Should it be more fun than my first life?

Posted by on Friday April 7 2006

This might be too Pollyanna for some of you…

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been doing some exploring in “Second Life (” You need to know that I’m a middle-aged woman from the mid-west with a Ph.D. in 15th century Italian fresco painting (you can imagine how pleased my parents were). Thus I am obviously not a digital native and “Second Life” is not a natural habitat for me.

Let me begin by saying, I see the promise in Second Life, and I’m clearly aware that a lot of people are having fun–I’m just not one of them yet. I signed up, built my avatar, and headed off into the great wide world looking for adventure. As I stumbled across beautifully rendered landscapes, running into walls (which caused one of my legs to do a 180 degree turn so my heel is near my ear – ouch!), bumping into people, flying when I meant to move forward, moving backwards when I was trying to follow a path forward, I realized that–for the time being–I am just as clumsy in “Second Life” as I am in real life. Somehow this seems so unfair!

Second Life has permitted me to achieve the perfect physique. No longer do I have to earn my keep by soliciting nanny-goats for small change as they pass over my bridge. But because my keyboarding skills are horrible, I stumble around like a drunken sailor looking like a goofball (but a goofball with long legs). Arrgghh.

My first encounter with other people involved someone running into me really hard. I assumed it was an accident–two people teleporting into the same place at the same time. Heck there’s bound to be accidents. And then this little notice pops up asking me if I want to report an abusive act. Where am I?

It was then that I realized I was afraid to venture anywhere into Second Life where I might encounter people because I knew that I was not really like the avatar I had created, and I naturally assumed that other people were not like their avatars. I was scared to move, or talk, or in any way interact with people I didn’t know.

Could have gone on like that for weeks had it not been for a kindly Second-Lifer with a red mohawk and black leather wings who gifted me some wings and directed me towards some venues in Second Life that were safe as “newbie” destinations. This one event changed the way I think about the place.

In reality, I might hesitate about taking suggestions for interactive social activities from a chap with leather wings–in Second Life you have to really sit back and take the old parental advice “actions speak louder than words (or looks)” to heart.

I’ve never gone in for chat rooms, but, I’ve got work to do in Second Life and need to be able to navigate, listen, learn, and communicate. Change means doing something different and we can’t expect to change a new world if we continue to behave exactly the way we did in the old world.

So…for the time being I’m going to lighten-up. Oh, and go practice my keyboard skills.

Filed under: Digital media andEducation

7 Responses to “Should it be more fun than my first life?”

  1. Richard
    April 7th, 2006 07:30


    Oh that was you I was helping out! Just kidding, but now I’m curious about how many of us *are* running around (and into each other) in Second Life.

    As part of my research this year I am exploring the affordances that Second Life might have for museums, particularly smaller institutions that can’t afford $3 million+ efforts like the Discover Babylon project. Keep your fingers crossed for a proposed panel at MCN 2006 that includes myself, Holly, Michelle Roper from DB and Walt Scacchi from the UC, Irvine Game Lab.

    I haven’t found any publically available “official” museum spaces in SL yet, but the SL citizens have been busy creating their own in various forms. I think it’s important to note that in a world where anyone can create almost anything, people have decided that art, history, culture and museums are things we want to bring over from first life (And libraries, too!). And dancing, lots of dancing.

    I’ve also been interested to see how people are modelling the real world in Second Life, even when it’s not necessary (e.g. I really don’t need a wall to hang that painting. But I’ve put one there anyway). I’m looking forward to seeing how museums adapt to this new environment and whether we make some of the same choices (OK, kiddie avatars, lets line up in a group and listen to the nice docent avatar.) I’ll also be looking for ways that SL frees us from some of the first life limitations.

    To help facilitate future rendezvous, I’ve created a new SL group called “Museums in Second Life.” Come on over and join in! (Find – Groups, Search for Museums in Second Life).

    See you online!

  2. anne beaumont
    April 21st, 2006 12:55

    Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    For providing those of us like me who have been wondering about these experiences – but were too nervous to try for ourselves, some idea of what it will be like & so making it much less scary.
    And also for reminding us what it could be like for those unfamiliar with our work environments – museums, libraries, galleries (as we call art museums in Australia) . Too often we forget that.

  3. Beth
    June 17th, 2006 08:36

    Hey, the nonprofits are on information island. Come join us. TechSoup is there along with others libraries.

  4. Rik Panganiban
    June 17th, 2006 09:59

    It’s daunting at first, but I’ve had lots of really nice experiences with SLers helping me out and answering all sorts of newbie questions. There are a number of interesting art galleries , cultural spaces, and events. The “find” menu is your friend!


    - Rik Panganiban / SL: Rik Riel

  5. Musematic » What if my American Girl doll had an avatar in Second Life named Michael Finnegan…
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  6. jennifer
    February 14th, 2011 09:16

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    February 25th, 2011 04:43

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