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How open then are users about their lives outside of Second Life? It really varies. Fran, she's always been very open about being an elderly woman with Parkinson's. But others would rather not discuss it publicly, because they have a chance to be a glamorous supermodel, for example — there's a virtual fashion industry, so there are virtual supermodels who actually make some pretty good pocket change. But in reality, they may be somewhere in the Midwest, in their 50s or 60s and confined to a wheelchair.

If Second Life allows people to become someone else, how does your Second Life life intersect with your full identity?

Second Life Terms and Conditions

Well, there are also people who experiment with an aspect of their identity that they are either uncomfortable expressing in real life, or it's difficult to express. There are a large number of people who are transgender in Second Life who, in real life, might still be transitioning.

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Or, for example, take "furries. It seems the sexual content is often singled out when talking about Second Life in There's a defensiveness that the community has because of the sexual stuff, which I estimate at 20 to 30 per cent. It's really salacious.

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Part of that reputation is earned, and part of it is not fair, because there is so much other great content : There's a thriving arts scene, including a Canadian artist, Bryn Oh , who's even received Ontario Arts Council grants for her Second Life work. It's mostly the hard-core users.

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It's very difficult for an outside user to access, unless they want to spend eight to 10 hours to learn the interface. Do you recognize the Second Life of today from the one you saw as an embedded journalist in ? Oh, no.

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I helped them launch it and the whole idea was that this was going to be like the metaverse, from Neal Stephenson's books, where there are millions of people on the next generation of the Internet. Instead of going to this 2-D Web browser, you'd find all your content in a 3-D world, and that's what contributed to the hype.

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  • I definitely thought it had a good chance to become that. When my book [ The Making of Second Life: Notes from the New World ] came out in , I wrote that even if growth did slow and it became a niche, it's still a really fascinating niche because you can learn about the real world and society through this microcosm. A lot of romances and friendships were definitely developed virtually first.

    I wrote recently about a woman who can't have kids.

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    So she has a virtual family in Second Life. She has a couple of friends who role play as kids, and she acts as the mom. Then there's another player who role plays as the husband. They go to the virtual park or the carnival. Her real-life partner knows all about it. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

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    Why Is 'Second Life' Still a Thing?

    Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter. Site navigation Your reading history. Customer help. Contact us. Log in. They can do a lot of things you can do in real life -- buy land, shop for clothes and gadgets or just visit with friends. They can also do things that are impossible in the real world -- avatars can fly or teleport to almost any location. Some residents design short programs, called scripts , which give avatars or objects new abilities, including special animations or the ability to generate copies of other objects.

    Like an MMORPG, users represent themselves with a customizable, three-dimensional figure that acts like a computer-generated puppet. Users navigate through an online world, encountering strange landscapes and new people. They inhabit a virtual world free of pre-determined goals or tasks, just like the real world.

    Popular Destinations

    In the next section, we'll become a little more oriented with the way Second Life's world is organized. If you just want to explore Second Life, you can do it for free.

    Appartment Invasion with Timm - Second Life

    A basic membership costs nothing and allows you to create an avatar and look around the world. These users have access to an extensive support network. Twitter Cracks Down on Bot Abuse.