Second Life : The way we were

A couple of weeks ago, Philip Rosedale (aka Philip Linden) announced that he was quitting his job at Second Life to work on a new company of his own, though staying in the Linden Lab Board. Same day, Amanda Linden was publishing a post called "The Time for Work Avatars has Arrived". A few days after, Linden Lab was announcing the date of the official launching of Nebraska on November 4th, the enterprise project which will allow companies to create their own virtual environment on their own server, so called "behind the firewall solution".

It has been a long way since I entered Second Life for the first time in 2006. At that time, it was all about socialization, sex, games, shopping and money. THE PLACE for your imagination. I came to look and to undertand what it was all about, I started to create and to meet people from of all over the world, and despite the mockeries of all kind around me, I stayed there and started to really integrate Second Life to my real life, thru work and thru personal relationships.

I had no plans. It just happened. At this time of my life, it just perfectly met my needs and my lacks, with many ingredients which stimulates my brain : creativity, people from "elsewhere", technology, game, experiment, adventure... It was as we say the meeting of chance and necessities.

I was lucky enough to make the right choices and met the right people, but maybe i just met the people i could only meet considering who I was. A friend of mine told me one day that virtual meeting on the net were all about our unconscious and maybe it really is.

I entered very quickly into a semi-professionnal project with the creation of Feel At Home and of one of the first virtual "ClubMed", bungalows on the beach, meeting center, pool parties etc.. I remember my astonishment shared with my first friend ab Vanmoer from Canada, while preparing a bungalow for a "just married" couple ... "What I am doing here ? LOL !"

At that time, Second Life became the darling of the medias and a lot of professionnal actors came inworld to see what they could do with it, thinking for a lot of them, they could just transpose some kind of communication means they would do with print or traditionnal medias. That is how I met Pietro Veragouh, from Switzerland, working on behalf of the Swiss Stem Cells Bank and created for them my first immersive Headquarters site in Second Life. We encoutered many challenges on a technical point of view which were hard to complete. But we did it, and that project was really nice to do. Thru it, I met new friends like Blaise Timtam from the Guided Tour System or Porky Gorky from Hydro Houses.

On my first sim Tulip Island, I still had time to share and meet. And I met a lot of people of all kinds, among whom some became real bonds : Master Quatro, my good friend from Boston who was at that time the main "commercial director" for Anshe Chung land business, Aron Chapman from Heidelberg, whom I shared many important conversations before he became a virtual assassin, Waldfon Shwartsman, a german wine lover, who divorced and marry the Californian Kitty in real life, Darko Okamoto, a young widow from the midwest who relearnt to socialize, Linda Sautereau, a american university teacher who develops great educative projects, and so many others that opened my eyes on the many ways Second Life could help or change once person life.

I also met Kai Michael Schmuck from Hambourg in Germany, aka Kigh Kline, with whom I created my second project for the Cebit. Kai is a dear friend and my professionnal partner for makemyworlds, the company we created to offer business solutions in virtual worlds.

The list could go on like this, and I am sorry if I can't mention everyone with whom discussions and sharing were important to me as they would bring me to learn, open my mind and question myself. Some are still here, some left Second Life, some died and will only be remembered tru their SL name. Thanks to all of them.

At some point I decided I needed to know more about those people who were hiding behind the avatars and decided to join the Second Life Community Convention in Chicago. There I saw and maybe understood much better that Second Life was all about life and people. And a lot about community. A community of people who wanted to push the borders and move the lines : librarians and academics with knowledge sharing, architects and creators with expression, entepreneurs with global business projects, and regular people from all over who could just be themselves deeply and sincerely without all the restrictions of their appearance, look, opinions and that this world could allow to extend their own perception, vision, friends and relationships.

That was Second Life at that time, a kind of enormous cauldron of ideas, creativity and research under the protective look of Philip Linden and the Linden "family". Philip who was there, with his big tee shirt "Missing Image" already explaining us hs great vision that we all could hopefull shared. Talking with him in Chicago and a year later in Amsterdam, I knew at least 2 things. That Philip was a real (blue eyes) visionnar and creator, an active dreamer who was on had no other choice that to "leave his baby" (translated from french) so the baby could grow in the best direction. And that Second Life would change to make it possible to happen and I wanted to be part of it.

And Second Life changed. And we also changed and adjusted. The change went thru the co-direction with Mark Kingdon, the new CEO, who softly but smartly conducted his team and processes to modify Second Life. Technically. How long has it been since you really experienced a real crash ? Stability was a must for making Second Life a real application. Implementing voice was a deep change also though some might not consider it this way. Socially. By banning casinos and banks, closing ad farms, separating adult territories, and I guess I forget some other measures. Professionnaly. By creating diverse services turned towards professional needs and expectations, a real website with serious conversations structured for a better feedback, a service provider list and offer, etc.. And soon Nebraska.

And hopefully much more is coming along. Philip says he will be working on some project based on the existence on Second Life. Could that be a browser based Second Life which will defintely open it to Mister and Misses Everyone... ? Or some kind of no browser, no viewer platform that could allow us some kind of virtual reality total immersion... like in Total Recall... ?

Second Life as we met it 4 years ago has disappeared, but Second Life as it is today is really worth to try and to experiment, and still surprises me. It is different in many ways, but its maturity makes it even more enjoyable for creative people and dreamers. Second Life is more than ever your world, your imagination. Join us ! We'll be opening our Makemyworlds Business Center in a couple of weeks and be happy to welcome you there in english, german ou français !

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1 Response to "Second Life : The way we were"

  1. Gabe says:

    Excellent Helene ..
    I have seen many improvements and indeed exponential growth since my introduction to Second Life in June 2005. I remember when 6000 concurrent users would crash the grid. We've come a long way individually and as a community. I have the pleasure to meet you in person on a couple of occasions and that has made a virtual acquaintance a great real life friendship. Continue the great work you do ..


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