My list of things to do in SL

Second life fascinates me in a way that nothing else has, for a long time. I do not fall in the category of people who do not have a first life - if anything, I probably live more some days than many people in a week. Case in point today I will have badged myself to get into a space flight center, set up a trip without any money whatsoever for it, helped a mildly autistic little boy to come to reality - if just a bit, and same for her slightly schizophrenic sister (two children I almost adopted - the little girl, for example, is nice - but walks up to a window and thinks its a door) and set up a chorus for a U2 song to be sung by an entire church. And all the other stuff. Setting up a trip to India... getting a deadline hit. And today (Definitely ) begin training for the triathlon season (I must compete in two, to hold my USATF ranking). UPDATE: Looks like I won't go on the trip after all but sending everyone else including the children. Looks like I'm going to be home alone and left to my own devices (and oh! what wonderful devices they truly are..) . Want to convince myself to go at the last minute but need to work. Theres too much of a play element in the trip right now. Kids are going 2 be very excited about Marshall Space Flight Ctr.!!

But Second Life has affected me almost spiritually. It is , I believe, the expression of what Nolan Bushnell wished to have happen in the gaming industry. Much of it is very adult oriented at this snapshot phase of its existence - mirroring, if you will, the content spread of the internet - some of it definitely not kid or work safe. Kids on the other hand, have club penguin to practice with, and IMHO most of them will when they are older use stuff like SL. Still, its a psychically dangerous environ - I have had several discussions about this with my little ones and I would welcome them each having an SL Teen account when they turn 13, but not before. This assumes second life does not implode in the chaos of its increasingly obvious lack of a scaleable architecture.

Second life, to me at least, is the swiss army pocket knife of social interaction - and is the second phase of a new internet where the ecommerce and stateless page-based interfaces are yielding to streams and services - a place where those services can be aggregated and used in an intuitive interface. But moreover a place where we can all learn, grow and play.

For example, yesterday I was hanging out people with people who are arguably (but verifiably) Indian - literally almost all day . A male character, and a very attractive and congenial female. In one interaction with one of these two, I laid claim to being a minor deity and then backed it up .

There are those who say that the place is demon-filled (hey, I live in the bible belt). Others, partcularly my friends in New England (boston, to be precise) who said that the whole environment is just the culture of the mini-skirt and little else. Indeed second life at its base, is a chat room with graphics. And I have seen the social effect of chat interaction take its toll - one of my programmers, in fact, a world class programmer - totally destroyed. The chat interaction is shallow in many senses, and gives a sense of connection that is ultimately false. He had several trips to places he never should have been, meeting people he never should have met . The catholic interpretation that there is a realm not heaven, not yet hell- where lost souls congregate - seems all too fitting. Its important to note that most criticisms of second life, are usually true in some sense.

The pain of a new existence - how else, would it be possible to explore them? Life is not perfect, and neither is second life.

So, here is +my+ list of top 5 things to do in second life.

  1. Learn and speak another language - accept the consequences for miscommunication - find someone you want to know, and let your ability to speak their language determine if you can hold onto their friendship
  2. Play games - not just head games, but real ones like chess. Don't cheat.
  3. Create things - build new items
  4. Script - create scripted actions and animations - write code (this is the 21st century, after all).
  5. Allow yourself to be someone else for a change, male or female. Or even a tiny, or a furry, or the kool-aid pitcher guy. walk a mile..
  6. Um. Get a basic account , then upgrade it to the annual premium acct. and use "aLexanderGraham Bade" in the referral field ... find out what its like to receive half the referral fee back (bade is a pay account for my business in there). Note: its six bucks a month but they pay you back 4.50 a month so the cost is a buck.
  7. Invest. Put your money in land, business ventures, whatever. Don't just gamble or spend it. Invest with the freedom you don't have IRL

The basic theory this sort of set of experiments will support is simple: Second Life is a tool to enhance basic human communication. And if you are an investor... the graph below tells you when to buy..