Getting personal with Berry


Monday arrived, and with it a fresh meme challenge from Strawberry Singh. This one was quite a long one – 20 questions in all – asking respondents a range of questions on real and virtual living. As it is sort-of in the same vein as her memes on blogging & SL, I thought I’d give it a go as well.

Meme instructions: Answer the following 20 personal questions about your Second Life.

When and how did you discover Second Life? I discovered it in early 2006. I can’t actually remember how; TV report, magazine / on-line article, something like that. I joined for a while, literally a few months, then left. I decided to give it another go at the end of the year, re-joining in December 06.

Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them? I was aware of the concept of virtual worlds through sci-fi films and books, but had never actually used anything like one. I’m not a computer gamer or anything like it, so it was a new experience.

Has Second Life met your expectations? First time around, I didn’t really have expectations, only cursory interest (hence, probably, why I wandered away from it). Second time around, I came back with a specific purpose in mind, which sort-of constrained things for a while. However, I’ve now moved well beyond that original purpose largely as a result of SL leading me into areas I never expected would interest me, so I’d say it’s exceeded any expectations I may have had.

If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s s life, what would you tell yourself? “The winning National Lottery numbers for Christmas 2006 will be …” 😀 .

How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles in-world? I don’t actually recall having major issues with either in terms of understanding the controls (keyboard, mouse, etc). Leaving avatar flying to one side, I do regret not getting into flying aircraft sooner.

Flying in SL was never really a problem for me ... I just regret that flying aircraft was something I didn't discover a lot sooner
Flying in SL was never really a problem for me … I just regret that flying aircraft was something I didn’t discover a lot sooner

Do you have a mystery alt? I have an alt, but her identity isn’t mysterious. She’s appeared in these pages, and the tag I often give her when in-world is a bit of a giveaway 🙂 .

Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be? Her personality is mine. Looks-wise, I did at one point try to get her looking somewhat like me facially. Nowadays, there is little physical resemblance. I’m not conscious of any wish / desire to look like her or have her look like anyone else, in SL or RL.

Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How? There are many people I’ve encountered in SL who have had a very positive influence on me in ways too numerous to mention. Some are still here, and I appreciate them greatly for their influence / friendship / acquaintanceship. Others have since sadly moved on from SL.

Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet in-world as opposed to the real world? I’d say that bonds can be easier to initially form on-line because of the way second Life tends to compress everything. Some can become as strong as those formed through a friendship / relationship which started in RL. It’s really down to the individuals concerned: what they are seeking, how genuine / honest they are when in-world, etc.

Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life? Yup. As Berry states: it’s been happening for decades, long before SL or the Internet or even computers.

How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life? I’m not a “relationship” person in either RL or SL at this point in time. I prefer my independence and the freedom it allows me to come and go as I wish, and to have the space I want around me I like. I’m probably more insular in SL than RL, and have moved more in that direction as a conscious choice.

How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing Second Life? Not at all. I work for myself, largely in a digital medium. I also mostly work from home. So the idea of people earning a living through SL came as no surprise.

Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly Enjoying my own company, exploring new places, learning new things / skills.

If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? (Kind of like the Matrix) Possibly. Depends on the circumstances / nature of the environment.

How do you think behaviour changes for people if they’re in-world vs in real world? Why do you think that is? Anonymity, freedom and empowerment.

Anonymity gives us a freedom of expression we rarely get in real life. This can be tremendously liberating, exciting and positive.  Along with the incredible capabilities and opportunities within a virtual world, it empowers us to set our imaginations free.

Of course, it also means that for some, it provides the freedom and power to try to abuse others through actions / words. Fortunately, the environment gives us the means to render such individuals largely impotent when this happens, and simply block them out of our virtual lives.

I've never been a dedicated follower of fashion - RL or SL, but that doesn't mean I can't have fun with outfits :)
I’ve never been a dedicated follower of fashion – RL or SL, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with outfits 🙂

How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion? Nope to all three.

In addition, and where fashion is concerned, both in RL and SL I tend to buy / wear what I like and like what I wear. Trends, fashions, etc., don’t enter into the equation.

Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it? Right now, I’d say VWs are not “drivers” of human interaction nor are they “redefining” human interaction.

This may well change in the course of the next decade or so, but right now, VWs are simply far too niche to be either, especially when compared to a juggernaut like Facebook. Whether we like or loathe it, Facebook has very much been a driver and redefiner of human interaction on-line, just as mobile devices have driven / redefined much of how we interact in RL.

That said, there is no doubt that VWs  expand our ability to interact with others and do so in ways which cannot be achieved through other mediums. This certainly has the potential to grow enormously in the future.

If technology progressed tomorrow to allow you to send emotions to people the way you’d send text or voice messages, would it enrich your SL experience or infringe on it?  The concept of direct emotional “transfer” boggles my brain, and frankly strikes me as being potentially open to abuse. Ergo, I’d rather go without such a capability, thank you.

Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in Second Life alone.  Understanding technology better is something I’ve learned as a direct involvement of my time in SL. Whether it has been “honed” or not, is open to debate, but SL has certainly renewed my interest is psychology and psychological profiling.

If your grand kids Googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud or something else? Not a question I can answer, except hypothetically. But supposing it did happen in some parallel universe, 20 or 30 years hence, I suspect the reaction would amount to little more than “mild curiosity”.

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