The New Second Life Avatar: Senra has Arrived.

The new Second Life starter avatars are now available and they’re called Senra. Their names are Blake and Jamie.

It isn’t just the avatars that are new though, the “New User Experience” (sign-up) has had a dramatic overhaul, letting you customise your new avatar at the point of registration (see this Second Life University video for more on that), before you even log into the viewer. Previously your only choice was from a selection of complete avatars with no customisation options at all, so this is great progress, if a little late in coming.

This approach will let new Residents see how avatars are put together, allowing the process of customising their new avatar with purchased items to be much less painful.

Existing Residents will now find a folder called Senra in the Library section of their Inventory.

I put together a few avatar looks using solely the Senra items. Some are admittedly better than others, but I wanted to show a range of the different options available for the new starter avatars. I’ve used both the Male & Female versions, so GUYS SCROLL DOWN.

In the Jamie folder you have quite a range of basic avatar components (6 skins, 6 shapes, 9 hairstyles) and a selection of clothing.

  • Senra Jamie – shape 2
  • Senra Jamie – skin – 1
  • Senra Jamie – hair – style 6 – blue
  • Senra Jamie – top – tshirt – black
  • Senra Jamie – bottom – sweatpants – black
  • Senra Jamie – shoes – casual sneakers – white
  • Location:
  • Senra Jamie – shape 5
  • Senra Jamie – skin – 4
  • Senra Jamie – hair – style 4 – black
  • Senra Jamie – bottoms – suit bottom – black
  • Senra Jamie – tops – suit top – white black
  • Senra Jamie – shoes – casual sneakers – white
  • Location:
  • Senra Jamie – shape 6
  • Senra Jamie – skin – 3
  • Senra Jamie – hair – style 7 – light blonde
  • Senra Jamie – hair – style 7 – hair base – light brown (she’s a bottle -blonde evidently)
  • Senra Jamie – top – crop top – stripes pink
  • Senra Jamie – bottom – pencil skirt – arcade pink
  • Senra Jamie – shoes – slides – pink
  • Location:

I know that the face of Barbie looks like a Ken in drag, but that’s the shape of the face and I wanted to leave stuff as it was out of the library.

And onto Blake….or is it just Senra? I opened up the folders and started adding stuff, replacing the Jamie parts with Blake ones and they’re remarkably similar. The Blake body shapes are obviously quite different, but the hair style selections are the same, as is the clothing. I did try to use as many item combinations as possible, but it was tricky after finding Blake had the same warderobe as Jamie.

  • Senra Blake – shape 6
  • Senra Blake – skin – 6
  • Senra Blake – hair – style 5 – black
  • Senra Blake – top – puffer jacket – green
  • Senra Blake – bottom – relaxed jeans – denim black
  • Senra Blake – shoes – canvas low – green
  • Location:
  • Senra Blake – shape 3
  • Senra Blake – skin – 5
  • Senra Blake – hair – style 3 – black
  • Senra Blake – top – hoodie – blue white red
  • Senra Blake – bottom – shorts – red
  • Senra Blake – bottom – skinny jeans – denim light blue
  • Senra Blake – shoes – slides – blue
  • Location:

The poses and facial expressions in the photos are those in the included Animation Controller object. It’s good this is there, but there’s no options for choosing animations. This is why they all seem to look deptessed or sad, there’s no option to make them smile.

So in conclusion it an improvement on the Classic system-layer based avatars, that were cutomisable but not mesh, it is an improvement on the previous mesh avatars that you couldn’t customse at all. However the range of options just isn’t there yet.

The best thing to come out of this release is that it can be done at registration, on the website, that’s the major improvement here. They are after all “Starter” avatars and if they were actually really good, people wouldn’t spend money to upgrade them. So for a new Resident they’re much more acceptable, if you already have a mesh body, head and existing warderobe, leave Jamie and Blake in the Library.

Some perspectives from other blogs:

Bloggers: The Media of the Metaverse

I started this blog four years ago as a little project to chronicle my time in Second Life. However once I really got into it, I found there was a lot more to it than I expected. So for the fourth anniversary of my first post, I thought I’d write a little about what being a Second Life blogger is for me.

