Getting Around in Second Life

Where in the virtual world do you begin? Navigating life in the virtual world can be a daunting task. In fact, according to an article by Reuters in Second Life, the steep learning curve when first entering the virtual environment sends some people packing before they even understand how to make their avatar walk, much less fly or teleport! When reporting on the challenges of the orientation process in Second Life, Reuters/Second Life (2007) explained that the virtual world’s retention rate was only 12 percent. So how does one get around in the virtual realm?

Don't be discouraged. As the image above, taken from the Second Life website, reflects the many options available in customizing the look of an avatar -- from hair, to skin tone, body shape, facial features, and more -- creating the look of a virtual representation is just the beginning. Once you've signed into Second Life, you will be directed to “Orientation Island” where you are taken through a step by step process to teach you how to get around. There are a number of video tutorials available that can also help you choose the look of your avatar, teach you how to walk, fly, teleport, explore, and once you've got your feet on... or off... the ground, you can even begin to create things. You're also not limited to the Second Life website for tutorials. A simple click on YouTube and a search of “Second Life” will take you to nearly 150,000 videos. Proceed with caution, however, as there are numerous videos with what may be considered objectionable material to many people. You can certainly refine the search by typing “Second Life tutorial” in the video search window and reduce the number of links to a mere 2,040. You think Second Life residents have caught on to the potential to create not only in the virtual world, but in the realm of video production?