SL Reentry

I’m one of the students Prof Erde introduced to SL a year ago (there were just over half a million residents then) for the ICM 501 class. Surprisingly, I was the only one to choose an avatar of the opposite gender (I explained it for Vrinda’s master’s project). Several of us really enjoyed SL and stayed involved and in touch. After the class ended I began looking for ways to leverage SL professionally. I’ll write about that another time.

Now, with the addition of voice, my attendance at the real-life SLCC event (see previous post), etc., the complications have gotten sufficiently knotty that for this class I’m introducing a male “alt” that “looks like me.” Fewer explanations — but perhaps not as much fun.

As soon as I created him, I teleported off Orientation Island as fast as I could (and for some reason, it wasn’t easy). Consequently, I can’t say much about his “birthing” experience. From the first time around, though, I’ll never forget being pushed in my first few minutes. It was very unsettling and I ran over to a mentor to find out what it meant. She calmed me down and I decided not to press charges against the griefer.

One day some months later, I logged in and saw a message that Linden Labs was about to start a recruiting event at their HQ. I work in the online career space, so I teleported in and was one of the first to arrive. Philip (Rosedale) Linden was there. It must be strange for him to see all the avatars arriving (like the scene in Bladerunner when the replicant Roy visits his creator, Dr. Tyrell). I wonder whether Rosedale feels ma/paternal toward the SL avatars.

After talking “server load” to some of the more tech-savvy avatars, Philip asked me what I did and I said I enjoyed introducing people to SL, showing them around, and getting them oriented. He said that would probably end up being done not by Linden Labs but by other in-world residents or third-party organizations. So I was very interested to see the Ben & Jerry’s and L-Word “portals” now being offered to new users. Here’s the list I found today:

Pontiac Motorati
Azure Islands
MeltingdotsWalker (Japanese)
Ben & Jerry’s
STA Travel
Avatar Island
Second House of Sweden
The L Word
Second Life Netherland
Big Pond
Anshe Chung (Chinese)

What else for this first post? Prof asks, “How steep is the learning curve?” I’d say fairly steep: there were students in that ICM 501 class that never made it off Orientation Island. On the other hand, I showed SL to some friends one night and the college aged daughter of one of them sat down and in 20 minutes was completely accustomed to it. My own tween kids were into Club Penguin (recently acquired by Disney for up to $700 million) before I ever heard of SL. I suspect they will take to Virtual Worlds like SL fairly easily from here on.

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