I believe there are a few different categories of SecondLife blogs, but I think they can be split into two main ones; Shopping & Exploring. Both are very broad containing a myriad of sub categories. Shopping obviously divides into all the different types of things that can be bought, which in SL can be quite extensive from avatars to potted plants to spaceships. This category is where you’ll find Influencers lurking. These are the bloggers that have a 1000+ followers on Flickr, which seems to be a common requirement to be an Official blogger for large stores and events (except Fantasy Faire). You can read my thoughts on that here.

Then you have Explorers that wander the virtual landscape seeking out new and old places of interest,that’s more were I feel I fit best.

Not being affiliated with or sponsored by any particular stores or creators gives me flexibility and freedom to write what I want, when I want with no deadline pressure other than those I set myself. So if nothing jumps out at me to write about or I’m busy in Real Life, there’s no stress. That’s important because if you let yourself get carried away with wanting to cover every event you hear about inworld, you’d wear yourself out very quickly!

Around the time I started thinking about this post and what might go into it,a new blog surfaced. The blog in question is by Lizbeth Morningstar and mainly centres around her art gallery in SL,but also her thoughts on the virtual world. I thought it would be interesting to get the first impressions of someone new to SL blogging in these times. Things are always changing and one person’s start can be very different from another’s.

I asked Lizbeth for some of her thoughts on the subject and this is what she had to say:

The reason I start my SL blog is to record or share my experiences, feeling in Second Life. As the bond with SL grows stronger with time, it’s like I really have my Second Life. We do feel the community vibe and we want to make it better.The obstacle being a new SL blogger is time management among all the workload in RL, my SL gallery and my SL photography. Thus, I hope to do it with free will, not to limit topics and due date. Blogging as homework, it would be mere formality. I want to blog when I truly have something to say which is the key of writing.I do hope my blog gain more followers, this will motivate me to keep blogging as I surely don’t want my blog as a private diary lol. 

I know what she means about blogging as homework. If you let yourself get wrapped up in commitments and deadlines it becomes like a job and stops being fun. Some people that receive commission or revenue may choose to treat it as a job,but that’s not for me. Although I did assure her that there’s nothing wrong with a blog just being a diary. This blog still has quite low traffic numbers compared to more commercial ones (except during Fantasy Faire when they shoot through the roof). I don’t mind that, I enjoy it regardless. However one thing that does bring people to my pages of ramblings is the Second Life Blogger Network set up by Strawberry Linden. The Blogger Network has “around 900” bloggers signed up according to Strawberry. It is a great way to be found and find other blogs you might like.

To contrast a new blog against an older one, I asked Isabelle Cheren for her thoughts as well. Isabelle started her blog back in 2016 and as I alluded to above,things were quite different back then.

[13:01:35] isabelle Cheren: well i may be different than others,im not sure because if i wasnt in sl i would still keep doing it. I like being able to in many ways journal my moments. Bad days and good days and i love using sl photos and video for it
[13:01:57] isabelle Cheren: its like my journal in many ways only everyone knows

So journaling our experiences is an expected common thread with most non-shopping blogs evidently.

[13:18:56] Ava Bloodrose Delaney (Ava Bloodrose): I got some comments from someone new to blogging, Lizbeth Morningstar. I asked what her first impressions of sl blogging as she’s just started. Do you think it’s changed since you started back then?
[13:19:16] isabelle Cheren: Ooo yes i do … like a lot
[13:19:52] isabelle Cheren: back then there was maybe less people doing it and less events and now its more all about shopping now which is a shame as to be honest there is so much out in sl
[13:22:13] isabelle Cheren: i cannot read a blog if it talks about shopping..If you make it fun and a story or something then i can… my time though to read has literally disapeared lately
[13:22:21] isabelle Cheren: rl just makes it that way

However the main thing for me is that it’s great fun. It gives me a reason to explore new places and spend longer enjoying them as I take far too many Snapshots. When the folder on my computer reaches about 70 images, it’s usually time to stop!

