Although actively choosing to not participate on the recent explosion of blog and social media posts regarding Second Life and the somewhat familiar media discourse of Second Life being nothing more than a platform for kinky, degrading adult activities I have invested some time to read differing views on the current situation.
There are those supporting the views that Second Life has an over indulgence of adult regions. That sexuality is often inescapable due to the attire or behaviour of residents found across all grid codes. To those promoting the necessity of freedom of expression, especially within a virtual environment. Following the journey, we find posts questioning the right to use, or indeed supporting the use, of online public shaming. This issue is of particular importance as governments around the world deliberate and tackle the overwhelming factual evidence and statistics of online bullying resulting in suicide.
Whether I agree or disagree with any or all views is immaterial. It could be suggested that by not setting forth my opinions somehow I am letting down the promotion of Second Life as good. However with nearly 8 years invested in the world and I hate to admit but thousands of dollars, I believe that my continual existence in Second Life shows a conviction to the benefit I believe Second Life can bring to some lives. I do also believe it has the ability to be a negative impact and cause harm to certain portions of society.
So what’s my point?
Instead of focusing on a topic that seems to hit the airwaves every year and always gets the same heated responses (cynical me would call this “baiting”) I think we should instead be focusing on why as a community there is such angst in accepting differing points of views and opinions. We should be questioning our need for there to be an absolute right or wrong. We should be questioning our own actions and addressing any and all attacks upon another user on the web. Online bullying is an epidemic and yet stops with each one of our fingers hitting an enter button. Solve the problem don’t be part of it.
Wouldn’t a better approach be to question the voices that scream the loudest on either side of ANY topic and seek more information, listen to how their opinion has been formed and then if in disagreement set forth your own case in a calm educated manner. I have yet to be proven that 144 characters typed into twitter has any ability to change opposing views.
Should we really care so much about a differing opinion of our virtual world that we will invest hours and days thumping on keyboards and baying for pixelated crucifixion? I find it interesting yet also disappointing that with the amount of real life conflict, environmental, financial and humanitarian crisis’ currently being experienced worldwide, instead of focusing on issues that require deep thought, engagement and promotion of great ideas to solve we seem engrossed in the egotistical realm of our virtual existences. Have we forgotten that there is a huge portion of society who have never heard about Second Life and have zero interest at all in virtual existences? And whether you want or don’t want a Second life, you know what, that’s OKAY. (Unless you are a shareholder of Linden Lab and financial interests would want everyone to want a second, third and fourth life)
Thinking on all this, I remembered a great lyrical piece called Confession by Tim Minchin who is a highly educated Australian comedian. I have included it below to give the past week a little bit of balance and perspective. If not easily offended I beg you to give six minutes of your life to listening to it.
(Warning – the “F” word and adult content within the lyrics)
Lastly, Second Life should always be an addition to your life. It should be about being a fun and happy experience to the individual. Why care so much what a complete unknown to you thinks about your behaviour ? Go forth and just enjoy!
Hopefully you will all find your own reason to smile this weekend.
Hugs, PB xx