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Showing posts with label COVID-19. Show all posts
Showing posts with label COVID-19. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2022

The SORBET Project drives residents of SecondLife and other virtual worlds to rethink social distancing and engagement during COVID-19.

COVID-19 has been a very sore spot for all, regardless of what many went through. Some lost their source of livelihood, many lost family members, homes, a sense of security, unity, and many other casualties of the pandemic. However, everyone lost their sense of freedom when the government, per the recommendations of the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), suggested that businesses, schools, and other public venues shut down to encourage social distancing--a set of non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent the spread of a contagious disease with measurable physical space between individuals. As a result of the shutdown, people everywhere faced the challenge of dealing with being forced to stay home in place of being with family and friends at the mall or their favorite restaurant. 

Many people took up new hobbies and new ways to generate income during the earlier phases of the pandemic; others turned to their expansive collection of books or movies to cope. Others took to the metaverse to regain some semblance of social life and escape the pandemic and the doldrums. During this time, it was evident that SecondLife had regained traction with those familiar with the metaverse while newcomers were roused to start an account and see what the virtual world had to offer. Linden Labs, the creators behind SecondLife, saw the virtual world's economy take a sharp upturn during lockdown periods when no one had a way to engage other than through a vehicle like SecondLife, according to Yahoo! Finance. This positive change in SecondLife's economic data meant that more users logged in or joined the community at that time. 

Naturally, with COVID-19 as disruptive, many would want to either forget the event or talk more about its effects while interacting with many of SecondLife's users. To satisfy the latter, a few groups and places cropped up on the grid. However, one place that I found to be particularly interesting is the location of The SORBET Project. Veritas Raymaker is the leading mastermind behind the project but is the sole owner proprietor of its location in SecondLife. After making this remarkable discovery, I had to tap Veritas for an interview being that this particular location was a part of something that had a real purpose, in my opinion. 

I was curious as to where the idea for the SORBET Project sprouted from, so I asked Veritas for his response to this burning question, and here is what he said: 

"The SORBET Project came about as a virtual research project that a team of mathematicians wanted to start to teach children and adolescents and the general public about social behaviors that are appropriate for the pandemic. The point of this was to rewire the brains of people to believe that these practices were intrinsic to their existence and not feel as if they were another set of directives that they were required to follow," states Veritas. 

When asked why SecondLife was the medium of choice, the response was, "James Gee* had written about something he referred to as projective identity. So, as people familiar with operating as avatars, we understand that 'whatever happens to our avatar in-world, our minds generally take it as happening to our atomic selves,' this can be designed for and made use of in learning." 

He adds, "By using environments such as SL, learners can 'play' and modify their behaviors and subsequently discuss the implications of their personal decisions on the wider community, without negatively impacting the community. for example, they could see how decisions to wear masks/take a vaccination influence the degree of diffusion of the virtual virus among the community." 

Usually, such a project measures the effects of such research longitudinally. Veritas stated that "we have not undertaken any longitudinal studies primarily because our initial work was self-funded (our priority in 2020 was to respond rapidly to the teachers' expressed need to take learning to home-based settings). We were awarded formal funding in 2021 to take SORBET to the mobile platform; however, we will not be studying participants longitudinally because the funding is to develop the app and not to investigate this (pertinent) question [sic].

However, I asked whether there were measures of the project's success or failure, and Veritas provided pages of his research journal. The measurements you will see below are taken directly from the journal, which tended toward many pre-and post-questionnaires.

Leading image of descriptive statistics from the pilot that pertains to students’ responses to four statements on a five-point Likert Scale (where “1” is ‘strongly disagree and “6” is ‘strongly agree’). 

Statements used in the pre-and post-surveys on attitudes to citizenship education. 

As far as a support group for COVID or hangout spot, I felt that highlighting this cool project not only utilized SecondLife as a space to conduct a study but taught students and people about the importance of changing social happens during something as lethal, and life-altering as the COVID-19 Pandemic is far more advantageous and worth the coverage. 

*For reference, James Gee is a retired American researcher who has worked in psycholinguistics, discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, bilingual education, and literacy.

