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What is Second Life to you?

 

I have no doubt what I have to say will be very unpopular among some of you and then others will appreciate it.

I pose the question; What is Second Life to you?

Is SL just a game that you log into when you're bored or during free time? Is it a means by which to make a living? Is it a place to connect with friends from all over? Is it a venue to stream your art, writings, music?

Who are the people in SL to you?

Are they simply avatars you greet and interact with while in world and when you unplug they cease to exist until you log in again? Are they co-workers? Are they friends you met online and now have a real life connection with? Are they real life friends you introduced the game to? Are they fans of your art, writings, music?

It's important that you have a solid answer to these questions in my opinion, and that those you interact with have an understanding of how you see SL because it allows them the choice of how much they choose to interact with you and how close they choose to become with you. Because if SL is simply a game to you and those in it are simply avatars, is it fair then to allow others to form an attachment to you? Likewise, if SL is a means by which you also connect with your real world work or activities; those you interact with in world should understand that you take it more seriously than some before they get involved. For instance, if you hire someone to work at your venue and you expect them to conduct themselves as a respectable employee and not show up dressed as a flying monkey; this is something they need to know from the start.

How about relationships? How do you see your relationships in Second Life?

I know this is a question that is often asked. I don't want to duplicate any previous articles; instead I want to point out that even though Second Life is considered a “game”, it is so much more to many. For some it's their everything. Take for example someone who is bed bound; SL becomes a means for them to have some kind of life because in SL there are no physical limitations. How about the elderly woman who lives alone; perhaps in SL she's young and beautiful again and re-living her life the way she wishes she could in her real life. Maybe there's an aspiring singer/song writer who just can't get that big break in the real world, SL allows them to be a rock star and perform for hundreds every week and even have a manager.

All of these interactions form bonds and friendships and romantic interests.

What happens when someone decides that SL is no longer for them? This happened to me several years ago. It interfered with my real life and through an interaction with someone in SL I was victim of an abusive relationship. Without going into details; let me just say I decided for my own mental well being, I left to tend to my body and my mind and my life. I was gone for several years. I came back when Covid19 forced many of us to remain indoors and disconnected from those around us. But I came back with caution, I told myself. My intent was to bring my real world publication into SL; which I did. I've hired a staff, created a venue and obtained land. Through all of this I have formed new friendships and connected with old ones. Some of those friendships are carried over into my real life via the connections of Facebook and Discord. Some of those friendships go even further in that we have exchanged phone numbers and even snail mail addys. If I were to leave SL again; I know that those I have created a real life connection with will at least remain in communication. Unfortunately those I only have an SL connection with will literally vanish like turning off the switch of a light.

This brings me to the reason for writing this article.

For those of you who are able to keep your relationships strictly in SL; why do you do it? More importantly; HOW do you do it? How are you able to disconnect your heart and mind from making a human connection? Some would say this is narcissism. I can think of but a few reasons why someone would want to keep their SL connections strictly in SL.

Perhaps, someone's SL life is complete fantasy. And I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that. It is after all a gaming platform. But, perhaps everything about their SL life is fiction.

Perhaps, someone is married in their real life yet having a completely alternate relationship in SL.

Perhaps, someone is a real life celebrity just wanting to hang out with regular folks. Yes, it happens.

Then there is the person who doesn't have anything to hide, isn't married, isn't famous, they just simply don't care to let anyone in. They keep SL relationships in SL because when they decide to “ghost” them or disappear or block; the person they've abandoned will have no recourse and no way to connect again. Yes, they could create an alt and I know many do this, but the original relationship is lost forever. This is what I have trouble understanding. Why would anyone want to do this? It's hurtful, it's rude, it's insensitive and it's selfish. If this is your intent, then you have no right to form any kind of bond or relationship that causes the other to care about you because you aren't giving them the choice of allowing themselves to connect or not.

So again, I ask you; What is Second Life to YOU? What do you get out of it? What do you put into it?

