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How you explain SecondLife to your IRL relatives.


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While all of the explainations I've read so far are accurate and beautifully crafted (I could never have come up with it). The explanation for someone who has no exposure to virtual worlds is "its like the sims, except other rl people play the other characters".  Yes, thats "not even beginning to capture all of what second life is (etc)"  but its what "regular" people understand.

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I have absolutely no way to “explain SecondLife” to anyone in RL, especially relatives.  Because of my work I’ve built a history that’s beyond serious explanation to anyone who doesn’t already understand the context and shares in the fun.

How would I begin explaining that “oh yeah, it’s this great place where there are these clever and hilarious people who I helped make mermaids swim in this fishbowl for a theme club dance music place” or “oh, oh, there’s this really interesting bunch who needed animations for a ‘Stages of Grief’ themed water torture tank, mmm they’re not really mean, it’s called ‘role playing’… no really” or “these Alien Planet Cult fellows needed anim help with a Star Wars ‘use the force’ choke victims in the air with your sinister fist sort of thing… no no, they’re not mean either… it’s just that they have this special Sim…”

I’m extremely proud of everything I’ve done and would love to share it with everyone, but there’s all too often a very personal experience to SL that can’t be explained and too many barriers are broken by everyday SL life that can’t be shared out of context.

SL doesn’t require anyone to carry any of the pretentions and distance that are practically a necessity of politeness and decency in RL.  SL allows you to be or do anything you’re interested in at the time with plenty of other likeminded folks without much embarrassment or concern.  The fun in that should be obvious, but how do you begin to explain it.

Alas, there’s no explanation I can offer ‘real’ people… but I’m still enjoying myself here…

p.s. Fascinating question that I’m sure the SL marketing folks would appreciate a better answer to than mine.

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I think that if anyone would say to me that SL isn't real, I'd ask them if a painting is real?  Then I'd explain that SL is like being able to walk inside a 3D painting that is constantlly being painted by yourself & other people.  The painting gets bigger, more detailed & more amazing, the more you explore it.  It's real because other people are always creating it & exploring it with you.

"What Dreams May Come", with Robin Williams is a pretty good movie depiction of what Second Life is like.  It's a about a man who dies, goes to Heaven & discovers Heaven is created by the people in it. Maybe you can rent it & watch it with your relatives?

 

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I told my mother once that I have a boyfriend and show her my pixel man & myself dancing in SL. She thought I was crazy and complained to my uncles who thought I was nuts who then told their wives and they told my cousins that I had become loco. My cousins made a joke about it in our Family Facebook page for months. 

My close friends told me I'm way too addicted because I refused to go shopping with them but they've been gifting me cows and cabbages from FarmVille every 1 hour after working hours in Facebook!!!

Now I just talk about it with this geeky colleague of mine who is into WoW and who currently reached 98 guilds ranking thingy and has a whole paded room with surround system and giant screen for his gaming addiction. He brags about his ranking a lot and I told him about my mainland parcels & forum 'Member' rank and then he said he has 2 Ipads.. and then I told him I have two DSLRs and then he said he's got two 4 wheels drive and I told him I soon will inherit 20 acres of lands when my father passed away and my mother's business! He said, "whatever!!"\:matte-motes-whistle:

 

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What Dreams May Come os a perfect analogy for SL... it's got it all, the light the dark, the world made as you imagine it, the being someone else while still being yourself, stepping through the painting... I so much loved that movie....

if you are a bit more twisted, another good comparison movie is The Cell.

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I wrote up a little thing about SL for my non computer Mom...and I explained it as going to a foreign country with it's own currency, commerce and lands! :)  It is difficult but not impossible...my Mom finally got it and one day told me with great cheerfulness that another of our relatives met someone "on the computer" and they have been happily married for some time now! (I have a SL to RL relationship happening myself!) 

