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Wednesday, March 11, 2009


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Arcadia Codesmith

There often is a disconnect when you encounter family and friends in world, because the face we present to the real world is often very different than how we see or wish ourselves to be. Taking that inner sense of ourselves and giving it form and voice is what fuels the virtual world.

But when that face is shown to someone who knows the RL you, sometimes the reaction is confusion or anguish. Or relevation and celebration. Or indifference (which can be the unkindest cut of all).


Lovely essay.

I've often debated showing SL to my mother, who is in her 80's. I think she'd LOVE the clothes and talking to people. Deep down, though, I have a suspicion that Mom would end up possibly in w-hat or a similar group. She has a wicked sense of humor and loves tossing a wrench into things to see what would happen. I wonder if w-hat has a senior division? LOL

The other members of my family have seen SL, are proud of my charity work in world, but have ZERO interest. I thought my sister would love the clothes, but I can't get her to log in.

Hackshaven Harford

Actually, Dad was the one that told me about Second Life. (I blame him for my current career.) His avatar is older than mine, just like real life.


It was a strange experience to introduce my Mother to SL but as I live on the other side of the plant we have found it is a great medium to keep our family ties strong. Much more so than by regular emails or even phone calls, SL alows us to participate in a mutual experience - just as we would in RL if I lived in the same city.
It has been a unique platform for keeping our relationship strong.


I really like your entry. Is there any place I could see your talk on digital fashion at Fashion institute mentioned abouve or read about it? You have such nice fun adventurous parents... super.

Iggy O

"Dad is a Steampunk Pseudo-Rockstar Science-Fiction Socialite"

Iris, I died laughing at that. You'd get an "A+" for any memoir-writing assignment I gave, if you used that title!

You are reporting on something that will be common enough in a few years: entire families with avatars in the same world, all of them trying to negotiate all sorts of sensitive personal conflicts.

Casper Priestman

More often than not we don't get to experience what you have until later in life. Our view of our parents is skewed by hormones and immaturity while they hold the ship called "home" together and try and keep you respecting their "authorateh" (a' la Eric Cartman).

It's an interesting experience discovering the different facets of our parents that we weren't aware of, and realizing "parents are people too", and getting to know them on that level.

Thoroughly enjoyed the post...thank you :)

Connie Sec

Great Post :))

Doreen Garrigus

Iris, this is lovely. You have an amazing opportunity to know your parents as people. A lot of us never get that chance.

Prad Prathivi

That was a fantastic read - thank you for sharing it, Iris! =)

Liz Dorland (Chimera Cosmos)

Iris, I loved this!

My mom is 80 and has been to SL several times with my avatar's help and guidance. Last time I bought her the Eshi Otawara Woodpecker gown--that's the one she picked out. But now she has a new guy that she met online who lives just a couple of hours away, so she's not in-world too much. To the earlier comment -- if your mom comes in, have her IM Annieruth Landar. heheh

I've been trying to get my 26 year old daughter interested (style is a BIG DEAL to her) but she resists. I did get her to create an avatar and she picked up the skills right off, but she has not been back since to my knowledge. She and my 22 yr old WoW-based son think my virtual life (as an educator even) is pretty weird. I'm going to show her this column. Maybe she'll get inspired and jump in.

Thanks for a great read!
Chimera Cosmos

Moggs Oceanlane

My RL younger sister joined SL about a week after I did - while we share some land and lots of discussion about our experiences, we tend to lead quite separate Second Lives.

After being residents for a while, we introduced my parents to SL with a game of Greedy Greedy (my family plays this in real life) and my mum went on from there to explore a bit. She logs in every now and then but not frequently. It was really nice to have her take me than an obligatory interest and take the time to learn a bit about and explore the Second Life environment.

Some of her commentary made us laugh a lot (and made my middle sister - who has an SL account but doesn't really login, groan in horror).

I know some people find the idea of their RL family, friends or colleagues in their virtual and private space horrifying. I have all three of these in world, but mostly we all lead very separate lives and tend to mix with the people we have met in-world. I think it's probably the exception, rather than the rule for someone you know to crowd your second life (beyond, perhaps, the period where they are learning to get around and so spend some time asking you questions and for assistance).

Thanks for sharing your story, I enjoyed it.

Vax Sirnah

Just found this through the retrospective post. This is pretty cool. My family is similar.

Interesting the common about Uru Live, as my family was very deeply into that as well.


SL is just what it is, a second life. It's a world unrestricted by RL's obligations and rules. It's not at all surprising that your parents' SL surprised you! Thank you for sharing your experiences, now I'm thinking of starting my own SL account instead of just frequenting dating sites like alt com.

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