Second Life

Arguably the most well known social virtual world, Second Life started in 2003 and it’s still online today. The software is extremely flexible, and users are able to customize almost every aspect of the experience. They can create their own avatars, clothes, props, and decorations. They can even build spaces (called Sims) to hang out in. Almost every object in the game can be bought and sold using a currency called Lindens that is backed by real money.

The world of Second Life is deeply marketized to the point that it threatens its own long-term preservation. Second Life sims are treated like virtual real estate, and they cost a weekly rent to maintain. When the owner can no longer pay, the sim is taken offline permanently. For this reason, even the most beloved parts of Second Life have a rather short expiration date.

However, even this deeply constrained social space contains a fragment of a better world. We spoke with an anonymous Second Life user about how its queer and furry communities helped her through an important process of self discovery.


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