Bloggers aren’t just journal writers and purchase reviewers though, it’s a community in itself. I describe bloggers in the title as the “Media of the Metaverse” and I think its an apt description. I inadvertantly came out with the phrase when I was talking about an event that hadn’t co-ordinated or organised any blogger coverage, which meant effectively no-one was publicising it. In the physical world we have journalists and media reporters for all kinds of events, bloggers are the virtual world equivalent. The world wouldn’t be the same without the media (like them or not), likewise the virtual world wouldn’t be the same without bloggers.

Many thanks to Isabelle Cheren and Lizbeth Morningstar for their contributions.

Image Credits: The desk and the castle in which it’s located are part of the Bloodcroft Castle collection from Death Row Designs.

The SecondLife Newbie Experience December 2022

Recently Linden Lab advertised a position for Senior Product Manager. The description for which boiled down to: find a way to keep new residents from leaving. Quite a challenge that, given the steep learning curve of SecondLife. Lots of people have discussed and commented on this, so I’m not covering that in this post. I thought it might be good to see what the current new user experience was like now.

So I created a new account and installed the latest version of the official viewer and logged in.

I found myself on a nice beach location with the usual step-by-step signage to guide you around.

The walkway lead in-shore where there were a few things to sit on to familiarise you with that,also a ride on a giant bat..

When I touch down, next tutorial step was buying and unboxing stuff, both from the Marketplace and Inworld. This is a good addition since Marketplace has a wealth of cheap and free stuff for new residents. However one thing that jumped right out at me here was the Inventory screenshot, all the others were from the Official viewer this one was of Firestorm.

After a short walk I came to the board showing you how to change between the stock avatars, which I dutifully did, a few times.

However, as you may well have noticed, I was still a cloud after walking around for over an hour at this point. It was starting to get on my nerves so I did a login via Firestorm viewer to make my avatar appear. Then back to the official viewer to resume the tutorials.

After a short flight that gave you a nice view of the island I was deposited in an area offering a few free outfits and some warnings.

As suggested in a video linked from a post by Wagner Jame Au, a common question at this point might be “where now?”

Well this training island is part of a small continent of regions that features a number of buildings hinting at the different cultures or genres of activities you can find in SecondLife. However it doesn’t tell you where you might find such places.

Portal Park was shown in the video mentioned above, but there was no such equivalent offered to me at the end of this particular induction. This may well have something to do with the possible affiliation with a land rental company that has a showroom on the continent. Which I was surprised and disappointed to see, but presumably a casualty of allowing third parties to create induction areas.

So the biggest issue I see here is still that of “Where Now?” How can the Lab address this issue without favouring particular locations?

Maybe it could be as simple as adding a step in these tutorials that prompts the user to open the Destination Guide, but I doubt that. I look forward to finding out what the new Senior Product Manager comes up with.

Arrival Point:

Sci-Fi Con 2022 – When the juggling balls got dropped

The RFL SciFi Con 14 event ran between 18th May to 29th May 2022. It was set over 9 sci-fi styled regions of different sub-genres, with shops and some entertainment events planned. Usual kind of thing for a SecondLife event, except unlike other events, the shops were mixed in among event and roleplay areas which made it less easy to navigate. I visited the event a few times, doing my usual routine of walking the regions as I do with Fantasy Faire and other location exploration. On one visit  I came to the Death Row Designs (DRD) store and found it empty, very unusual for such a large merchant and region builder.

Shortly after that on the 29th May a group notice was sent out from the DRD Group inworld which read:

DRAMA ALERT (1st in 12 years) we packed up our stuff at scifi con.

we’ve had enough of the bad management and they also banned us from their discord, for sharing a song (?)

We will have rfl vendors out still at scarlett bay to support RFL .

In our 12 years of doing events, scificon… took the cake.

We’ll be back and lots of good events coming 🙂

Before continuing I want to clarify how the American Cancer Society (ACS) fits in here, as they are the benefiting charity. The ACS doesn’t organise the events, so they are in no way at fault here, if anything they are unfortunate victims. They entrust the running and organising of fundraising events to a Lead organiser and give them as much autonomy as possible. This allows organisers to create unique events as they see fit. Also it should be noted that the SciFi Con discussed is a completely separate RFL event to the “SciFi Expo” that happens at a different time of year.

