Roots.

I’ve been marinating a while, I’ve been just kind of skating along a long line of thought that’s been itching to get out of my brain, and I think i’ve gotten to the point where I’m just gonna say what I’ve been thinking.

No one works together in Second Life anymore. No one has each other’s backs.

I started Second life almost as soon as it started. In 2004, I was a high schooler, and I was lonely as hell. I discovered Second life, I made friends, and some of those relationships are still holding strong to this day. The internet and games like Second Life are an amazing tool we have in our social arsenal, and this generation, I like to think, has become a bit better for it. We live in a world where we can have friends in Egypt, in Peru, in Greenland, and in Russia, We can talk to someone thousands of miles away in an instant. We can bond, and we can create beautiful things together. Whether its art, relationships or work, there’s always someone out there looking to connect.

Second life held that air of community for me. I had no family, I had no friends, and the people I met in Second Life helped me survive some of the toughest years of my life. I loved, I cried, I had real relationships with the real people behind the avatars. when I reached the peak of my business in 2011, things were amazing. I knew so many awesome people, We did such amazing art. collaborations and friends and creativity was the main focus on the game. Every day, something new and gorgeous, that people like you and I made, spent time on, and shared with others, was made available to us. There were entire sims full of tunnels of light, giant carnivals, Medieval castles, and creative, original, gorgeous landscapes and items.

I feel like Second Life has kind of lost that in the last few years. This has been my job, my full-time job, for more than ten years, and I love Second Life. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I adore it. I work tirelessly, 18 hours a day, sometimes longer. I enjoy making gorgeous things for people to wear, enjoy, and love. I won’t ever stop until I either have to or I feel like this problem has gone beyond fixing. I watch Plurk and I watch Flickr, I watch petty feuds between designers and I see a lot of hate, a lot of separation, and a lot of over-competition. I see, and have experienced first hand, the separation of designers and artists into little groups, some of which are incredibly hard to separate from or move past. Second life has become a place now that in order to succeed in a big way, or even a beneficial way, you’ve got to “know people” and talk and act the same way, or you get ostracized. It’s so sad to see.

I know there’s no easy way to fix this.  I think people are so focused inwardly, that a lot of people have lost what Second Life was supposed to be about. We lost our cohesiveness, our sense of community, and it’s become all about the money or all about the fame. I’m proud to say that what I do has been a godsend for me. It allows me to keep a roof over my head, to feed my family, and I know that it’s the case for others as well. In some of the scariest times of my life, being able to pull a bit of money out saved my ass. Big-time. But there are so many of us now that only do it for the money, and there’s no sense of collaboration, no sense of community, no respect or importance of the relationship aspect at all. There are events that charge us 5-15,000L to participate, there are groups that exclude us if we use even a single template, there are cliques who just don’t accept us if we don’t fit in with their tendencies and their opinions. And it’s not okay.

I guess what most of this is about, is that everyone seems to be in the mindset of “Every man for themselves” and that’s NOT what Second life is about. Ive had people befriend me just to learn photoshop secrets, to get something from me, and then turn around and use it against me as a direct competitor. I’ve handled rejection from some people and some events that is unwarranted and completely unnecessary. A lot of us have. There’s so much of it going around that sometimes, I just need a break from it all. But I stay.

But I stay. I stay because I hope to change it, even if it’s only one person at a time, because I love this game. I see us steadily on the path to collapsing this gorgeous world we’ve been creating for 13 years and it makes me legitimately sad. I’m 27 and i have spent literally half of my life contributing to this universe and loving it unconditionally. But I can tell that it’s broken. There’s something wrong. And the only way to fix it is to unite. Call me lofty, my head’s up in the clouds, it’s unrealistic and I’m naive, but we used to all stick together.  I want to get back to that.

I’m starting something in here soon, something I feel might help. I’m calling on the others who feel this way, and I know there are people who do. I touch base on this kind of thing almost every day. I hear stories of people being used, the competition wearing them down, the event fees being too steep, and just the overall small things that compound and crush us little by little. Come out, and talk about it. Raise the awareness. Work with each other more. Be gracious and be helpful. The universe returns it back to you. I’ve been there, and I know it does. Take a chance on someone new, Give someone a little bit of trust. Designers, TALK to your customers. Stop treating them so appallingly. Theyre people, they love you and they support you, even when they’re broke. Make sure they know you’re not just here for the money. Love what you do. Bloggers, work together. Stop fretting over views and likes and do what you love. Take beautiful pictures, and share them with us. show us that you love what we do and that you can make art from something that originates as just an idea in our heads. Customers, be patient with us, and continue to love us, and remember that you are what keeps us going.

It’s not hard to make someone’s day. It’s not hard to make someone feel worth it, and it’s not hard to take a chance on someone. It just requires faith. And openness.

I want us to get back to Second life and what it’s really about. I want the girl who’s in love with the guy 3500 miles away to remember that Second life made it possible. I want the people who spend every day online, logged into this universe that we love so much, to remember what it’s always been about.

Call me a hippie if you want. It’s all about the love. Love what you do, Love who you meet, Love what you create.

I promise, it’s not that hard.

-Vae

 

 

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~ by Vae on June 8, 2016.

5 Responses to “Roots.”

  1. I totally agree with this, though I started off in Sl later than you did, I saw some of what you are talking about and now? Barely anything. *hugs* I honestly can’t say anything more without taking away or repeating something you’ve already said. ❤

  2. I love this so much. So much truth. So honest. Thank you for saying this.

  3. I’m here with you, and I support you. That might not be an eloquent response, but… Thank you for all you do, and for your thoughtful, honest post!

  4. It’s about time someone said something. I have seen this evolve as well. Perhaps it’s the new generation coming into SL; I can only speculate. I’ve been in SL for almost ten years and have been a fan and customer of your since you were a baby. I will stand by you and support you all the way. I have always admired your work and the attention to detail you put into your creations. Your personality just shines through in everything you do. Just tell me what you need and I’ll be there! Thanks for putting this out there, Vae.

    -Heidi ❤

  5. Reblogged this on The Fashionable Heart and commented:
    Amping up the volume here!

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