Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

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Never Say Never

June 18, 2010

A year ago, I had the idea that it might be interesting to interview a new Second Life Resident for this blog.  I went to Help Island Public in search of a newbie who would be willing to sit down and share their initial impressions of Second Life.  I was fortunate to meet Kyla Riddler; she was eight days old at the time and our conversation became the post A Portrait of the Avatar as a Young Woman.  She had some interesting things to say, including a healthy skepticism about relationships in SL.  Her view shifted a little with time and she partnered with tonk Mayo.  Kyla and I would talk from time to time, but we really hadn’t been in touch much for the past six months.  So I was a little surprised when I received an IM out of the blue from tonk.  He shared that Kyla had just passed her first rez day and was wondering if I would have any interest in doing a follow-up interview.  The more he and I chatted, the more it was apparent that they had a wonderful story about their experiences in Second Life together and it would be great to interview both of them.

Curious about what they said?  How does a new Resident go from being skeptical of SL relationships to partnered?  Are there any twists and turns to the story?  If you have the time to scan the first interview with Kyla, it provides a fun context, but it isn’t necessary to enjoy their story.  Read on after the jump to find out what they had to say!

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What Keeps You in Second Life?

February 22, 2010

Fire by Gita Rau

The thing about SL is that most of us are here by choice.  We spend chunks of one of our most scarce personal resources by exploring Second Life: our time.  But why do those of us who are regular users keep coming back?  What draws us to the virtual world like a moth to a flame?

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I like to interview people in Second Life.  But rather than interview just one resident, I thought I would try something slightly different this time.  Instead, I asked a number of people the same question.  Here’s what I did, I looked through my Friends List to see who had passed their third rez day.  There are I’ll be the first to admit that the three year rez date was somewhat arbitrary.  I could have easily picked another milestone as a cutoff, but to me, three years in SL suggests a level of commitment beyond a casual and passing interest.I then sent them a notecard with a request to respond to a simple question in close to fifty words.  What keeps you in Second Life?

Are you curious what people said?  Want to find out what keeps people in Second Life?  Read after the jump to find out… Read the rest of this entry ?

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All the virtual world’s a stage

September 17, 2009

Salvatore

To say that roleplay (RP) is a popular activity in Second Life might be a bit of an understatement; there may be more roleplay communities in SL than there alts cruising around on Zindra.  If you’re so inclined, you could find just about any sort of roleplay imaginable.  Steampunk, Gor, Firefly, high school, dystopian future, and more than can possibly mentioned here.  It is a little difficult to say just how many Second Life residents are involved in roleplay communities.  The only way to estimate is by looking at the number of members in RP groups and even then it is tough to assume you’ve accounted for overlapping membership.  Let’s just say there are lots of residents involved, somewhere between 30,000-50,000 people. Given the popularity of RP in SL, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about it.

Salvatore Otoro didn’t come to Second Life for roleplay, but has become an eloquent advocate for RP.   Salvatore is not only an active member of the City of Lost Angels RP community, he also runs the Second Life Roleplay blog and writes for ROLE Magazine.  The Second Life Roleplay blog is a fantastic resource on the ins and outs of RP; among other things, there are examples of good and bad RP, lists of RP sims, and a section on roleplay 101.  I was very happy that Salvatore agreed to chat about RP with me.

/me smiles and points excitedly to the jump and says, “I really hope you’ll read on to see what Salvatore had to say about RP in SL!”

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The girl’s a superfreak!

August 20, 2009

halie

During my first week in Second Life, I thought I was clever when I told people of my impression that most people were either in-world for sex or to build, or to do both.  Thankfully, I stuck around long enough to figure out that I got that one wrong.  But if you’re new or rely on the media for your opinion of Second Life, chances are that you might honestly believe that sex permeates the virtual world.  For those of us who have taken long enough in SL to fully outfit their avatar, we know that isn’t true.  But like most misconceptions, it has to come from somewhere, and there is no question that sexual exploration is a big pastime in Second Life.

I’m confident that most SL Residents seem to know at least one person who does a little sexual exploration, but few who make it a focus of their Second Life.  Halie Slade probably wasn’t who Rick James had in mind when he wrote Superfreak, but he probably was thinking of  someone like her when he did.  You see, Halie likes sex in Second Life.  She really really likes sex in Second Life.  But more than just enjoying sex in the pixels, for Halie SL is an opportunity to explore her boundaries in new and different ways.  Thankfully, this very thoughtful and intelligent woman has recently started sharing her experiences and writings on her very interesting Mind Games blog.