Clearly something had gone very wrong here, what went wrong depends on who you ask though.

Merchants Comments Organiser Statement
“No one knows where to go , lots of them didn't even know it was a rfl event , and many of them never got an invite to the group or any group for that matter” Jaimy Hancroft, DRD
“First of all, already in the beginning no one could even tell me about deadlines, set up or anything regarding that. When I finally found out we are allowed to set up the event already was open for 2 days!” Anon Merchant1
“There was a bit of lack in organization, no real timeline for us to know when actual deadlines were, I asked and got 3 different answers. The other thing was that at the beginning, me and many others got the wrong group so we were not able to get into the sims. It was my first time joining this event, I thought it would be similar to fantasy faire, but it really wasn't” Anon Merchant2
"The month the event started I became worried. I hadn't heard anything from the actual event organizers, had not been invited to an update/builders group or a discord. [...] The organizers of Sci-Fi Con had happily taken my money and placed my logo on a map to indicate that I was participating but never gave me information as to what I needed to provide, when or how.” ”Overall I felt like the only connection to Sci-Fi Con I had was through DRD. They were the only ones who supported me throughout the whole process. I have gained a great friendship with their team because of this and have since been working with them on other things for my other events.”
Femme Daddy, Store Owner
“Ripped mesh/IP theft regulations need to be enforced, not suggested. Unfortunately being part of an event will tank the trust/reputation of a creator, participant and the event as a whole if they're hanging out surrounded by ripped mesh. I did specifically request with staff at the time that I will not tolerate it whatsoever, however, I had to regulate it myself and my job should really just be building.” Walton Wainright, Region Builder
Behind the scenes at Sci-Fi Con there’s a lot of people who put in efforts. From Builders to con goers to Bloggers and Build Teams. I’m just a small portion of that. My Department is events. Like a few hic-ups in my department there are hic-ups everywhere. Each year the Sci-Fi Con runs it gets better and better! Fewer hic-ups and that’s from learning experiences. This year behind the scenes things got a bit heated between some of the teams, and we had to ask some individuals to leave. This resulted in the appearance of shops leaving early where as it was a partial sim build that was lifted on the second to last day.

Had we addressed the earlier problems as we should have things may not have escilated the way they did and the teams could have run smoothly together. In the end the head admins had to make a call and decide what was best for the Sci-Fi Con. Allow the drama to continue or focus on the con. They chose to focus on the last few days of the Con and all of us who have worked at the con to any degree support them.

This past year we saw a lot of miscommunication from everywhere. Everyone I’m sure did their best with what they were given, from our builders to the top of the con. One of the things people tend to forget is we all have real lives too and with this con being held right after the covid lock down. It was a lot of juggling. People have real life work, families and some of us are available 24/7.

Having said that, we can’t change the past. What we can do is change how we do things and look for ways to improve communication all over the board. Next year is our 15 year anniversary and from the lessons we learned this year we’re sure to come back with a bang. We’re changing how we do things and how we look at each department there will be more transparency. We’re hoping this will open all lines of communication between everyone and make it run smoother.

Last minute addition: The Organiser Statement words above were the comments  recived from Pixi (Destimona Resident) which I believed to be the official statement while writing this. However right before publishing she told me there apparently was another official statement by Milena, which got passed to someone called Zorina, who is a member of the Senior Management, but never passed it onto me.

I’ve been trying to piece this together for over a month now and it sounds like it was quite a mess. The reason it’s taken so long is two-fold.

First I had a meeting with the Director of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and some of his colleagues on the 10th of June. I agreed during this meeting that I would give them time to do their own investigations into it and that I would share with them whatever I found.

Secondly I couldn’t get any of the organisers of Sci-Con to respond to my requests for their side of the story.

