Most of the 12.5 million or so residents of Second Life get in free. Each has the right to do whatever they can imagine and is possible in a virtual world.
Townscape memorial to singer/songwriter Harry Chapin (1942-1981).
Who are they?
They are human beings from more than 100 countries around the globe with concentrations in North America and the UK.
They range in age from 18-85 and are 60 percent men and 40 percent women. The average resident is in her or his mid-30s.
Interior of Borg Cube in the Second Life sky where “resistance is futile.”
Are these people computer geeks?
No. In their real lives they are , like the popular 1945 Hoagy Carmichael song, Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief. They also are artists and musicians, architects and programmers, policemen and firemen, political activists and leaders of religious flocks, housewives and househusbands, college students and their professors, business owners and store clerks, retirees, active duty military overseas and their spouses back home, and game players, to mention only a few.
You name a group and it is likely to be represented in Second Life. Unless, of course, the group is under 18, and even then they can enter Teen Second Life if they are 13-17.
Student center at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Some people ante up.
They all can get in free, although there are a few who pay a small monthly membership fee.
Why would anybody pay for something they can get for free? Because there is that one thing you can’t do without the premium membership. Own land.
Campus directories at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
The urge to be creative drives the need to own land in Second Life. After all, the virtual world is whatever you make of it, and to display your handiwork permanently you need land to put it on.
Everything you can imagine can exist in Second Life. That makes it not only a spectacular place to visit, but also a great place to build things that other people will use.
Stone’s Point Park is a vast public facility keynoted by its lighthouse.
The question is, “Then what?”
SL creator Philip Rosedale is said to have noted, “You can get everything you want on the first day. What’s interesting is what you do the next day.”
While most residents shop, explore mountain tops and ocean beaches, and hang out with friends in houses, parks or nightclubs, there are those who want to create something, to build and script houses, furniture, cars. clothing, and endless variety of objects even including avatars.
Waterslide Waterpark with the seaside photo gallery in the background.
Residents love to share
For those with no previous experience in 3D building, there is a plethora of classes where a new resident can learn how to construct stuff.
The fact is building is easy using the built-in tools, and there are lots of classes taught by residents every day and self-guided tutorials to help you learn.
Here’s some good news: you will own anything you create. SL residents retain the so-called IP rights over their in-world creations.
Stone’s Point Academy is the Second Life Center for Scholarly Research in Social, Political. Economic, Scientific and Literary History.
The people who do spend huge amounts of time building and scripting things do it to increase their enjoyment of the SL experience.
Some even have the desire to operate a business selling goods and services out of their own buildings. They not only profit from the experience, but a few make substantial financial profits. On the other hand, many don’t sell their creations. They give them away so others can have pleasant experiences.
Second Life includes easy-to-use building tools to create stuff in much the same way you might create a presentation in PowerPoint or modify an image in Photoshop.
Architects love it because real full-scale structures can be replicated and demolished in seconds. But you don’t have to be an architect. Many an ordinary citizen has built his or her dwelling from scratch in Second Life.
Stone’s Point Academy operates this Bathysphere Research Station on the ocean floor at Stone’s Harbor.
So, land lets you have an on-going presence in-world. Even if you’re not online, your acquaintances, friends, family members and customers can stop by to look at your production, leave you a message or even spend money in your shop if you have one. That makes SL sort of a home away from home.
By the way, you don’t have to build on land just because you own it. You can just live, work and play on it as you found it. if you do choose to acquire land, however, you will pay Linden Labs a monthly maintenance fee based on the amount of land you own.
What have I built?
It’s 455 days and counting for me in Second Life. What in the world have I done with those 39 million seconds?
- 39,312,000 seconds
- 655,200 minutes
- 10,920 hours
- 65 weeks
- 1 year, 2 months, 29 days
Well, I spent some time learning how to build things and then the rest of the time building a bunch of stuff.
The photos in this blog entry are visual samples of several of my complex constructions. These are parts of the dioramas that are my places in the sun after 455 days in Second Life.
SLURL & Gas Co., Pumping Station #3, in the Dust Bowl 2013.
Second Life fills the bill when you happen upon those RL times that remind you of the way Harry Chapin put it back in 1972, “Anywhere’s a better place to be.”