Veritas Raymaker Socials: 


Twitter: @thinkermaker 

A personal site for SORBET Project:

Link to In-world Location:

The SORBET Project

Link to the Journal Entry:

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Fearless Nation PTSD Support: COVID Pandemic Trauma Support Gathering January 15th at 10 am SLT


The COVID Pandemic is traumatizing. So, what do we understand about post trauma? Learn why PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is the most compelling psychological and socio-political issue of our time.

Join us for support


 *** ...Established in 2009, our Fearless Nation sims provide education, support, and advocacy for ALL people with PTSD--not just military. We also support spouses, partners, children, parents, families, friends, and clinicians coping with PTSD. --- Our programs empower people with psychological trauma to become resilient and strong, and banish stigma. Stop by our sims today!  Fearless Nation (80,213,22) --------  PTSD, anxiety, stress, veteran, war, police, military, psychology, therapy, T2, trauma, TBI, victim, crime, rape, abuse, anonymous, AA, corona, COVID-19, pandemic, LGBTQ

Friday, November 13, 2020

Lanai's Diary: Entry 4,958- 2020 Can Go F%$@ itself! Do something for your country and Wear a @&%$# mask!


This isn't a politically motivated statement nor is it feeding into the overwhelming news of this pandemic and how it is affecting not only our communities but the world as a whole. If there is one thing that needs to be said it is COMPLACENCY NEEDS TO STOP! Whether you believe it is “just a flu” or the news is "overcooking" the situation and only reporting the worst case scenarios, there is in fact a global pandemic happening right now and people need to take a moment and realize the only way we can try to get this virus under control is to abide by the precautions put into place by our governments and community leaders. Like Tyrone would say....F*ck all that “I can’t breath” shit about wearing masks or the entitled Karens and Davids who feel it is their right not to wear a mask. F *ck You too!

They need to STFU just like I overheard my now ex boss say about me right before the lockdowns when I made it clear in the office that Covid was a serious thing coming and I was worried. 3 days later we were on lockdown for a month and a half. I live in Pennsylvania and the area I am in just reported a 3,000 covid case spike. The highest since the start of the pandemic.

Here we are over 8 months later and people are still catching covid and or dying in record numbers all over the country and the world. As of today,  there are a million cases in Texas alone!

 Hundreds of thousands sick or dead and yet people are still being complacent. Wearing masks under their noses, standing at bus stops with no regard for the person next to them who is trying to protect themselves and their families. Others walking around convinced  this is a hoax. Still having gatherings and acting like they are immune.  Of course, people want to get back to living their lives but realize one thing. This is the new normal and will continue to be if we continue on this path of not taking this more seriously.

It is time to wake up and realize we will not fight this pandemic half assed and EVERYONE needs to put an effort into protecting themselves and their families as well as the people they come in contact with if they even give a rats ass about anybody else. 

The sooner we can put down the political, entitled and ignorant bullshit and use common sense the sooner we can begin to get back to the things we once loved. I’m sitting here writing this worried because at work, two people tested positive and are out with symptoms and I JUST TESTED POSITIVE! The past couple of days I had a fever, headaches and sweats.  Should I be worried?  All I’m thinking about is my family. Since I was exposed, did I expose them? Could this get bad? I don’t know what to think. All I know is sh*t just got real. At what point do we all realize we are ALL vulnerable and will be for a very long time if we don’t get our sh*t together.


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

SHOULD AVATARS WEAR MASKS? Stacey Cardalines Reporting...

Etiquette is a touchy thing. It is both timeless and ever evolving. There was a time when a lady had to know how to get into a stagecoach properly, for instance. The answer to that doesn't matter now, but other questions rose in place of it, and will continue to arise as we evolve as a species.

One particular question of Etiquette that arose on 2020, in an admittedly isolated niche within SL culture, is "Should avatars wear masks?" 

Note that I phrase it as a question of Etiquette, not as a question of Science. Science doesn't mesh well with the idea of avatars wearing masks. Avatars, which are not living organisms, are incapable of transmitting a physical virus from one to another. There is no scientific benefit to making your avatar wear a mask, not are there medical consequences if you walk around maskless. There may be social consequences, but we'll get to that later in the article. 

