Way back in the day, when companies, colleges and corporate concerns were welcomed into SL with open arms and promises of virtual global domination, boundless digital horizons and a brave new world with unexplored potential, there were a host of different ways to get inworld. It seemed that every corporate website, educational institution and virtual entrepreneur was offering to sign you up to SL, via their own registration API, and along with it a chance to promote their brand by way of a custom last name. Those were the days that the privileged few could rejoice in having a distinctive second name, like ‘Gossipgirl’, ‘Cartier’, ‘Reuters’, ‘MetaverseModSquad’, or even ‘Google’!
Be famous enough – or important enough in Linden Lab – and you could even have your own unique last name: ‘Onassis’, ‘Eno’, ‘Kapor’,’Gingrich’, and ‘Ono’, (I have a buddy inworld who was once on Yoko Ono’s friends’ list!), to name a few; however those halcyon days eventually came to a close. Virtual worlds, (at the time), turned out not to be the next step in human evolution that we thought they’d be, and the big companies pulled out, taking with them their inworld property, influence and those special names.
Even then, the ways into SL were multitude – there were still a wealth of sites with the SL registration API, each allocated a group of last names for new residents to choose from, until that fateful day – 18th November 2010 – when individual last names were replaced with the catch-all and universally hated, ‘Resident’. Ever since, disgruntled residents have pursued quests to unearth any still-functioning registration sites that may offer one final opportunity to grab a legacy name – an ultimately futile quest, but one from which the faithful, in their fervour, refuse to be swayed. If there are any still out there, they’re likely to belong to companies or educational establishments with access restricted to their own internal people. Theoretically, at least, the Lab still offers a custom name programme, it’s costly – but no more so than renting a region from them – but as to whether you could convince the Lindens to do it, that’s anyone’s guess.
Even if you could gain access to a portal, other than the official one, and were able to secure a second name somewhat less bland than ‘Resident’, I’m not so sure it would turn out to be the big success you’d hoped it would. There’s a very strong chance that you’d login with a great big smile on your face, only to find that your new SL account was limited to some tiny corporate island with absolutely no way to commute to the Main Grid, or even communicate with the wider world outside your new virtual home. It would be a somewhat hollow victory: Not only would you be stuck in one place with your shiny new name, but you’d be sharing it with everyone around you and, if you decided to stay, you’d have to spend the rest of your virtual life in discussion with ‘colleagues’ about business matters you know nothing about, or pretending you’re enrolled in college courses to other students who have infinitely more interesting real lives than you! You’d be marooned – a lost soul on an island far from anywhere, unable to break away or connect with the world that you can see all around you, but to every intent is beyond your grasp.
I wonder if there’s a resonance with SL in general there – we often bemoan the fact that those outside our virtual world have very warped and misguided ideas about what SL is. Much of what the world in general believes is a throwback to the good old days when SL was mainstream, when all those big companies had an inworld presence and virtual worlds held so much promise. Those were the days when anything and everything was not only possible, but desirable, and so sex and debauchery, dodgy deals and questionable practices were rife and consequently hit the headlines. Now that things have quietened down somewhat, and big business and the press have moved on to other things, we still have that legacy which precedes us and – because nobody of note seems to bother with SL any more – there’s no-one to set the record straight.
In the vast ocean of the internet, we’re lost souls, cast ashore on the small island of Second Life. You know what though… it’s not all that bad – there’s worse places to be!
You can come for a while come with a friend
Forget about work start all over again
Let the real you through, here’s what we do
Blondie – Island Of Lost Souls