In February 2015, at the urging of a friend, I set up an account on Second Life. It was a new experience for me, and initially an overwhelming one. Literally. I spend a whole day just wandering around on an island before I figured out how to get to other parts of the Grid.
Some of you may have heard of Second Life if you’ve been online a fair while. It has been around since 2003, and was massively hyped in the mid-2000s. I vaguely recall hearing about it around that time, but once the hype passed it pretty much fell off my radar. However, while it may not be as populous as it once was, it is still very much alive and active.
Why did I join Second Life? That’s an excellent question. To be honest, it was an experiment in being something other than who I was at the time, and seeing what I could become there.
After a few false starts, I worked out how to customize my avatar, and soon had a range of appearances to dip in and out of. I started visiting clubs and events, and realized that the people DJing and hosting were just like me. So, I got myself a copy of Nicecast from Rogue Amoeba Software (sadly retired in 2018, but they’ve since added broadcasting capabilities to their venerable Audio Hijack) and started playing music at a place in Second Life (now gone) where I got work as a manager.
I even got myself a cheap external microphone — a Blue Snowflake — and after a lot of trepidation, started doing voice-overs during my DJ sets. That was a major achievement for me, for two reasons. One was that I’d never been very talkative at the best of times, and a bit embarrassed of how my voice sounded.
The second reason was that my avatar’s appearance was female, and I was scared witless that people would react badly to the revelation that I was male in real life. But, for the most part, people accepted me, and even liked how I sounded.
Since that time, I’ve gone through many changes of appearance and name in Second Life, as well as upgrading my microphone to a Blue Yeti. I’m now a blue rainbow-speckled alien with pink hair, still DJing occasionally but mostly working for an internet radio station doing two shows a week and helping produce audio adverts.
This year, I performed at Second Life’s 17th birthday celebration (SL17B) and did several shows at BURN2, the online extension of the annual Burning Man event, along with various smaller events at other places on the Grid.
While my avatar is nominally female, I’ve altered it to be much more androgynous, and I like the confounding effect it has on people who encounter me in-world for the first time. :)
You can find out more about what I get up to in Second Life on the blog of my alter-ego Spiffy Voxel. I’ve posted audio recordings of some of my shows there too, along with photos from Second Life.