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Monday, December 28, 2009


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Paula Anguita

A statement right from the heart!

We need blogs and articles like this time after time to teach the world that Second Life is not a game, not a hide out, but a very advanced communication tool, used by real and very interesting people from around the world. That Second Life is a great impuls to creativity and inspiration.

Thanks for these words and keep up this great blog!

Moggs Oceanlane

Thanks Hamlet, the diversity of people I've met from around the world is what keeps me in SL above all things.

Delinda Dyrssen

I have to agree Hamlet. Second Life is merely an extension of your "first life" and people's personalities tend to carry over into it and sometimes even become magnified.. A difference is that in SL there is a more level playing field.. especially for the disabled. Not to say it could not be done in First Life but.. A few days ago I found out a friend who is a Champion Sailor on Second Life.. is a paraplegic in his First Life.

Bumble Parx

Great post and thanks for giving a great quote (or two) to respond to those who dismiss virtual worlds when they have never tried them. And I'd agree with the other comments here, I continue to meet great folk in SL and in a more diverse range than am likely to meet in RL.


Hello. I love your articles!

I understand your point, and I agree to an extent. But there's something... I don't know, perhaps this is too strong of a pet peeve for you.
I'm not really sure how one could conduct an appropriate test to come up with solid conclusions, but handpicking a few uncommon and particular avatars (who happen to live in very uncommon and particular conditions in RL) will only give you unfounded and biased (uncommon and particular) assertions.

From my experience and own ideals, I can tell you a couple facts that collide with my impression of the people whom that stereotype is targetting:

- Fanny Starr, doesn't have a SL account. She uses her daughter's.
- Charles Bristol hasn't logged in since Dec. 11th 2009.
- Beth Noveck, well... she's Obama Administration's Deputy Chief Technology Officer. Also, her profile is entirely empty (Lawlita Fassbinder in-world). Last Login: Dec. 9th 2009.

If you handpick people who are prominent in "first life", you're throwing off your results. I'd recommend you go to clubs, sandboxes, weddings, parties, education centers, concerts and pick people there (and certainly more than five) and even check out off-world communities (SLU, Second Citizen, SL official forums, etc.) to get more accurate and solid conclusions.

Again, I understand and partially agree with your point. This is just a suggestion. Thanks! Keep up the good work!
* Pardon my English - it's not my first language.

Crap Mariner

You may want to update your facts, Pablo. At her last speaking engagement, Fanny Starr was using her own account.


Dio Kuhr

Hey Ham,

Funny thing you picked this subject to write about today, being as I happened to write about a variation on the theme last night, though of course yours, is more upbeat and has a whole lot less cussin' in it.

The other big difference in what we wrote is that I would argue it's not an issue of who has the more "interesting first life," as ultimately it doesn't make much sense to keep distinguishing between "first" and "second" lives.

Whatever you're doing, and wherever you're doing it--whether online in Second Life, in WoW, on an urban basketball court, on a hiking trail in the Poconos or in a casino in Las Vegas--it is all a part of your life.

How truly useful is it to differentiate between the so-called first and second lives?

It might be more productive if we spent more time reflecting on how our various activities are integrated throughout our lives, and less time in being judgmental about the quality or validity of what other people are doing with their time.

Hamlet Au

Pablo, I understand your point. As I say above, I met many of these folks randomly in everyday SL experiences and encounters. I first learned about Charles by randomly showing up at a club, accidentally found Lyric's stuff in an SL-related Flickr topic, and read about Tamra on one of her friend's SL blogs. With Fanny, I think her daughter sent me an event notecard, as I recall. Beth is a slight exception, because I first met her as a Linden, and she's a bit busy at the moment trying to help run the country, but she was fairly active in SL when running NYLS's DoTank and other projects.

Pablo Cordon

It's worth mentioning the fact that the stereotype is based -while perhaps only slightly- on actual reality. Many people become outcasts of real-life societies because they find a greater value (or a value at all) in SL but, really, SL is merely a speck within the spectrum of online communities. This... syndrome... happens everywhere on the 'net, to all kinds of people.

Yes, it can be bad, it can cause depression and it can certainly get nasty. It can isolate you from your biological family, from your real-life friends and acquaintances. It can degenerate your health, make you lose your job, and so on and so forth. But the resulting gain or value from using this knowledge to afflict others is nonexistent or even worse: negative.

As with any other stereotype, it should not be used for any malicious goals - especially when it comes to Second Life, because it just so happens to be unlike any other platform of impersonal interaction. The variety of activities (and by extension, the variety of benefits and detriments) we can do in our "fancy" virtual world exceeds that of any other. And not a single soul can embrace the entire concept thoroughly enough as to adopt that negative and judgmental position.

Extropia DaSilva

>Second Life is merely an extension of your "first life"<

Yes, kind of. But the wider perspective is that Second life is the interim period between the human and the posthuman condition. The characters we create in online worlds (yes, it is just as true to say there is an element of roleplay in all residents as it is to say there are elements of the 1st life personae in all residents) are our transhuman link to the posthuman future. The transition will be complete once whole brain emulation technology is perfected, which would me to become an ADAI (autonomously developing artificial intelligence), running on a copy of my primary's mind. And when I can do that, the human I currently rely on no longer has any use for me so she can die for all I care:)

ONTH, assuming whole brain emulation is several generations from being realised, as a digital person my next best option is to pass on my accounts to some other human who could do a good job of roleplaying me, when my current one is no longer fit to continue. And, again, if I can do that, on the day I DO just that, my current primary can die for all I care:)

June Stormcrow

Awesome and very thought provoking response. A future story of mine thanks you :D.

@all who say these peeps aren't the norm for sl

I think sl is more viable as an augmentist tool and should be marketed as such, but that's jmho.

I wouldn't have stayed if there hadn't been virtual write-ins for National Novel Writing Month going on when I registered (to be able to make sense of a dispute two friends from another online game were having).

Then I realized sl wasn't just a game, and got totally hooked, lol.

Most of the people I have met are on grid because sl is an outlet for one creative endeavour or another.

Unfortunately, their 1st life tabs don't often reflect this, due to the opinion on safety of personal info in sl being roughly equivalent to the prevailing opinion on the safety of rl information on the net circa 1990.

It's sad but true.

I've decided to be brave this time for whatever reason. I think at this point in my life, the grand experiment appeals to me.

Especially if I don't have to leave my house ;). Yet that was my rl MO long before I ever entered the grid as June Stormcrow.


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