Second Life is unique in that it is nearly entirely user created content. WE; avatar by avatar, create the virtual world we live in and it is as big if not much bigger than the actual world we live in as it is only limited by our imaginations. The places we can go, the things we can do; it's all so wonderful. There are very dark sides to SL as well and to each his own for wanting to explore that. But again, I ask; what is Second Life to YOU? What do you think it is to those you are connected to? Do you think they see it as you do? Have you asked them?

What happens when someone unintentionally crosses that boundary you have set up and they go from an SL only acquaintance to a somewhat if not wholly real life friend. How about those who start out as Second Life romantic partners and end up real life married? Still... what about those who's real life marriages end because of a Second Life relationship?

It's all so complicated isn't it? Those lines get blurred. Is it ok if they get blurred? If it's not ok, why is it not ok?

As I said I was in SL for many years and left and only came back when Covid forced me to shut down my real life business. Will I stay? For how long? What happens to the relationships I've formed when I'm gone?

Let's talk briefly about those who pass away. A couple of times this year I received notice of someone I knew passing away. I only knew them by their avatar yet they still impacted my life and their passing impacted my emotions, perhaps not on the same scale; but it still did. I mean no disrespect by what I am about to say, but have you ever wondered how many avatars pass away yet the real life person that was behind them still lives? Maybe they wanted a fresh start and created a new avatar. Maybe like real life their SL became so complicated and busy that they wanted out. It's much easier to “kill off” a fake life than it is a real one.

I am not saying the folks I knew did that, nor am I saying everyone does that; but does it ever cross your mind that it happens? That maybe, just MAYBE the person you hear of that passed away that never had any real life contact with anyone; that just maybe they never really died and yet here you are having a whole memorial for them and they may be standing in your midst observing it all. Morbid to think of, I realize; but I bet it happens.

What about those who really die? The only connection YOU had with them was through SL? So you can only grieve in world and not with their real life family and friends because to those folks you probably don't exist. Yet, you experience a real loss.

Real or not, when an avatar passes away you experience loss. Their presence in your world real and imaginary is no longer. You log in, you can no longer see them online. Their IM's go unanswered. Their notices forever capped. You no longer see them dancing at events or hanging out in the clubs or favorite hot spots. Real or not their presence is definitely missed, no matter how you think of Second Life.

Each avatar has a real live human behind it. Whether you want to admit that or not, whether that's something you accept or not. Each avatar has a real live human being with a heart beat creating all the interactions that you have with them in world. Our avatars have brains now and I swear they look as though they breathe. My hope is that this reminds you that although you may be looking at a cartoon version of someone or a completely fictional creation, the one controlling it is very real. Your actions, your words have a real impact on everyone that you touch in SL whether you like it or not. If you are not mature enough to accept that and the responsibility that comes with that; then you should not allow yourself to connect with anyone in a game as complicated and immersed as Second Life.

Through Second Life we have the ability to touch the lives of people we may never meet in real life, folks from all walks of life and from far away. It's amazing, but it's also an awesome responsibility that I think too many take far too lightly. At the very least, choose your words and your interactions with caution and with kindness. You truly never know who it is that you are really interacting with. Perhaps you are befriending a true celebrity or maybe it's just a girl/guy from your own neighborhood. It shouldn't matter. Be kind. Don't intentionally set out to do harm and never ever demean someone's existence by thinking of them as “just an avatar”.

Edited by Dreams Riler
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2 hours ago, Dreams Riler said:

Don't intentionally set out to do harm and never ever demean someone's existence by thinking of them as “just an avatar”.

/me attaches his KickButt-Animator and attacks the nearest bot next to him.

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3 hours ago, Dreams Riler said:

I pose the question; What is Second Life to you?

It's a creative, fun platform for me to experience alone or with others but not romantically.  I do not want a romantic internet involvement at all period EVER.  So, no, just because I might be in a human avatar doesn't mean someone should look to me for romantic involvement - read profiles first.  Not all people here want to engage in romantic involvement.   My profile is all business now but it used to say 'not here for romantic involvement' and still I would be hit on.