So I started asking questions, firstly from Jaimy Hancroft the owner of Death Row Designs (DRD), she had plenty to say on the matter and not much reflected well on the organisers. I proceeded to ask some other store owners, a region builder and even a staff volunteer who was willing to talk to me, for their comments.  They all told the same story of bad management and mis-communication. So far without comment from the organisers, the evidence was looking pretty damning and they weren’t defending their actions.

Fast forward to the 8th of July and the Con staff held a public meeting that I attended. This too didn’t paint them in a great light either, the senior admins had decided amongst themselves to form a Council and remove the Lead organiser, Kirk Wingtips. They sprung this on him at the meeting. I was pretty sure the ACS wouldn’t let them throw Kirk “under the bus” as someone described it at the meeting.

My local chat log from the meeting went to the ACS and I was told they’d be having their meeting with the organisers “next week” (being 11-15th July). On the 16th I enquired of the ACS and one of the organisers, Pixi, how the meeting had gone.

Both said it had gone well and they would be moving forward to run another convention next year, using the management model of the Council proposed, with Kirk as a member and the face of the event. While this is a good thing from a fundraising perspective and for the organisers I was a little surprised. But as mentioned at the beginning the ACS don’t organise the events they’re just the benefiting charity.

Then *finally* I received the statement in a notecard from Pixi that you can see in the table above. It stated that some individuals (meaning DRD without saying it) “had been asked to leave” although the actual wording used wasn’t that polite apparently.

However it didn’t change the fact that three other stores, a respected region builder and a staff member told the same story of appalling communication and lack of organisation at the event. The drama surrounding DRD departing was what had got my attention, but once I started asking questions,it became evident there was much more to it. The second part of the statement from Pixi covers this, talking about people having real-world commitments but really that doesn’t stand up, other events still manage and work around these, but at least there was admission that there were mistakes made. But frankly this statement was too little too late.They had been worried about me making them look bad it seems, but they really didn’t need my help for that, if you read the logs linked at the bottom of the page.

One of the biggest issues though with this being a fundraising event was a complete lack of promotion, publicity and advertising. The way you normally do this in Second Life is bloggers.  They are Media of the Metaverse. You put out a call for bloggers a month or so in advance and when your event starts, they’ll tell everyone about it for you. There was none of this for SciFi Con except a valiant effort by a store owner to get the word out using their own bloggers, but really it was too late by then.

So what happens going forward? From what I see they have a lot of work to do. First formalising their Council, assigning roles and basically creating an event management team from scratch with shared access to the various required accounts to allow transparency. But while it’s a different management structure for the decision making processes,are they just wallpapering over cracks? I’m sure there are some great people with good intentions here, but as Pixi said in her statement “there was a lot of juggling”, I think several departments dropped their metaphorical ball this year. Hopefully next year they’ll hold onto them better for their 15th anniversary.

I admire the ACS for giving these folks another chance, but what charity is going to turn down donations? After all, the Con did raise over 4 Million Linden Dollars,equating to $16,494USD for the ACS.

Below I’ve linked copies of the conversations I had and comments I received. Some have been anonymised on request to protect the stores respective brands, consent was obtained from all those quoted. I’d recommend reading them so you can form your own opinion.

I’ve tried not to make this piece about the drama, the issue is more about the overall poor organisation of the event. However when I’ve heard about the financial difficulty this has put DRD in and SciFi Con community members advocating not shopping at DRD, I think that really is wrong. I gather some of Jaimy’s associates may have made uncomplimentary remarks (which no-one is sharing so I can’t comment on that), but that’s not on her. Jaimy dropped lots of other events to try and make the Con great, bringing lots of merchants to the event. Even Pixi agreed Jaimy deserves an apology, she lost nearly half a year’s worth of store income having started preparing in January and banking on the Con being as great as it could have been. I have a lot more of Jaimys story I could have told, but have left it out, out of respect to her, since she’s done with all of it. Perhaps I shouldn’t have waited for the organisers and the ACS to get around to their meeting (five weeks later is an eternity in SL), but I felt it was the fair thing to do.

The End


Fair(e) Gratitude

My friend Isabelle made her own Ted talk about being a Blogger & Vlogger a while back which made me think about the direction of my own blog and how I seem to have drifted off course.

