Before the summer vacation months hit (for most of us), the lovely Strawberry Singh has asked us a NEW set of “20 Questions” that help us delve a little deeper in our Second Lives and perhaps learn something about ourselves and share it with others. Do pop over to her fantastic blog and then post your own responses to these intriguing and important questions. Berry herself is planning a month-long trip in June that sounds fabulous! Whilst we will travel this summer too (although not as much as usual, owing to the ongoing storm repairs at home), we’ll mostly be jetting off on daytrips and weekend getaways. Bon voyage, Berry! And thank you for this intriguing meme!
Meme instructions: Answer the following 20 personal questions about your Second Life. Don’t forget to share a link to your post in the comments there!
- When and how did you discover Second Life? – Aeon and I heard about SL at a conference. The presenters shared some segments of SL in their video/PPT presentation. We were intrigued. This was in 2005…but we didn’t learn more until the same conference in 2008. We became residents in early 2009.
- Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them? – We knew very little about virtual worlds – only what had been shared at the earlier conference (see #1). We were intrigued, but knew basically nothing. I had been exploring VR in medical/psychological applications, but that is not the same – or wasn’t at the time; the educational possibilities were of great interest (and still are).
- Has Second Life met your expectations? – Like Berry, neither Aeon nor I had many expectations on joining SL; it was a completely new adventure – and one that we continue to enjoy immensely.
- If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself? – I would tell her: don’t worry! You really can’t break SL, and it’s OK that you keep falling into the water; you’ll learn how to navigate around soon enough. Be your inquisitive self and EXPLORE!
- How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles inworld? – Flying was easier for me than any other mode of getting around. As long as I could stay up in the air, I wasn’t falling into the nearest body of water! *giggle* Walking took me awhile, as I kept trying to use the mouse to direct myself. Once I shifted to using the arrow keys, it was a LOT easier. Aeon (who is less coordinated than I in RL) had it down pat in about 2 minutes! As a semi-professional-level dancer, that was hard for me to take, let me tell you. However, we both adjusted just fine.
- Do you have a mystery alt? – I do now, but I didn’t until last year. I just didn’t think I could manage more than one, but it’s really easy and I appreciate the privacy I have using the alt – which I do, infrequently. Aeon just got one, and it’s fun for us to go round when no one knows us!
- Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be? – Mireille is me. Her personality is very close to mine, and her looks are not too far off. For example, I am petite and have a similar skin tone and colouring. She has a more extensive wardrobe and can change her appearance much more readily than I can in RL (of course), but otherwise, she and I are pretty closely aligned. Aeon is also very similar in size and appearance in RL. We are both taller in SL, but only because of the general technics of the grid; relatively speaking, we are about the same difference in height in RL as we are in SL: I look up to Aeon. *giggles*
- Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How? – There is indeed someone we have met who has inspired us in so many ways – both SL and RL. Our lives in both worlds are richer for this friendship – both personally and professionally – and we are most grateful. The depth and scope of our love of the arts has been expanded by knowing this person, and there are others whom we have met who have also positively impacted our interest and understanding of artistic expression. This includes the entire gamut: visual art, literature, theatre, music, dance, etc. It is absolutely thrilling to experience such profound artistic expression – wherever it is found.
- Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world? – Both Aeon and I feel that it is about as easy to create strong bonds and relationships in-world as it is in RL. Just like in RL, it all depends on the people. We’re fairly private about RL and have never shared personally identifying information casually – although some people know generalities and what some of our interests are. A very few know more.
- Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life? – We know several couples who met in SL and who are very happy together in SL. We also know couples who met in SL and who have married in both worlds and are quite happy and fulfilled; some have children now and most continue enjoying both worlds. We know of a very special instance of someone coming into SL specifically to find and reconnect with someone from their past. They did just that and are now married and very happy in both lives. We love seeing them in SL and RL and find them charming.
- How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life? – Both Aeon and I think it’s wonderful when people meet and date in SL; there are so many experiences to share with someone special here. Not all relationships last, but that’s OK. As long as people are honest with one another and are basically caring, we think it’s lovely. [NOTE: the term “playing” SL can have many connotations, depending on how people view it; it is a game to some, and not a game to others – and there are varying views along that spectrum. It also depends on what “play” means to a person. For us, SL is no game at all – although we can appreciate that it is to some – especially those who come here to role-play. As long as SL is not taken too lightly (or, rather, as long as the interactions with others in SL respect individuality and are at least civil – especially outside RP), we’re OK with how anyone views the platform.]
- How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing second life? – Whilst we are venue/gallery owners (and lose money every month), we know there are many (mostly creators or performers) who do quite well economically here. If we paid better attention to it, we’d come a lot closer to “breaking even” than we do. But, we don’t mind; SL is an interest for us, and when it’s time to move on or change what we do, we will. For now, we’re ecstatically happy helping to support and encourage art and creativity in both worlds; it’s an investment.
- Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly. – Personal creativity, engagement in the arts, and our own relationship; we’re married in both worlds, and are very happy. We talk about SL a lot and it has inspired our writing and other creativity in meaningful ways.
- If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? (Kind of like the Matrix) – Maybe. We’ll try to keep up with developments and decide, step by step, what kinds of involvements we wish. We have stayed logged in all night together – sleeping in both worlds, even – when one of us has had to be away from home for more than a few nights. We just wanted to be together, and our SL home is the perfect place for us. It can be very comforting to be so close when one is away. Fortunately, we do less travel alone now, but we even enjoy being in-world together when we are in the same room in RL!
- How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is? – Sometimes, people can be quite rude and uncaring in SL, but they are rare enough. The converse is also true, in our experience; people can reach for new depths of kindness here, as anonymity sometimes helps us open up and be more ourselves, more freely. Some of the agencies and organisations serving in SL to help people with various disabilities and challenges are just wonderful, and we have met several non-profit professionals as well as those they serve. It’s exciting to see someone blossom here when the barriers of RL are released; we have witnessed that, and it’s inspiring.
- How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion?– I am soooo different from Berry on this one! Instead of becoming more financially responsible, I am a pretty free spender in SL – and I have the Inventory to prove it! *giggles* I have started keeping track since we opened the venue/galleries, and I am doing a bit better. Fashion and style are important to me in both worlds, but Aeon – as long as he likes what I put him in – is less style conscious (RL and SL), although he does love a spa day.
- Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it? – I agree with Berry on this one: as technology changes the mode and scope of our interactions, relationships will change in ways that are presently more or less unpredictable; I think it very important that we foster and maintain depth and meaning in relationships. We can do that if we take the care to do so. Still, it is a little scary, as the possibilities continue to expand. Perhaps, though, it is more exciting than frightening…
- If technology progressed tomorrow to allow you to send emotions to people the way you’d send text or voice messages, would it enrich your SL experience or infringe on it? – Having an increased capacity to share emotional expression could be very positive, although managing the way it is done to ensure accuracy will be important. As with everything else, step by step will help us adapt well.
- Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in second life alone. – Personal creativity; time management; balance in activities.
- If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud or something else? – If this ever happened, I think they’d be very intrigued! (We are a curious lot!)
Thank you, Berry, for this insightful meme! We enjoyed doing it.