Some questions on SL

A friend of mine gave a brief introduction to SL to his English classmates. They are in the last course and the whole class would like to find a way to keep in contact and practice some English together. My friend wanted to see what his classmate thought about meeting in SL.
They asked him some questions, and he’s asking me in turn.
1. How long does it take to learn how to use SL and to create your profile?
2. Why did you start playing this game?
3. How can I make money with Second Life?
4. Are you registered on more virtual nets?
5. Are there people addicted to Second Life?
6. How did you discover Second Life?
7. What are Snapshots? And tags?

Since I was asked in English, and my answers were going to be in this same language, I decided to post it here.

Let’s start:
· How long does it take to learn how to use SL and to create your profile?

These are two questions! You are cheating 🙂
Let’s see: how long does it take to learn how to use SL?
It depends. To learn the basic skills in order to be able to move around with a certain ease one or two sessions of 1 hour are enough. To learn to do everything you can do in SL…. well, it’s a Second life long task.
About the profile: usually people discover the profile and fill it after they have been in SL for a while. It’s not fundamental, but it’s important. It helps you connect with people with your same interests, and gives useful information to start a conversation with someone you meet for the first time. To learn to fill it you just need to click on everything and see what happens or ask a friend to help you.

· Why did you start playing this game?
Hem Hem, Second Life is NOT a game :). It’s a virtual environment: no points, no predefined tasks, no princesses to rescue or monsters to slaughter.
Do you want to know how did I ended up in Second Life. It’s a long story, I warn you.
In 2006 I attended a course on e-learning at UNED (a Spanish online university), and in the forum someone talked about 3D. I did not have idea of what 3D meant, and I asked. They send me a link to a 3D page: a very simple hut with people inside. I got a flash. I immediately saw the huge potentiality of 3D for language learning and I bought “The Sim 2” (and detracted it from my taxes, since it was for “study purposes” 🙂 ).
I wanted to see if it was possible to use it in class (in case we ever had a working computer to use in class) to recreate everyday situations and therefore to practice that language that we seldom cover in class (think about it: we often talk about big issue but never say “please pass me the bread”).
However, I was not satisfied. Firstly, only one person at a time could move around the “puppets”, communication was poor and in a Sim-language. Situations were predetermined and not very realistic… That’s when I started to hear about Second Life. But, if I had to listen to what paper said, it was a land of sin and vice, full of unknown dangers and freakies.
It was only when Reuter opened an office in SL that I summoned up some courage and created my avatar. The rest of the story can be read here:

· How can I make money with Second Life?
I answered this same question thousand of times. All newbies (new users) ask it.
Ok, let’s say: the easy way to “make money” is to look for money trees and go camping.
Money trees are trees where money grow… Yes, in SL there are trees where new users (only new users) can take money. They give out “banknotes” of 1 linden (that’s the name of Second Life’s currency). And then there is camping. Let he who never camped throw the first stone. Camping means to sit or dance in a place for ages and get rewarded with few lindens. In old ages, when I was young and inexperienced, camping was paid something more, but now the average fee is 1 linden for 15 minutes. Now, let’s see if one can get rich in this way: 1 euro = 356 linden. Well, I’ve never been good at maths, but I do not see the business here.
So, who’s really making money in SL? Those who work seriously in SL: builders, scripters and companies that offer services to other companies, all people highly skilled who know very well SL and how things work there.
For normal users, like us, to get rich in SL is very unlikely. But, cheers up: you can do thousands of very interesting things in SL without spending a single Linden.
Ah.. was forgetting: they say that also “escorts” make money in SL, but you have to be skilled and gifted to be a good escort, too ;o)

· Are you registered on more virtual nets?
I guess that with “virtual nets” you are meaning virtual worlds. I put my little virtual feet in some of them, beside Second Life: There, Twinity, Metaplace, Exit Reality, Cyberlandia, and some others I do not remember. But apart from opening an account, get in, feel lost, don’t know where to go, what to do, how to move, how to speak and feel (in some of them) the pressure to “buy, rent, buy” I did very little. It’s an healthy practice I recommend to all those who are “old avatars”: it brings you back to the newbie state and make you understand better the difficulties a new user have to face.
At the moment the “other” virtual world that arouses my attention is Cyberlandia, an all-Italian Opensim experiment.

· Are there people addicted to Second Life?
Of course there are people addicted to Second Life, and to shopping, mobile phone, alcohol, nicotine, coffee (try to stop drinking coffee and you discover that coffee is very addictive, with a very bad physical withdrawal syndrome), sex, work, the internet on the whole, e-mails, legal and illegal drugs, etc.
Does it mean that we do not have to go shopping, have a mobile phone, drink a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, have sex, go to work, surf the internet and check our mails and take a (legal) drug when needed?

· How did you discover Second Life?
See: How did you start to play this (sic) game?

· What are Snapshots? And tags?
Snapshots are… snapshots 🙂 You can take photos in SL: here you can see some nice place in SL. To take Snapshots is very easy, it’s free and can be fun.
I do not really know what you mean with “tags”. May be you are referring to what every avatar has written on its head. Each avatar has its name floating above itself. It can also have the name of a group it is belonging to. Each avatar can belong to up to 25 groups, and thus get informed about the activity they organise.



Filed under Second Life

4 responses to “Some questions on SL

  1. antonella

    Thanks Graham, very interesting and exhaustive. So it’s true: it is possible to make money in SL ;o)

  2. Lynn Terra

    I love your blog post, well written and good responses.

  3. antonella

    you make me blush, Lynn :o)

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