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 (www.secondlife.com).” 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.