Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Secret Life of SecondLife

Ok a while back, I heard about Second Life. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically a ramped up version of The Sims. Only it's much different. First, I was hearing about how people were playing Second Life and 'working' in SL, and making Linden Dollars (the currency of Second Life) and then converting those Lindens into real world money. I was intrigued, because who doesn't like to make money? Then, I heard about how SL was having a negative impact on people's real lives. I read about a man who spent nearly all of his time on SL. He had a 'virtual wife' on SL, something his real wife (now ex) was less than pleased with. What on Earth could be so addictive about what I thought was little more than a geeky computer game? I decided to go undercover to find out.

First, when you join Second Life (a basic membership is free, or you can pay for upgrades), you create a SL name and download the software. The software really slowed my computer down, because my graphics card isn't compatible, or something like that. But, I was determined to see what the fuss was about. Once you get the software installed and you log in, you create your virtual self. Since I'm all about truth in advertising, this is what the virtual me looks like-

Yep, looks just like me! OK, now to explore. In Second Life, there are all kinds of 'worlds' for you to explore. Some of them are named after actual cities, others are names that landowners have made up for the land they own in SL. You transport from one area to another, interacting with other people. After playing with SL for a couple of hours, I really didn't see what the fuss was. Yeah, it was kind of fun to create my virtual self, but I wasn't really seeing how this was a money making opportunity.

Then, I learned that the world's oldest profession is also a very high paying profession in Second Life. People are making real world money 'working' as Second Life escorts. There are numerous x-rated areas on SL, and there are a lot of people who take advantage of those areas by working as escorts, running S&M clubs, etc. I didn't look too closely at these areas because well, EWWW! Why would you want to have 'pretend' sex through a computer character? What do these escorts? Do they sit at their keyboards, typing 'oh yeah, baby, that's it', over and over? Yeah, that's sexy. I don't care how much money might be in it, I'm not going to sit around typing who knows what to someone who looks about as much as their SL character as I do mine.

I'm sure there are lots of other ways to make money in SL, but I think I'll take a pass on this one. But in the off chance that I do log back on, if you see me, say 'hi'!

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