Yet, while researching this article, I went on SL Marketplace. I searched for "COVID masks." There were 297 pages of them available. Who is buying all of these masks, and why? Only a fool would buy one, right?

I should add that many of these sales are of the Greater Fool variety, meaning that people think of something simple and useless that they can make for a few pennies and sell for a few pennies more. Perhaps there are people out there who worry about getting sick from an multiple avatar interaction. "The CDC said nothing at all about animated characters being able to go maskless, so I'd better err on the side of caution." That is your target market. Get what you can from them, while you can get it. They are, to quote edited-for-television Scarface, "a great big chicken, waiting to get plucked."

Other people might wear a mask because they feel that SL should mirror RL. Granted, you can't teleport places or carry a lighthouse around with you in RL, but masks come down on the other side of that line. There is a little roleplay element to this that most SL users can slip into effortlessly. We live in a masked society RL, and some feel that this should reflect itself when they move among the animated masses.

Some people may do it for Discipline. If masks are mandatory, you wear them. If you're walking out to get the paper off the doorstep, you wear a mask. If you are running out to the store for one thing, you wear a mask. My grandfather was actually like this with ties. The tie wasn't necessary for what he was doing, but he was more comfortable with a tie on. That kind of discipline would transfer to SL if you were to animate such a man. 

I decided to strut around SL in a mask, just to see how I was reacted to. It was disappointing. Not in a bad way, but in an odd way. Disappointing in myself, if that is how one would phrase it.

I went to the gym first. I was the only one in a mask. Unfortunately, there are a lot of wrestlers in my gym (wrestling is a hugely popular sport on SL). They saw nothing at all odd with me walking around in a gas mask, and just assumed that I was in character. "The crowd is gonna LOVE that!" was a common refrain. "Can it be weaponized?" was another.

I went to my side job as a dancer at a fetish sim. There were 30 people around when I went on the dance pole, dressed exactly as I was in the picture accompanying the article. I was immediately conspicuous. A gas mask, however, is nothing special to fetish people, many of whom were disappointed that I wasn't bound. Several people were able to correctly name the brand.

In the end, you're on SL to amuse yourself. You won't hurt anyone if you don't feel like wearing one, nor will you save lives by wearing one. If someone else wants to wear one, it isn't your business to tell them otherwise.

Shoot, I have a friend on SL who is a 6 foot tall humanish Bat. In the real world, she would be right at the top of How The Virus Jumped To Humans suspect list. On SL, she's just someone I see at work. She's not harming anyone, and neither are you if you wear or refuse to wear a mask.

Do what thou wilt.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


A whole new world.
It’s a new world in this age of Covid-19 and for many of us, it’s been a life-altering. Living in the physical world in complete lockdowns only to travel out for food and emergencies has been tough on so many. How do we function as humans and have our intellectual and emotional needs met? How do we keep ourselves entertained and not go crazy from loneliness and boredom? This Pandemic has had one significant difference from past outbreaks … the internet. Life’s highway of information made from copper and silicon running to every corner of the world. For many, this is the only way they can communicate with others. Having to cut back to stretch every dollar these days has been difficult but keeping internet service running and that window to the outside world open has been a necessity for most.

Reaching for something different.
Staying inside and running out of Netflix shows to watch, many are turning to other forms of online entertainment. The ones who crave more than then endless Xbox or Playstation shooting and destruction are looking for something different, a little more meaningful. They find their way to Second Life. With everyone’s First Life sheltered in place, Second Life allows them to reach out and fulfill the experiences they’re missing. Going to a club and dancing to live music, heading out to an amusement park, or whatever entertainment you crave, these things have all been put on hold in the physical world but they can be lived out in Second Life.

