Saturday, May 11, 2013

Two Years in Second Life

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

               OK, I’ve blinked my eyes again and another year has passed.  About this time last year when I blogged about how quickly the prior year had gone by since my first blog in my Second Life (SL) journey, I’d written that the next twelve months would go by just as quickly.  And then, poof!  Here I am another year later at the second anniversary of beginning to blog about SL.  
          Since I have started the tradition of looking back and reminiscing about what I’ve done and haven’t done, I plan to meet expectations and do just that in this story.  (For those of my faithful readers who’d rather stick a needle in their eye than trip down memory lane with me, please go read my stories that you haven’t gotten to yet.  We’ll catch up next week.) 
          To recap for those of you who are just joining (or those of you who haven’t been paying attention), I began blogging about SL because I wanted to share with a larger audience my wanderings about the Grid.  Why was I even on the Grid in the first place?  Well, traveling about in Real Life (RL) is no longer an option for me as it once was.  (Significant Other still expects me home on a regular basis and quite rightly insists on a forwarding address those few times that I do get about these days.)  Also, I’d read the blog of Bunky Snowbear who had tried to walk across the SL grid before giving up.  I thought to myself, “Why not?”  (I’m still working with him to schedule an interview.  Bunky’s working in the SL film industry these days and has a great story to tell.) 
          So, I found myself slowly getting drawn into SL.  After a fairly conventional start inworld, I began to push the edges of the envelope in my second year.  I began spending more time among nudists and naturists.  (There is a difference between the two communities.  Trust me they’ll let you know what it is.)  Significant Other claims that I just don’t like getting dressed.  (It does answer the what to wear question very easily.) I visited BDSM sims.  I started to blog about sex in SL (Who knew there was birth control inworld?)  which led to my new regular series, Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life. 
          For those who may be worried that I’m slowly turning into an oversexed, dirty, old avatar in SL, not to worry.  (Significant Other ROFL at the idea.)  I’ve been visiting and writing about other topics.  One of my goals has been to reach out to the various communities and experiences available inworld. 
          I found a community of pirates, visited Ancient Alexandria, interviewed two RL professors who had written a book about virtual worlds, wrote about the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the SL community, and visited several art galleries.  I also found time to enjoy myself and go out dancing with a friend. 
          What I’ve learned from all of this is that SL communities are real people who are in SL for their own personal reasons.  As I’m always reminded as I travel about inworld, there are real people with real feelings behind all those avatars.  I found this out myself from the outpouring of concern and well wishes I received from my inworld friends when they realized that I was literally in the eye of the storm of Hurricane Sandy. 
          I began another series, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World in Second Life, in my blog where I visit recreations of ancient RL monuments in SL.  This has been an interesting project for two reasons.  First, the quality of work in creating these monuments is very high yet no one is ever around when I visit.  They are ghost towns.  Next, these stories are among some of my lowest read.  I guess the builders and I have to commiserate about here.  As I travel about inworld, I find this in many other sims, beautiful work deserted and empty.  In communicating with Bunky, he gave this as one of the main reasons as to why he abandoned his trek across the Grid.  No one was ever around as he traveled.  (Even in SL we’re social beings.)  I do worry about the long term implications of this for SL. How long will residents continue to pay for sims that remain unvisited?    
          I also spent time with my good friend, Perryn Peterson, and the steampunk community.  I’m still in awe of all the various projects and holiday celebrations he always seems to have underway not to mention STEAM: The Hunt the Renaissance Faire. 
          Spending as much time as I do inworld (Don’t worry about me losing touch with RL, Significant Other keeps me grounded in reality.)  I have a chance to think about some of the deep ideas about virtual life.  (Be warned, this is where things start to get heavy.)   I blogged about the communal aspects of life inworld.  Topics included friendship, social life, and the viability of SL as a civilization.  (I warned you.)  Humor was another one of looks at how we interact with one another inworld.  And, yes, fortunately we do have a sense of humor in SL. 
          These cerebral meanderings got me wondering about who we are in SL.  Do we have an identity?  Combined with my scribbles about the five senses inworld and I’m beginning to believe that there is a blurring of our real lives and our second lives.  (In RL, this is typically where my friends begin to leave the room.) 
          I then found myself blogging about trust and loss in SL.  After two years inworld, I’ve made friends and I’ve lost them.  Sometimes I know why.  Sometimes I don’t.  They just go away quietly.  We open ourselves up to one another in SL on a personal level when we stop and talk. We share feelings and thoughts.  RL issues sometimes come through. Family and economic concerns from RL are hard to miss even if the other party is not speaking of them specifically.  Their pain comes through. 
          SL’s dirty little secret got a lookover from me as well as the not so little dirty secret, bullying.  The former was bit tongue in cheek, the latter definitely not.  I was serious there.  Behaviors inworld parallel those in RL.  Good as well as bad.  We can’t look at SL simply as a game with no consequences. 
          I still look at the economics of SL.  I recently blogged about bitcoin and its availability inworld.  I’ve questioned the future of SL and Linden Lab’s (LL) responsibility for it.  One project on my drawing board is a new series in my blog entitled Shoemaker’s Children where I’ll blog about SL’s shortcomings and what LL needs to do to rectify them.  (I feel that I’ve finally arrived when I can criticize LL.) 
          As for my most recent attempt at a personal makeover inworld, probably the less said the better. 
          During this past year, I’ve lost touch with friends and communities because I keep traveling and moving along.  I’m juggling projects and schedules.  (I won’t even go into what RL is all about these days.)  I’m probably not the best friend to have inworld but to all who put up with me, I’m grateful for your support and friendship! 
          What have I learned in the past year?  Primarily, that SL is all about the people.  The RL people behind all those avatars.  The clothes, the bodies, the prims, scripts, and all the rest of it is secondary to the real people with real lives who make it all happen. 
          Going forward, I’ll continue my weekly blogs.  (I’m surprised I’ve been able to keep it up for as long as I have.)  I try to post more frequently.  I’ll also try to add to the variety of stories and I’m always open to ideas from my readers for new stories. 
          Next month is the tenth anniversary of SL’s launching. I’ll be dropping by the inworld celebrations.  As a rule, I generally avoid events like this but a tenth anniversary is an important one and I’d like to join everyone for the festivities and look forward to another ten years inworld. 
 As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.  I couldn’t possibly list everyone but you know who you are and please accept my humble thanks.  For those who have left SL and may not see this, you’re still remembered and I hope to meet up with you again.  May your real lives be happy and secure! 
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.                            


Palela Alderson said...

I'm Palela, a second life escort.
I always like to share my expereinces and feelings.
I have a blog:


Palela Alderson

webspelunker said...


TYVM for reading! I greatly appreciate it!

Would you consider an interview about the escort business in SL?

Thanks & TC,


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