I got together for a great conversation with Halie; we talked about using SL to explore sexually, teledildonics (yes, you read that correctly!) and her blog.  Look after the jump to read the convrersation….

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Botgirls just want to have fun

August 18, 2009

botgirl and fourworlds

I read Botgirl’s blog before I met her.  I’ll be honest, my initial impression of her blog was slight skepticism; she had fascinating posts about avatar identity when she was just weeks old and I was convinced she was an alt.  I’ll admit to playing the mental parlor game of “guess the main” to figure out where Botgirl came from but never got beyond half-baked theories. Fortunately, I ended up meeting her a short time later and, of course, I asked the alt question.  She took the chance to share that Botgirl was indeed a second avatar and that the other seldom came in-world any longer.

Over the past months, Botgirl came to believe that maintaining her pseudonymity felt disingenuous.  She began by connecting her identity to her first life with a small group of friends (myself included) and now to internet-at-large.  More accurately, Fourworlds Ra/David Elfanbaum first linked to Botgirl’s identity on his Tumblr site.  That David chose to reveal the connection to Botgirl isn’t particularly remarkable; it is the sort of personal choice that many make on a daily basis.  What is interesting, however, are the differences in expression between them; Botgirl has a distinctly different voice from Fourworlds.

I met with Fourworlds and Botgirl to discuss avatar identity, what’s been learned by being Botgirl and the reasons why they’ve decided to link identities now.  Read what they had to say after the jump…

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What is this Gor?

July 15, 2009
Sheraka Sirnah

Sheraka Sirnah

One of the things that I’ve found most entertaining about blogging is that you can see what search terms drive people to your site.   “Eat your own dogfood” and “Mayor McCheese” and “Linden Labs + ass” were all real searches that somehow drove people to my site.   The other week, however, a search that found my site got me thinking: “Free Gorean Avitars” (their spelling, not mine!); I realized that I’ve been in Second Life for nearly two years and other than all of the stereotypical things you hear about kajira and silks and the poor treatment of women, that I actually know very little about Gor.   Being the curious sort, I found myself wondering:  Were the stereotypes accurate?  What is Gor in SL really like?  I knew I probably wasn’t alone in this, so I thought I would try to find someone to interview.

I started by doing a quick search on Google and found Sheraka Sirnah’s blog.  Her blog seemed to indicate that there was more to Gor than I first thought, so we traded IMs in-world and she agreed to be interviewed.  I met with Sheraka in her very lovely home sim.  We ended up having a very long conversation about some of the main concepts of Gor, accurate Gor versus “Disney Gor,”  and the role of women in Gorean society.   Curious to learn more?  Read our conversation after the jump!

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A Portrait of the Avatar as a Young Woman

June 23, 2009

kyla

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most as a parent is the opportunity to see the world through new eyes.  I don’t have – or want – children in Second Life, but I did start wondering what it would be like to see Second Life as new again.  While I still remember my spark of passion being ignited, it certainly isn’t the same as my first months in-world.  All of this got me wondering, how does Second Life look like for a new resident?

So I set out to interview who has just started their Second Life experience.  I didn’t want to be too picky, but I didn’t want to have the wrong conversation, so I started the quest with a few simple rules.  The person had to be fewer than thirty days old, by all appearances was not an alt (although you could never really know, could you?), and seemed like they had been in-world more than once by looking at their profile.

Help Island Public seemed like a good spot where I might meet someone who fit the bill.  After a quick teleport, I found myself in the midst of twenty to twenty-five avatars.   Now, I’ve been using the GreenLife Emerald Viewer lately and one of my favorite features is a built-in radar.  One of the cooler things about this radar is that it not only tells you who is in the sim with you, but it also tells you their age in days.  This feature came in very handy for this project.  Surprisingly, among the twenty-plus avatars at Help Island Public, there were only three (yes, 3!) avs that were under thirty days old; the remainder were all old enough to no longer be considered new.  So I decide to IM one of the younger avatars nearest to me.  I quickly introduce myself and ask her if she would mind being interviewed for my blog.  Long pause.  Long pause continues.  I find myself thinking, “This is not going to work.”  But to my happiness and surprise, she agrees to be interviewed. We teleported back to my house and proceeded to have a lovely conversation about her impressions of Second Life thus far.