Who’s benefiting?
At the root of every experience are the resources to make it worthwhile. Beyond the basic infrastructure that Linden Labs has provided, are the businesses that make Second Life function. These businesses provide members with anything from a mesh body and clothes to the venues we go dancing and listen to music. Are these businesses benefiting from the additional people who are logging in to Second Life on a daily basis? Linden Labs last statistical figures showed in a 24 hours period 30 to 45 thousand people log in to Second Life but they have stopped reporting this information over a year ago. It’s difficult to see if these numbers have increased due to the lack of transparency. Is Linden Labs hiding this information from business owners to cover up the truth about the online activity? Are businesses wondering what’s going to happen to their bottom line while fees go up and just being told life is fine? If they are left holding the bag, I can tell you one thing, just like casinos, the house will always win.

Businesses speak out.
I interviewed several businesses to see if their sales have actually increased since the onset of Covid-19 and the lockdown began. The results are very interesting. While most music and dance clubs have not seen a profit, they did indicate an increase in visitors to their clubs. Guru, the part-owner of The Merry Pranksters, told me they have not seen a profit but their increased customers are more from old accounts coming back to life then new memberships. Some club owners like Melodee McDonnell of SongBirds and JAdmiral Maelstrom of Eclipse, couldn’t give statically data because their clubs are too new for comparison but it may be a good sign that new businesses are opening.
Some stores have not seen any increase in business at all since the worldwide pandemic started. Widget, the owner of Sahi Furniture, told me she has a loyal group of repeat customers that get her through the tough summer months but has not seen any new member sales since Christmas. That is her busiest time of the year for her beautiful furniture creations.
Some of the largest clothing retailers were unavailable for comment but a surprising business has shown a significant increase in sales since the beginning of the year. Teegle, providers of fine horses and equestrian products, have seen a nearly 400% increase over last year’s sales, with a remarkable 50% going to new customers. Whether this trend will continue remains to be seen, let’s hope their sales continue an upward movement.

Why are people joining Second Life?
Everyone has their own story and reason for coming to SL, but I spoke with several new members at the welcoming platform to see if there was some common ground. I interviewed about 10 new members at random and with ages ranging from 2 days to 2 months. None of them were premium members and most are reluctant to spend any money. With the uncertainty of the economy in the physical world, they prefer to hang on to their hard-earned income for necessities then spend it here. The few who have purchased items have done so to improve their looks. What became evident to me very soon after interviewing them was that most came here to find a human connection. To find someone to talk to. To help overcome being shy, to be more extroverted, or to possibly make a romantic connection. As most of the world has been quarantined in their homes and in the bleakest of times, people still need to connect with others. To get the reassurance they’re not alone. People need to express themselves and feel loved. Joining gives them that outlet and the ability to reach out and see there are others just like themselves who find it enjoyable to spend time together. So if they find it fun to go shopping together, ride on a carousel next to one another or sit on a couch and just cuddle, I’m sure the Second Life business will be more than willing to provide them with the means to do so…  


Friday, April 10, 2020

Geekspeak: COVID 19 GLOBAL CRISIS. WHAT CHANGES WILL WE SEE IN OUR FUTURE? Join the discussion Saturday April 11th at 12pm SLT

Soon we will have overcome the current crisis.  But we will be left with a world where millions of people are jobless and where we are all scared of the future.  So how do we rebuild?  What permanent changes will we see?

More virtual worlds?  The invention of the holodeck?  A society where education and business conferences all take place online?  Where more people work from home all the time and there are no offices?  What will happen to all the empty office buildings?
Maybe there will be no more restaurants?  An army of delivery drones?  Maybe we will see a new interest in science?  Maybe we will refuse to pollute the air again now that it is clean.  Maybe we will see robot cleaners using UV light to kill viruses.
Let’s think of the positives here and try to predict the world as it will be in 2 years. Happy Easter!  Maybe next year Easter will be online.
IM Vulcan Viper, who teaches a meditation class every Wednesday at the GeekSpeak auditorium at 1pm SLT, if you have ideas for new subjects.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Effects of Coronavirus Isolation on Avatars in Second Life - Zack Wonder Reporting