You writing is very long but one thing to remember is you cannot control other people into behaving how you want them to behave, so I cannot even expect others to read profiles first before assuming I might be a potential score to them.  However, most people inworld have always been pretty great.  I've 'only' noticed some aloofness from certain SL "friends" AFTER I became a Dinkie (a tiny cat avatar - which is NOT a furry, btw as Dinkies are very small).  Then, I got treated with a cold shoulder by a few human avatars but I gained so many wonderful tiny friends that it was worth it to become a Dinkie.  It's low lag and so low lag that we even had a parade with floats for Mardi Gras and we have events with 100+ tinies.  I've had some of the best times ever being a Dinkie.   

But, I'll add...I have been treated very well by my two landlady friends when I became a Dinkie.  We remained friends regardless of "my change".  My two landlady friends are just awesome people and SL friends.  There are people on SL who don't mind someone changing at all.  

Edited by FairreLilette
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50 minutes ago, FairreLilette said:

I do not want a romantic internet involvement at all period EVER.

   Is there any particular reason as to why you've been repeating this all over the place as of late?

AnnualBewitchedGalapagospenguin-small.gi

4 hours ago, Dreams Riler said:

What is Second Life to you?

   It's a question with a rather irrelevant answer, isn't it? It's well-known that people use SL for different reasons, have different goals, and different experiences; what any given persons' position is only actually matters if you want to engage with them personally. It's also an already done-to-death topic, which almost always ends up with people trying to argue why their point is valid and why someone else's approach isn't, which is, again, pointless.

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24 minutes ago, Orwar said:
1 hour ago, FairreLilette said:

I do not want a romantic internet involvement at all period EVER.

   Is there any particular reason as to why you've been repeating this all over the place as of late?

 

Probably the same reason for saying this is every thread for the last few months:

1 hour ago, FairreLilette said:

I became a Dinkie (a tiny cat avatar - which is NOT a furry, btw as Dinkies are very small).

 

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1 hour ago, FairreLilette said:

But, I'll add...I have been treated very well by my two landlady friends when I became a Dinkie.  We remained friends regardless of "my change". 

Why in the hell would switching to a tiny cat avatar affect your friendship with folks?

 

Apparently, I live my SLife too simply - don't take it seriously enough.

 

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22 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Why in the hell would switching to a tiny cat avatar affect your friendship with folks?

 

Apparently, I live my SLife too simply - don't take it seriously enough.

 

Perhaps because THEN every sentence would be prefaced with, “Well we dinkies === so as a Dinkie now I must either === or speak at LENGTH about === became I’m a dinkie and that’s what we dinkies do.”

‘just guessing...

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29 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:
1 hour ago, FairreLilette said:

I became a Dinkie (a tiny cat avatar - which is NOT a furry, btw as Dinkies are very small).

 

   I just Googled 'dinkie', apparently it's slang for 'double income, no kids'. Shrugs.

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1 hour ago, Orwar said:

 Is there any particular reason as to why you've been repeating this all over the place as of late?

I think it's because I replaced my Dinkie avatar badge here with a doll and that I have been in the photo threads lately as a somewhat human avatar which is a change for me....but I want to make them dolls eventually.  I'd like to try to make a BOM skin that looks like worn wood for a doll.  So, my human looking avatars, I really want to be dolls and not human.  However, I'm not there yet so they may look a bit human for a while as I was playing around with stuff after getting so many things cheaply at the Black Friday sales.   But, so many assume because one is human they want to pixel bump and it was just something in the OP's post that triggered me about it - the human avatar assumption.  I have been human always before in SL and even though my profile said here for friendship only it was mostly ignored OR others aren't reading profiles.  Would be nice to have an easy way to see if someone is open for romance or not.  I do know some human avi's make their own partner so they won't be bothered.  I could do that too.  It was really something in the OP that set me off though that human equals possible SL romance for all avi's here.  That is an assumption of the many here.  However, it is far from the truth of SL.  

