This has been sitting at the back of my mind since about two or three classes back when we briefly discussed virtual communities and environments. I recalled using some sort of really cool virtual environment for my freshman PWR class but couldn’t remember what it was. After some researching and contacting people, I finally recovered that missing piece of memory and rediscovered the awesomeness that is Second Life.
Like any other MUVEs, Second Life is a piece of software that connects online into a boundless virtual world. It functions a little like a cross between the Sims and Minecraft. You get an avatar you can dress up, talk to people and explore different world. On the other hand, you can also purchase (using an in-environment currency) materials and build your own world from scratch. Most of the places you can visit in Second Life are built by fellow fans.
When you first enter, you end up on this island with other recently born Second Lifers.
After wandering around, you end up at this portal that takes you to the Welcome Center.
Not sure why 15 minutes into Second Life I was already break-dancing alone in a club…
Other than wandering around, you can also choose to teleport to anything from places to events. Even live concerts and as you can see, ‘trivia in bars’!
I searched ‘Disney’ and somehow found myself in a beautifully constructed ‘Walt Disney’ museum. Here’s a fan-made curation of what she considers to be the history and progress of Disney.
Also, one of the coolest thing is that there is actually a Stanford within Second Life. This was where I had my first ‘virtual class’ in PWR class three years ago. If you look closely, there are black squirrels scurrying around everywhere! This is a virtual environment built by Stanford’s Libraries.
In our glamorous Second Life, Searchworks go on a huge life-sized wall, there are no less palm trees than in real life, and the fountains are still working.
I think running Second Life requires quite a fair bit of computing power, so my old, low-spec Lenovo froze on me after some time. However, I definitely recommend going in to Second Life for a very virtual yet very real representation of the power of curation and collaboration. Also, if you visit the Stanford Library in game, you get a virtual SULAIR T-shirt. I haven’t figured out how to put it on though…