Archive for September, 2007

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Network TV takes notice of SL?

September 30, 2007

From the NBC.com page for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:

AVATAR | TV-14 DV | 10/9c | 10.02.07
A woman involved in virtual reality video games goes missing, and her “avatar” is at the root of the investigation.

I’ve actually never watched the show before, but I’m planning on catching this one. From the commercial, it looks very much like the “virtual reality video game” is based on Second Life.

It appears to be another internet predator storyline :/ Though I think it’s probably only going to further the stigma against SL, I’ll hold off judgment until I see the show.

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Community

September 30, 2007

The more I think about Second Life, the more complexities I discover in the relationships between me and the platform and between me and other users. Today, I began thinking about community as it relates to Second Life, and I realized that I am actually involved in three distinct (though frequently overlapping) communities because of my involvement in the metaverse. The first, and most obvious, is the community of Second Life users. Obviously, this is a huge and diverse group (as of this writing, we are about 225,000 registered users short of the ten million mark), and the vast majority of these users I will never encounter in world. The second is the community of Second Life photographers who post to Flickr. The third, and maybe the most relevant to those of you who are reading this right now, is the community of Second Life bloggers. What struck me as surprising today was that, when I really thought about it, the first of these three communities is the one in which I’m *least* involved, at least socially.

I have spent countless hours in world and continue to do so. Though I do manage to eke out a real life, Second Life has become a somewhat integral part of my existence. I love to log in, spend time with Tobie, chat with friends, shop, etc. On particularly harsh RL days, it’s something that I long for. Given that, it might seem odd that this is the community with which I am least involved, but when I think about it, there is no question in my mind this is the case. Since losing broadband in May, I have spent time in world with a very few people. In fact, the only people I have seen more than a handful of times in that period are Tobie and Dirk. I have attempted to see some of my other friends, but that has usually ended in frustration, as they usually would be involved in some activity and my participation would be inhibited by my connection. Sometimes, I will try to carry on IM conversations with others, but it’s usually a hassle to talk to me these days, as my frequent lag and packet loss issues cause messages to be dropped or arrive out of order, which confuses things quite a bit. Except to a few people, then, I am socially a non-entity in the metaverse.

Given that the other two communities essentially function to supplement the first, the realization that my social interaction occurs primarily through them was interesting (to me, at least). There are many people whose blogs and Flickr streams I check daily whom I have never even met in world. I know far more about these people’s likes, dislikes, hopes, fears, etc., than I do about many of those on my SL friends list. While I might be hesitant to approach these people on the grid and say anything to them, I have no problem reading their thoughts and providing feedback—feedback they may not even want or appreciate. Strangely, I seem to feel the absence of the Flickr and blog people more as well. I can have someone on my friends list who hasn’t logged on in months and not really think about it, but when someone who blogs frequently or posts to Flickr is gone for an extended period, I find myself wondering about him/her.

**If you’ve been reading thus far curious about what the point to this post is . . . I’m not sure that I have one. Occasionally, I find truths amongst the jumbled mess in my head, and I feel the need to record them. Whether they are actually applicable to any problem or provide any real insight seem secondary to just getting the thought down while it remains.**

To be honest, though I have implicated my connection in this post, I don’t think the answer lies there. Before the end of May, when I had broadband, I think the case was still the same. Many of my SL friendships that persist were not formed in world but through Flickr or blogs. I didn’t initally meet Tobie in world. It was through comments on each other’s Flickr streams and blogs that our relationship was formed. If it had not been for Flickr, we likely would have never met.

Perhaps for me, the blogging and Flickr communities are the testing grounds for SL friendships. Maybe the case is I like the extra level of distance that these communities provide even over SL. Then again, possibly there’s another reason beyond what I can perceive at this time.

Anyway, I’m done rambling. Feel free to comment on this mishmash of a post, if just to say “WTF?” 🙂

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Appreciation

September 27, 2007

Soon after moving my blog to WordPress, I discovered that I could easily check my blog’s stats, such as how many views it received in a day, what sites were linking here, etc. I really didn’t like that I could check this info, as I don’t want to get into the pitfall of worrying about numbers. I would rather remain blissfully ignorant than to sit here wondering why twice as many people visited my blog last week than this week or whatever 🙂

That said, because of being able to check out the blog stats, I’ve found that some people had linked to my blog without me ever having even known about theirs. As silly as it may seem, it’s made my day whenever this has happened. These links to my blog came without the expectation of reciprocity (though everyone who has linked here has been very cool and I’ve been happy to add to my own links). I have to believe that those who linked here actually *liked* something I had written and thought it worthwhile to direct others here (and if I’m wrong, I’ll direct you back to my “blissfully ignorant” comment 😉 ).

