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Monday, July 29, 2013

The SL Experience through My Friend's Eyes - Shon Charisma reporting...

Every resident of Second Life experiences it differently. It's the beauty of the sluniverse, a vast place full of wonderful, engaging, unique goings on. AND the ability to create the life and space and places you might want to be a part of. My experience has been a fully-lived one that has brought me closer to my faith, that has expanded my family (even into first life), that has helped me recapture my love of video and storytelling, that has educated me on research interests of mine (race, online spaces, and identity), and that has brought me my wonderfully-awesome SL mate (love you, Earth!).

Recently, I snagged a dear friend of mine, Sweetz Fierenza [check her out on Facebook], and talked to her about her experiences in-world. She's been in-world a year longer than me, 4.5 years, and that time has shown that many of the experiences found in-world mirror what's experienced in first life.

The first question you have to ask anyone that comes in-world mirrors the question I was asked in first life when I moved from Baltimore to Louisiana: How did you get here?

For Fierenza, her arrival to Second Life came through a friend's suggestion. "I had just been through a real life break up, and my friend felt like it'd be a getaway for me," Fierenza said. "All she said to me was that it was like The Sims, but you could talk to the people that played .... that was the only expectation I had."

You only have to be in Second Life for five, six seconds to accumulate good and bad experiences; that's how fast SL can move sometimes. Because of that, I wanted to know what Sweetz had experienced in-world. What her best and worst experiences were.

All of her best experiences came from connecting with other people: "Meeting my kids and several close friends," she said before adding, "Pledging a sorority. Meeting my RL ex." Her worst experiences, again, dealt with connections with other people, and I'm sure many people (hand raised) know about this negative: "Tons of drama and people making alts to try to get revenge."

Sweetz beat me to the punch by mentioning her kids because my next questions dealt with two activities that many people in-world engage in: developing relationships and having/raising children.

When asked about relationships in SL, Fierenza said, "I have been in a relationship in SL, but I am not currently. I do date in SL as well. I feel that dating in SL is a fine balance. You have to be able to roleplay the relationship without getting real life attached, unless you are also open to dating in real life. You have to make sure to set boundaries and such initially so that there is no miscommunication and nobody gets hurt."

Those in relationships... about to get in relationships... thinking about getting in relationships? Good advice above.

I was intrigued with Sweetz's comments regarding children in-world. She brought a fresh perspective I never considered about child-rearing in-world: "Being that I don't yet have children in real life, having children in SL gives me a chance to experience motherhood. Especially being that I'm lesbian, my mate cannot physically get me pregnant in real life, but is able to in SL, which is a nice experience if roleplayed well."

Earlier, I mentioned how some of my in-world experiences have seeped into my first life. It's an important question to ask of any person's SL experience as both worlds deal with living, loving, having fun, sharing experiences, learning, etc. It's only natural that some of it would move to first life. Some of it did move into first life for Sweetz.

"I met someone in SL who I ended up being with in real life for three years. I have also made some real life friends via SL that I have met or plan to meet in real life."

I initially asked Sweetz about her expectations before she joined Second Life. She didn't really have any. After almost five years of being in-world, however, she did say that she "wasn't prepared for the emotional attachment that can come with playing SL."

I think a LOT of people can attest to this.

In the end, it looks like my girlie has had a good experience in-world, much like first life: it's had its ups and down, its connections and disconnections, and its revelations.

"Overall," Fierenza concluded, "I am glad that I started to play SL because if I hadn't, I would not have been able to escape from some real life tough times, nor would I have made some lasting real life bonds."


  1. Great read!
    Thank you Pops for allowing readers to see bits of SL through your eyes.
    Great job Bun on the write up. (LU2)


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