The measures that various governing bodies around the world are putting in place are making a marked effect on life. Limiting one’s social contacts will take a profound toll on one’s mental health. One of the ways to alleviate the threat on one’s mental capacity is to seek online companionship. A tell-tale sign is the depletion of electronics stores’ shelves of webcams. Online communities such as Habbo Hotel are rising from the doldrums and seeing double-digit percentage growth in user logins weekly.
According to New World news, Second Life has also seen a recent increase in new residents and old user logins. This is confirmed by SL CEO Ebbe Linden’s memorandum on the SL community website. I have also experienced this first-hand, having been away from the grid for three and a half years. Having to isolate in RL alone with my two dogs made me start seeking social contacts beyond my daily doggie walkies. 
In addition to having old avatars returning from hibernation, the Coronavirus epidemic is reflected in daily discussions and social life on SL. More often than not, the virus outbreak is being discussed between avatars in chats and IMs. I have even seen avatars wear face masks while traversing the grid. 
All this led me to survey the field by going out interviewing avatars. First, I met Shana at her beachfront property.

SLE: I learned that you are in RL isolation right now. Can you tell me how it has affected your life in general?
Shana: I just thought that people are walking along the streets and seeing masks, then they will come to the SL and there are masks again .... this is probably an extra stress, I don’t know.
SLE: And how has it affected your experience in Second Life?
Shana: I noticed that people became sadder, seriously, people began to joke less, all my friends became very anxious, and all talk comes down to quarantine.
SLE: I saw you once wear a face mask online. Is this something you do to reflect the situation?
Shana: I bought this mask at the very beginning of the epidemic ... but now it doesn’t seem like a good idea to me, it seems to me that it will once again frighten people.
SLE: Apart from the chats and people being sad, are there any other aspects in SL you think have been affected by the isolation and quarantine?
Shana: I just thought that people are walking along the streets and seeing masks, then they will come to the SL and there are masks again... this is probably an extra stress, I don’t know. I can’t explain it, but I feel that there’s less joy in SL now.
SLE: Okay. Final question: have you noticed anything in the way avatars are moving into SL? New avatars, old ones getting active again?
Shana: I only noticed that now more people began to spend more time in the SL... but I can be wrong!
SLE: That's a good observation! Thank you for your time. 
Later on, I met Vliny at the Prada sim, in a cafĂ© by a canal in Venice. She had reached to me due to my profile saying that I have returned to the SL after several years. 

SLE: What made you think I would appreciate someone getting to me, out of the blue?
Vliny: I like to read the profiles from people who are around me. Love to meet people and try to ask them if the profile catches me.
SLE: Have you met other avatars who have returned, after a long hiatus, like me?
Vliny: one yes, but seems he is not online actually, but he is still in my friends list. He once told me that he needs his times without SL
SLE: As do we all.
Vliny: Yes, I think we all have our reasons
SLE: Regarding the Coronavirus situation, how has it affected your life?
Vliny: Well, it reduced my social contacts completely. That is not always nice. But I am retired in RL because of my health and so I am used to being alone. That is for me the most important effect of the virus situation.
SLE: Has the coronavirus reflected on your SL experience in any way?
Vliny: Actually, not really... but I would say I have the feeling many people are back in SL because of the virus.
Vliny told me two of her former friends have returned to Second Life, both because of the isolation, and others are talking on Facebook on the possibility of returning. She also said that Europe seems to be leading on this trend, with American users following suit.

SLE: Someone told me that they have perceived a change in the mood in SL chats. Have you noticed anything?
Vliny:): They all feel lost at home in RL and that’s why they try to feel comfort and warm with the people in SL. [Everyone should] Spread love and peace.
A new friend of mine, Cray was building at his newly acquired sim that he is converting to become a mall and a nude beach (SLURL:
Cray had been gone from Second Life for 3 years. He told me as a single, laid-off carpenter, he had nothing else to do, and since he likes to build, he took on “Cray’s Risque Mall” as his project. He was taken aback at the new avatars’ 30-day limit on visiting privileges and spending, but having had these obstacles out of the way, he is in full force, building on his sim. when I asked him about how he sees the coronavirus situation reflected on SL, he told me: “No one really talks about it. But occasionally you see someone with a mask on or a cart of free toilet paper.” He also said that a remote acquaintance of his had passed due to the epidemic. Some people have their power lines down and it takes a long time to get them fixed. These are extreme issues jeopardizing one’s SL experience. Cray said he had tried the new Project Sansar first, but found no-one to talk to, and this was one of the main reasons he returned to Second Life. As a final comment, Cray told me: “Playing SL keeps social distancing. Everyone affected differently... my heart goes out to family members that experience loss of loved ones.”

