The meaning of (Second) Life

I’ve been trapped inside the house for the past week with the metro not running above ground and all my professional/social events cancelled. So I decided to explore the online computer game Second Life, as suggested by a marketing consultant I talked to a few weeks ago.

It’s a rather social game, although when I first logged in, I landed as a naked man on someone’s house. Someone shouted to go away, but I couldn’t see anyone there and I didn’t know how to go somewhere else or find my clothes. So I got sent to Korea.

When I landed in Korea, my avatar walked into a guy and my head got stuck inside his chest. People were chatting not only with the text box, but also with voice. They explained to me how I could also chat with voice. They figured out I was new, so they told me how to find clothes in my inventory and how to turn into a woman.

I was invited to a church house, a couple of apartments, country dancing, a pirate ship, a waterfall, and an exotic dance club. I met a few Snoopys, kitties, and gnomes, though most avatars were in human form and dressed really weird. Someone gave me a tie-dye hat almost as tall as my avatar. I also received other articles of clothing, a stuffed animal, and different kinds of hair, which occasionally got removed, leaving my avatar bald until I could figure out how to put hair back on.

Hanging out at the church house last night, several of the staff greeted people. I asked what it means to be on the staff of a church in Second Life. At my real church, people donate money, and they money is used to pay the bills and the staff. Well, Second Life churches don’t get electric bills. And the staff of the Second Life church are volunteers. The pastor of the Second Life church is a pastor in real life, but the volunteers and the Second Life church are not affiliated with the real church. Some money exchanges hands if your avatar buys a hot chocolate. You can buy Second Life money with a real life credit card.

Anyone is welcome to hang out at the Second Life church at any time. The church holds scheduled concerts and other gatherings. People who visit can hold meetings there and watch various videos, even clips from some Pixar movies. My application crashed and my avatar went hurtling through gray space as I was trying to ask how the church got rights to show movie clips.

I’m still trying to figure out the business model of Second Life. I won a few Second Life dollars at the country dancing place for randomly guessing the answers to some trivia questions correctly. I think that’s worth a few pennies in real life. There were a few ads at the country dance place, so maybe they make some money that way, in addition to the contests.

I think what I need to do is figure out how to graffiti my web site URL on stuff in Second Life.

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