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15 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Now, now -- that is DINK, not 'dinkie'.

   Yes, but 'dinkey' refers to a person in such a relationship, whilst 'dinkies' refers to people in such relationships. According to zhe Internets at least.

2 minutes ago, FairreLilette said:

But, so many assume because one is human they want to pixel bump

   I think more people assume that furries, including dinkies, are into pixel-bumping than humans are. I don't really mind or care, and I expect that furries, much like humans, are diverse in their sexuality - they are played by humans, after all. Besides, you're not going to reach a whole lot of people by repeating it on the forums; I don't think most of the types of people who run around trying to bump anything that moves come here to check out who's into it or not.

   No one has to do anything of the kind if they don't want to. If someone throws a fit because you don't want to have their pixels inside of your pixels, it's easy enough to block people. 

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21 minutes ago, Orwar said:

 No one has to do anything of the kind if they don't want to. If someone throws a fit because you don't want to have their pixels inside of your pixels, it's easy enough to block people. 

Well, I got 7 heads for Black Friday sales all with the purpose of making fairies and dolls and/or even fairy dolls, but they may look human for awhile as I also got the free Lelutka head.  BUT, I don't want to have to block people just because I might be a human here and there.  That sucks to have to do that.  

 

21 minutes ago, Orwar said:

 I think more people assume that furries, including dinkies, are into pixel-bumping than humans are. 

I've never been propositioned once as a Dinkie, so that's not my experience.  However, many "dudes" do just walk up to female avi's and without even asking for a dance, the IM consists of "wanna bleep" (censored word) as the first words that come in the IM, so I think many think all human avi's are ready to jump into their sexy furnitures (intentionally plural) or are a potential romantic interest even when profiles say otherwise.  So, most likely, few profiles are even read.  I make shapes.  It's fun.  SL is purely a creative outlet for many and not E-Harmony.Com.  But, I guess I'm a bit nervous about being human again.  I just want to do art, not here for romance.  Ah, the blocking stuff again.  That sounds like a total drag.  Why do most people assume a "Your World, Your Imagination" virtual world is just a pixel bumping place?  It is way more than that.  

Edited by FairreLilette
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14 minutes ago, FairreLilette said:

However, many "dudes" do just walk up to female avi's and without even asking for a dance, the IM consists of "wanna bleep" (censored word) as the first words that come in the IM, so I think many think all human avi's are ready to jump into their sexy furnitures

I suppose I've been really fortunate - perhaps I should put this on the things I'm grateful page - that the number of invitations like that which I have received can probably be counted on one hand.  I don't know if it's the way I look, or dress, or the types of places I go to (or don't go to), or that I'm not very social and tend to stay away from areas where other avatars are, but whatever the reason, I'm fine with it :) 

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11 minutes ago, MoiraKathleen said:

I suppose I've been really fortunate - perhaps I should put this on the things I'm grateful page - that the number of invitations like that which I have received can probably be counted on one hand.  I don't know if it's the way I look, or dress, or the types of places I go to (or don't go to), or that I'm not very social and tend to stay away from areas where other avatars are, but whatever the reason, I'm fine with it :) 

Yeah, I don't know.  I'm in adult places most of the time and rarely get that question regardless of how I'm dressed or undressed. (less dressed?)

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1 hour ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

Why in the hell would switching to a tiny cat avatar affect your friendship with folks?

 

Apparently, I live my SLife too simply - don't take it seriously enough.

 

To answer this LittleMe...I'm not really sure.  I've thought about it but have no answer to give.  But, I got the cold shoulder from a few.  Maybe they just don't understand it, or they are at clubs and groups where it's pretty much human only allowed.   But, Dinkies have their own sims so we do have places we can go.  

Edited by FairreLilette
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I usually only get propositioned if I wander in to any area that is extremely Noob Friendly.  Every now and then, while out doing a hunt, some guy will hit me up - and pretty much guaranteed if said hunt takes me to a BDSM or Sex region and there is anyone there.

