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Gratitude Guest Blogger: Simon Walsh

Linden Lab


All together now!

I have been a resident in Second Life since May 2005, and my claim to fame is that I was the first avatar to use a wheelchair full time in SL. I, however, did not build my wheelchair, nor have I ever been interested in or able to design virtual wheelchairs. So, my first thanks goes clearly to the designers of my first wheelchairs. It also goes to the person who I never met, who helped me in SL, when I was a noob all those years ago.


In these season of goodwill, it is important to offer thanks to those to have supported us in our real and virtual lives. I would argue that for me SL has been a world of goodwill, and I feel grateful to everyone I have met in SL, far too many to mention – since they have all played an equal part in assisting me and my club, Wheelies, develop and grow in a way that has in return helped many people to develop and grow.

Let me explain Wheelies. Wheelies was never have designed to be another club. It formally opened on Dec. 1, 2006, from the combined efforts of many friends in SL. It was just a club for me and my friends. I of course wanted it to succeed within the internal world of SL, as the new kid on the block. It was therefore somewhat interesting and pleasurable when the club was featured on peak-time Canadian TV News a few months later, especially as I live in the UK. What I assumed was some nice one-off media turned into a catalog of media and student interest, which continues today. This humble activity has been talked about and researched about more times than I could count.

But that was only half the story, the public one, of one guy making a difference. It was always more than that, because Wheelies had an identity and spirit far beyond what I could possibly put into it, and there were times when my health and real-life circumstances meant I could put very little into the club. The club inspired others to make a difference with the club and in other ways in SL, people who inspired others – so a ripple effect was created that continues in SL to this day. No one specific person makes SL the wonderful place it is – the combination of all our efforts together is what makes it so great.

This means we all need to be thankful to each other for SL and the lived experiences we have in SL. It is an environment where people from all over the world can come together and naturally be more helpful and kindly to each other. In SL noobs are most more likely to be helped out, shown what to do and given gifts than anywhere in the real world. It is now inherent in the culture of the platform, which we can also give thanks for, as this is a virtual economy that works on true goodwill – regardless of background.

When Philip Rosedale imagined Second Life, I wonder whether he realized how much joy and pleasure it would bring to so many people? The fact that the platform is not going mainstream as quickly as some would like is not important ,because the true gifts in Second Life are so priceless. He created a ripple effect in which Wheelies only played a small part, and if anyone deserves our appreciation for our very virtual existences, this would indeed be a very good place to start.

- Simon Walsh/Stevens


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It's a small world, I was just thinking about Wheelies the other day. I've only visited the Group's land a couple of times in the past. Each time I met friendly, caring people there. Polgara is how I discovered Wheelies; not sure if she is still working with Wheelies, she's a great person.

Ripple effect indeed, I made a huge building, I thought it was perfect, then I realized that it was not accessible to Residents on wheels. (that's when I thinking of Wheelies)

Thanks for sharing Simon, happy holidays :smileyhappy:


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