Kyla Riddler was on her eighth day in Second Life when we talked.  Like so many of the people I’ve had the pleasure to meet in SL, Kyla proved herself to be a wonderful, interesting and engaging person.   Read on after the jump to hear what Kyla had to say about getting adjusted to Second Life, impressions of people in-world and virtual relationships.

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Do not go gentle into that good, Night.

May 18, 2009

Night Morrisey by Botgirl Questi (used with permission)

Night M. by Botgirl Questi (used with permission)

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a friend who had left Second Life.  Her message was a surprise; she had been gone for months and wanted to re-connect.  While I was very happy to hear from her, given the circumstances of her departure, I wasn’t really sure what to say; when Night M. left Second Life this past January, she wanted it to be for good.

I know some of the people reading this blog knew Night.  For those of you who didn’t, there is no question that Nightflower cannonballed into Second Life and made quite a splash.  She was prolific in her digital life.  She wrote a wonderful blog, collaborated on some fascinating comics, was a rabid Plurker, and designed a sim with a gallery devoted to digital art.  Those who knew her found her to be a good friend and remarkable woman.  Despite her zeal for SL, Night had a hard time balancing her first and second lives and much of her time in SL was kept a secret from her husband.  This secrecy led to a departure in the Fall of 2008 with a return nearly six weeks later.   She dove back into Second Life with vigor but finally decided to make a very public departure on her blog at the end of January 2009.  She did not want to be able to return and deleted her account.  Time has passed, however, and the urgencies of her first life have slowed and she’s started to process what she valued about her second life and, in her own way, is raging against the dying of the light.

Since coming to Second Life, I’ve grown to recognize that having friends and loved ones leave the virtual world is part of the experience.  But what happens to someone who had been active in Second Life after they leave?  I know that it is a very personal experience that differs for everyone; as we talked in gmail about what being Night meant to her, she gracefully agreed to be interviewed and share just a little of her experience leaving Second Life.   Read what Night had to say about why she left and where she is now after the jump.

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Lies, Damn Lies, and SecondLie

April 1, 2009

secondlie1

SecondLie came out of nowhere, really.  He appeared on Twitter over a year ago and has gathered over 500 followers but describing just who – or what – SecondLie is gets a little murky.  Is he somehow a shadowy employee who seems to know more than he should?  A virtual world version of Deep Throat?  Or is he simply a wise ass and incisive critic of all things related to Second Life?  While the identity of SecondLie may be unclear, the reality is that there are often some kernels of truth buried deep within his tweets; I found our conversation to be no different.

If you don’t follow SecondLie on Twitter, here are some examples of recent posts:

  • “LL Support Staff wants in on this RP stuff. Users must now use ‘/me’ for all trouble tickets & in Live Chat, funny voices for phone contact.”
  • “Group voting will be removed in 1.23. It will be replaced by group bickering, fussing, and general apathy.”
  • “We’re pleased to announce the hire of Spam Linden. He’s based out of Nigeria, has no bear yet, but can make your boobs bigger & penis longer.”

I was able to meet with SecondLie Scribe on a bright sunny day on the beach outside my house.  Read what SecondLie had to say about porn, Gorean equality, Lorne Greene and the importance of laughter after the jump…

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Zada and the Zen of Unexpected Spaces

March 27, 2009
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Zada Zenovka relaxes in space

When I decided to blog about the people of Second Life, I knew that Zada Zenovka would be among the first avatars I would want to interview.  She is – in so many ways – the sort of person you love meeting in SL; she is creative, bright, talented and funny but does not publicize her Second Life all that much.  Aside from her shop, Shapes by Zada (which sells shapes, eyes, specialty skins, and some fun freebies), Zada does some custom shape work, is involved with a variety of art and cultural projects, creates some fascinating builds, and is an admitted shopaholic.

We met over a few drinks at the bar in the observation platform atop Zada’s Space Elevator at Technohenge.  The observation platform is much like its creator; beautiful, eclectic, and smart.  To get to this shiny platform with transparent walls overlooking the earth and surrounded by the stars and moon, you have to take a nearly two-minute elevator ride to get to 2000m.  The objects in the room tell a bit about the person who put it together:  a jar with Chuck Norris’ face; a beautifully constructed book filled with Zada’s line of historical skins and shapes; a bar adorned with classic film noir movie posters; a mix of Victorian and modern couches; and series of pictures of Zada as a toy robot.

We chatted for well over an hour and covered a range of topics.  Read our conversation after the jump to learn about her efforts to find the secret Linden gardens, the Zen of SL, and more…

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