Second Life

Introduction to Second Life

Second life is a virtual world, created by Linden Labs, where users, called residents, can interact as avatars.

The Second Life world is called "The Grid" and consists of destinations which avatars can teleport to.

The grid is divided into the under 18 grid and the over 18 grid but nobody under the age of 16 can join.

Joining is free for basic features and a fee structure is in place if a user wants more advanced features.

The currency on Second Life is the Linden or L$. They can be purchased for US dollars and other "real" currencies. There is actually an exchange rate that can be followed on the website. L$ are used in Second Life to purchase virtual goods and services like new clothes, body features, to attend events, play games and more.

Joining

Joining Second Life is simple. Visit their home page at [http://secondlife.com] and select the "join now" prompt.

From here you will select a basic avatar, a user name, password and give other basic information like your birth date for determining which grid you will join.

Beginner

The beginner will most likely want to change their avatar into something more unique to suite their purposes.

Avatars can be people, animals, robots or a vehicle.

Most users choose to be a person and they can modify that person to look like themselves or to resemble someone they'd like to look like or they can just have fun with it.

Click on the link below to decide which way I went.

My Avatar

Once you've decided on an avatar you can check out the grid. You can explore the grid and chat with other residents through their avatars.

Locations on the grid can be accessed by pointing and clicking on the world map from the Second Life home page or by making a selection from the Destinations tab once your avatar is on the grid.

The Destinations tab breaks locations down by category. There are approximately 100 categories and they include:

  • What's Hot Now
  • Chat
  • Newcomer
  • Popular Places
  • Music
  • Editor's Picks
  • Real
  • Adventure/Fantasy
  • Art
  • Beaches
  • Romantic
  • SciFi
  • Strange
  • Urban
  • Vampires

Each category has multiple locations to choose from and explore. Have fun!

Advanced

The advanced user can be creative on Second Life and even earn money.

Advanced users can learn to design things such as clothing or build things such as cars and homes or learn to code in order to bring objects to life.

These virtual creations can become merchandise in Second Life and can be purchased for L$.

Other Uses for Second Life

  • Education - MIT and other colleges are using virtual classrooms for teaching.
  • Promotion - Companies are using virtual store fronts to promote their products.
  • Symposiums - With minimal development this free product can be set up much like the 3-D meeting software employed by Merck in the CIO.com Online Collaboration article.

Personal Experience

I only scratched the surface of Second Life. Creating the avatar was fun. Interacting with other avatars was odd and unrealistic. The ones I engaged would either not respond or walk away mid conversation. Maybe they didn't like my avatar's appearance.

A female associate had a totally different experience when her voluptuous avatar was accosted in a shopping mall.

Conclusion

Second Life is a new generation in Chat Rooms. It adds a degree of fantasy that was not available with just IM chat and there is enormous opportunity for residents to use their creative energies and abilities to develop amazing virtual worlds and even make some money.

According to a November 8th article on Slate.com, titled Why Second Life Failed, Second Life started with a bang and companies were willing to invest resources into opening Second Life storefronts and even dedicating departments to it's future. Now it is limping along in 2011 with most commercial businesses abandoning their storefronts.

But with a million users logged in every month it still has a following and maybe they are perfectly happy having shaken the corporate bug. Maybe those that remain are content with Second Life being pure fantasy and would rather not walk down one of their virtual streets and see Reebok billboards or Dell stores in their virtual malls. Linden Labs on the other hand are probably not too excited about the down turn and according to Wikipedia recent layoffs confirm they may be struggling.

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