Monday, May 20, 2013

Social Satisfaction in Second Life

I've spent the last couple of days trying to find my legs (figuratively, not literally - ha ha) in Second Life by finding people with similar interests to mine. You'd think it would be easy with lots of international cultural participation in Second Life. I know for a fact that there are plenty of South Americans (Brazilians, Venezuelans, Argentinians, for example) in the 3D virtual world. Since I barely know a word of Spanish (or Portuguese, for that matter) and I had dropped the ball on setting up translation services (that issue to be fixed) I continued searching for "soccer" instead of "futbol"in SL's uber-slow search engine. I found a subculture of virtual soccer players and clubs. I looked in on some of those and found some chatty fellows, but I honestly did not think this was the way I wanted to spend my time.

I was looking for a soccer bar, a pub where I could sit and chat international soccer. A few of these I found, but far less interesting and not populated, mostly a weak front for selling team t-shirts. It dawned on me that I had not updated my web profile in in a while. In looking at it with fresh eyes, I found that if you click on your previously populated tags, you get a list of avatars with similar interests. But this, too proved lacking. The were few existing "groups" in SL related to soccer. With the Liga MX semifinals about to start on Sunday evening, i tried a social experiment. Having had joined a group called Mexico MX (a general cultural group, specific to a Mexican themed sim) previously, I though I might just bust onto group chat with  a basic "who ya got, Santos or Cruz Azul?" The replies were immediately sophomoric or worse, the first response being "mi madre" and then a quasi lecture to the effect of "futbol is for boys, soap operas are for girls" or some such drivel.

Then I decided to give up for the might, or at least do something socially satisfying. Up popped the reminder in group chat for Virtual Pioneers (an educators' and history enthusiasts's group I've been a part of for a while) for a tour of a sim called London Village. It had been a while since I;d visited with Virtual Pioneers, so I though I might give it a whirl. At first I thought I'd eschew the tour and just go sit at the pub at London Village, but I'm glad I did not. The tour itself was excellent (in voice chat, with a very knowledgeable host). We toured the Tardis, the grounds, Sherlock Holmes themed space, Travelers' Pub, etc. As serendipity would have it, turns out there was a fellow on the tour with a Bayern Munich t-shirt on so we started chatting, and my wish was fulfilled. We chatted a bit about mutual soccer interests and that was all it took. Social satisfaction in Second Life !