Week 38: Investigate Second Life (http://secondlife.com/): a 3D virtual world community. Check out the presentation What is Second Life? (http://secondlife.com/whatis/?lang=en-US) This learning tool has all the appearances of a video game, but there actually are vibrant genealogy social communities and discussions within the network. Genealogy Wise maintains a group of Second Life genealogists (http://www.genealogywise.com/group/secondlifegenealogists) and a calendar of upcoming discussions. You do not have to join Second Life for this challenge. The goal is just to give genealogists exposure to this type of genealogy learning tool. If you have a blog, you may jot down your impressions of Second Life if you wish.
I gave Second Life a go a few months ago. It’s a very rich environment, with lots to do. Some members of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) were holding meetings and other activities there, which is why I decided to check it out. Most of their activities take place in the United States, which is far away from where I am.
It’s a steep learning curve, though, which I decided I could’t afford the time for, so I stopped playing with it. Now it’s time for another look.
So in I went. Luckily the program remembers my id and password.
That’s me in the centre foreground, in the jeans and singlet. As far as I had worked out previously if you want alternative clothes you have to buy them. You make up your name when you sign up, and mine is rather unimaginative, as you can see. I thought that if I didn’t use my first name I wouldn’t know when people were talking to me, and I might forget my own name! Oh well.
As you can see, I belong to a group called Just Genealogists. And that’s what we are. There are meetings and parties, and I don’t imagine I have been conspicous by my absence. I think I used to get emails when notices were posted, but I must have worked out how to turn them off after I gave up on Second Life.
I appear to be in a hotel foyer, and I can see other people, and I can also see the conversations they are having. They are fairly uninspiring conversations. One of these people seems to be doing rather complicated dance moves.
So far all I have managed to do is to walk forwards and backwards a bit, and I’ve found a list of gestures I can perform. When I shrug or look embarrassed I look like a silent film star, with those exaggerated gestures.
Let’s go outside:
Hmm. Obviously I’m not supposed to walk from place to place.
Let’s change my appearance:
Actually I have quite a lot of choice here. I didn’t figure this part out before. I can make my singlet longer or shorter, and looser or tighter. I can change the fabric, colour, and fit of my jeans, and create new ones. Skirts, jackets, shoes… I could become a real little dressmaker!
Here’s what I came up with after more than a few minutes:
I can’t figure out the shoes so I’m staying with chunky.
I could spend hours on this, creating outfits, but I’m not going to. You get the idea. At least I don’t have to traipse around in a singlet.
I’d show you a map of the place, but it’s taking too long to load. Bring on the National Broadband Network! There’s a teleport button so perhaps I don’t have to walk, which is a great relief as my aim is a bit dodgy.
The map also showed events, so I presume I can teleport there and join one. If I knew when I genealogy-related one was happening I could go there at the right time and join in, provided it wasn’t the middle of the night in my timezone. Events are rated PG, Mature and Adult.
I don’t know how popular Second Life is in the States and Europe, but in Australia I am the only person I know that has ever even dabbled in it. Perhaps the speed is the problem. It takes so long for a map to load that it seems I am stuck in whatever location I start off in. The only place I can go to quickly is ‘Home’, which looks like the edge of a castle and has a lot of strange people dressed for a fancy-dress ball:
It’s all a bit weird and takes some getting used to. I can see how you could spend hours here, wandering around and finding things to do.
Recently the APG Board approved a new Chapter in Second Life. Perhaps I will join.