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.
- The program you use to access Second Life is called a "viewer." There are a few unofficial, player-created viewers out there that aim to improve upon the official one. In order to shoot relatively clear and unobstructed video of Second Life without extremely long loadtimes, we used the Alchemy Viewer.
- The opening and closing of this episode were filmed within a Second Life sim created by the great leftist documentary filmmaker Chris Marker: Ouvroir. It's great fun and it's still there today, at coordinates 187, 61, 39.
Music from this Episode
- "#SEO" by Internet Club, from the album "Redefining the Workplace" (2012)
- "Sunken Forest" by Voyage Futur, from the album "Inner Sphere" (2020)
- "Moss Landscape" by Voyage Futur, from the album "Inner Sphere" (2020)
- "Immersion" by Voyage Futur, from the album "Inner Sphere" (2020)
- "Emerald Dunes" by Voyage Futur, from the album "Inner Sphere" (2020)