My interviews, along with my SL experience in my new role as SLE reporter, revealed that the virus is profoundly affecting avatars’ RL personas as well as their online experience. Isolation brings loneliness and a need to communicate and to feel close to someone.
Second Life is a great platform to alleviate the feeling of alienation.
In Ebbe Linden’s words: “Please be kind and welcoming to those who may just need a friendly conversation to escape from this crazy world for a moment or more.”

Wednesday, April 1, 2020


OK Folks.  Lets Talk.   We need to put an end to “Social Distancing” during this time of worldwide Pandemic.  No. I am not crazy, and I am not advocating a worldwide hug-fest. But we don’t need “Social Distancing”….We need Physical Distancing. Words have meaning, so let’s start calling it what it is, and leave the cutsie phrases for things without such overreaching consequences, shall we?   We don’t need “Social Distancing”. What we need in this time of isolation is “Social Connection”, “Social Closeness”, and, dare I say it…“Social Intimacy”. At a time when people are scared, deeply distressed over an uncertain future, connecting with others socially becomes more important than ever.  One of the best ways to get and maintain social closeness in these challenging times is through SecondLife.

Rarely in the history of the world have we ever faced so ominous a threat to the economic and physical health of our residents. So, for today’s article we asked SL residents from around the RL world to tell us of the effect COVID-19 has had in their lives.  Folks we spoke to for this article include:

Nicole Kovarova – Czech Republic
Zoe – Bosnia 
Fokan – Italy 
Amanda – Norway
Char Steele – Michigan, USA
Reagan DiStefano: – Texas, USA
Rose Krimau – Catalan, Spain
Aylla Clarrington  – South Africa
Robb Larkham – Arizona, USA
Bonnie – Israel
Vale – Uruguay 

Josh Bellic (JB):  How have you been affected by the COVID-19 Virus?

Nicole Kovarova: I cannot go to my university because it is closed.
 Zoe: Two weeks ago we organized in a way so we could work from home. We are all aware that we don’t have enough capacity to take care of all infected people at once.  Our hospitals and intensive care units don’t have enough beds. As a rule, we tend to be a pretty disciplined people. No one goes outside. We respect all our government has said so far.  We’re helping each other to minimize the spread of the virus. 

Fokan: Actually whether we have the COVID virus or not, we stay home.  This is affecting everyone. Life in Italy is pretty much the same for everyone.  Last week, because of the restrictions, you know, only a list of specific companies can still work.  This is really difficult to manage. We stay home. I have a family. There are people that will really suffer through this.  It could be a hard restriction on all our lives.

Amanda: I`m working 15-18 hours a day! Stupid me. I offered a way to provide Plexiglas screening to a grocery store chain in Norway. To protect people in the stores, by building Plexiglas shields around the cash register operators. They hang from the ceiling on wires.  There are many things I miss as a result of the current situation. I`m not allowed to visit my mother, or go to my cabin on weekends, or visit friends, or go shopping in Sweden, or even to go anywhere I like to go. And this Easter coming up will present a special challenge.

Char Steele: Ah yes. Well I have been laid off for an indefinite period of time, especially the rest of the 2019/2020 school year. Because of the layoffs with my family, we have had to move just to make it. So we even moved to a different state.
Here we are not allowed in the cities unless necessary. The police are making people return home.  Unemployment insurance is not enough to get by….small town…rural area. I am an Elementary School teacher, and they want to switch all classes to online delivery.  That will be a chore. I hear they are graduating medical students early but i can neither confirm nor I do hope it gets better before we hit a depression era.  That’s what is scary - too many people out of work….no food in the stores…and people willing to do anything to feed their families. A friend of our neighbor has already experienced such things.  Her door was kicked in for her stuff. She lives in a good part of the city too. But people know they are well stocked there. It scared us. We had to leave. 

