Archive for June, 2010

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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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Train In The Distance

June 7, 2010

I’ve always had a weakness for two things: suggestion and potential.  They’re related, of course; bound by a latent promise of something better.  To me, suggestion is the journey ahead, filled with endless routes and possible destinations.  While potential is the engine you take down these tracks, hoping that it is sound enough and has enough fuel to get you there.   My favorite sorts of suggestions, of course, are ideas; I’m seduced by ideas.  Whisper something in my ear, and I’m guaranteed to think about it.  And as far as potential?  Let’s just say that I’ve bought the American cultural ethos that we can make ourselves into whomever we want hook, line and sinker.

Which brings me to this post.  For almost three years, with the exception of a few breaks, a large part of my Second Life has been all about suggestion and potential.  I’ve been fascinated by ideas like avatar identity, communities in virtual worlds, and the ways we could use virtual worlds as a important tools.  These ideas still resonate powerfully with me, but it also feels as if something has happened in the past few months.  In short, the suggestion and possibilities that had captured my imagination feels stale.  It may well be me, that it feels like the same familiar ground has been walked upon over and over.   (This isn’t entirely true, Grace McDunnough has recently fostered some wonderful dialogue on the concept of culture in Second Life.  These important conversations, however, seem by nature to be more about defining what *is* versus what *could be.*)

Intuitively, I can’t help but feel as if Second Life is entering some sort of transitional state.  Transitioning to what seems to be the question of the month.  My crystal ball is a little hazy on this point, I can’t seem to get a good sense of all the possible directions yet.  But my question is this, what do you see the new ideas of virtual worlds becoming?  Will they be more nuanced versions of existing ones?  Or new ones altogether?  So what is it, dear reader, what suggestions and potential of Second Life have grabbed you lately?