We have all heard the rumours, we have all been part of the discussions about the cliques, about the nastiness, the scheming . . . but there is not always proof and often those who dare to raise the question, or dare to take on established personalities ... pay for it. Being as Second Life is a choice we make on how to spend our time, most are not willing to draw the same lines in the sand that they might in the real world. We look the other way and mind our own business and hope to move through our virtual reality without a target on our back. You play the game the way it is played or don't play at all.
Most public squabbles are played out with a flurry of "he said, she said" without any real view of the outcome or the real truth. Many squabbles are played out quietly and wiser people choose to minimize the damage by keeping their mouths shut.
So what is the truth of Second Life and the time and experience here?? Clearly every person will have a different interpretation of that, and somewhere, in the collective gathering of all of those summations, lies the answer. I think people who are out of Second Life, and have moved on with their lives, have a unique opportunity to talk about what Second Life was, and was not for them. You can dismiss their viewpoint or not, but I think you will find it fascinating.
People who have nothing more to gain or lose, speak their truth about their time here. Honest? Confronting? Disturbing? Inspiring? That will be your decision.
I have some very positive thoughts about what Second Life is, even amongst all the negatives, but have found myself wondering what people think of their time here once they have some distance between the experience and themselves.
I am open to talking to anyone who has left and to hear what they have to say about their experience . . but today I am bringing you Colby Pevensey.
Colby Pevensey was known for Fashion Institute, MyFace Models, OnEdge Radio, Scruplz and Peoplz Magazine, and WorldWide Media where he was last employed as President and COO. Here is his exit interview with me, more than a year after he left SL due to rather unfortunate personal circumstances. It was his intention to come back, when he left, but he never did.
Why did you originally start in SL and did you have any specific goals or hopes for your experience?
I think I started SL in November of 2007. I came to SL to investigate business opportunities.
Were you role playing a character or was your avatar the real you?
The real me. Even used my real first name.
Looking back now, do you think there was another reason you went in and stayed as long as you did?
Not at first, but perhaps the longer I stayed, the more the reasons changed.
How did SL help you?
I honestly can’t think of anyway SL helped me.
Did SL harm you in any way, if so how?
SL harmed me in that I become addicted, (denied that I was but I was) and also that it consumed so much of my time that it had adverse effects on my real life. It stole 3 years of my life.
What was the best experience you had?
I met many people with similar interests.
What was the worst?
That the people there were just playing a game and did not really care about the person behind the avatar. They SAID that the cared, they even BELIEVED that they cared...but in actuality....it ultimately was a virtual game and that the real people were expendable at a whim.
What was the cost, if any, for your RL? Or was it just totally a benefit?
Devastating to my rl. I lost touch with my rl family and reality. SL sucked out 3 years of life I could have spent with my family.
I am sure you lived through, perhaps even survived some or many of the dramas that unfold in SL, can you speak to a couple of things about those types of incidents. Firstly the perpetrators and secondly the victims. What would you like to say to them in terms of helpful, brotherly advice?
I was totally victimized by ruthless, mean, venomous people that set out to destroy my Second Life and the businesses that I created. Jealousy and fear motivated those in enviable positions to ruin anyone that presented a jeopardy to their own endeavors.
Do you miss it? What specifically do you miss.
I don't miss it at all. However, strangely enough, even though I have been out of SL for well over 2 years, I have these flashbacks to sl. It’s eerie and strange as if calling out to me to return. Its a total addiction, and to think otherwise is naive.
What has LL failed to understand about the potential of SL?
What about society as a whole, what should they know about SL?
Zero. No one inside SL wants that out to the public, and the public can’t handle that truth.
I know that you were involved/exposed to the fashion industry during your time in SL. What is your take on the whole dynamics of the group.
Sex, more sex. And then more sex. Add to that, drama, hypocrites, back stabbing and egos. I thought while I was there that it was more than that...but looking back on it, this is my honest conclusion.
Do you think anyone can come into SL, work hard and get ahead or is there more involved than that?
More than that. The self appointed gods will allow only those they want to succeed, and eliminate those they do not want to succeed. I worked very hard and enjoyed a degree of success...but in the end, I was only allowed to succeed to the level that did not jeopardize the gods territory.
Did there come a point when you knew that the shine was pretty much gone for you? Did you do anything to try and rekindle that or were you prepared to walk away at that point? In hindsight do you think you should have left earlier?
I definitely wish I had left sooner. The shine was gone when I was falsely accused of virtual property theft.
Romantic relationships in SL ... what is that all about and do you think they are healthy, fun, dangerous or all the above?
Dangerous if you are married and want to have a healthy relationship with your real life spouse. Probably not healthy. Sure there is fun to be had there.
Anyone from SL still make an active effort to keep in touch with you? Any long lasting friendships or have you completely moved on?
Not really. Just one. YOU. I have completely moved on.
Would you be happy to see your daughters plugging into SL and being as excited about it as you once were? Why or why not?
Fuck no. Because I know what goes on there.
Do you think people really understood who you were while you were here? If not, what are some of the things you think people missed and you wish they had known?
Not understood. I wanted to create a team of partners that were as enthusiastic about my vision as I was. Share in the success. My formula was to hire the very best people, pay them better than anyone else would and expect more from them. I wanted to create a new direction of thinking out of the box perspectives...which scared the hell out of the gods. Hence... destroying my vision by alienating anyone who participated with me.
Looking back what do you think SL could have been, maybe should have been for you?
I really don't know. Looking back, I simply wish I had just spent those three years doing real life.
What are you doing now? Do you think SL contributed in any way to the path you are now on? If so, what and how?
I do photography. I am still in the fashion/modelling industries. Except now, I work with real life models, agencies and photographers. I love it.
Colby can be found with his real life endeavours on his Blog The Colby Files. Check out some of his amazing pictures there.