She talked about how some bloggers get paid and others don’t and no-one (except those getting paid) know who is. There seems to be some kind of culture here that isn’t very palatable. Big brands want bloggers to have high numbers of followers (1 Thousand Flickr followers seems to be a standard requirement on applications, despite it not actually being a blogging platform) before they’ll accept you as an official Blogger. This makes sense from their point of view, they want maximum exposure. The way these follower stats work in reality though, it certainly doesn’t mean that many people will see it. It’s a false measurement to base a decision on.

But this post isn’t about money,it’s about appreciation, or sometimes lack of it. The first and only time (so far) I have been accepted as an official blogger was for Fantasy Faire last year and I was very appreciative of the opportunity.

It would appear given how hard it is to be accepted by shopping events or stores, that we are expected to be just as appreciative, all the time. To work, because that’s what it is, for free to help them sell stuff. I have tried applying to stores and events, but now I’ve stopped to wonder why. This blog isn’t one of the huge number of fashion blogs around, I’m just telling the story of some parts of my SecondLife experience.

What I have experienced at Fantasy Faire was different in the best way. I had several “Thank you” messages directly from creators for featuring their work, particularly smaller designers.

Those two words make all the difference when you’re doing something for just the joy of it. They’re not expected, but are nice to hear occasionally.

Perhaps people are more gracious at the Faire because it is a charity event, with a buzzing happy vibe of enthusiasm of a community come together to raise money for a good cause.

Fantasy Faire this year will take place between 21st April and 8th May 2022. I’ll be putting my blogger application as soon as they open, obviously!

Outfit Credits:

So that was 2021..

So what can I say? Did lots happen? In the real world..well yes and no,depending where in the world you are,but let’s not go there because this blog is about SL. In SecondLife quite a lot certainly did happen.

I thought the easiest way to remind myself was looking through my snapshots and use them to tell the tale, so I’ve used the images from blog posts I made in each month. Occasionally I’ve found portrait or other shots that didn’t make it onto the blog and have included those too.

Click the month names to read the related posts.


12th Janauary Portrait


My current profile pictuure


Engine Room event inspired outfit


I dressed as Pross from Blade Runner for SL Book Club



American Cancer Society Relay Event


A cool SciFi outfit I put together for SecondLife Bookclub


Lexicutioner. A look inspired by character in a book from the SecondLife BookClub. See post of same name for details.


I revamped my Mars Cyberpunk RP character


My SecondLife Halloween photo contest entry



On Patch “Santa” Lindens lap for a photo with the Lindens

As you can see I had quite a busy year in SL during 2021, this small selection of imags really doesn’t do it justice. The highlight point was definitely being an official blogger for Fantasy Faire picking just a few for April was tricky!

Thankyou to all of you that have taken the time and interest to read my ramblings this year, it means a lot to me. I wish you all a happy and safe 2022.


Does Meta Matter?

So Facebook got renamed, or rather the parent company did. Does it matter? There’s been lots of spoof responses in social media about it, from puns on the name to the logo or just the whole concept.

It’s been widely reputed that this is part of his (Evil?) Masterplan to create a “Metaverse” for everyone to connect, work and socialise.

Umm.. HELLO Mr Z…This Already Exists…

When someone says Metaverse to me, I immediately think of SecondLife, Sansar and similar virtual worlds. But to me the term goes beyond those and is very wide ranging, probably encompassing pretty much any digital virtual world or environment.

Zuckerberg wants a piece of it, but whatever he ends up creating or calling it, to me it will just be *part* of the wider Metaverse. Its a concept not a thing you can buy or own, but no doubt he’s trying. It’s not possible to join up all the virtual worlds and spaces out there, a lot of them are technologically walled gardens. Even if it were possible would users want it? You may trust one company (or several) with your Virtual identity (in my case Linden Lab for my SecondLife) but linking all the games, virtual worlds and platforms you might have accounts on through a system run by Mark Zuckerberg? Unlikely. But then there a lot of privacy-careless or privacy-ignorant people out there that just might. Or if it’s the only way they can use their VR headset that he subsidised.

