Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: 1950s Retro Outfit

Take a look at this 1950s inspired outfit I was able to put together for next to nothing!

1950s Retro Look 3 30 June 20181950s Retro Look 30 June 20181950s Retro Look 2 30 June 2018

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head and Lipstick: Giselle Bento head by Altamura (no longer available for free; this was an Altamura gift from last Christmas at the eBENTO event, and you had to join the Altamura group for L$50 to get it)

Mesh Body: Jenny Bento body by Altamura (no longer available for free; this was a gift last Christmas from the Women Only Hunt)

Hair: Hair Ball by Vanity Hair (free from the SL 15th Anniversary Shopping Event)

Earrings: Dark Mouse Vintage 50’s pearl stud clip (old free gift; no longer available)

Dress and Flower: Rizzo Dress by Giulia Design (free from the freebie store at Ajuda SL Brasil)

Shoes: Dahlia Mary Janes by Poppy (free group gift; unfortunately, this store seems to have closed)

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: L$50 (Altamura group join fee)

Pictures were all taken at the 1950s and 1960s Time Portal zone by Jo Yardley.

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Is the Virtual Worlds Community an Echo Chamber? Is There a Hard Upper Limit to Public Interest in Virtual Worlds?

I usually check the newsfeeds of Google News for my news highlights of the day (I rarely watch TV anymore, and I check the newspapers maybe 2 or 3 times a week, max). So imagine my surprise when, on a whim, I searched Google News today for “Second Life 15th anniversary”, just to see what coverage there was of last week’s event:

Google News Second Life 25 June 2018.png

Zip. Nada. Zilch. Not a single mention of Second Life’s 15th anniversary in any of the current news media sources that Google News indexes! (I got the same results on “Second Life 15th birthday”.)

So I sat down and thought about what this might mean. Why is it that something that was a (relatively) big deal in virtual world news got so little mainstream press coverage, despite (I assume) the best efforts of Linden Lab to do PR and get the word out?

Tie into that the current difficulties that High Fidelity, Sinespace, Sansar, and other firms are having in attracting people to their social VR/virtual world platforms, and I have a theory. Hear me out.

Could it be that the virtual worlds community is so (relatively) small and insular, that it has developed into its own echo chamber? According to Wikipedia:

The echo chamber effect occurs online due to a harmonious group of people amalgamating and developing tunnel vision. Participants in online discussions may find their opinions constantly echoed back to them, which reinforces their individual belief systems. However, individuals who participate in echo chambers often do so because they feel more confident that their opinions will be more readily accepted by others in the echo chamber.

When we talk about virtual worlds, are we pretty much only talking to—and listening to—each other? A closed community that is not listening to the outside world, perhaps thinking that it is more important than it really is? (I have noticed that I have tended to run into exactly the same people on every virtual world platform I have visited over the past 11 years.) Do we tend to stick to our own blogs and discussion groups (hello, Plurk!), and therefore become resistant to messages coming in from the outside? Are the metaverse companies (and their current customers) convincing themselves that virtual world platforms are a more vital and necessary service than the rest of the population believes? Maybe.

It might explain why Second Life never really broke through to the next level, even though it has pretty much kept 500,000-600,000 active user accounts over the past decade or so, despite the addition of thousands of new accounts each and every month.

And, even more ominously, it might just explain why the other, newer virtual world platforms are having some trouble breaking into the marketplace. What if that pool of less than a million people is the entire potential audience that virtual worlds—all virtual worlds—can attract? In other words, is there a hard upper limit in public interest in virtual worlds? Are all these metaverse companies fighting each other over a pie that is never going to get any bigger?

And if that is true, then what happens when most of those people are already happily settled in Second Life, prefer life in their own isolated little world with its echo chamber, and don’t feel the need to venture out any further?

What do you think of these ideas? Sound off in the comments…

A Tour of the SL 15th Anniversary Exhibits

Today, instead of the usual Saturday morning Atlas Hopping in Sansar, Drax and Berry led a group of avatars in Second Life to various exhibits on the 24-sim expanse of the SL Community Celebration going on all this week.

