Let me begin by saying that there are probably about a million places you can learn about Second Life . However, I just challenged my team by telling them that in one month we will be having a staff meeting in SL, and so they better start getting used to the environment. Therefore, some of the advice I’ve picked up and noted here is for their benefit as much as it a way for me to remember it.
While it is great fun to spend all your time in SL visiting places and playing with your look, you really need to stop and read some of the documentation to have a better experience. The best place to start is in the Second Life Knowledgebase on the web. I still have a long way to go working through this, but every time I take a look I feel much better educated. Even if you just choose one article to read a day, you’ll enrich your experience.
There is a new book called Second Life: The Official Guide that just came out. I’ve ordered a copy but it has not yet arrived. It will be interesting to see how much it says beyond the online docs, but I thought it was worth a gamble. The link here is to Barnes & Noble. You might want to check around for other books about virtual worlds. One such is Play Money: Or, how I Quit My Day Job and Made Millions Trading Virtual Loot.
Despite what I said above, do take some time out to work on how you look. Per my first installment in this series, I’ve been debating having multiple identities. Right now I’ve settled on two looks. The first looks something like me while the second is rather different. If I had to label them, one would be “official Bob” and then second would be “pretend Bob.” I find it easier to wander around in the second form, though I will have my staff meeting using the first. All this is subject to change, and that’s part of the fun of being in a virtual world. One week, one month, or one year from now I may have a completely different take on all this. You are warned.
There are many more clothing, hair, and general avatar appearance options open for women than there are for men. If you have Linden dollars, you can go to the shops and buy what you want. However, you can find a lot of free stuff to get you started. Here are a few suggestions:
- Free Dove – Gallii 113, 53, 33 – Mature
More things for women than men here, but you might be able to find what you want if you are searching for specific items.
- Freebie Warehouse – Burns 95, 148, 79 – PG
I love this place. You fly around and “buy” crates of stuff for L$0. Take a tour around the whole place before you start grabbing things. If you get something you don’t need, just delete it from your inventory.
- The GNUbie Store in Indigo – Indigo 201, 62, 38 – Mature
While a lot of the things you get here might not be completely free, they are usually only L$1. The quality is pretty good.
You can find these while in SL via Search | Places. “Mature” means you might see the occasional person or poster in a greater degree of undress, though it can also refer to violence. I recommend you read the “Community Standards” to get a better idea of the difference between PG and M.
One thing this means in practice is that you don’t necessarily want to be showing someone too young or too prim a Mature location in SL because you never know what might just walk in front of you.
Once you’ve been in SL a few days and have started adding things to your inventory, take some time to reorganize it and clean it up. You can create new folders such as “Shirts” or “Furniture” and you can also delete unneeded duplicate items or folders.
One thing that I’ve noticed with SL is that I want to vary my avatar’s clothing daily. I don’t think anyone who knows me would describe me as a “clothes person” (and some of you, in particular, know who you are), but after using SL for a few days I started feeling uncomfortable if I was wearing the same thing over and over. Odd, this virtual life.
Finally, SL is more fun to explore as a group. If you have a friend, wander around with him or her (and in SL, these pronouns are relative). If you have new friends, show them your favorite spots and how to teleport. Remember to be polite to the people you meet, even if they’re not always that way to you. Don’t assume everyone you meet speaks your language. That might be one reason they are avoiding you. They also might be busy reorganizing their closet or Inventory. They might even be writing a blog entry in RL (real life).