Monday, November 15, 2010
My "Second Life" Experience
Pick a Username-Check
Be directed to a clustered and confusing "virtual site"-Check
These are my initial interactions after first joining Second Life over a week ago. When I was assigned this topic of playing Second Life and blogging about my experience I was looking forward to it; I thought I could build a virtual "dream life" including my perfect job, wardrobe, husband, etc. My experience with Second Life couldn't be further from this.
The first thing you have to do when registering on Second Life is create a user name....they give you several bizarre suggestions, from those I chose my name to be "Annabelle Voix." I was very confused when I was directed to the site. The first thing I tried to do was buy clothes in their shopping center. When I went there I noticed that everything was priced in L$ (which I later discovered were called Linden dollars). I searched the shopping pages for something that cost L$0 and only found one pair of shoes, so I purchased them. I couldn't figure out how to make money with nothing to start off with.
Next, I tried to buy land. I found a place called "pinkland" and wanted to buy it. When I went to purchase it in my Second Life account, they translated the Linden dollars into US dollars and asked for my credit card information. When the land that I was trying to purchase translated into 20 US dollars, I decided against the purchase. This was not only a confusing experience but I also question who would actually pay money to buy virtual land.
After playing around on the site for a while, I was still very confused so I watched several tutorials they have posted on their site, which I all found to be very unhelpful. I found a tab on the top of the Second Life site that said "Launch Second Life" which I assumed took me to interact with other Second Life users. When I tried launching Second Life in Firefox it said "Firefox doesn't know how to open this address, because the protocol (secondlife) isn't associated with any program." I tried launching it in Safari and the same message appeared.
Overall, I had a pretty frustrating experience with Second Life. I found the site to be very confusing and clustered. It was not at all what I was expecting and I didn't get much of anything out of my virtual avatar experience.
I think the concept of having a "second life" is very creative and I can see why it would be appealing to a lot of people. I think the idea of experiencing a second life online could attract a wide range of people from high schoolers to moms, but I think the site definitely needs to be made more user-friendly.
I also question the community this creates. I think the Second Life experience is a similar community to that of World of Warcraft. Individuals can create a new life for themselves and find comfort in an online community. For some, this is very appealing, but I would personally rather stick to real life interactions and relationships.