Link: Second Life: Your World. Your Imagination.. Well, I finally joined Second Life today. It's an online avatar driven world, where you create a character, give it a name (mine is very original - Phil Bradley), create and appearance for it, and then you get talking/chatting/roleplaying. The interesting thing for me was that there is a library there, and I spent a happy hour or several chatting to some really interesting librarians about what they're doing there. It was also gratifying to hear that at least one of them reads my weblog as well!
It's a fascinating extension of real life (or as the game has it, First Life) into a gaming environment. There are regular meetings of librarian folk, programs, access to a wide variety of information, talks and so on. Unfortunately, most of them appear to take place well after I've gone to bed for the night, but that's life I guess.
I was struck by just how friendly people are - unlike other online games where the main point seems to be to be killed as quickly as possible, the environment here is very welcoming and positive. People are really keen to make the most of the possibilities, and to just explore what might be done. I was asked several times for my opinion on it, but I'll reserve judgement for a while longer until I can try it out properly, but one of the things that I think will be interesting is to watch the juxtaposition of people who want to live a fantasy/roleplayed life, and to choose names and appearances that are as far removed from them as possible, with a group of people who take a different approach, by bringing in 'real world' options.
It's certainly not for everyone; if you're not used to that sort of online environment I think it could be quite difficult to grasp - being able to fly between places, or teleport to them, but it certainly made a refreshing change for me, particularly being able to *talk* - real time, to other librarians. I think I like it - I know that I'll go back and spend some more time there. So if you see me wandering around, do come up and say 'hi!'