Friday, November 15, 2013

More about Life in Second Life

 In the end, it's not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away.

Shing Xiong

          In my last blog, I wrote about how we live in Second Life (SL). 
          Let me forewarn everyone, I’m going to blog some more about life inworld with this story.
          (Don’t worry, I won’t reply with “Why not?” which as a university instructor once told me and an equally frustrated group of undergraduates is perfectly logical and acceptable if somewhat aggravating to enquiring minds.)
          I’m blogging about life inworld again for a variety of reasons.  First, I’m having many changes in Real Life (RL).  (Don’t worry, all is well, change is good.  Even if Significant Other does wonder how much is my doing versus chance.)  Next, RL has a lot going on too.  For example, the woes of the mayor of Toronto.  (Sorry Rob!)  Then there’s the tragicomic rollout of the new US healthcare website,  (And we thought Linden Lab (LL) had issues!)  Finally, the tragedy that has befallen the Philippines with Typhoon Haiyan leaves a sobering reminder of hard RL can sometimes be. 
          All these events have me thinking about what RL means to all of us. 
          Within SL, we come together from our real lives.  Are we escaping?  Are we simply interacting with one another in the same manner that we would in our local pub, Starbucks, or wherever we come together to solve the world’s problems and to seek solace and support from each other? 
          In earlier posts, I’ve blogged about who we are inworld, the trust that develops among us, and our identities.  I came away feeling, and still do feel, that we can and do form lasting friendships in SL.  Some people have even carried this one step further and have taken their relationships into RL ending up married with children. Good for them! 
          Other times, I’ve written about community in SL, simply walking around the neighborhood, the losses we experience, the friends once thought lost who return to us, and the social lives that we have built for ourselves inworld. 
          I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention what we all do inworld.  Whether it’s visiting historical sites, going to fairs and parties, not to mention the sex and all the running around nude that goes on.
          And, yes, the bad has to go with the good like bullying and SL’s dirty, little secret. 
          What does all this leave us with?
          We’re here after all.  We’re obviously doing things.  But, where does all this take us?
          Does SL have a future in our lives?  (I mean the real ones  here.) 
          What keeps us inworld?  What would bring our friends who have left us back?
          What value does SL provide us?  Is there even value being inworld?
          In one humble resident’s opinion, I do believe very strongly that there is value in SL. 
          Why?  (There’s that question again!)
          The value provided is us, the residents of SL.  (Humble, aren’t I?)  At the most basic level, we are the building blocks of the communities that comprise SL. 
          Don’t believe me?
          Just look back over the stories I’ve referred to.  Something’s obviously going on inworld that brings people back continually.  Yes, I know, participation does vary but we don’t seem to be anywhere near collapse anytime soon. 
          That being said, our communities can’t be taken for granted.  Any civilization must change and respond to their environments in order to continue to survive if not thrive outright.
          Improvements like a viable economy, intellectual property protection, social media, and support for mobility would all help greatly.  Some of these are being worked on to some degree but I’d like to see more genuine progress across all of them. 
          Please excuse my ramblings about life inworld but I feel very strongly that virtual communities like SL can and should thrive.  They offer a chance for all of us to meet and be ourselves (I personally feel that our avatars’ personalities are not terribly dissimilar to our RL ones.) and to step away, if only briefly, from some of the harum scarum that surrounds us in RL. 
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 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. 

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