You may have noticed that these posts recently have slowed to something of a trickle. And those who know me inworld may also have noticed I’ve been fairly conspicuous by my absence, only logging in on a couple of occasions a week, when previously – and indeed for pretty much the last ten years or so – it’s been almost every day. In fact, for many years, Saturdays have been the only day when you’re unlikely to run across me at all.
So, what’s going? Especially since it wasn’t all that long ago I was regaling you with tales of wonderful new experiences and things I’ve been up to in SL after a long period of ‘same old, same old’. It seems that I’ve abruptly gone from sudden renaissance to sudden apathy.
I’m not all that sure why either. It’s not that I’ve been so busy or indisposed in RL that I’m unable to spend time in SL; nothing in that respect has changed. Rather, it’s been a conscious decision not to bother and it’s difficult for me to put my finger on exactly why I’m feeling this way.
Have I become bored with SL? I don’t think so, and it’s not that sort of feeling anyway. I’ve been bored with the virtual world before: Logging in, only to while away the time doing very little and feeling unstimulated and unsatisfied. It’s not that. It’s more a case of me just not feeling bothered about getting online and choosing to fill my time with other things instead – I just can’t whip up the enthusiasm at the moment for some reason. I’m also finding that people around me, not just my close circle of friends, but complete strangers I run into all over the Grid seem to have become – not to put to fine a point on it – just a little bit boring themselves.
I should clarify that last point: By ‘boring’ I suppose I mean rather too predictable and regimented, but also, incredibly bland. It seems to me recently that people are doing the same old things, week in – week out, time after time, after time. And, whereas it’s perfectly obvious that there are scheduled events that people will subscribe to on a regular basis, I do find it odd that anyone would want to do the same thing every single day, for the duration of their time inworld, with the same crowd of people, even if the location might change. As for the blandness, I’m starting to think that everyone looks and acts the same, no matter who they are, or where you might come across them.I’m not saying that the Grid hasn’t become a more polished and aesthetically pleasing place, and the same goes for avatars, but it feels like it’s at the expense of quirkiness and originaliy.
It just seems to me that SL has become terribly serious and that nobody seems to be interested in being silly, odd or individual any more. The whole business of shopping, getting dressed and going out and ‘enjoying’ yourself has become terribly regimented, expensive and labour intensive, and that’s a feeling that others have expressed to me too, although it often takes a bit of probing to actually bring those feelings to the surface. I find that if I should turn up somewhere sporting my own weird and wonderful style, I’m frequently the odd one out in a sea of immaculately turned out, plasticky perfect avatars, all mechanically slavishly dancing in perfectly synchronised movements. Sometimes I want to shout at them and shake them and ask them what’s happened to their individuality, but I’ve a horrible feeling that they’ll just look at me blankly, incomprehension in their eyes, like something out of a zombie B-movie.
The worst thing for me is that I’m starting to become very conscious that I’m the one who’s different. When I’m socialising, I’m the one literally dancing to a different beat; I’m the one for whom a nightclub visit in SL is the exception rather than the rule; I’m the one who’s constantly frustrated that the popular clothing creators are simply not interested in making anything that caters for anyone other than the masses… Surely there must be others inworld who aren’t interested in evening dresses slit to the thigh, bare midriffs and low cut, flimsy tops? Apparently though, there’s no real market for quirky, odd, unusual, grungy or downright weird mesh clothing, so I’m stuck with the ever-dwindling suppliers of decent system clothes to satisfy my somewhat off-the-wall tastes.
Nobody explores anymore, and the interstitial spaces in between shopping and going out seem to be solely filled with hours of standing motionless in skyboxes, trying to make your clothing fit. I find that odd.
So, maybe I’ve lost my virtual mojo, not because SL has become boring, but because the people who inhabit it are inexorably heading in that direction. And for rebels like me, that means the virtual world becomes an ever more empty, soulless and alienating experience.
Just like real life, in a way!
And nothing ever happens, nothing happens at all
The needle returns to the start of the song
And we all sing along like before
And we’ll all be lonely tonight and lonely tomorrow
Del Amitri – Nothing Ever Happens