect that if this data had been positive, it would still be published. 

Then I came across Ariane Barne’s blog about virtual worlds being in decline.  She writes of the Golden Age of virtual worlds being behind us.  Ariane cites “boredom, social networking, and the influx of “free to play” MMORPGs which are learning to incorporate the social aspects that used to be exclusive to 3DVWs” as contributing to the demise of virtual worlds such as SL.

Finally, I dropped by Wagner James Au’s blog, New World Notes.  In a recent blog, he questions how can SL’s users be increasing while user concurrency remains static.  Wagner fairly observes how this can be so but notes that with the lack of data once available this is only supposition now. 

After reading these blogs and similar material on the Web, I’m seeing several trends that will affect SL and its communities.  Here’s my list:

·       LL is not making investments in its technology and infrastructure to permit a scalable solution
·       New SL products don’t really cut it (I’ve been to Realms and am underwhelmed.  I haven’t been to Wilderness yet but first reports say I’m not missing much.)
·       RL technology is changing (e.g., iPhones and iPads) but SL is still trapped in desktops and laptops.  (Now, there’s a slogan for a mass movement, “Free SL!”) 
·       LL acquisitions are in businesses moving away from SL (i.e., Little TextPeople)

Someone might ask (and, if they won’t, I will) what’s this all going to mean to SL’s communities and residents?  The answer – a lot.  I see three major issues arising from these insidious changes to SL. 

First, the communities that have been built and maintained by the many residents whom I’ve meeting and writing about are at risk.  Glorf Bulmer recently blogged about the social and creative aspects of SL that draw people to SL as opposed to social media like Facebook.  Where would all these residents go if SL went away?  World of Warcraft?  I don’t think so.  The community experience in SL would be hard to duplicate elsewhere.  For those who say simply go to Inworldz or Avination, I say good luck. Even if these worlds could handle the sudden influx of new members, the diaspora created by the closure of SL would, like so many others in RL history, would find themselves disconnected and adrift.  Cut off from friends.  Many would be lost along the way. Much culture and wealth would be lost along the way. 

Next, residents’ investments in the objects they’ve created would be lost.  How would the prims built over the years by so many be transferred elsewhere?  I’m not even sure it could even be done.  I cannot even begin to think of the total economic value created by all residents since the inception of SL.  If SL were to shut down, what would happen to all this value? 

Finally, let’s say that the last two scenarios don’t unfold, and I sincerely hope that they don’t, there is a third scenario and it’s not particularly pleasant. This last scenario is SL’s gaming gradually deteriorating until logging on is just not worth it anymore.  Can’t happen you say?  How many of you are encountering more lag than usual lately?  Been following the hubbub over the latest SL viewer release?  Or, SL’s attempts to discourage third party viewers (TPV)?  When was the last time you were bounced out of your inworld session? 

Hopefully, by now, I have your attention and you’re worried if not outright scared about the future of SL?  At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, there will be further signs of the end.  SL’s metrics will continue to deteriorate and will, in all likelihood, release less and less information about itself.  Transparency will be at an end.  LL will continue to make insufficient investments in its infrastructure and may even cut back from current levels of spend.  LL will also continue to experiment with non-SL ventures and be distracted from its core competency.  The inworld gaming experience will continue to deteriorate.  The openness of the platform will begin to be a thing of the past.  (Check with TPV developers for more on this.) 

Alright now, I’ve had my say.  I’ve vented my spleen.  Now what?  Do I leave my readers depressed and frightened?  Believe it or not that wasn’t my intent. I want to spend some time talking about what we, yes, we the SL community can do about all this because we can.  The cause is not yet lost. 

What can we do?

First, not only should only should we spend more time inworld, we need to bring others inworld with us.  Bring a friend!  If you don’t have a friend to bring along then go inworld and help the noobies who wandering about lost and wondering why they wasted their time signing up in the first place.

Become part of the community, blog or participate in the SL forums.  Go to social events inworld.  Step out of your comfort zone and do something inworld you wouldn’t do in RL.  Like go to a nudist function as I did a few weeks ago. 

Join a social movement inworld like Occupy Second Life.  Or, better yet, start a new movement!  With all that’s going on in RL these days, there’s certainly a lot to do something about. 

Then there’s LL itself.  They need to be more engaged and be made to understand the valuable brand that they have created.  If residents go away then who can blame LL for throttling back on their investments?  LL has to come back like they did during the so called Golden Age.  That means that we, the residents, need to reach out to them and bring them back before we lose them for good.

So, that’s my blog for this week.  What do you think?  Am I being an alarmist or is there a method to my madness?  I’m being serious this week and for that reason I’m including any pictures.  I don’t want to distract from my message. 

As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

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