Wednesday, 29 June 2011


I started this blog some months ago with the intention of using this space to elaborate on an essay I wrote for a module I took this year, Performing Online. That essay was, as the title of this blog may suggest, about Second Life, and how engagement with the programme (I hesitate to call it a game) might provoke reflection upon experiences within the Real or "First" Life. Not the easiest topic to grapple with! - but I find the whole concept of Second Life interesting, and I I am.

Before taking the module, I knew very, very little about Second Life. I couldn't have told you what it was for, though an ex-boyfriend of my mother's had mentioned that he played/used SL and went around within it as a bunny-rabbit. When I mentioned that my lecturer had asked us to play SL, a couple of friends and an ex-boyfriend of my own came out of the woodwork and announced that they too had taken to the SL world - the latter, almost amusingly, as a transgender woman. Having friends "in-game", as it were, was a big help, and without them, I would no doubt still be wandering around Welcome Island trying to work out what the Hell I was supposed to be doing.

Although I seem to be sounding pretty negative about the whole experience (I'm not trying to!), I don't think badly of SL at all. I approached the realm with an ethnographer's stance, which may or may not be detrimental to my experience, but the point is...I wanted to see and experience Second Life. I did not sign up to slander those who use the application with more serious intent. If I ever come across that way, please slap me.

If you don't know what Second Life is, I'm afraid that I have no succinct answer. Linden Labs, the creators of SL, have very little to say in answer to that question, but they do provide a video which can be viewed here. It is, almost literally, a second life - only this time, you get to decide how you look, and you don't necessarily have to get a 9 to 5 job to be able to go out and see the world, though if you want to buy hair that doesn't look like it was painted onto your scalp, or somewhere to keep the potted plant someone just gifted you, a job is a pretty good idea.

In my essay, I focused on a couple of specific areas for discussion - SL etiquette and manners, the performance of self (I am a Theatre & Performance Studies student, afterall!), the self and the avatar, sexuality, and then several bizarre relevations that I shall term "curiosities". I'm hoping to use this space to discuss these in further depth, and perhaps to get some feedback on ideas or whatever else if I can find anybody crazy enough to read this blog in the first place.

Oh - and I'm a little trigger-happy when it comes to screenshots. Most of the images I use here, then, will be my own unless stated otherwise. If it interests me, I take a screenie, so, at the very least, this blog should be amusing for that. On that note, I shall leave you with this warning:

if you die in Second Life...

On with the introductions.

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