Archive for July, 2009

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How not to suck, if you can swallow it.

July 30, 2009

eventsOkay, I’ll admit it, the idea for my recent posts about events in Second Life started as a rant.  For the longest time, I’ve been frustrated that gems of events get lost among a sea of…well, let’s just say things that turn out not to even be events.  After writing the first one, I wanted to write a blistering rant that went off on all of the things that people do when creating events that contribute to the dreck.  The more I played with drafts of this post, the more I realized that the classic comic character Pogo had it right: ” We have met the enemy and he is us.”  If we can all be thoughtful about what events we choose to participate in or how we  approach planning events, the more likely that we are to see fewer bad events.  So instead of a rant, I’ve decided to write about what makes a good event and some ways to find them.

I’ve come to believe that there are three important factors that contribute to good events in Second Life.  They are:

  • Quality of content;
  • Opportunity for interaction; and
  • Thoughtful planning.

Want to know more?  Curious about what makes a good event?  Tune in after the jump for more details with a few examples!

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But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for!

July 25, 2009

Searching

One of my favorite things about Second Life is that something is always happening.  I’ve always had moments where I’m afraid I’ll something, so I found myself being reluctant to log-off when I first came to SL for fear that an even better event was going to start.   I’ve certainly overcome that feeling in SL even though there is still no shortage of events   Sure, it is easy to find something to do, but finding something good to do?  It can be too damn hard sometimes.

I’m even going to start with a moment of immodesty.  I’m pretty confident that I am more familiar with ways to find events in SL than the majority of residents from having  covered events for New World Notes for much of last year.   Through that experience, I came to believe that finding good events in SL is a little like shopping at T.J. Maxx (a.k.a T.K Maxx for my European friends!) only nowhere near as satisfying.  In both instances, you have to wade through piles of things to find just what you want but you feel excited if you find a bargain on something you love while shopping and are just plain annoyed at having to work so hard to find an event.

There are a couple of reasons why finding an event can be so challenging and I’ve broken them up into two posts.  The first post talks about structural problems and the second highlights cultural issues with having good events.  Curious about the structural problems?  Read on after the jump to find out!

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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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Who?

July 2, 2009

who

Much has been blogged about keeping your first life identity secret in Second Life.   So often the tone is either cheerleading for it or thinly veiled contempt for something that people see as inherently dishonest.   If you can guess from my post on the relativity of boundaries, I’m pretty neutral on the issue; I believe that people should be able to approach their second life as privately or as openly as they choose, so long as they are respectful and responsible to both of their lives in the process.  Yet when I’ve talked with others about it, the next follow-on question tends to be:  “If someone is hiding important pieces of his/her identity, is that truly being respectful and responsible?”   And I think that the best answer is: It depends.

It depends?  What kind of cop out answer is that?  Well, I believe we should strive to be straightforward with who we are, but there are situations where being direct about first life identity might hurt more than it would help.  Perhaps an example could help explain.  Recently, Drew Carey mentioned in his blog that he enjoys spending time in SL (and gave props to the creativity of Pandora Wigglesworth’s Curio Obscura).  I’ve also heard rumors of other celebrities enjoying the more peaceful interactions that Second Life can offer.  (Also, there was an article some time ago about Halle Berry’s experiences visiting chatrooms.  Apparently, she would meet people, strike up a friendship, and, at one point or another, share her first life identity.  What happened?  No one believed her.  Sadly, she was instantly recategorized as a crankpot and her friends would fade away.)   Were I famous, I think Second Life would be a great place to feel like you’re having interactions with people based on how you relate to each other and not that you are a celebrity.   Plus, we would all hate to see a half-true seedy tabloid article about how some celebrity’s avatar hangs out in – gasp – Zindra!  (And if you don’t believe we could see an article like that, I have a nice quiet parcel of land to sell you on the mainland.)

I don’t think anyone would dispute that celebrities should be entitled to their privacy in-world.  But think about it for a moment, to maintain privacy a celebrity might need to recast things about his/her first life identity. If sharing accurate information about their identity – even vague – could possibly result in loss of what brought them to want a second life in the first place, could you blame a person for trying to hide things?  Given our fame-obsessed culture, I would think that going to great lengths to hide your first life identity in Second Life to be a generally responsible and respectful thing to do.

So my question to you, dear readers.  If protecting yourself from adoring fans is a good reason to maintain secrecy about your identity, could there be other reasons?  Any examples leap to mind?

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OohOoh! me! me! meme!!

July 1, 2009

L @ ToRI don’t usually do memes, but Zoe Connolly started an interesting one that tells as much about the people of SL as anything I can imagine.  She asked for people to list atomic world influences on their avatar.  It seemed like it could be fun, so I thought I would have a try.

So who were Lanna’s influences?  The goal wasn’t to look like a specific person, but to come up with a look that I jokingly called girl next door plus.  And what is a girl next door plus, you ask?  She looks friendly and approachable; she’s pretty in a cute way (but not in a hawt or glam way).  A GND+ also has to look like could be a little athletic.   Finally, she had to convey just a hint of the smart is sexy vibe.   This took a little bit of work; I made Lanna’s initial shape but had the final tweaks done by the talented shapemaker Zada Zenovka.

Curious?  Who could have inspired Lanna?  Go ahead, have a look after the jump!

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