“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” (George Bernard Shaw)
The main part of the community celebration of Second Life’s 10th anniversary – also known as SL10B Community Celebration – is coming to an end this weekend. The official anniversary will be celebrated on Sunday, June 23. It’ll be a day to remember. And this weekend, June 22 and 23, is the last opportunity to watch the performances of DJs and live musicians there. The sims will remain open until June 28, though, so, if you wanna see the exhibitions during next week, it’s ok. In any case, you can start at the Welcome Area.
As the official anniversary day comes, I get more and more impressed: wow, 10 years! A few years ago, SL went through a hyper phase. Those times are gone now, but it still has an impressive user base. At some point Second Life was proclaimed to be the future of internet. After the disappointment of those who bet on that prognosis, it was said that its community was a collection of weirdos or (more nicely?) lonely and challenged people. Also, maybe, “smart people in rural areas”. (Well, I do not live in a rural area, so I wonder which category I fit in.)
All those groups may be in SL. As any large community, SL is diverse. As a mostly generous group, it happily welcomes lonely and challenged people, weirdos, smart people in rural areas, and also not so smart people in rural areas, people – smart or not – in urban areas, artists (that may be smart or not, challenged or not, weird or not), people who like technology, people who don’t like it… Maybe its user base has a profile, and I confess I do not know it, but my experience tells me that I can find all kinds of people in Second Life, who gather there for all kinds of reasons. And this is the richness of these 10 years of SL.
But why? Why do people keep going to SL? Because they are lonely and find in SL a community that embraces them? Maybe. Because they are handicapped and find in SL an easier world to move through? Maybe, why not? But maybe for other reasons too, maybe because SL allows them to expand their experiences, or to give some reality to what they envision. Above all, what it seems to be the baseline for SL’s community is expressed in SL’s logo: “Your world. Your imagination”.
You can imagine a building, you can imagine a piece of furniture, clothes, an art installation, a parallel universe, you can imagine a life style… And in SL you can make it into your world. SL allows you to express yourself in different ways. Sometimes it can be an escape from the atomic world. Sometimes it can be a way to expand yourself by meeting people from places you cannot be at, by seeing their creations, by showing your own creations (be them prim-based objects or a way of living that you imagined to your avatar), by role-playing, etc.
Isn’t it cool? And it leaves its marks, these 10 years have left some great marks: in SLers, but also in the SL virtual world itself. So, when you arrive at the Welcome Area for the SL10B Community Celebration, take a look around and you’ll find The Man – a statue built by oldjohn Linden in 2002, even before Second Life went public. The Man has seen everything, all the different phases of SL. It’s the oldest building in SL which still stands on the grid. And there is also the Arch’D Linden Grande, built by Alberto Linden for the 1st welcome area in Second Life.
Also, you can see how things changed – either by taking the history tour at SL10BCC’s Welcome Area or just by looking around. Near the Cake Stage, an installation says: “It all started with a cube”. How far we have gone from there until the mesh creations of today? I know, mesh is greatly detailed, but collaborative building is put under risk by it – I’m not evaluating its consequences now, just pointing to the transformations. And you can see all that at SL10B Community Celebration. So go there and have fun!