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Thursday, May 9, 2013

SL Expert or SL Addict? Celebrating 8 Years in Second Life- Lanai Jarrico Reporting…

Entering Second Life in May of 2005 was nothing like it is today. Everywhere I looked, there were smut shops and escorts working every street corner.  Online relationships and drama were plenty while voice chat was nonexistent, letting many gender imposters get away with “catfishing” before the term became mainstream.

 Many avies were amateur strippers working the pole or shamelessly handing out lap dances for lindens used to save up for a small rental property to call home. Real estate was popular then, just as it is now, but there were more slum lords and greedy land barons that bought land at a low price, altered it and turned around and sold it for an obscene amount just for high profits. Land bots were also an annoyance that would do a sweep of land and buy up everything. It seemed like a scavenger invasion of griefers and Alts more than a grid of opportunity and creativity for decent professionals or those with artistic skills like it is today.
Freebie lots and small shops bombarded the grid and beta testers were just wrapping up. Banks, Casinos and Gambling were popular and noobies were everywhere!  There were also more Linden workers on the grid until many of their jobs were slashed.

Exploring the grid wasn’t like it is today because builders were just learning to create detailed things but prim count was a bigger issue until the introduction of mega prims and the current mesh builds.
Lanai meeting in The SIMS Online 2004

For the first few months of my Second Life, I thought I was cool walking around in pink silks, sporting a blonde up do and barefooted. I remember early on I had so much trouble trying to figure things out so that I can get started with crossing over my newspaper. I had 2 years under my virtual belt already in The SIMS Online, but when I rezzed in Second Life, it was like pressing the reset button and I was an oblivious noob once again. I had to learn how to use all the functions on my viewer, learn the code of the streets, make new friends and settle in so I can begin establishing myself.  It wasn’t so easy and looking back at my hardships I can only shake my head at just how naive I was.  One particular incident happened when I got my first pair of shoes. I finally had gathered up enough linden donations from random avatars who must have felt sorry for me. I was able to break out of the freebie shops and make a purchase from a store. I remember being so excited and I found a sandbox to rez the box and save my shoes to inventory. I had to ask bystanders how to go about that process until finally I got it…..well sorta…

I attempted to wear the shoes and one of them rezzed and lodge right up my back end and I was mortified! I thought it was some sort of nasty prank by the shoe dealer. I sent him an IM complaining about it and accusing him of being a mean prankster. Apparently it was some sort of freaky glitch that I was unsure how to fix. I decided it was best to go barefoot again until I could find shoes that rezzed on my feet.  After a few months of trying to figure it all out and testing the patience of a couple of new friends that were willing to help walk me through a couple of processes.

When I was comfortable enough to go clubbing, and exploring away from the sandboxes and freebie hot spots, I began receiving random IMs from pervy guys who wanted sex.  In particular, Goreans who wanted to slave me! I was clueless that my silks were attracting these weirdoes. I thought I looked good being a belly dancer avie….

One day these two avatars approached me and asked to take a picture of me. Without thinking anything of it, I said sure. They did there thing and that was that…. so I thought.
Needing a change, I bought my first crème colored suit at a very cheap price, which I wore for the next couple of months until a friend complained about my fashion sense or lack of and gave me a couple more outfits for variety. They even gave me landmarks for hair.
About 6 months later, I was contacted by those two photographers I had met in my first couple months and they told me I was the main attraction in a RL Art exhibition called,  “13 Most Beautiful Avies”.  

They gave me a press release in a note card that included a url to their website. It turns out these two were known artists in Italy and they were bringing their exhibition to New York and invited me to attend. I was stunned.  I ended up going and was amazed at the attention the show received and those that approached me at the show. That event helped became the catalyst for my newspaper for the years that followed.  Mafia role play was also popular around this time since many of the families from The SIMS Online migrated in the beginning with me. They were already familiar with my original paper and were adding to its popularity in Second Life.

 Mafia also helped paved the way for family role play and those pesky little child avatars that wandered around chatting in baby talk and attracting pedophiles.  I remember writing a series of articles on the issues and soon after, Linden Labs revised their terms of service. I’m not sure if it was because of the bad publicity it was receiving from my newspaper, but it seemed to become a priority for them to correct that issue quickly and make it an infraction for residents to use obscene language or be indecent in the presence of these virtual tykes. After that, my original paper began to get more attention. That was when I was able to begin my cross over from The Sims Online to Second Life and created The SL Enquirer domain in 2006.

Around this time, with the introduction of voice chat, more events, live discussions, weddings and artistic productions started to fill the activity search. Live streaming allowed more DJ’s and musicians too showcase their talent as well, then came the 3rd party viewers with new options for residents.  All those changes gave me more content and topics to write about for the newspaper.
 For the following year I worked hard trying to find a place to establish myself.  My first experience was with this furry avatar who graciously donated a small parcel and provided me with an office. That lasted until he decided he was going to overhaul his sim with his new idea and kind of ripped the carpet from under me.  To a random park bench I went again.  Over the next couple of years, relocating seemed to happen a lot as I felt each time I built a little sandcastle, along came landlords that kick it over after they got the publicity they needed.  All the while, the newspaper grew and writers came along to help with content.

At one point I had a writer that helped me recruit others and then decided he wanted to create his own news source, taking the team with him. At the time I felt it would ruin me but I doubled up my work load and made it through while his paper crumbled to the ground.
More news sources also started to pop up across the grid. Some lasted merely months and others persevered for a couple of years, while only 2-3 media sources almost as old as SLE can be seen today.

It is 8 years to the day I first rezzed in Second Life and I’m still amazed by the things I see and the new people I meet. Looking back I have no regrets for my time spent here and look forward to more years ahead.

 I’m not celebrating just my rezz day but the rebirth of my original paper. It has definitely been a great journey for me. I have grown up a lot through the years and made some great life changes during this time. Gaining an AA degree with a background in business and on my way to a BA in communication and technology, being featured in multiple books, featured in college studies, magazines and articles has been a great accomplishment to be proud of.
 I know it isn’t the typical story coming from an avatar and  I never would have thought this is where a simple idea would lead me when I first decided to launch the TSO Enquirer back in 2004. Back then it was just a hobby for my little circle of friends. Today, my existence in Second Life has meaning and SLE has become something loved by many around the world. SL has become my reality with enough experience to be called an SL expert, an SL addict or a little of both. Either way, I intend on continuing on and seeing what other surprises are waiting for me in the years to come.

*blows out my 8 candles*
-Lanai Jarrico


  1. Happy Rez Day! I enjoyed reading your story :)

  2. Bravo Lanai, your presence and that of the SL Enquirer has had far more impact than I think anyone is aware of, and personally I thank you for sticking it out.


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