Can you believe that this is my 1500th post on the blog?
Blimey! I wanted to write something suitably awesome to mark the occasion, but quite honestly I can’t think of anything windswept and interesting to post at the moment. I’m still recovering from the worst cold I’ve had in an age in real life, and it’s really taken a toll on me. Ghastly germs!So instead of my writing a post about something new, a place to visit or an item that you must own, I have a favour to ask. Second Life, as we all know by now, is a wonderful place to meet and mingle, and we sometimes take our chats off-line onto various forums like Plurk, Facebook and SLUniverse to name a few. However, oftentimes there’s a lot of drama and negativity played out upon these spaces.
I’ve said it before, but I really don’t understand why people hiding behind a keyboard think it gives them free reign to insult, belittle or be downright rude to people. It’s one thing to have an opinion, but quite another to share it in a hurtful way. It’s such a simple phrase, but the saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say it” springs to mind.
It’s easy to make fun of other avatars. Heck, I was doing it myself yesterday, I’m not innocent of such immature behaviour. But after I’d done it, I actually thought what a mean thing it was to do. Even though they will never know, my words are still out there, floating in cyberspace. And I should know better. Just because someone chooses to express themselves in a certain way in-world it doesn’t give me, or anyone else, the right to make fun of them. We’re as diverse in the metaverse as we are in the universe, and I should be more mindful of that.
So, starting right now, I want us all to be a little more Second Life Conscious.
Words on a screen have just as much power, if not a little more, than words spoken out loud. We live in an age of ever-present criticism and condemnation through social media and where does that lead to? Hatred and misunderstanding. It’s not wrong to say that we need to spread more love in the virtual world, and it doesn’t have to be the kind that requires a Hud or a Poseball. Spread the Second Life Love! Let’s be more mindful of what we say in our virtual spaces, and how we present ourselves. Would you say that in real life? Why is it OK to say something in a virtual world that you would never say in the real one? Think on that point for a moment.Be graceful. Manners are NOT a bad thing, they exist for a reason. Let’s show gratitude to creators instead of constantly criticising. If you buy something and you really love it, drop them a few lines on a notecard and tell them!
People are quick to complain, but rarely as quick to congratulate.
The next time you are in a crowded area in Second Life, or at an event, take a good long look at the avatars that surround you. Read the profiles, snoop if you will, and then PAY SOMEONE A COMPLIMENT.
It doesn’t have to be over-stated either. In fact, this is something that I have been doing for a while now; it’s sort of a Second Life spiritual practise, and not only do you make someone feel good by doing it, you’ll feel pretty good yourself too. Double win!
So, what kind of things do you say? Here’s an example: Yesterday I spotted an amazing avatar when I was shopping in ISON. In private chat I messaged the avatar and wrote, very simply, “I love your avatar!” This was a genuine compliment, straight from my heart. I really liked the way that her avatar was styled, and also because she was unusual. She had an aged look to her, something that you really don’t see in Second Life that often. I very quickly received a delighted response. “Wow! Thank you so much for saying that!” and that was it. I had a smile on my real life chops, and I’m pretty sure she did too. It was THAT simple.
Of course, you could follow these words up and enter into a conversation, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Oftentimes I just follow my compliments with the phrase “YVW! (You’re very welcome)” or “NP (No Problem) Have a great day!” and that’s that.
It’s such a simple thing to do yet it REALLY does make such a difference. And if you aren’t doing this already (I’m sure some people reading this probably are) then I’d like you to please, give it a go.
Because I know from my own experience that it will make difference, so imagine what will happen if we all start to do this!
OK, in the grand scheme of things this isn’t earth-shattering or life-changing, but imagine how you will feel in a week if you’ve been practising this every day? And even more importantly, imagine how you will have made other people feel too! So please, spread the word. Instead of turning up at an event, camming around, making a few purchases and leaving, next time take a peek at the avatars around you. Is there one who stands out? Do they have a really great sense of style that you admire? Or are they just incredibly cute and have impressed you with their look? TELL THEM! There’s nothing creepy about a quick compliment, and you may make a real difference to their day. Plus you get to speak to some pretty amazing people too. (Well, I say people, yesterday I complimented a giant hamster on his cuteness. I think he was pleased!)
We’re a community, and in a metaverse as disparate as ours it’s easy to forget that. With the festive season of goodwill fast approaching, let’s start early in-world, and spread the love.
Thank you for sticking with Kittywitchin’ through 1500 blog posts. Here’s to the next 1500 and beyond!
(PS If you DO follow the steps above, please share your experiences in the comments below.)