Virtual Secrets (formerly known as SL Secrets) is sort of the National Enquirer of Second Life: a long-running website where anybody can anonymously post a picture, usually to call out the (mis)behaviour of another avatar, store, event, or brand. Common accusations include:
- one avatar attacking another avatar’s looks, behaviour, or relationships (essentially, an SL version of The Dirty)
- one avatar cheating on another;
- an avatar engaging in sexual ageplay (a bannable offence under the Second Life Terms of Service);
- one store stealing another store’s design or intellectual property;
- an SL brand copying real life intellectual property;
- a store not putting in sufficient design effort on a gacha or an item for a shopping event;
- a supposedly too-cozy relationship between a store and an event organizer or blogger manager;
- people getting banned from clubs, and other club-related drama;
- clubs or stores using alts to artificially boost traffic statistics.
And the list goes on, and on, and on… but I was very surprised this week when somebody actually used one of the pictures from my blog for their post!
(Which I think is a compliment about modesty in dress…in which case, thank you. But it could just as easily be a jab at how Vanity Fair is overdressed. With Virtual Secrets, you just never know…)
I must confess that I do find myself reading the latest installment every Sunday, just to find out what the latest drama is on the grid, but I often come away from it feeling a little depressed and disheartened by how people attack each other.
Every so often, somebody does post something genuinely funny, insightful, or positive, but they are pretty few and far between:
So I will admit that Virtual Secrets is my guilty pleasure. But I feel guilty that my entertainment comes at the expense of another person. So I confess that I have a continuing love-hate relationship with the website.
What I do find interesting is that I can think of no other virtual world that has such a gossip site. There is just something about the ecosystem of Second Life that seems to lend itself to all the petty drama and mudslinging that enable Virtual Secrets to be as popular as it is.
Perhaps, it’s a sign that a virtual world has “made it” if websites like this spring up around it? I’m quite sure that competing platforms would love to generate the levels of enthusiasm, engagement, and outrage that seem to drive so many of the posters to Virtual Secrets.
But what do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below, thanks!