- Connie McMahon
Last week we celebrated your SL birthday. Now the candles are out, the cake is gone and it’s time to settle in. What can you expect as a new resident? How do you get started building your second lifestyle?
Keep in mind that SL is a BIG place. There are over 5 million residents, more than most real world cities. And the number grows every day. At any time you can find tens of thousands of people living, working and playing in many thousands of SL locales. Even long time residents can’t possibly meet everyone or visit everywhere. As a new arrival it is easy to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. We all feel that way at first. Just take it a step at a time. Before you know it you will be the one handing out the advice.
So where do you get started? There are a few things you will need right away. Wherever you find yourself you will want to make some friends. Don’t feel shy about walking up and introducing yourself. Most people are pretty nice. I’ve found them more than happy to lend a hand, some advice, directions or even a few bucks once they see you are new. Spend some time exploring the area. Walk around. Check out the buildings. Go ahead and click on things to see what they do. “Touch” or “Sit” will usually show you. Figure out what you can do and can’t do. Take however long you like. There’s no test and nobody keeps score. When I first arrived I spent almost two days learning to drive go-karts at a race track. It didn’t advance my SL education but it sure was fun.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable find yourself a quiet place to sit and introduce yourself to what is one of the most important Newbie tools in your box: Search. Search is your guide, a sort of searchable online SL Yellow Pages. It’s worth spending a few minutes to become familiar with this indispensable tool. What is it you want to find first? How about free “stuff”? Other residents who share your interests? Interesting places to go? Events? Maybe even a job? Search is the place to start.
Free clothes and other handy objects are a good place to begin. Click the Search button at the bottom of your screen and the Search window will open. Click on the Places tab and select “Newcomer Friendly” from the drop down menu. If you are so inclined check the “Mature Content” box. (Why do they call it “mature” when most of it is so silly?) Then enter “Free” in the search box and click on Search. In a few seconds you will have three windows full of places to visit, all of them offering free items. Some of my particular favorites are Free Dove, Freebee Warehouse, Wonderland Beach (this is for those “mature” folks) and Newbie Haven. But check them all out and find your own favorites.
Looking for new friends who share a hobby or interest of yours? Try the People tab and search for that particular interest. Or search Places for particular kinds of destinations….yes, even THOSE kind. Once you get the hang of it there won’t be any shortage of things to keep you busy for the next few days, if not longer.
As you begin to accumulate more and more things, you will eventually have to deal with your Inventory. Think of this as a giant closet that holds everything you own. Once you have enough stuff, you need to sort it into piles if you ever hope to find anything when you want it. Inventory works the same way as folders on your PC. There is a concise and useful tutorial on the login screen. Do yourself a favor and organize things right from the start. As an incentive to have a look, check the Library folder. You will find it’s already packed with free clothes and other stuff. One final word about inventory. When you inevitably do lose something because you misplaced it or the system crashed or for whatever reason, it miraculously returns to you and you can find it in your Lost & Found folder.
Next time we will tackle the subject of money and jobs. Meanwhile here are three easy ways that we Newbies can get free cash: Camping, Dance Pads and (my personal favorite) Money Trees. Now that you’re familiar Search you can find out all about them.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
- Connie McMahon
Posted by SL-ConnieMcMahon at 4:50 AM
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Like a bottle of Budweiser beer, everyone arrives in Second Life with their own “born on” date. If you are like me you probably haven’t given it much thought as you start making your way through this amazing place. But with all the excitement and confusion of getting established here in your own SL, take a moment to celebrate your birthday. Because in so many surprising ways it really is a new birth.
Consider your first few hours in SL. There was so much to take in, try to understand, and adjust to. You had to learn the basics. Where am I? How do you walk around in this place? You mean I can fly? How to I communicate? Dress myself? Where do I get help and advice and protection? All of these are things that every RL newborn is familiar with, and we newbies (yes, I am still one myself) are in fact the babies of the SL community.
So you think being a baby is easy? Consider all of the important things that we SL babies struggle with that real newborns aren’t troubled by at all. How do I get just the right avatar for me? Where will I live? How will I support myself? Where will I find friends? And every one of us could add our own troubling questions to this list.
My own birth went rather smoothly, but still I managed to find creative ways to sow chaos and confusion for myself and others. I learned about SL from a friend who suggested we join together and, being the virtual world addict that I am, it was not long before I accepted the challenge and jumped in with both feet. She had to do some computer surgery first to upgrade her PC to SL standards so she was born a couple of days later. When the blessed event occurred, we made excited plans to meet up in the “orientation area”. It was all down hill from there.
We couldn’t find one another. And when we did my helpful advice on making a smooth transition only seemed to make things less clear. Our avatars were created in different ways. Things that “just happened” for me were complete unknowns to her. And vice versa. We spent days trying to sort out the differences (getting a bit testy over it at times). Only a week later did we realize that there is more than one “portal” into SL life. And we had been born through different ones. All of our differences were not problems at all, just the result of somewhat different orientations. With a little knowledge of how things worked, the problems melted away.
So if you have made it through your first few days, congratulations. Take a moment to savor your accomplishment. Now you’re officially a newbie and your SL is just beginning. But you’ve already achieved much. Being a baby isn’t easy. Remember your birthday and celebrate it proudly.
And to help you along through your SL adolescence, I will be answering some of the important questions you will face in your first few weeks. I can do this because they are the same ones I am facing. Questions about money and jobs. How the heck does dancing work anyway? What cool things are there for me to go do? Over the next few weeks I will be talking with our fellow newbies and passing along their answers to these and many of the other questions that we hesitate to ask the grownups. Meanwhile… Happy Birthday!
Posted by J.T.J. at 8:25 AM