When I first visited Second Life (SL), I quickly realized that profiles were a great source of information.
I must admit I had (and have) little interest regarding the real life of a complete stranger. However, I was/am quite curious about favorite places/events in SL. I have found some of the most fascinating sims and communities simply by reading profiles.
Having said this...
Profiles are also a never-ending spring of completely barbaric nonsense. I’ll refrain from addressing the idiocy, the ignorance and the blatant childishness featured in so many (too many) of them. But one statement keeps coming up and this one in particular has always baffled me. I recently came across it once more and that triggered this rant.
*steps on the soapbox*
Only losers spend time in SL instead of being out there in the world, they say.
Virtual Reality (VR), as happens in Real Life (RL), does have its idiots and losers, granted. Yet, to say that everyone in SL is a worthless escapist, who clings on to make-believe roles of power (everyone owns something, a store, a club, a sim) and friendships or relationships is, in my opinion, going too far.
Why is it so outlandish to meet someone in a virtual world and become RL friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands or wives? Why is it more acceptable to meet someone at a bar or a birthday party in RL?
Why is building togetherness, creating common grounds, attending events and sharing life in SL being a loser? Why does this make a resident more of a loser than doing the same in RL?
Let’s take it one step at a time.
RL becomes suspended, postponed, when we immerse ourselves in a virtual world.
SL becomes so addictive that we isolated ourselves, damage our social life, and waste an infinite number of hours in completely useless interactions, they say.
That happens for some, yes, not for all. Not even in my wildest dreams, when I joined SL, did I think I’d become a moderator, a host, a store owner, an event organizer, a blogger, a bloggers’ coordinator, a neighbor, a friend, a partner, and a traveler. I've created and I've watched others being creative, admiring their exceptional imagination. All this enriched my RL.
SL is a waste of time, they say.
I suppose it could be, yes. But SL made me go back to writing (I have written three books so far, I update my blog regularly and am preparing the plot of my fourth book; I am hopeful SL will also help me to find the motivation to revise my books… I hate revising) and it allowed me to learn skills I always thought I was hopeless with (such as working with an image editing software, a skill I now use in RL often).
SL is a world of fantasy where nothing is real, they say.
True. Many create alternative life stories and reinvent themselves. However, there are also SL friends meeting face-to-face and cherishing their friendships even more, people crossing borders, continents, to build a life together, to get married, to have children, and there are people making a very real living for their very real families.
SL is an excuse to hide from RL, they say.
It might be for some, it might even be for you.
It’s not for me. SL is as much a part of my RL as going to a friend’s place for a cup of coffee, to a theater play, to the cinema, or for a walk by the sea.
And, let’s face it, those of us who are hiding are doing a pretty good job of creating environments and events for others to enjoy as part of their real lives.
What a conundrum… To be or not to be… a loser.
I can only say this much before I wrap up. How you decide to enjoy your SL is exclusively your business. However, don’t think that because you consider yourself a loser for being in SL, and not out there living the real life, the rest of us feel the same.
Be creative. Be participant. Learn. Teach. Share.
Virtual reality is taking its first steps into the future and we are part of that, yes, this merry band of losers is creating the stepping stones that will lead up to the future of virtual worlds.
*steps down from the soapbox*