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9 hours ago, Dreams Riler said:

What is Second Life to you?

You pose lots of interesting questions and I can answer most of them with sensible answers that align with my RL values, fit well within the order of my RL scope of the world, my respect and care for others and my feelings and actions both here and there. But there’s still a tiny secret part of me that enjoys running freely through a virtual world anonymously - with no ties, no limits, no have-to or need-to’s so a while ago, I have made an alt who does just that. Nothing too wild, nothing odd, sneaky, disruptive or disrespectful to others, just another plain old someone who is free to come go, meet, leave, talk, not talk, play, ignore, explore, see what I want to see and leave when I’m done, suddenly disappear, come back soon late or never, etc. I also really want that from SL because it feels very free in my mind and I don’t really even have the words (or the desire to find them) to tell the why of it any better than that. 😉

Edited by Fauve Aeon
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On 12/16/2020 at 12:21 PM, FairreLilette said:

It's a creative, fun platform for me to experience alone or with others but not romantically.  I do not want a romantic internet involvement at all period EVER.  So, no, just because I might be in a human avatar doesn't mean someone should look to me for romantic involvement - read profiles first.  Not all people here want to engage in romantic involvement.   My profile is all business now but it used to say 'not here for romantic involvement' and still I would be hit on.

You writing is very long but one thing to remember is you cannot control other people into behaving how you want them to behave, so I cannot even expect others to read profiles first before assuming I might be a potential score to them.  However, most people inworld have always been pretty great.  I've 'only' noticed some aloofness from certain SL "friends" AFTER I became a Dinkie (a tiny cat avatar - which is NOT a furry, btw as Dinkies are very small).  Then, I got treated with a cold shoulder by a few human avatars but I gained so many wonderful tiny friends that it was worth it to become a Dinkie.  It's low lag and so low lag that we even had a parade with floats for Mardi Gras and we have events with 100+ tinies.  I've had some of the best times ever being a Dinkie.   

But, I'll add...I have been treated very well by my two landlady friends when I became a Dinkie.  We remained friends regardless of "my change".  My two landlady friends are just awesome people and SL friends.  There are people on SL who don't mind someone changing at all.  

Thank you for sharing that! I didn't know tinies were called Dinkies. Keeba and the Tinay Maniacs is one of the groups that perform regularly at Higher Ground Music Magazine and she has a few "Dinkies" in her band and they are just the cutest things!! I didn't realize either that the lag was so low that is good to know.

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23 hours ago, Orwar said:

   Is there any particular reason as to why you've been repeating this all over the place as of late?

AnnualBewitchedGalapagospenguin-small.gi

   It's a question with a rather irrelevant answer, isn't it? It's well-known that people use SL for different reasons, have different goals, and different experiences; what any given persons' position is only actually matters if you want to engage with them personally. It's also an already done-to-death topic, which almost always ends up with people trying to argue why their point is valid and why someone else's approach isn't, which is, again, pointless.

and yet you replied LOL But thank you. Everyone's opinion is most certainly valid. and I do agree it's a "done to death" topic but it was one on my mind lately.

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18 hours ago, Fauve Aeon said:

You pose lots of interesting questions and I can answer most of them with sensible answers that align with my RL values, fit well within the order of my RL scope of the world, my respect and care for others and my feelings and actions both here and there. But there’s still a tiny secret part of me that enjoys running freely through a virtual world anonymously - with no ties, no limits, no have-to or need-to’s so a while ago, I have made an alt who does just that. Nothing too wild, nothing odd, sneaky, disruptive or disrespectful to others, just another plain old someone who is free to come go, meet, leave, talk, not talk, play, ignore, explore, see what I want to see and leave when I’m done, suddenly disappear, come back soon late or never, etc. I also really want that from SL because it feels very free in my mind and I don’t really even have the words (or the desire to find them) to tell the why of it any better than that. 😉

Thank you, I really appreciate your perspective. 

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