But. As promised, here are my thoughts on Second Life:
- I spent about two hours the first night building an avatar. That's two hours of my life I will never get back. So thought number one is that Second Life is (a) time consuming, and (b) consumes time that might be better spent elsewhere (see #6).
- It was frustrating from the very first, because if I were going to have a Second Life (hereinafter referred to, for the sake of brevity, as SL) I would want it to be a truly mind bending experience. I would want to experience life from a totally different point of view. I would want to really learn something. I would want to be a dog. SL won't let you do that. You can "build" a dog and "script" it to follow you around, but you can't be one. Which makes thought two that people don't really want a Second Life. They want a do-over of the first one.
- I am not (and cannot be within the limits of SL) satisfied with my avatar. She neither looks like me nor looks like what I might like to look like if I were, say, able-bodied, or simply just better-looking. So thought number three is that other avatars I saw on line are probably imperfect expressions of their owners as well, and therefore SL might not be too effective insofar as it's intended to let people live out a fantasy.
- The avatars I saw were indeed fantastic. A lot of them looked like fantasy fiction or sci fi characters. Some may have belonged to the kind of people who hang out at medieval festivals--caped and bearded and booted and all that. Although I didn't see any avatars with wings, I understand that you can add them! Thought number four, therefore, is that SL is inhabited by people who are not happy--or at least not fully satisfied--being who they are, where they are, when they are.
- Some people have businesses and make money on SL. My first thought is that I would open a psychotherapy practice: Some of those people probably still need therapy! So the fifth thought on SL is that people who are happy with their lives will more or less replicate it on SL, which makes it sort of redundant, and therefore unnecessary. Which is why I won't be back after today.
- Or I could open a bookstore. But I make a choice every day to continue to be a psychologist because I like what I do. Thought six, therefore, is that people on SL would rather do something else. Which raises the question, then why don't they? Might not all the effort (and money--you can spend some real bucks "in world") be better spent making your only real life count for something?
- But here's the real kicker. Research, clinical, and my own experience all tell me that in life (specifically, in group therapy, the transference, the workplace, and the family) people will sooner or later reenact whatever issues they have going on elsewhere. Sure enough, in just a few hours on SL the other night, I saw people rejected, ignored, pestered, and one guy suggested that "everybody get naked". So my final thought on SL is that even if you don't want it to, your personal frustrations and limitations are going to follow you onto "the grid" and you will inevitably find yourself disappointed in the same ways that you are in life (so take the advice offered in #6 and put your energy into working through your issues in the here and now!).