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Second Life Spotlight - Bixyl Shuftan


Linden Lab

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This week we are shining a spotlight on Bixyl Shuftan, who just celebrated 14 years of reporting the Second Life news!

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Artwork of Bixyl Shuftan’s Second Life avatar by artist Alleara Snoodle

How long have you been in Second Life and how did you first hear about it?

I first started hearing about Second Life in 2006 when one of my online friends told me about it. She got me interested, and when I got high-speed internet that year, I signed up for it. But it wasn't until {the next} summer that I began logging on regularly.

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When and how did you get started writing about the latest news in Second Life?

After I began coming here on a regular basis, I wanted to know more about the place. So I started reading blogs and newsletters about the virtual world. One was the Second Life Newspaper, owned by JamesT Juno and run by Dana Vanmoer. After I sent in some reader submissions in late October 2006, they asked me to meet up with them. After a short conversation, {they} hired me as one of their reporters. So I was officially in {around} early November 2006.

For two and a half years, I would send the Second Life Newspaper articles about various people, places, and events at least once a week, often more, as well as most of its cartoons. But real life would catch up to James and Dana, and in June 2010 they sadly closed the paper. But the staff had been told ahead of time, so three other Residents and I started a new publication: the Second Life Newser. By July, it was clear we were around to stay. And although there have been changes in the staff since then (Gemma Cleanslate has thankfully remained onboard), we've continued to report the news about the people, places, and events, publishing online on a daily basis.

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The Second Life Newser Office in Second Life

Do you have a submission process for Residents who want to have their event or location promoted on your news blog?

For the majority of places and events, such as stores and club anniversaries, we generally charge an advertorial fee. But {for} charity events or places that are clearly a benefit to all, such as a well done nature park, a museum, or a benefit to raise money for illness research, we'll do a small advertisement for free. If we're impressed and have enough time, we may do a larger article.

I should note that we're hiring. We've always been open to talent, and have had some great writers over the years. So if anyone reading this has a latent for writing and wants to tell the Residents about notable people, places, and events (large and small), please contact me at bixylshuftan@gmail.com. If you haven't got the time, but still want to tell others about a great place or person, we accept reader submissions.

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Tell us about some of the other Residents in SL that inspire you and whose work you admire.

Oh, there have been many over the years. Dana Vanmoer was the person who showed me how to run a newsletter and a team. In the past, there was Paisley Beebe who did a live weekly talk show. Delinda Dyrssen had her "Live and Kickin" show to promote musicians. Pooky Amsterdam for her intellectual game show "The 1st Question" and videos, as well as machinima artist Chantal Harvey, among others. In more recent years with Second Life media, Draxtor Despres has made an impressive showing between his podcasts, videos, and book club.

A number of inspiring people have been in the Relay for Life. They've demonstrated a shining example of the good virtual worlds can do. There have also been some talented examples among my virtual neighbors, the Sunweavers, such as Shockwave Yareach and Cynthia Farshore, our top builders who have designed some award-winning structures. Nydia Tungsten and I have supported one another on the projects we've done, she's probably best known for her music videos, as well as being a published writer in real life.

I should also mention Alleara Snoodle, a brilliant and kind woman with physical disabilities who accomplished so much. Sadly, she passed away recently. 

Finally of course, there's Gemma Cleanslate, who's been with the team since the start. For over 11 years she's been contributing an article or two a week. I can't imagine the paper without her.

I could mention many others, but there just isn't the space.

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Are there any big news stories in early 2022, or projects you are working on that you’d like people to know about?

We'll be writing our Year in Review and for the past few years, we've also been doing a "Man of the Year" article about the person or persons who had the most impact on Second Life news. In February there will be the "Hug a Linden" event, and the start of the official Relay for Life fundraiser season.

I've also been writing a science fiction novel, "The Corsean Encounter," which is just about done, currently going through some editing. It should be published before too long.

Where can people follow your work? Please share links to your sites and social media accounts.

The Newser’s official site: https://slnewser.blogspot.com 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/slnewser 

Besides checking it for the daily news, you can read the archives for past events, as well as articles on some great people and places.

So stay informed about the news, in both real life and Second Life. And while we may be the best source, we're not the only one. By all means, check out other newsletters and blogs (and in real life check out multiple sources of news). But we're the newsletter that reports every day on the people, places, and events across the grid, large and small.

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We hope you enjoyed learning more about Bixyl. Each of these weekly Spotlight posts will feature a different Resident to showcase the spectrum of experiences and personalities found in our virtual world. If you have created something inworld that you’re proud of, or have had a deeply meaningful experience that could brighten someone else’s day, please sign up! More info here: https://second.life/spotlight-signup
 

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