Second Life – report back #1

In The Land of the Blind, I documented my first hesitant steps in A Virtual World called Second Life. This was a little less than a month ago. From Orientation Island you move to Help Island. For some reason or other I missed this part and ended up on the mainland.

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There are basically two ways of approaching Second Life. One is the free way, which is not really free because it requires time to earn money. (more of this later) The second way is to subscribe to a Premium Service which costs $9.95 per month.

In Second Life (SL) you need money. The currency is Linden Dollars L$ and the exchange rate between L$ and $ and Euro fluctuates like any other currency and is freely traded. The current exchange rate is L$275 /$. Without money you cannot change your appearance or build anything of consequence.

There are many ways for Newbies to earn money to get them started. One of the innovative ways is to find “Money Trees” These are sited all over SL and newcomers stand under the trees and wait for them to sprout money which you pick. Another way is called “Hippie Pay” This is mainly restricted to US citizens but involves, amongst other things, completing massive Nielsens surveys for which you are paid (L$15 – L$150). You can also sit on a camping chair at some sites and be paid L$3 per 15 minutes for just being there. Oh, and there are also jobs advertised in the Classifieds. If none of these methods appeal to you, gambling is also an option. There is a lot of gambling in SL !!

Premium subscribers recieve a L$400 allowance per week. The big advantage however of being a Premium Subscriber is that you are allowed to buy land. Now I know what you will say. It’s just bits and bytes, it’s not real, it doesn’t exist, it’s like buying plots on Mars. NO IT ISN’T. You get title to the land, can freely buy and sell it at a profit. IBM is the biggest landowner in SL at present but there are many speculators who have made serious money.

As a meeting place it’s great. I’ve attended lectures hosted by an Australian University with students from all over the world. I’ve sat in a virtual Irish Pub, discussing philosophy with a chap from Thailand. I’ve danced with a girl from Boston and chatted about astronomy and horses.

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As far as dancing is concerned. Beware. you touch a ball or pad to start dancing. To stop you just press it again. My first time I touched the ball and started doing my best John Travolta impression. Problem is I couldn’t find the pad to stop. Danced through 4 different locations with people sniggering and pointing. What an idiot !!

My avatar in SL is called Synaptoman Oh. Look out for me. I’m the guy walking into walls, dancing uncontrollably and missing items of clothing. Oh, and my skin changes colour for no apparent reason.

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What is my objective for being a SL citizen? Simple. I want to move my blog and real life (RL) commercial web page to a piece of land in SL and open up shop there. I feel that a 3-dimensional and interactive place will be far more productive (and profitable) than a boring flat page of HTML code.

IT IS THE FUTURE, ignore it and lose out.

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