Reagan DiStefano: The changes I am making as a result of the virus are I am now washing my hands all day long it seems....staying away from other people when I can, other than the ones that live with me.  I am disinfecting everything. I have had to stop some things as well: I stopped going out to dinner…visiting with friends, and hugging people that i care about. All of that has stopped. I work for a Geriatrics Practice that is completely mobile.  Think of it as a Visiting Dr. They can no longer go to patient’s homes... everything is a Telehealth call. But as I've heard that two retirement facilities have gone into quarantine because of 6 cases... I'm worried. That’s not good. It means loved ones are being brought home, and no more new patients for us.  So, with less and less work for me to have, I could be laid off.

Rose Krimau: I've been home for 17 days, working from home too, along with all of my family. When I am not working I read, watch some shows on my tablet, exercise a little, log on SL,...Have you ever thought you would be asked not to leave your home for weeks?  I find it especially cruel the way people are dying, alone, because they need to be isolated from their families who cannot be there to comfort them while they are in hospital,...and there can't even be a goodbye or a funeral. When someone is taken to hospital, you don't know if you'll ever see them again and they must feel so scared and lonely without the family visiting

Aylla Clarrington:  Well, my company does cylinder head reconditioning and repair and we can't work now so no work =  no pay and I had to send the 2 workers on unpaid leave.

Robb Larkham:  Here in Arizona we are actively pursuing "social distancing" to try to attenuate the impact of the virus. In that other reality they call real life I am working at teaching my classes online to assure that students can make it through the semester with as little stress as possible. 

Bonnie: This is really hard on me. I have two kids at home and their father has terminal cancer so he can't leave his house. I have no idea if they will ever see him again.  It makes me extra cautious about leaving my home because I am about to be the only parent for my children. It hasn’t affected my job that much yet. I am working on a high tech project from my home, but I usually meet colleagues for coffee outside my house. Now we drink coffee together on Hangouts and Skype.

Vale: I don’t go out anymore.  I know some people are affected and are taking precautions like using masks. We have made changes in how we work.  In fact we are working in shifts these days. At home, residents are coming together to support each other. People sing from their terraces to entertain others.  And everyday at 8:00 at night people come out of their homes to applaud those who go out to work to help others, such as medical personnel, etc., and others who have to go out and be exposed so they can help others.   I saw a nurse going to work and all her neighbors applauded her. It is very motivating, after all...a way of saying thank you.

JB:  Are you staying at home? 

Nicole: I spend more time at home now. The Law requires it.  It has lasted two weeks now, but it will probably continue until the end of April.

Aylla:  Yes,  we have to work from home.

Fokan: This makes me, and others like me, spend time with family.  I work in warehousing. I work with anything in there. I cannot telework. I can drive or I stay in warehouse.  Either way, I need to go to work.

Reagan:: out of 25 of us.. 6 are still coming to the office. I am still driving to work. I have my own office and I don't really have much interaction with others

Bonnie: Yes. I stay at home because I am afraid to leave my house.  I was at the supermarket and a woman refused to respect my space.  I am afraid of people like that.

JB:  What do you do to keep busy?

Nicole: I study and work at home.  I am a student and I am business law

Zoe: I am working from home. I am an economist in an engineering company, and my daughter has an online school.

Aylla:  Alan works in the garage with his wood hobby and I do things around the house and washing and that kind of daily things.

Robb: Staying at home provides me more time to read, rediscover old pleasures like Scrabble and work on all those projects at home that are always on the back burner. 

Bonnie: I am guiding the kids to learn how to code and making sure they learn lots of math and practice music. I talk and chat with friends, work on business networking on Hangouts Meet, through Lunchclub and LinkedIn.  I also watch movies, meditate, exercise and listen to lots of music…Oh yes…and bake! I found that keeping a routine helps the most, and learning a language or something. It is important to keep the mind active. I am learning IBM AI system language.

