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"Second Life": A Social Network That Immerses You in a 3D Virtual Environment

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"Second Life" logo

"Second Life" logo

Social Networks and the Average Person

Currently, we live in a world where the average person cannot go a single day without visiting a social networking medium such as Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat.

These services all have one thing in common: they operate on a flat, non-dimensional platform called a website (or an app in some cases). You can move the page up, down and side-to-side. You can also click on what you want, and the screen changes to load the page requested.

But what if you could still share information with friends and family in a 3D-simulated world with a virtual self (called an avatar) that represents you as an individual?

Second Life (also referred to as SL) is a virtual environment that's very much like the real world. There's the sky, grass, oceans, beaches, continents, roads, trees, mountains, etc. The list could go on forever!

In SL you are completely immersed in a virtual space that you can share with your friends and family and even meet new people.

As of 2018, there are currently over 57 million registered accounts with Second Life, 350,000 new registrations on average are created monthly, and there are 50+ million chat messages sent daily.

Self-Expression Through an Avatar

With your Second Life avatar, you can take self-expression to a whole new level. You can clothe it, shape it to be whatever shape that you want (fat, skinny, tall, short), change the skin color, change the hairstyle, or you can even have your avatar represent you as an animal, like a lion or wolf. It's totally up to you how you choose to design your avatar.

If you have Photoshop skills, you can also design your very own skin or clothes for your avatar. The sky is the limit.

Interactions

Second Life takes social networking to the next level by providing its users with a 3D immersive experience where you interact and see your friends and family represented as their own unique avatars. You can text or voice chat with them, dance, attend a concert, play games and much more while logged in (otherwise referred to as being in-world).

Plus, you don't have to interact with just the people you know. You can interact with any of the other people logged in with you. Make some new friends if you like, or just start a friendly conversation with someone.

Is It Free?

Second Life is 100% free to join and use; however, a paid membership option is available. In fact, it's relatively cheap compared to many gaming platforms, and, of course, paid members get membership perks such as faster support if you have an issue, your own virtual land, a monthly stipend (allowance) where SL will literally give you some of your membership fees back to spend on purchases in-world or withdraw the money as cash to Paypal, etc. So, if you join and absolutely love it, I would suggest upgrading to a paid account which is only $9.99 a month ,or save money by purchasing a year membership for only $72.

How to Get Started

Second Life can be accessed by signing up at their website (www.secondlife.com) and downloading the client software. A client is simply a tool that allows your computer to talk to the SL servers and connects you to what they call the grid. Once inside, you can interact with your surroundings and other users.

Author's Note: The only downside to using the client is that there is a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately, there is a Quick Start Guide to help new members.

References

  • Second Life, Premium Member Benefits, https://secondlife.com/premium/, Accessed 8/26/18
  • Wikipedia, Second Life, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life, Accessed 8/26/18
  • YouTube, Happy Birthday, Second Life!, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPzWvChb1C8, Accessed 8/26/18

© 2018 Cleo Addams