If the most important part of the secret sauce begins with individual identity, then it follows that the next ingredient has to be other people and communities.
I’ve met people in Second Life who consider it to be “nothing more than a glorified chatroom with pictures.” I’ve met people who need to see your real life photo and know where you live, what’s your age is and so on. I think you have to say this is a whole class of SL people, and I’ll write more about this in the future. Nonetheless, these people apparently enjoy Second Life enough to return again and again. However, I’m pretty sure they’d be fine in any well equipped chatroom with video cams, photo libraries and so forth, if there was no SL.
Then there’s the people I talked about in my Part 2 post, people who identify with their avatars. I believe this is a vast and diverse group, and I believe these people are “social” people (even if they are shy). These people, we, need other people, enjoy other people and when people like us find people with similar interests, we create friendships and communities.
I didn’t come to SL until 2007, but I’ve seen vids and read about the old days. I’ve seen the remnants of communities as I explored the mainlands. Some communities are stuck in time; others have evolved. But this post isn’t about places and things, it’s about the people who came together to create communities. Everywhere I’ve travelled I’ve come across sims where communities came together and formed places to live and play. In many cases, communities have fled the relative chaos of the mainlands, others have dug in and made a stand. Virtually all the communities are based on some theme. I’m a member of several different communities, but let me use the Junkyard Blues community as an example, it has a well documented history.
Junkyard Blues began when a few friends started inviting a few more friends over to listen to blues music. They chatted, danced, romanced and did silly things, but the seeds of a community began to grow. And it grew from a plot of mainland to today’s 12 sim complex. Again, this isn’t about the sims or builds or stores or residences, it’s about a community.
Junkyard blues is a community of people who love the blues. And while friends have come and gone over the years, Junkyard Blues is about ready to celebrate its 6th anniversary. People come to the Junkyard to enjoy the music, but they also express their identities and their connection with the bluesy community. Junkyare Dawgs come to the JY almost 24-7, month after month, year after year. Dawgs donates Linden$ to bluesy DJs and performers. They spend Linden$ on clothes and products and rentals. They even donate Linden$ to charitable fundraisers. There is life at the Junkyard.
Ingredient #3: Thousands of thriving communities blend in their unique spices to the giant SL “secret sauce” pot.
Regardless of the community’s theme, regardless of whether they have great sim complexes or don’t even a plot of land, communities are where the life is created in Second Life. And Second Life is very different than any other “game” because of that vast diversity of life.
There is much more to say about Second Life’s secret sauce and I’ll get to the sims and builds and clothes and planes, trains and automobiles. More on this soon.
I tried, somewhat, to be a Second Lifer but I felt like Alice in Wonderland. I just didn’t get it. The purpose of the game or how to meet people or what’s supposed to happen there. Totally lost. I quit.
A lot of people come to Second Life and bail pretty quickly, so you are more in the majority there. It’s hard to learn all the software, then figure out what’s going on. The old “Welcome Areas” were like slums with a lot of oldtimers messing with newbies, so god only knows how many people got shown just how unfriendly SL can be. I was lucky to find my way to a Zen garden where things started to make some sense to me. I met others interested in Japanese gardesn, then this led to that and one night I went to a nightclub and danced to some great music underneath the stars. I was transported. I was emersed. I was immersed. But I was lucky. Hope you try SL again sometime. It’s a lot different these days.
oh yes, many sub-groups. I’m a member of about six communities (and spread way too thin, btw) and within each group there are many sub-groups.
wow, what a tough question about which group would i ditch. wow, i’m kind of in that situation, being spread so thin. I don’t want to give up on any of them, but one of my goups has been damaged by the impact of my relationship breaking up. So, i’m kinda distancing myself from that group, but sadly. Regardless, I’m way over committed to different groups and that’s rough when you are an adventurer and just want to get out on the grid and find new things. good question, Becky.
First, I’m loving this! Thanks for taking on this challenge of teasing out the ingredients. You might be getting to it (and after all, it’s your blog, so the ingredients can be whatever you want them to be 😉 But, is there something in between one’s self and one’s community? Isn’t this where your sub-groups of close friends and extended circle of aquantainces live?
I’d say, that I belong to two communities in SL. One is the club I manage and the other is the school I manage. But within them are smaller groups of friends and acquaintances that walk in and out of each of these little communities, and belong to other communities that I know little or nothing about. They are certainly distinct, because I’ve tried to introduce a few friends into my communities, and they’re sometimes like oil and vinegar.
And, in terms of secret sauciness, which group would you ditch for the other? I think that may be a tough one for some, but I’d stick with my friends and by community-less, if I ever had to make that choice. What do you think?