The other way, a FUN way was when my son came to my house to fix my computer and I could SHOW him, as well as my grand daughter and daughter in law - ME in SL... how I move, dance, etc... They were delighted and interested and drawn in by it, they felt it was like a movie come real.  :-)

Anyway, the foreign country description works good for me.  :smileyvery-happy:

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Finrod Ghennyn wrote:

Anyone who is familiar with SecondLife wont be gasping when they hear a friend of them is dressing up like a 'Meerkat', playing roulette on his yacht, and raving in underground clubs.

I guess it's probably best to avoid or ignore the question 'what is that SecondLife you play?', they generally don't understand. It's like most of the special experiences in our lives, the once you have to see for yourself. Still we try in our humble minds to explain in a sane way we all love to crawl up to our scriptspirited baby's, pets, and robots.

The best explanation I found so far would be:

" SecondLife is a playground for adults, where you can create instead of think. Along with a million others. "

I never got too deep into the conversation, because things like this to the not understanding people are like a wedge. Its a thin line that either defines interest from geekyness.

 

How have you're experiences been on telling or trying to explain your SL-life to IRL-people?

I generally really don't bother trying to explain about SL to RL people, any more than I would chat to them about any of my other hobbies, unless the other person has similar hobbies. Example, one friend shares gardening tips with me, another cross-stich, and another is very fond of self-help books (which don't seem to!).  Mostly I tend to only discuss in RL with relatives and friends things that are on common ground.

However, my RL brother, whose computer I access SL from, knows all about SL, because I got into SL initially while I was trying to get him back to being involved with his computer after he came out of hospital. I'd read about Second Life, read the article out to Pete, he seemed interested, so I set up accounts for us both, but he didn't take to it like me, although he understands it as much as me, knows what is available to do and to see, sometimes pops in and sits, thinks it's particularly great how I can be building/decorating/collaborating with someone on the other side of the world.

Our RL half-sister is 16 years older than me, and not at all into anything computer-related, BUT as she asked how me and Pete were getting along together, I told her when he gets too annoying, I escape into my Second Life, and she was pretty intrigued by that.  She's highly amused when I send photos I've made in-world of me Giant Snail Racing, flying around as a cockatiel, dancing at music venues. She has absolutely no idea of any of the "dirty secret" type of stuff that some people seem to think Second Life is all about.

Two of my real life friends tried SL out, but they found it too much to learn at once, and don't have the time for it. One of those friends spends about 18 hours out of each day logged into, and actively contributing to Facebook.  (To each their own!!)  Another friend asked me what the heck I did all day long, and when I said I'd got into Second Life and attempted to explain it, I heard her put the phone down and go fill her kettle up, so she was very bored very quickly (same friend drones on about dull stuff like broken washing lines, noisy RL neighbours, how hard it is to find parking in the local supermarket car park).

In my little corner of the UK, I've never met anyone who has even heard of Second Life.  On Wednesday I went to Computer chainstore for a browse, and when the assistant pounced, I asked which computer she would recommend for running Second Life, and she hadn't even heard of it, called another assistant over, was met with more blank looks. (I must state here that no way would I ever purchase a computer just for running SL, and I don't tend to buy computers from fancy schmancy stores, I was just curious to see what reaction/information I would get.)

The bottom line is, how many of your friends who have a hobby that you don't share, such as fishing, motor-racing, knitting, reading, actually spend any time discussing this hobby with you?  There really is no reason at all to explain Second Life to anyone. And often there is just no point in trying to.

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Morton Decosta wrote:

Hey Finrod,

One way to explain SL is as a place that brings exciting new levels of realization to things you already enjoy in RL. 

For example, Green Acres Golf Course lets you enjoy the game of golf in a total immersion way. With SL physics, expert region design and WindLight settings golf games go to entirely new levels of realization.



Green Acres Golf Course - WindLight.jpg


To me, an absolute SL addict, I think that looks totally amazing, can imagine how many hours of effort and love were put into creating such a place. To someone who is not at all aware of the technology that goes into SL, it just looks like a nutty cartoon picture.  But it makes me think, it might be a lot easier to explain Second Life to a person if there is some way of embracing their own personal interests when you try to explain it to them. For example, if a RL friend/relative likes fishing, there are plenty of places who have the 7Seas fishing set up. Rock groups, tribute bands, shoe shopping!

