we’ll have a DJ starting at 7PM. Twilight’s Peace will also be
having live music starting at 7PM as well. I expect I will be hanging out with Micala, Reginald, Dorothy, Tara and Pinkpeony. I might even get to see some recent acquaintances like Kirby and Kristauf; you know how I like to do the whole meet and greet!
Sounds fabulous, doesn’t it?
I’ve only been a member of Mill Pond for a couple of months, but it has made all the difference in my time in Second Life. Yes, really. Second Life. The creation of artistic soul extraordinaire Micala, Mill Pond is her own personal island where she has single-handedly built an incredibly welcoming, ever artistic community. Micala is one of the biggest proponents for Second Life I’ve ever had the pleasure of actually meeting. For her, SL is about community—creating open environments that allow people to meet, mingle, run their own shops, and build community. She does it in part by welcoming anyone who wants to explore Second Life to come and do just that. In the short time I’ve known her, she bubbles over with enthusiasm and spirit, and has readily offered her services as tour guide and SL instructor to anyone who is curious.
I’ve had an avatar for about a year now, at the encouragement of Gerry
Santoro, another SL proponent. I’ve known Gerry for several years since
my IST days, and Gerry has always been about the “why not?” When I
first knew him, Second Life was not even on the horizon, but as I
followed Gerry, I started hearing about SL as he began to explore it.
Gerry looks at SL from an educator’s viewpoint and, for the last couple
of years Gerry has begun teaching his courses in SL, requiring students
to visit the virtual world for his real world course. IST has a couple
of islands now and continues to introduce students to the virtual
world. I got my introduction and background to Second Life from my
educational sources, created my avatar from the selection of available
figures and, like the dutiful student, I traipsed through Orientation
Island, but that did not mean I was, in any way, ready for prime time.
I took the right steps but, without direction, I stood outside
Orientation Island for months. Without a group to join or a class to
study with, I had pretty much come to a dead end. It’s on par with being
the new kid in school: you know everyone has places to go, but without
being part of the crowd, you basically stand in the hallway and watch
the world go their own way.
So what made the difference? Why do
I now gladly embrace Second Life? Because of the community that I found
in SL, and that is largely because of Micala. She’s like the Hostess
and Goodwill Ambassador of Second Life. She makes members feel welcome
and ensures that everyone has a good time, and introduces you to other
“Pondies” so that you make friends sooner. Micala’s take is that SL is much more about being hands on, involved, and creating community, whether by physically building one, or nurturing one. Perhaps I’ve had the Kool-aid, but I have to say I agree. It isn’t nearly as interesting to come into SL to sit and watch Powerpoint slides as it is to explore the virtual world so many have had a hand in creating. Micala gives tours of not only Mill Pond but many other locations in SL. Being in world four
years must give you quite a handy pile of landmarks; Micala always has
some place to go right up her sleeve. She’s the one who shows you how
things work, where to shop, how to fit in, hang out, and not to reek of
“newb.” Just this afternoon, Dorothy, Micala and I went shopping for
party outfits—and shoes, don’t forget the shoes!—for tonight’s shindig. We had a blast, and it is still uncannily like going out shopping with your friends in real life.
not a gamer, and I think that calling SL a game is really a misnomer
and a disservice to the virtual world. At best you can try to explain
it as a role playing game, but really, I think that whatever form you
choose to take, whichever group you choose to be part of, Second Life
is about being part of a community. I enjoy Second Life much in the
same way I enjoy my Twitter community—I’m recognized and welcomed when
I show up, I have friends, places I know where I can visit and, now
that I have a place to call home, I am much more likely to travel
around and explore SL, because I have a home base where I can return.
Thank God Raevyn can dance better than I can. She’s got cuter shoes, too.