“Please share here your stories about your first hours of life in Second Life. Reflect on your experience: How would you describe your first steps? What were the technical issues, if any? What did you feel about the avatar you chose? What was orientation island like? Could you find help as needed? Where did you go? Did you speak to other avatars? What would improve the experience, if anything? What previous knowledge and skills helped you?”
Setting up an avatar was the easy bit. I spent a good hour meticulously making sure she was “just right”, ensuring her nose was snubby enough , her eyebrows just the right shade of brown, her shoulders broad enough, neck the right length. As I’ve played several RPGs I felt comfortable designing a character. It was then that I realised that the default template I selected to make my avatar from was actually male. Worrying this, as it was the one that I felt most resembled me (not that I’m particularly vain you understand – I just wanted to make her look like me because it seemed like the right thing to do)…and embarrassing as I’m supposesd to be able to do this sort of “ICT” thing without making basic gender errors before even starting my journey in SL. Gah!
The real problem came from the fact that I was doing all I could to stall my first steps in the virtual world, a little like someone who continually paddles in the shallow end but (literally) refuses to take the plunge. The whole concept of SL just seemed so huge. Who would I bump into? Would I engage in electronic converation and make a terrible faux pas? The walking around – even the flying, interaction with objects, sitting, taking snapshots, going shopping – everything was easy and felt natural. Talking to complete strangers scared the crap out of me. Still does a little, truth be known. I still edge away from anyone who starts walking towards me, as I’m just no good at small talk in any medium.
I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy this new virtual world – I’m just very shy, and, as in real life, like finding empty little corners that I can go and explore on my own without having to make small talk.
In my first 3 hours online I was asked for help by a newbie, chatted to a girl in a PVC “Catwoman” costume and was bitten by a vampire. I visited Sloodle Island and hung out there on my own for a while. to think about this new world. I was invited to join a group when I left the island and am now looking for my RL husband who has been intrigued enough with what I’m doing to design his own avatar. Jammy sod managed to pick the correct gender too!
So I’m living SL very much like RL. I don’t ask for help-would rather find it all out for myself. Will happily engage in conversation eventually but need some time and gentle nudging before committing.
Oh -and I love my gender-confused avatar!