Um, anyway, I just wanted to say thanks not only to those people who have recently linked here, but also to everyone who actually comes back and checks in on my ramblings from time to time. I love that there are people who not only appreciate some of what I write but also are willing to comment and work through some SL concerns with me 🙂

OK, that’s it. Now go away 😛

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Celestial Studios skins on sale

September 27, 2007

Just in case anyone out there is in the market for a new skin, I thought I’d let you know that the Celestial Studios skins are on sale for 50% off through September 30.

I’m a big fan of Starley’s stuff, and one of her Vogue skins has been my default for some time now.

If you need any further info, check out her blog.

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There’s no place like RL?

September 25, 2007


From a Futurama parody of The Wizard of Oz:

Farnsworth: As for you, young lady, you want to go home, right?
Leela: No, not anymore. I wanna stay here and become the new Wicked Witch.
Farnsworth: Nonsense. Now click your big, honking boots together three times and wish to go home to Kansas, to live in poverty with your dirt-farming, teetotalling aunt and uncle.

As is common after a night talking with my friend Dirk, I came away thinking about SL and how it relates to RL.

I think early into my friendship with Tobie (before we became more 🙂 ), she said something like, “SL brings out things that need to come out.” I totally agree with this, as it explains the desire to have a second life. As I was telling Dirk (perhaps not in these exact words 😉 ), SL is a place of fantasy and wish fulfillment. It’s a place where we are free from the constraints placed upon us by the real world. Not only can we choose how we look, but we can choose roles to which we have no access in our real lives.

I know a lot has changed about me in the nearly seven months I’ve been in SL, and I’ve written about much of that on this blog. What I probably haven’t commented on so much is what *hasn’t* changed about me during my time in SL.

In SL, I’m freer than I will ever be in RL. There’s no question in my mind about this, because some of the RL constraints that SL frees me of are self-imposed. They are constraints that have come out of my life experience and upbringing, and regardless of how they might inhibit me, they are so deeply ingrained that I know they will persist. As strange as it sounds, I’m comfortable with this.

To me, then, SL is a place where the aspects of myself I do not allow to be presented in RL are free to surface. As Tobie said, they need to come out, and that I can do so in SL fulfills that need. SL takes care of some of the deficiencies I perceive in my RL.

It is at this point that Dirk’s and my views on the platform differ, though. I think that what arises from SL can remain entirely in SL and not impact RL. This isn’t to say that happenings in SL haven’t affected my RL, as I’ve written before that they have, but what I’m getting at is that sometimes the fantasy may be as valuable or more valuable than the experience in RL. In his view, as I understood it, whatever RL deficiency you uncover during SL should be worked on in RL, but I believe that is not always a feasible or productive endeavor.

I always thought that people saw SL more like I did, so it was interesting to listen to Dirk’s perspective. He doesn’t see SL and RL as being as different as I do. I think to him, SL is yet another form of communication between people. I think he’s less interested in how someone chooses to represent him/herself than the RL person. To him, it’s not the place of fantasy that I take it to be.

But I need my fantasy. There may be no place like home, but that doesn’t mean the charms of Oz can’t be appreciated.

I need to have people be scarecrows and tin men and lions. I need to walk yellow brick roads and visit emerald cities. I need the option to become the next wicked witch instead of returning home to my “dirt-farming, teetotalling aunt and uncle.” But I don’t necessarily require any of these things outside of Oz . . . or SL.

Dorothy’s life would have been much less interesting without her jaunt to Oz. That doesn’t mean that she wanted her everyday life in Kansas to be filled with flying monkeys, though 🙂

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Break’s over

September 23, 2007

Well, I couldn’t stay away until next week, so on Friday, I returned to SL. I didn’t get much accomplished, but I did slowly get my feet wet again.

Last night, I got to hang out with Tobie for the first time in over a week. I knew I missed her, but I didn’t realize just how much until I saw her again. I continue to look forward to the day when I have broadband again so that we can make the most out of our time together 🙂

Anyway, I’ll be back posting at least semi-regularly now as well as posting pics to Flickr once again.

Feels good to be back 🙂

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Short break

September 19, 2007

The frustration of trying to use SL with my connection has finally gotten the better of me, so I’m taking a break. I probably won’t log in again until next week. That means that I won’t really have anything to talk about here, nor will I have new pics to add to my Flickr stream.

That’s it. Be back next week 🙂