Trying Something New: Second Life

Before graduate school I had only heard of Second Life from a Law & Order: SVU episode. When I told my boyfriend I had to play it for an assignment he asked me if I was going to hold anyone captive like the pedophile in that SVU episode did. I defended Second Life and told him how companies like IBM and universities are using this program as a means to communication and with that my Second Life experience began.

When I first joined Second Life I was excited to pick out my avatar. I played Sims when I was younger and I always liked being able to make my Sim look like me. I wanted to have an integrated self in Second Life too but I could only choose predesigned avatars in the free version. I ended up choosing a goth looking girl for my initial avatar. After a few minutes in the game I found some more avatar designs and I changed to a Victorian girl who reminded me of Disney’s Belle.  I thought she looked really pretty which I think determined my outlook for my Second Life experience. I imagined I was in a Disney film as Princess Belle!

Second Life avata

I caught on pretty quickly with how to walk but flying was the most fun, not because it is an easy way to move around but because I loved the way my avatar’s dress looked when I was flying. Because life is a fashion show (and in Second Life it’s not different) I chose to fly everywhere and show off my avatar’s dress. I don’t think anyone else in the first world I visited really cared about me or my dress so I just kept flying around minding my own business until I found a portal!

Second Life Portal

When I walked through the portal I got put into a nightclub. My first impressions of the club: the music is cool, people are dancing, how do I do that!? This is where my first conversations in Second Life occurred. A bunch of people started saying hello to me in different languages! I eventually found someone who spoke English and I asked the gentleman how I could dance. He told me to “click on the disco ball.” Well…I couldn’t find the disco ball and didn’t want to look like a loser just standing there in a room full of people dancing so I decided to fly around. Eventually I found another portal and decided to where it took me. I ended up back where I started!

I wouldn’t say I had a bad experience in Second Life. I don’t know if I logged on at a high traffic time (Monday around 8pm) but the program was very slow on my computer which made conversing with others really hard. Every time I would try and type something it would take my sentence about ten seconds to appear. It got annoying and eventually lead me to just not want to talk to people.

I can see why people join Second Life. It is a way of escapism and helps others connect and make new friends. While many establishments have integrated this program into their work life I am glad I have not had to join Second Life to communicate with others; I don’t think it is for me. I really enjoy the Sakai program my graduate school uses. I interact with my classmates and professors regularly and have connected with many of them outside of Sakai on social media.

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13 thoughts on “Trying Something New: Second Life

  1. Hi Alexis,
    I chose the same two avatars! I agree, I felt like I was a princess walking around which is why I enjoyed that avatar more than the goth girl. I find it interesting that we all ended up at different places every time we went in. I would have thought that there would be an entry point, but I guess not. I personally am not a huge fan of Second Life after this week, but I think that for some people it is a lot of fun. I think that if I had a couple of friends who were in it as well, it might be more fun? Maybe? I don’t know. I truthfully do enjoy engaging a lot more in the Sakai program. Great post!

    • Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who had trouble with their avatar! And I agree with you…I think if I belonged to a group or had friends that played the game too it would be more fun to be a part of!

    • I’m sure if I looked around more I would’ve found a Disney cultland…I was so confused by the whole thing. I think I spent the two hours just trying to figure out how to talk to people in English and actually converse…my computer hated the game and took forever!

  2. I decided to try and make my character look like myself, I see you took the immersed self approach. That’s actually the most common type of avatar I saw when I was playing. I almost felt out of place for trying to make my avatar look like myself when running into these people.
    I also ran into a dance club setting, except mine was full of people with skimpy-dressed women dancing–awkward to say the least. I also had a few connectivity issues, I think it was mostly depending on how many other people were in my same location. When I would just venture off alone, the game ran fairly smooth.
    Second Life wasn’t for me either.

    • I actually tried to make my avatar look like myself but couldn’t figure out how to change all of her features. Rather than continue to waste time on it I just picked the next best option…one that looked like a princess! And I didn’t run into a bunch of skanky girls at my dance club…mine was mostly men! Interesting…
      I don’t understand why the I had such bad problems with my Second Life program. My computer is newer I, I have my own wifi netowrk…the only answer I could think of was that I was playing during a high traffic time!

  3. I am very glad to see that you had an overall pretty good experience. Mine was awful and full of some not so pleasant situations. I am not sure if I just entered the wrong portal or if I entered the game at an off time (Saturday around noon), but within two minutes of signing on I was ready to be done. I loved that you made your avatar look like a Disney princess! I thought that was a nice touch. I chose the gothic girl thinking I could make her look like me, but I was wrong. I was not able to really change anything about her. I am glad this project is done and I am looking forward to not having to go through that experience again!

    • I can understand your feelings towards the game. I was ready to get off the game fast too, not because I had an unpleasant experiences but because I just kind of think of the game as a waste of time. While I thought it was cool to be able to experience something different I can definetely say that SL is not for me!

  4. I love your avatar! I spent way too much time trying to find a good one for myself that looked somewhat like me. After a few wasted hours, I finally gave up the very specific avatar search and just picked one so I could move on and explore. Mine had short brown hair (I have long brown hair) and was dressed sort of like a biker chick (which was my Halloween costume this past year — close enough, right? My husband went as a bicyclist. Get it? Haha, moving on.)

    Like you, I had sort of a neutral experience overall. But I don’t see myself using the program in the future unless I need to for work or school. Actually, after I posted this week’s blog post, I went ahead and uninstalled it from my computer. You were OK, Second Life, but I much prefer spending time on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest to SL.

    • I spent a lot of time on my avatar too…probably about 45 minutes! Your’s was cute too! Like you, I’d much rather spend time on social media than in SL! I think I value the interactions on these networks more!

  5. Alexis,
    Once I got the hang of flying I figured I might as well take advantage of the virtual experience and flew everywhere. For the most part I think other users were helpful if I asked them a question, but I still don’t see myself devoting any more time to Second Life because I would much rather interact in person or on social media.

  6. Alexis,
    I also got frustrated when SL was slow and I wasn’t able to do anything. It actually signed me out and I thought “I guess I’m done.” I said in my post that if I was paying $6 a month for SL to crash my computer, I would hate it.

    But like you I also thought flying around was pretty cool.

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