The following beautiful sculpture is from an SL 15th Anniversary exhibit called Cammino & Vivo Capovolto by Mistero Hifeng:

Art from SL15B Cammino & Vivo Capovolto by Mistero Hifeng June 23 2018_001.png

Art from SL15B 23 June 2018 Cammino & Vivo Capovolto by Mistero Hifeng.png

Art from SL15B Cammino & Vivo Capovolto by Mistero Hifeng June 23 2018 2_001.png

Here is Strawberry Singh’s livestream of the event:

Second Life 15th Anniversary: The Most Commercially Successful Virtual World Turns 15 Years Old

Second Life 15th Anniversary

Today is officially the 15th birthday of Second Life!

On June 23rd, 2003, CEO Philip Rosedale and his company, Linden Lab, launched a virtual world called Second Life.

According to the infographic Linden Lab released to celebrate their anniversary, a whopping 57 million SL accounts have been created since 2003—of which about 600,000 people still regularly use the platform.

This makes Second Life, by far, the most commercially successful and popular virtual world to date. From June 17th to 24th the SL Community Celebration is taking place, with speakers, musical events, and countless exhibits and art displays on 24 connected sims. It’s the perfect time and place to visit, especially if you are new to Second Life!

Here’s a quick two-minute video on the 15th-anniversary celebration. Did you know that SL content creators collectively made 68 million dollars (US) in profits last year? There’s also a short message at the end from the visionary founder Philip Rosedale himself!

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Scandalize

From June 22nd to June 24th Scandalize has removed the L$100 group join fee for their group, as part of their 2nd-anniversary celebrations. Why is this a big deal? Because when you now join the Scandalize group for FREE, you can pick up no less than 88 great group gifts!

Here’s a link to the group: secondlife:///app/group/c6b27443-12c9-083f-efd2-d56dfaf2ec3a/inspect (copy and paste this into the chat window of your Second Life viewer). Or just search for “Scandalize” under the Groups tab in Search.

The group gifts wall is located on the wall behind the main reception desk:

Scandalize Group Gift Wall 23 Jun 2018.png

There are 77 gifts on that wall, and when you turn around, there are another 11 free group gifts of jewelry on the counter! (There are actually 13 vendors, but two don’t work.)

So, if you haven’t joined yet, because you are short of Lindens, now is your chance!

Exploring Digital Identity Through Avatars: A Look at Drax’s Our Digital Selves Documentary

Alice Bonasio has written an article for The Next Web about Draxtor Despres (a.k.a. Bernhard Drax in real life) and his recently-completed documentary called Our Digital Selves: My Avatar Is Me.

Titled Exploring Digital Identity Through Avatars, the article looks at how a variety of differently abled people choose to represent themselves in virtual worlds such as Second Life.

For those that speculate about the potential of social VR, it is interesting to note how inhabiting a virtual world allows these people to form and maintain meaningful relationships and connections with others, as SL user iSkye Silverweb recounts:

I don’t think my partner and I ever would have met in the physical world, even if we were in the same city, and it is because I am deaf.  Communication IS an issue for me; I would always be concerned about it, with meeting anyone.

It’s a raw and intensely emotional investigation into the power of living vicariously through an avatar, and how this – as one user puts it – “provides her with sustenance” and helps people to cope with all manner of both mental and physical disabilities.

It’s a great article and I urge you to go over to The Next Web and read it in full.

Cody Lascala wearing a VR headset.jpg
Cody Lascala wearing a VR headset in Sansar

Relay For Life of Second Life

Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event. The first Relay For Life of Second Life took place on Saturday, August 27th, and Sunday, August 28th, 2005. It was the brainchild of Jade Lily (who in real life was an airman called Keith Morris) and was reported in the The New York Times in an article called Letting your fingers do the running. The two-day event raised a total of US$5,000.

Since then, Relay for Life in Second Life has grown year by year into one of the largest celebrations in Second Life. In 2017, almost a thousand avatars raised US$230,000 for cancer research and treatment through a variety of in-world events and fundraisers. (Here’s an official SL wiki page which outlines the entire history of Relay for Life in SL.)

Relay for Life 10 Jun 2018.png

Here’s the main website for Relay for Life of SL. It includes a calendar of events and a leaderboard of the top teams and the top participants in the fundraising race.

If you can, please take part in the Relay for Life events taking place all across the grid this summer! Any kind of donation helps. Thank you!