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.