Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Second Life Retrospective - Interviews From Past Members No.2 Anonymous Male.


Why did you originally start in SL and did you have any specific goals or hopes for your experience?

I was dragged to SL by a friend from a chat room, and my 1st impression was not extremely good. I must say it was in 2006, and SL had nothing to do then with what it does now. Avatars were simply ugly, the possibilities were very limited, and most people were very "on guard". I had no specific goals then, and I just gave it a try out of curiosity.

Were you role playing a character or was your avatar the real you?

I was not, I never was, role playing a character in the sense of being a neko, some vampire, an animal or whatever. My avatar has always been "human" in all aspects, and a male, like me. Now, as to say if my avatar was the real me, I am not sure how this could be achieved. After SL made some improvements, I must say my avatar was a bit like me when I was 25. OK, a bit more handsome lol.

Looking back now, do you think there was another reason you went in and stayed as long as you did?

There was no other reason than curiosity for me to go to SL. After the 1st 6 months that I mostly spent observing around and wondering what use I could made of this game, I gave myself a challenge, which was my reason for staying. 

I decided to NOT use my credit card in any way, to see if I could "survive" and progress by myself only, starting from scratch, with the only baggage that was given to any newbie (an avatar and some clothes) and the available freebies. I did a lot of things to earn money, some of them morals may not approve (these were the most rewarding moneywise). Let's just say 2 years later I had a steady account of some $L 25K, the best skins and clothes from good designers, and I retired from "business" in 2008.

How did SL help you?

SL did not help me in any way, except perhaps in making me improve my C+ programming skills for scripts (a very little).

Did SL harm you in any way, if so how?

SL did not harm me in any way. Some people hurt me, but not more than in RL, so I can't reasonably blame SL for that.

What was the best experience you had?

Some of the best experiences I had were when I achieved a building I was satisfied of, or finally found the solution to a script.

What was the worst?

The worse experience might well be being really bored at times, not finding anything interesting to do, or a bad connection that blocked me while I wanted to do something. But this never lasted, since the solution was just a click away. Just log off.

What was the cost, if any, for your RL?  Or was it just totally a benefit?

 No real cost for my RL. No benefit either. I always considered SL as just a game. You don't really expect more benefits than fun when you go play bowling with friends, and if you don't become an addict, the impact on your RL is negligible.

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?

Of course I have seen a lot of drama. Either being directly involved or not. In EVERY case it came from a SL relationship, so I will only speak generally, because all were pretty much the same. From what I could see, there were two main types: the SL - SL drama and the SL - RL drama, although the SL - SL one is in some way connected to RL too.

So, the SL-SL drama : two people have a relationship in SL. Since it is SL only, one ends by cheating. It's usually the man, because men being more materialistic than women, they cannot see a SL relationship like a RL one. They get tired of the "just cyber romance" stuff, and since it cannot be anything else than cyber, they tend to replace what they miss (the RL part) by diversity. In other words, and to make it very simple : SL limits me to a cyber relationship, so I will compensate this limitation by "having" a lot of girls.

This usually ends with a break up, but well ..it was just cyber, and it's usually the woman who makes the most fuss about it (look at the posts on FB about "assholes") because women tend to consider SL as RL, which of course is very dangerous.

The SL - RL drama: these are of several types :

The 1st type is two RL partners going to SL together (or only one of them goes), and one (usually the man again) is tempted to look around (after all, it's just cyber). Of course his SL/RL (or only RL) gf doesn't appreciate. This can lead to a break up in RL. My advice in this case is for a RL couple to NOT go to SL as an SL couple. The SL/RL separation must be clear, and it must be agreed by both parties that SL is a GAME and that either only one or the both of them go to SL, they go there for fun and that anything they may do cyber is of no importance and will remain cyber.   Even with such an agreement, I still find it very dangerous.

2nd type is two persons having a SL relationship and one at least of them want the relation to become RL. If it's not technically possible or only one of them wants RL, frustration will appear, leading to drama and they will break.

3rd type is a SL relation that actually transforms into a RL one. In this case, drama will be caused by the fact that they are most often deceived. He/she is not as nice, sexy in RL as he/she is in SL. Oh ? Really? Lol

A lot of this problems are actually caused by an ambiguous attitude of women who usually use an avatar that would make Aphrodite herself jealous, while keeping on claiming they want to be loved for what they are and that being fat is beautiful (Again, Cf. FB posts). I am sorry, being obese is NOT beautiful.

All in all, my main advice to avoid drama is to NOT consider SL as RL. SL is a game, and the rules in a game are not the same as in reality. Do you feel devastated when in some videogame the marine you are impersonating gets killed with his whole platoon by the "enemy"? No, you don't.  The problem is that it's men mostly who play videogames, and women who want to "import" reality into SL.

Of course, not all drama may come from relationships. But once again, my advice would be the same. Do not consider SL as reality, do not expect to find in SL the same rules people usually comply to in RL. Or you'll be hurt.

Do you miss it?  What specifically do you miss?

No I don't miss SL. If I did, I'd go back to it. I think I've seen and done all I could do with it.

What has LL failed to understand about the potential of SL?

I don't think one can say LL failed to understand something about the potential of SL. LL is providing us a platform with some tools. It's the "SLers" who make SL what it is, it's them who have all the potential. SL has neither no potential in itself nor an infinity of potential. Same as a set of colours and paint brushes, the potential resides in the one who is using them. In my hands they have no potential. In the ones of Rembrandt for instance, they are magic wands.