Vale:  In fact you do things that you can't do normally, like finally getting  around to trashing all those old things you have kept in the house but will never use.  You finally throw it out. We may spend time cleaning the house in ways that we normally don’t have time to do.  Some people exercise at home, or read. I only walk in my house, but athletes, like soccer players for instance, are exercising at home more these days. 

JB:  Has there been any good come from these conditions? Is there an “Upside” to staying home?

Zoe: So, the good side of isolation actually, is getting to spend extra time with my daughter.  I get to what is she doing in school, and how their techers treat them. I also get to see how children behave in school. 

Fokan: We have time to think, and that is good. :-) We need to think about what we are building everyday. 

Amanda: ummm, what is the upside here? Well, at work I dont have to go to meetings all the time...we use more skype and Teams.  And ...people are better at washing their hands.

Reagan: Well i'm thankful that i'm still working.  I won't fall behind on my bills

Rose: Hmmm..maybe that we value things we took for granted before, as simple as going out.
Bonnie: I like that I have more time with the kids…and more baking and cooking, and making sure the food is good and healthy.

Vale: Parents are spending more time with their children. Some send jokes about the virus by using the Whatssup App.  People tend to be more connected to family and friends...they talk about the news and share information as they learn more about the virus. They also say the air is better now- less contaminated.  And the wildlife is coming back, with animals ranging farther afield, and coming into the cities.

JB:  Has COVID-19 affected your time in SL? Has it changed the time you spend here?

Zoe: SecondLife is even more fun than usual.  I am spending more time in SL these days. I’m normally online the entire day because of my job, so now I can be online at SL too.  I am also making new friends…every day more and more people are logging online here. 

Fokan: I have been a member of SL for a long time, so it is not because of COVID-19 that I am here.  I would be here anyway. 

Reagan: I see there are more people online any given time of the day….some people have shorter fuses….less patience.  I think we come here to get away from it, but it's still there. It's like trying to leave work at home….. you try to leave it, but it still comes with you

Rose: I’m not really able to spend any more time here than I did before.  With the whole family staying home, I'm not alone as often as I normally am.

Aylla:  Actually, I was not able to get into SL at all for a day or two.  We had to wait a day or two for them to fix a break in the undersea cable that carries internet to South Africa. 

Robb: In times like this Second Life becomes one of those safe havens where you can still connect with people, especially those you are close to, and help mitigate our concerns and put a little order into the rapidly changing situation all of us around the world have to navigate.

Bonnie: I haven't been logging in much the last months since November, but now I have been logging in 2-3 times a week to check on friends and play and lose myself a little.  It’s a release…an escape. I have no problem with escaping as long as we're conscious of what we're doing. IMHO.

Vale:  We value now the freedom to go out, a hug, a kiss...To be close with they people you care about, because we no longer can.  It doesn't matter if you are rich or poor, this virus can kill you, no matter your race.. all the world has stopped.I think eventually they will find a solution to this problem, and things will return to normal….and we as humans won’t have learned a thing. It's like when you're at hospital and you are scared and wondering if you will get well or not, but afterwards when you are safe back at home you think “why I was worried about such stupid things”.  Once all is well again, you forget all about it.

So there you have it folks.  When it comes right down to it, “It’s a Small World After All”   Practice a little extra kindness during this stressful time. That person living in close proximity to you is under the same pressure and same “Stay at Home” restriction that you are. Many of us reading this article may have fewer family members to love when this thing has run its course. Stay close through social media. Exercise some extra “Social Connectedness”


Letter from the Editor:
On behalf of the SL Enquirer please be safe,wash your hands often, practice social distancing and follow the directives put in place by your state and/or country seriously to help prevent the spread. 

SLE wishes you all well. We as a global community are all trying to make sense of this new time we are living in. Find comfort in any way you can. If it means taking a walk, reading a good book, Zoom parties or facetiming with family and friends. Keep the faith that we will overcome this pandemic and get back to our lives. It won’t be easy but working together we will make a difference. - Lanai Jarrico

Please share what you are doing to get through this pandemic in the comments section below. Your words may help others struggling during this time.