This post is not directly related to SL Art, but I feel it's important nonetheless...
I mentioned Second Life to a work colleague recently. He’s a corporate educator so I thought he might be interested to know that many Universities have in-world campuses and some large companies even run international meetings in their virtual office. My colleague had never visited Second Life nor did he have any first hand experience of ‘virtual life’. Even though he was completely ignorant on the topic his immediate response was, “You play in Second Life? That’s just plain sad!”
This experience was a real eye-opener for me. I knew SL had a poor reputation but I hadn’t realised how prevalent this view was. So I’ve decided to write a list of my top three misconceptions to set the record straight.
Misconception 1: All people in SL are virtual-sex crazy
Wrong! I am an active SL resident and I do not indulge in virtual sex. Not that I have an issue with others jiggling their pixels, whatever rocks ya boat. It’s just not my thing and I’m not particularly unusual in that regard. There are so many creative and fun things to do in Second Life - like making art - that, frankly, sex isn’t on my list of priorities.
Misconception 2: Second Life is full of paedophiles
Sadly, there are likely to be a few sick types in SL who try to lure youth (SL is intended for people aged 16 years and over), just as there are weirdos in online chat rooms and in ‘real life’. But I must stress that this is the rare exception, not the rule. Personally, I’ve yet to hear the name of a single avatar that’s known, or suspected, of having these tendencies. It’s far more common for the SL community to be protective of the young and vulnerable, offering advice and warnings to keep them safe in a virtual environment.
Misconception 3: Second Life is expensive
Second Life is 100% free to join and I know loads of people who don’t spend a cent/euro/lira in-world. The currency in SL is called ‘Linden Dollars’ and these can be bought by credit card. There are certainly in-world shops here, there and everywhere to buy clothes, vehicles, homes and more. But there are also many, many places to go where all goods are free. So, unless you want to rent land or get yourself some up-market goodies, there’s absolutely no need to spend any money in Second Life. It’s really a matter of choice.
That's the end of my Top 3 List although there are lots more I could add. Hopefully I've managed set a few things straight. Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, SL residents are not all sex-crazed, latent paedophiles who'd let our own kids go hungry because we just had to buy a virtual Maserati. Most of us are just normal folk who enjoy the creativity and freedom that an alternative reality offers. After all - we can fly! :)
What's the number 1 SL misconception that you'd like to have cleared up?