First Impressions of Second Life

I decided to check out Second Life because I figured the only way to really answer my questions about it (starting with, what is the appeal?) was to explore on my own.

In a very short time, I’ve come up with a whole other set of unexpected questions:

  • If you are entering a virtual world, why is the first thing you have to choose male or female? I mean, this is a world where flying and teleportation are apparently the most common modes of travel — why are things so different and so not different at the same time?
  • Why are the default choices so human? If you are going to have a second life, why not start it as a robot or marine mammal or space alien or some floating noncorporeal entity?
  • Why, no matter how low you set your shirt or how high you set your pants, do these two items of clothing never meet if you are female? (Tip: if you want to avoid a strip of avatar flesh showing around your middle before you venture to the main grid, create yourself a jacket from scratch, make it long enough to reach the waist of your pants, and close the jacket.)
  • If gender is so important, why don’t avatars wear wedding rings?

The flying is cool, like flying dreams when I was a kid, so I’m willing to forgive a lot. My odd-looking virtual self spent the day sleeping (I’m guessing; the away from keyboard pose looks rather slumpled over) in a church in Venice. My next big plan involves going to the library, and actually talking to another SL person. Maybe.

For great bloggy coverage on Second Life and virtual worlds, see:
Clickable Culture
Terra Nova

And for extra-geeky academics:

Second Life Library 2.0
Social Sim

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