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Persephone Emerald wrote:

I think that if anyone would say to me that SL isn't real, I'd ask them if a painting is real?  Then I'd explain that SL is like being able to walk inside a 3D painting that is constantlly being painted by yourself & other people.  The painting gets bigger, more detailed & more amazing, the more you explore it.  It's real because other people are always creating it & exploring it with you.

"What Dreams May Come", with Robin Williams is a pretty good movie depiction of what Second Life is like.  It's a about a man who dies, goes to Heaven & discovers Heaven is created by the people in it. Maybe you can rent it & watch it with your relatives?

 

What a lovely way of putting it - as being a painting that we create for ourselves as we go along.

I haven't yet seen the movie "What Dreams May Come", but I've made a note to go and find a copy of it to watch. It looks fabulous.

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I explain what I do in SL the same way to everyone - relatives and non-relatives:-

I make and sell virtual furniture to virtual people for their virtual homes, and they pay me with virtual money which I convert into real money.

That's the short but full description that I often use.

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I once tried to explain SL to my mother, who is in her seventies, and ended-up firing-up my laptop to show her.  My mother uses her computer, largely, to play solitaire and speak to the "nice man at google" who answers her questions for her.

After explaining that the "little man" was me, in the online world, she said, "that's nice, dear".  I showed her round my home and then tp'd (she liked that, "oh, just like Star Trek, dear") to some of my favourite sims.  Being Scottish, I took her to the Highlands of Scotland sims, starting in Inverness City and I could see she was beginning to grasp the whole concept, "oh, that's very nice, dear".

To complete the demonstration, I went to hear my friend Zachh Cale sing and play piano.  My mother liked him so much she insisted we stay for the entire show.

Content by this time that my mother "got it", I closed the laptop lid and asked her if she though it fun. "Oh yes, dear", she said, "and I think it particularly kind of that Mr Cale to telephone all his friends and sing to them; transatlantic calls are very expensive, you know."

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you will like it... but Robin Williams doesn't make bad movies, even when they're goofy ones (this one is very Not goofy). and if you like the artsy visuals, and enjoy psych horror, also check out The Cell... it's creepy and horrifying, but the artistic nature is a brilliantly tied together series of vignettes.

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Void Singer wrote:

you will like it... but Robin Williams doesn't make bad movies, even when they're goofy ones (this one is very Not goofy). and if you like the artsy visuals, and enjoy psych horror, also check out The Cell... it's creepy and horrifying, but the artistic nature is a brilliantly tied together series of vignettes.

/me adds "The Cell" to my list to watch also. I like psychological horror.

But I also like short Twilight Zone movies, like this one, which reminds me of Second Life:

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  • 4 months later...

 

YOu can almost see the colour drain out of my sisters face when I talk about sl.  There is a neon sign flashing in her brain, saying but but, you're intelligent and pretty good looking and social and funny, why would you play pretend. But its not's pretend to me, it is another side of me that i prefer to have all my own. So, now I say, meh, you wouldn't understand. They either leave it at that or try harder to get it.

:)

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YOu can almost see the colour drain out of my sisters face when I talk about sl.  There is a neon sign flashing in her brain, saying but but, you're intelligent and pretty good looking and social and funny, why would you play pretend. But its not's pretend to me, it is another side of me that i prefer to have all my own. So, now I say, meh, you wouldn't understand. They either leave it at that or try harder to get it.

**Only uploaded images may be used in postings**://secondlife.i.lithium.com/i/smilies/16x16_smiley-happy.gif" border="0" alt=":smileyhappy:" title="Smiley Happy" />

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I remember when a friend told me about Second Life. I didn't understand ANYTHING he told me about it. I asked a lot of questions, but it didn't help me understand.

What did get through to me was how excited he was about it, and also that it was obviously a secret that he wasn't telling anyone else.

That got me in there. I stayed because I misunderstood some of the things he told me, and I went looking day after day for some things that aren't in SL at all...

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