Harper’s comment about the increasingly dour tone of this blog in recent weeks has had me reflecting on why I would be going in this direction. I think I’ve come up with a couple notions.
To preserve the visual integrity of this blog, I’ll put my extended thoughts after the fold. Read on…
First, I’m really not actively inworld nearly as much as I was. As a point of reference: 2007 was pure magic for me, where I was able to parlay a RL job transition into an immersive Second Life in the way that most users can only imagine. I was living the dream. Oyster Bay developed, grew, grew again and eventually became a hub of Second Life cultural activity. (This foreshadowed the intense disappointment I had with Oyster Bay since reentering the RL workforce…just couldn’t get it done like I had!)
Now, I’m in an intense RL job where I’m regularly working 60-hour weeks and am tethered to a Blackberry 24/7. I’m never really able to leave work behind. Even when I’m inworld, odds are I have my work email either in a side window or popping up on my Blackberry. As a result, I can’t immerse myself in the SL goings-on like I have. That’s forced me to be a little more detached. I think that’s reflected in the blog entries since the first of the year.
My love for Second Life and its culture has led me to devise ways to plug in without actually plugging in, if you get what I mean. Enter NetVibes. This personal RSS aggregator has been a godsend in allowing me to keep abreast of the vibrant SL blog scene in a simple manner that optimizes my time. If someone posts an entry on any of the near-100 blogs that I track, my NetVibes page puts a little red number next to the blog title indicating how many new entries have been posted since the last time I checked. No need to surf blogs to see if anything new is posted; I only check on new content. I can’t overemphasize how great this tool is. I’m not getting a dime from NetVibes, but I’ll shill for them anytime, any day. (I also have unique NetVibes pages to track blogs of local interest, state/national politics – a personal/professional interest of mine and one for my RL subject area. But my SL page gets 95% of my attention.) My Yahoo could probably do the same thing, but I find the 3-column NetVibes interface just works best for me.
Blogs work well for me because they are somewhat passive. I can drop in or out based upon availability – and my availability is spotty these days. If I’m sitting on the couch, decompressing and watching TV after work, I can grab the laptop and run through my NetVibes page in 15-20 minutes and meaningfully read every single new entry. It’s an imperfect way to stay plugged in, but it’s the best I can do.
Reading all these blogs has made me increasingly attuned to SL current events. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the issues of content theft and intellectual property have been all over the SL news. As has the somewhat hasty reallocation of Philip Rosedale’s time at Linden Lab. So I comment on it. I’m spending a lot of time on the road in RL right now, and that leaves time for the mind to wander, to consider issues from a number of angles and to draw conclusions. I hope you enjoy reading them…it’s my little way of continuing to contribute to the SL dialogue.
Second, and perhaps more important, is that I’m a paying customer of Linden Lab. I’ve made a reasonable investment in my Second Life existence. I’ve put pixellated blood, sweat and tears into Second Life to the tune of not paying tier on a 1/2-sim for nearly a year (which ended this month, sigh…).
And I could not care less about other worlds or other grids. I’ve checked out There; I’ve toyed with creating an OpenSim server. They are unsatisfying. Friends tell me that Kaneva is crappy. I stopped playing Dungeons & Dragons when I went to college, so World of Warcraft isn’t going to be my cup of tea. I LIKE the Second Life experience, though – its culture, its (anemic) economy, its vibrancy and creativity. In many ways, I line up with Prokofy Neva’s “Walled Meme” notions. I mean, why do other virtual worlds or grids matter if I’ve planted my flag on the Second Life main grid? I don’t care about inter-compatibility, or multi-platform accounts. I’ve got my SL world, the one I’ve invested myself in, and I want that recreational experience to be the best possible one for the increasingly scarce hours I get to spend on this activity.
The financial issue, that of being a customer of this emerging company, also makes me even more “invested” in the company and its policies. I honestly feel like a shareholder in this communal experience. I don’t want to see my emotional and financial investment in Second Life go down the tubes due to some boneheaded actions (or in the case of the content theft issues, inactions) by Linden Lab. Perhaps the right term for me would be “pragmatic fanboy”? Point is, I’m not satisfied with being a lemming when I see macro issues threaten this personally important recreational experience. I’ll speak up.
My RL work forces me to think about actions and their consequences on the big picture on a daily basis. I apply that skill to my interpretation of the goings-on in Second Life, and it comes through in the blog.
I believe in Second Life. To a slightly lesser degree, I believe in Linden Lab. I want to see both succeed. If Linden ever went public, I’d probably buy some stock to formalize my commitment to what they’re doing. Until then, I’ll stick with this approach – one that, in a way, forces me to stay plugged in.
I don’t want to lose my Second Life…literally or figuratively. As the title says, I complain because I love. Make sense?