Message in a Bottle

December 1, 2010

Who doesn’t love a good time travel movie?  They can raise so many questions that seem challenging to answer.  So much is possible in Second Life, but sadly, time travel is not (And you know what I mean, so please don’t remind me that you can time travel with RP, k?).   But what if you could really travel back in time in Second Life?  I found myself asking this question, which became, “What would you tell yourself if you could travel back in time and give yourself advice as a new Resident in SL?”

Curious what I would say? Set your Wayback machine and look after the jump:

No, you’re really not missing anything when you’re offline. One of the wonderful things about Second Life is that there is *always* something fun going on.  Always.  Just because something fun is going on and you’re not in-world doesn’t mean you’re missing out; you’ll find more fun when you do have time to be on.

Learning basic building skills are important. You don’t have to be a master builder by any means, but you need to know the basics.  Play around with things, it will make your virtual life much easier!

Go ahead, buy some Lindens. Freebies, lucky chairs and contests are fun, but won’t get you where you want to go.  SL is easier with a little mad money, so think of it as an entertainment expense and spend some RL money.

Trust your intuition, that avatar really *is* creepy. You’re going to meet avatars that seem great but something in your tummy tells you to be careful.  It will be nothing specific, really, just a vibe.  You might try to talk yourself out of that vibe, too.  I’m sorry to tell you, but you’re going to find out that vibe you got was right.  So, save yourself some trouble and be cautious with people you get a funny feeling about, k?

Friending is easy, real friends are harder. Friends in Second Life are just like friends in your first life.  Sure, you can meet lots of people with whom you’ll be friendly, but be sure to cherish those people with whom you feel a deep connection because they’re much more rare.  And just like friends in RL, maintaining the friendship requires effort.

Don’t know what the hell you’re doing here?  Take a break! There can be some inertia to spending time in Second Life.  You’ll have periods of time where you will ask yourself “just why am I logging into SL?”   When you hit those times, be sure to take a good long break and ask yourself what you want out of maintaining your virtual life.  It is easier if you can purposefully answer to yourself what you want out of your experience.  SL will still be here when you want to come back.

Change is constant in Second Life. Repeat after me:  Nothing or no one in Second Life is permanent.  Sure, there are some people and things who are typically around, but just by the nature of it being a virtual world, people, stores and sims come and go all the time.  Understanding and accepting that will help.

You’ll actually have a few Second Lives. That point about change being constant in SL applies to you, too.  What captures your imagination and attention will change over time and, as a result, so will the focus of your SL.

Try it, you might like it! There is so much to do here, be open to giving things a whirl!

Forget Lindens, trust is the currency of the realm. Most of us are completely pseudonymous; since we can’t verify who the person we’re dealing with really is,  our actions become invaluable.  What you do and the ways you interact with people is how you will be known.

As real as it seems, it is all fake; as fake as it all seems, it is real. Honestly, this is one that you’re going to have to figure out what this means for yourself.  Don’t worry, you will, but remember to keep that in the back of your head as you do, k?

Don’t forget to have fun. Kinda sorta self-explanatory, right? 🙂  SL is an amazing, creative and wonderful place.  Enjoy!

I’m sure that I’ve missed a whole bunch of things, but those are the high notes if I could go back in time.  (Oh, those and a few other specific private suggestions that needed to be whispered)  But wait, if I told myself those things, would I be writing this blog post now?  Or maybe this would be a fashion post instead?  Oh god, sometimes I get a headache with all these time travel questions.  I’m not going to worry about that now; instead, dear reader, I’m going to ask you:

What would you tell yourself if you could go back to the start of your Second Life experience?



  1. I would tell myself to work less and play more. Funny enough, that is a a RL lesson I need to learn as well.

    Oh, the other thing I would tell the new me is “search out this woman named Charlanna. She is wonderful.”

    Every time you post you make me think about things in a new way. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Ches! Balancing is a really great point! And thank you for the very sweet thoughts. 🙂

  2. Great article! It’s advice like this that should be provided as resource links to newcomers. Will help keep their perspective, perhaps avoid burnout and enable them to enjoy the unique social aspects of our vw.

    Nice to meet you Charlanna.


    • Thanks, Skylar! Nice to meet you, too!

  3. An absolutely fantastic collection of advice! There are two things I would add for myself … no three

    One)Don’t be afraid to shape shift. It is an absolute blast. These modern humans can be so dull.

    Two) Get an AO, already !! They come with directions. Take a friend, it’s funnier that way.

    Three) When it does come time to file an AR, release the emotional ties. Mute the avatar (unless you’re still collecting data) and zoom the camera into the ground so that you can concentrate a little more on just getting the report filed. Basically just interact with the program interface and not the avatars.

    I cannot agree more or emphasize more with you: “Trust is the currency of the land!”

    And Chestnut is incredibly right about Play More!

    • Those are fantastic, MarillaAnne! I can’t agree more on your points and would add them to my list, too!

  4. I think you hit all of the points I would tell my past self, I would just double tell myself the “friending is easy, real friends are harder” advice.

    Oh and avoid people from the future

    • But what if the person from the future is your friend? What would you do then, Lyndz? 🙂

  5. What a great post!

    Can I get Chestnut’s “Work less, play more” in in huge particle fireworks, plz?

    I’d add, “Don’t IM the crazymakers you finally got out of your life/off your friendslist just because you’re lonely/bored tonight” and

    “Nuke your rut!” Find a new club. Talk to a stranger. Pick an event at random. Explore!

    • Good points, Kas! I was thinking that point about the crazymakers would be implicit in the “real friends” suggestion, but you’re probably right to add it.

  6. Nice post! I also like Chestnut’s “work less, play more” direction, but since my work is often my play, my version would be “more play, less stress, no deadlines”.

    • Thanks, Botgirl. Finding ways to not put pressure on ourselves to meet our creative deadlines is great advice!

  7. Mine is presort inventory. But how would anyone realize that?

    • I can’t believe I completely forgot something about inventory! You are so right, Harper!

  8. Oh yeah, what Harper said: “Set up a good and comprehensive folder system *now* – don’t wait till you’ve got 5k in “Clothing” and another 5k in “Objects”!”

    Oh, and “You really don’t need to buy all that lingerie. Shoes, yes…”

    • Are you sure about that last point, Kas? 😛

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