Saturday, December 31, 2011

Twenty-four Hours in Second Life – The Look Back


Well, I did it!  I spent twenty-four hours in Second Life (SL) and lived to tell about it. 

I had a great time.  As I had planned, I met old friends, made new ones, revisited places from earlier stories, visited new places, and had new experiences.  All within the virtual world of SL.

What did I learn?  First, that SL isn’t terribly different from Real Life (RL).  (A word of warning here, I’m an unstoppable optimist concerning the overall good nature of people.  Yeah, there are a few clunkers out there.  But, eventually, and sometimes at great cost, they get tossed aside.)  People want to help other people.  People have issues in their lives.  Illness and unemployment are just a few examples.  But, there are happy occasions too, people leaving SL to go celebrate the Christmas Holidays with family and friends in RL.  The people I met as avatars in SL are not some fictional cartoon representation of an alternate reality.  They are there to express their lives in a form that is only a different expression of their day-to-day reality. 

Next, I have not even begun to scratch the surface of all that is going on in SL.  Games, different communities, sites to visit, I did a few in this recent journey but there are tantalizing hints of much more over the horizon.  This is why I continually return to SL, to go over one more horizon to see what’s on the other side and then to bring the stories back to my readers.  And, I haven’t even gotten close to the builders and creators in SL who make it all happen.  I’ll try to reach out to them next year. 

Finally, there is a rich, vibrant social community in SL.  I was at three dances.  I was invited to several parties which unfortunately my schedule didn’t permit me to join.  (Don’t you just hate it when someone uses that lame excuse!)  I’ve been invited back for tea.  One resident has asked for my assistance in drafting an article.  A car was sent for me when I arrived at a train station.  I could go on.  People are coming together in new ways and then going off to do something else. 

Alright, these are all the positives.  What about some of the things that didn’t go to plan?  First, I had to quickly move away from doing hourly posts because I found myself interacting with people continually and new situations arising.  I decided to go for being with people and consolidated my posts. 

Second, lag and response time inworld slowed my progress and my activities.  At one point in the final hours, I was afraid that I might have to abandon my quest.  Others noticed this as well.  Maybe more residents than usual were inworld because of the Holiday season.  I don’t know.  But, this will be an issue in the future for Linden Lab (LL) if platform investment doesn’t anticipate these needs. 

Next, one of my friends has lost a lot of valuable work and the time she invested in creating it.  LL needs to be better able to handle these situations.  There’s no magic here.  Data retrieval and customer service models to support it have been around for years.  A thriving economy is possible in SL but only if LL acts more proactively to protect intellectual property rights and secure their physical protection.    

Finally, and this is a small point, but, I believe it’s an important one.  All the while I was in SL, I never met one Linden.  To be fair, there was no expectation that I would meet any.  No one had said they would meet with me.  (Even though, I did write ahead and say I was coming.)  When I meet residents who remember the Golden Age of SL just a few short years ago, they always talk about the Lindens who used to walk among them and bring truth and work minor miracles.  Maybe these tales have morphed into the creation myths that every society has.  But, as a relative newcomer to SL, I put Linden sightings right up there with Elvis and Sasquatch.  This is an unfortunate turn of events. 

One last point before I wrap this article up.  As I made this journey, people opened up and shared personal stories with me.  I want to respect their privacy and will do so.  But I want them to know that I heard them and I believe that the SL community can help them, should help them.  SL isn’t like World of Warcraft where we run around in green skins and animal hides bopping each other over the head with clubs and stealing one another’s gold pieces.  Nor is it like Facebook where we run off with our own little cliques and like each other’s opinions on the local weather.  2011 has shown how new technology can be used to bring about great change in societies.  I’m not talking about overthrowing the world here but maybe we can help make a difference just one resident at a time.  I’ll write more about this in 2012. 

Before I go, I want to thank those who came out in the last couple of hours to encourage me to keep going.  Spec, Hibiscus, and World, you guys rock!  Janey, thank you for joining me as I crossed over the finish line and thanks for trying to teach me Greedy, Greedy! 

Happy New Year to all and please visit and support the sites mentioned in these stories! 

For everyone’s convenience, I’ve included links to the four articles about my twenty-four hours in SL:

I want to thank all the others for coming out to meet and travel with me during my twenty-four hours in SL.  I also am grateful to all of them for helping me along the way! 

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:
Flying Crane Tour

Photo No. 2:
Kevin the Bird Behind web

Photo No. 3:
Topographic Map of Phaze Demesnes

Photo No. 4: Linden Realms Portal Area

Photo No. 5:
North Pole Sleigh Ride Adventure Off Season Arrival Area

Photo No. 6: web on a snowmobile

Photo No. 10: Fashionably Dead

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