I'd rather say LL failed to understand the dangers of SL, although I don't even think they did but rather that they just don't care. LL is a commercial enterprise, its main concern is to make money.

What about society as a whole, what should they know about SL?

They should know SL is dangerous, even more addictive than any classical videogame, because it is more than a videogame, it is a place to build your own world. As I said above, LL provides a platform, the SLers build a society on it. And the danger is of course to find this world better than the real one, and to use it to escape the real one, as I have seen many do.

You know I am not very religious, but I will nevertheless make a religious comparison:

LL is God.

LL God created a basic universe, with some rules he called scripts, some basic environment (land with trees, grass, rocks, water...), etc.

And on the 6th day, LL God was happy of what he had done (i.e. they thought it could sell).

So on the 6th day, LL God created avatars, and offered them this world. Avatars have their free will.

LL God will seldom interfere, only when avatars definitely cross what LL god called "TOS" and which translates either into "Terms Of Service" or "Tablets Of Stone", a coincidence in acronym that speaks volumes to me 

Hence there is a chance that all disasters, sorrows, and even wars happen in this world too, and contaminate the other world, the real one, which doesn't need it.

Do you think anyone can come into SL, work hard and get ahead or is there more involved than that?

I am not sure that "to work hard" is the intention of most people who come to SL. As to "get ahead", compared to whom and in which way?  And I don't think having spent some time in SL won't leave marks, if it's what you mean. At the very minimum, it is an interesting experience on a sociological point of view.

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?

Yes, as I said before, I thought I had seen and done all I could, and thus I left. I don't think one needs to be prepared. It comes naturally. One day you feel like "Shall I go to SL? To do what?". If you can't answer the 2nd question, chances are that you'll find something else to do than going to SL.

I don't think either one needs to rekindle their enthusiasm for SL. SL is not a necessity. You feel like going or you don't. As for thinking I should have left earlier, it's the same. I left when I decided to, and I see no reason to leave earlier than when you decide to, and thus to think you should have.

Romantic relationships in SL ... What is that all about and do you think they are healthy, fun, dangerous or all the above?

As for romantic relationships, I think I have already talked a lot about them in the § about drama. They are not dangerous and can be all the rest you suggest as long as people keep in mind SL is not RL and as I already said, that thus the same rules and expectations cannot apply.  Which, on second thought, would make me say they are mostly dangerous, since most women won't be able to accept some SL differences while most men won't accept SL limitations (pure spiritual romance) and will then compensate with diversity, which will flatter their male ego.

I would say that the kind of relationship SL offers just enhances the differences in how women see a relationship compared to how men see it. Women like SL relationship because they are purely sentimental. Men get easily bored in an SL relationship precisely for the same reason.  And more, SL relationship happen more easily because female avatars look attractive, and are destroyed because female avatars are attractive. 

Hence ... drama.

Anyone from SL still make an active effort to keep in touch with you?  Any long lasting friendships or have you completely moved on?

I am still in touch (through FB) with most people I was in touch with in SL just before I left it.
Actually, I can talk to them the same way on FB than in SL, so why bother going to SL ?

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?

I don't think SL would excite my daughter. Would I be happy if she used it? No, I would not, but I would not be sad or worried either, as long as she didn't spend 6 hrs a day on it and started speaking about SL like "yesterday, my friend and I went shopping", as if SL was reality. Then I would worry.

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?

I think people understood who I was because, at least with those I had a friendship relation (I mean not just a "one night stand" talk) I have been totally open to who I was in RL, what I was doing, etc. Furthermore, there are at least 5 persons I met in SL that I also met in RL afterwards.

Looking back what do you think SL could have been, maybe should have been for you?

Looking back, I don't think SL could or should have been anything else that it has been to me.

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?

As I already said, I am still in touch through FB with people I met in SL. Otherwise, I am spending more time in RL. Actually, all the time I used to spend in SL (which perhaps amounted to 1 to 2 hrs a day)

Any final comments?

As I said, I mostly find SL dangerous. I compared it to an alternative "world" created by the God LL, which has however a major difference with the real world.

This difference is that you don't have to work to survive in the SL world. It's a world of entertainment, of laziness, entirely devoted to pleasure (including the darkest ones) with however the limit that those pleasures remain cyber, but are all offered to you at a ridiculous price, because your "outer world" (RL) currency is of extremely high value in SL.

An extremely little amount of people work in SL, and among them, probably less than 0.001 % earn money in an amount that is worth to be mentioned.  This is precisely the danger of SL, especially for people (and again it's mostly the case for women) who have an unpleasant, unsatisfying RL life.
Same as Hannibal weakened in the delights of Capua, some people can find their SL "life" more pleasurable than their real life.

This is why I find SL dangerous. Because when it improves to the 3D level, with all sensations rendered through captors and googles that you will put on to play, then we'll be in the movie Matrix.
If you, or someone you know, would like to take part in these interviews, please contact me online in SL as Bliss Windlow, or on Facebook under the same name, or at my email:  blisswindlow@hotmail.com.   Whether you want your name used or not, is totally up to you.  I will not edit your responses excepting that I will now allow for anything that is aimed at someone currently in SL by way of naming them for some wrong doing.  The purpose of this is dicsussion and exploration, not a witch hunt or retribution. 
Post a Comment