Second Lie: small business, good sex and humour in SL

It’s been a while, but it’s time for the latest segment with our resident agony aunt, Second Lie. It’s all about sharing insights, finding common ground and a healthy dose of cynicism.

Remember, if you want to get your own slice of wisdom, you just need to contact us and we’ll forward your question on. Pretty much any issue is up for discussion, as long as it’s legal and potentially interesting.

It’s a win-win-win scenario: you get enlightened, Second Lie gets to spread his love and magic and we get to fork out money to Relay for Life. Does it get any better than that?


Three questions for Second Lie:

Q1: Henrietta: I run a fairly successful small business in SL and I get approached by virtual world developer people and the odd ‘social media consultant’ via Twitter. How do I work out how knows what they are talking about?

Q2. NotStroker: “What do you see as the next natural evolution of good sex in Second Life?”

Q3. Anonymous: “Who do you find funny in SL? There seems to be a lot of try-hards but I’d love some help in finding those who are truly funny and who maybe perform in SL or have a group I can join. Any ideas?”

First off, it’s great to be writing again for the Metaverse Journal. Despite my log absence, they’ve been keeping their fingers squarely on the pulse of virtual worlds development.

(I’m not sure where on virtual worlds they’re getting such a strong pulse, but I’d insist on asking them to wash their hands before shaking hands with them, okay?)

I’ve got to ask Henrietta about this whole “successful business” thing in SL. I thought we got rid of all those years ago. There’s still some out there?

Man, do we need to change our policies again to make sure that everyone fails equally in SL. Can’t have winners and losers wrecking the curve.

The reason why you’re approached by odd social media types is because that’s the only type of social media consultant out there: odd. They never could quite fit in with the rest of their business school mates or selling-knives-door-to-door classes, so they ended up dorking around with Twitter and Facebook and MySpace on their mother’s phones to the point that they actually thought they were experts in this stuff.

None of them know what they’re talking about, or they’d be doing business in Real Life with social media, not cruising around the shallow end of the pool, bothering successful avatars like yourself.

My advice to you is to avoid them on Twitter and stick to your old pal SecondLie. I’ll shoot it to you straight, and at a price you can’t beat!

NotStroker, on the other hand, makes an assumption that many people do: that there’s good sex at all in Second Life.

When I last checked, the only thing Second Life brings to the table is a digital replacement for the nudie magazines under your dad’s mattress.

It doesn’t matter if it’s plain guy-on-chick animated poseballs or a wild dance-orgy with Linden alts at P-Squared after midnight: it’s still you, your hand down your pants, and the overwhelming clouds of loneliness and failure circling overhead.

Know what the next natural evolution is? Getting away from all this weird perverted stuff and trying for something that’s actually natural.

You know, an actual DATE. With SOMEONE REAL.

Feel free to rejoin the human race when you’re ready. We’ve got plenty of room available, and our standards are horribly, horribly low.

Heck, there isn’t even a dress code to get into this club.

Finally, I get asked who I find funny in SL.

Every. One. Of. You.

Especially those of you who take all this stuff so seriously. Or believe all the crazy mindjunk that M Linden pours out in the trough for you to slurp up every time he rings that bell.

Yeah, I know you’re roleplaying all those weird and twisted roles and such, but it’s just so damn funny and silly to watch you bumbling around thinking this all matters on some level.

It doesn’t. It’s just one big Renaissance festival with cheap plywood booths selling overpriced handcrafted trinkets by people with bad fake British accents.

Just hand me my turkey leg, pass me a beer, and keep this ballet of the brain-damaged going.

It’s showtime.

Well, that’s all the letters I have for now. I suspect that the mailman is keeping the rest of them for himself when he’s not banging my wife.

I wish he’d stop that. It’s a federal offense not to deliver the mail, you know.

Merged realities – events and issues for virtual worlds

Sexy Avatar from Koinup1. Linden Lab have started providing more illustrations of the potential uses of the new Shared Media functionality that was rolled out this week with Viewer 2. More of our thoughts on Viewer 2 in coming days, but one small pocket of resistance appears to be coming from SL musicians, as the new search functionality as it currently stands is impacting the ease with which people can find live music events. Grace McDunnough has a good sum-up on the issue here.

2. Want to help fund entrepreneurs in developing companies while scoring something for yourself? Why not buy an Avatar Dog t-shirt or download our discussion paper on policy agenda-setting and virtual worlds!

3. The response to the Second Lie column has been forceful: people love his sense of humour. If you have a question about pretty much anything Second Life, why not ask Second Lie to shine a light into the darkness for you? Every column generates money for the SL Relay for Life too.

4. Picture and machinima hub, Koinup, have announced they are offering mobile phone wallpapers via Nokia’s Ovi Store.

5. Back in 2008 we mentioned a University of Sydney student was completing research on journalism and Second Life. That research is now available here. It appears to be a very readable and balanced piece of scholarship. The abstract:

This thesis analyses the interaction of journalism and governance in the virtual world Second Life. It examines the structure, practices and influence of journalism in Second Life and explores the nature and communicative aspects of governance in this virtual world. As virtual worlds attract growing numbers of subscribers and social interaction increasingly moves towards the online environment, it is crucial to understand the practices and conventions which structure human interaction in these spaces.

To explore these concerns, a close critical analysis of Second Life was conducted, based upon academic literature, interviews and a content analysis. Eight interviews with significant journalists in Second Life were conducted and a content analysis of thirteen publications was undertaken. Yochai Benkler’s theory of social production provides a theoretical base which frames the nature of Second Life as participatory, collaborative and networked, and defines the relationship between media and governance using the concept of a networked public sphere.

Practices of journalism in Second Life display a combination of traditional, professional, gatewatching and participatory, networked, gatekeeping characteristics, and it perform numerous roles in mediating communication. Second Life publications facilitate active and abundant conversation between residents, facilitating a networked public sphere. Linden Lab uses a variety of strategies to communicate governance discourses to users. Despite the similarity between normative and Second Life journalism, it has a negligible influence over the structure and direction of governance.
The disconnect between journalism and governance in Second Life raises questions about individual freedom and collaborative production in virtual worlds, challenging existing understandings of online interactions.

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