How seriously do you take sl? That all depends, i suppose, on what sort of an investment you have in our strange little virtual world. If you’re a Linden, a developer, or if your main income stream is reliant upon sl, then i’m guessing you take it pretty seriously; similarly, the more time, money and resources you’ve ploughed into virtual living, the more likely you are to elevate its relative importance in your real life.
There has to come a point though where rl takes precedence – stories abound about instances where poor judgement, abdication of responsibility and sheer lunacy have resulted in people losing all sense of perspective and jeopardising relationships, careers and bank balances by making unwise choices in relation to sl. That doesn’t necessarily mean that sl is a bad thing, or unhealthy in some way – there are as many ways to achieve any of those particular outcomes as you can possibly think of – just substitute sl with any number of alternative pursuits, habits and choices and you’ll end up with much the same results. You can allow pretty much anything to assume a greater a part in your life than is sensible, this is pure human nature, but it’s also not really what i have in mind.
If we can, let’s put aside all those weighty concerns for a moment and concentrate instead upon less serious matters – quite literally – and reconsider my original question in a wholly different light: How seriously do you take sl? Are you having fun, and how important to you is it that sl should get those positive vibes flowing?
i only ask because, the general feeling you get these days whenever you hear or read anything about sl, is that it’s a bit of a drag; it’s hard going; and, the whole process of logging in and doing whatever it is that you do whilst being your virtual self, is just one long, painful, chore.
That’s certainly not the sl that i know!
In rl, i think i work pretty damn hard – as do many of us – and sl is my letting off steam, chilling out and generally kicking back and having a good time zone. Yes, i could probably watch movies, go for long walks in the park, jog a few miles or go to the pub with friends to unwind – but sometimes that’s not practical or particularly what i fancy doing, and by the time i’ve decided which movie i want to watch, pulled on my all-weather park-walking gear, gone to the cashpoint and organised lifts to the pub, i’m about ready to throw in the towel and get some sleep instead. So, i turn to sl – it’s accessible, immediate and i can do whatever the hell i like, all without moving from my seat. Perfect.
And there’s no doubt about it, sl is darn good fun. Where else can i get up to pranks, listen to music, have a laugh with friends, go skydiving and do handbrake turns and donuts in the middle of the street in a shopping trolley? (And all accompanied by a nice bottle of chianti and a some baked beans on toast? – Oh yes, i do things in style!). Just as i work my little socks off in rl to earn a crust, so i also work equally hard at having fun in sl – and, as far as i’m concerned, that’s exactly what it should all be about.
The other night, i ended up with aching jaws and helplessly weak from laughter, thanks to the utter craziness that an evening with friends descended into – at one point, i laughed so hard and so helplessly that a bit of wee came out! And that’s a frequent occurrence, (the laughter, not the wee!), in sl. When i’m logged in, i’m completely disengaged from the real world, (apart from the chianti and beans); i’m having fun, and whatever the world has thrown at me melts away with the laughter. Sod the lag and the technical difficulties, forget the drama and nonsense – i really don’t notice it… i’m having fun!
Recently, i heard somebody say that they must be ‘sad’ to spend as much time in sl as they do – i disagree. Some of the cleverest, most creative and most plugged-in people i know spend a huge proportion of their free time logged into sl, and it’s no coincidence that they also appear to be some of the happiest, fun-loving people you could hope to meet. It’s true that if you scratch beneath the surface, you’ll find those people also have problems, difficulties and crappy lives, just like the rest of us, but – when they’re inworld – those become secondary concerns, scarcely worth a mention… and don’t you think that’s the way it should be?
All I want is the best for our lives my dear,
and you know my wishes are sincere.
What’s to save for the days I cannot bear
Beirut – A Sunday Smile