Second Life


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Second Life

A virtual world on the Internet from Linden Research, Inc., San Francisco, CA (www.lindenlab.com), in which "residents" create an identity, meet people, buy land and build their own environment or purchase an existing one. It is a "massively multiplayer online role playing game" (MMORPG), but one that offers users total freedom to create and interact as if they were living another life. Playing the game requires a client download for Windows, Mac or Linux.

Launched in 2003 by Philip Rosedale, alias Philip Linden in Second Life, first-time residents make up a first name, choose a last name from a list and choose a graphic identity (an avatar). The name cannot be changed, but the avatar can be. The Second Life world is a group of islands in the tropics. Using the keyboard, one can move around at will and even fly over them. You can instantly teleport from one location to another.

Linden Dollars
Land and objects are purchased from Linden Lab or other Second Lifers using Linden dollars. A small amount is given to first-time users, but additional Linden dollars must be purchased monthly to acquire more. An entire island can even be purchased.

Virtual banks sprang up in Second Life that paid interest to Linden dollar depositors. However, some of them lost money by speculating in Second Life gambling and real estate ventures and actually caused a "virtual run on their bank." Since Linden dollars can be converted to real dollars, Second Lifers lost real money, and in early 2008, Second Life closed down the virtual banks, stating that only real chartered banks could offer banking services.

User Customization
Users can thoroughly customize their avatars with Second Life tools, and they can also be created offline and uploaded. Objects can be infused with the user's own images as well as programming code in the Linden Scripting Language. All sorts of Second Life environments have been created, from pure fantasy to ultra-futuristic to venues resembling a shopping mall.

The Real World - Simulated
There are countless Second Life cultures and subcultures organized around arts, sports, games and other areas. Groups can be formed that simulate mini-companies and mini-communities. Even real companies, such as Coca-Cola and Adidas, participate in Second Life as a marketing venue. Numerous universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Vassar, offer online classes. Religious organizations hold meetings, and starting with the Maldives and Sweden, countries have created virtual embassies.

People find partners, have virtual sex and even get married in Second Life. In other words, Second Life is the "virtual real world." For an engaging experience, visit www.secondlife.com. See MMORPG.


Meeting a Newbie
The person in the white shirt just signed up and is feeling his way around Second Life. Whenever you see another person, you can click on his or her avatar and try to start a conversation. Newcomers begin at Orientation Island, and one can actually sense the uneasiness of other newbies who just arrived moments ago. Sometimes they will answer your message; sometimes not. Depending on the name you chose and how forward you are, people will make judgments in the virtual world as they do in the real world.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"It is an exciting premise that taps into the question of how much we know about people we meet online but, throughout, there is a nagging suspicion that Second Life has been written with the film adaptation in mind....
He writes in the rst person as a woman in Second Life, whose protagonist Julia is a photographer and recovering alcoholic, who lives with her kindly surgeon husband and their adopted son, who is her sister's child.
About STUDIO 777: Since 2009, STUDIO 777 has welcomed over 1 million Guest visits with over 50 million minutes spent at 777 in the Second Life virtual world.
Allen's fortune could be worth more than 20 times her six million pounds reported worth had she accepted Second Life's offer, the report added.
The report states the agencies "have built mass-collection capabilities against the Xbox Live console network...Real-life agents have been deployed into virtual realms, from those Orc hordes in World of Warcraft to the human avatars of Second Life. There were attempts, too, to recruit potential informants from the gamers' tech-friendly users."
Baldwin (writing, Michigan State U.) and Achterberg, a high school English and biology teacher, collect 11 chapters (including essays, poetry, and a two-act play) by a variety of scholars working in areas from English to sociology to media studies in the US, who discuss their experiences with identity, work, and play as women in the virtual world of Second Life. Chapters explore how their lives as avatars affected their everyday lives, issues of gender and race, how real-life work can be accomplished in a virtual environment, and cultural aspects.
These studies strongly support that residents in Second Life can have their own behavior affecting another lives.
As a longtime gamer and scholar, I had noticed the inclusion of cultural elements in games where users could make content, such as a region in Second Life devoted to Star Trek role-playing.
Second Life users are typically referred to as "residents".
This article discusses what the authors perceive to be the potential benefits of using Second Life for educational purposes, how they incorporated Second Life into the Masters of Accounting (MAC) program at NC State, and the lessons learned from their initial foray into Second Life.
"ONLY together we can create the world full of tolerance, responsibility and boundless love for children," gushes the website of Second Life Ltd.
For the sake of accuracy, however, one should mention that Second Life has its quirks, and after a decade it still pretty much feels like a beta product, but OpenSim is far worse--early alpha, at best.