So does it matter? To some it will, others won’t care. I fall into the latter group, but because I don’t care for the privacy invasive business model of FaceBook/Meta doesn’t mean I should ignore it. If the Metaverse as I describe it above was a lake and the various virtual worlds were fish swimming along minding their own business, I’d compare Meta as a shark. It has large financial teeth and has a history of consuming potential competitors(e.g. Oculus among many others).

This analogy may not be as far off the truth as I thought. Since I typed out the above I came across an article published yesterday (30th October 2021) which mentions a 2018 report sent to Facebook board members that says:

“Let’s not build the Metaverse with the plan to help other Platforms accumulate and retain consumers[…] Let’s build the Metaverse to keep them from being in the VR business in a meaningful way at all.”

Sounds very shark-like behaviour to me. Meta will matter, but not I think in the way Zuckerberg wants it to.

Something I would recommend reading is a peice in response to Zuckerbergs announcement entitled “Facebook Meta Isn’t New. The Future Started in 2003” written by a long-time SL resident by the name of Phaylen Fairchild. Which I think any SL Resident would agree with.

Halloween 2021: Different perspectives but all fun!

Halloween is a special time of year, for different reasons for different people. For some it is a deeply religious time when rituals are performed formally or informally to honour the dead and rememer lost loved ones. You can find legimate Wiccan/Pagan organisations in SecondLife that perform these ceremonies.  The opposite extreme is the very Westernised version of the holiday that is a retail exercise featuring lots of black,orange and kids dresing up to get sweets.

Wherever you feel you fit on that range doesn’t really matter in SL. You can go to the rituals, the parties, the shopping, it doesn’t really matter so log as you’re enjoying yourself.

The common theme through it all is the costumes! Whether you go for playful cute witch, some kind of monster or in my case dark creepy vampire, it’s all such fun!

There’s not much in terms of skin coverage in this outfit, but that’s kind of the idea for a vampire on the hunt. Too much clothing would just get in the way and soak up any spillage that could be drunk! The cloak is definitely a requirement though, it lets me wrap up and disappear into the shadows quickly away from witnesses!

Photo Location:


Avatars, Brands and Personas


My avatars online persona started with an email address.

This way I could separate SL related, avatar specific, mail from other day to day RL stuff. These days such things can be acquired in just a few minutes for free.

Then I thought it would be fun to tell people about my adventures in SL, so I bought a website domain for a blog, although I didn’t start using it for quite some time. When I actually started using that, a Twitter account to promote it followed  as well as a Flickr account for photos I took inworld.

I was gradually unintentionally building my avatar into a full online persona or psudonym, to the point they have more of an online presence than my RL identity.

But when does a persona become a “brand”? Is it based on the number of people that know of you? Number of “followers” or customer sales if you have an actual product.

To make things more confusing I discovered this term “brand-persona”, where a company creates a persona for their brand, without the actual person part. A fictional figurehead that doesn’t have a person behind it, but a marketing team. Sure we’re aware of these things, but I wasn’t aware there was an actual term for it.

An article I found on this suggested that individuals, while having or being an actual brand, don’t consider themselves as such. Whereas with business it’s completely the opposite,but that’s not surprising.

This lead me to think about these people known as “Social influencers”. Just the term makes me cringe, because it makes me think of “Reality TV” show participants that suddenly achieve “celebrity” by doing not a lot, certainly not anything worth being celebrated. But maybe that’s a misconception.

So what’s a social influencer?

The website Influence Markering Hub describes it as:  “People who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views”.
They go so far as suggesting influcer types from “Mega”  down to “Nano”, based on their follower numbers.

However based on the definition above, I have friends in SL that are probaly influencers, but they don’t consider themselves as such. They’re not the ones that make me cringe, it’s those that identify themselves as such.

Maybe if we follow the suggested numbers, persona becomes brand when you reach a certain “type” of influencer, at X amount of followers. Since the definition of these characters changes frequently, presumably the answer to my query does too.

I really struggled with this idea though, it seemed very  wrong to base value of something or some achievement based on mere statisitcs. To help me try and figure some of this out I asked Draxtor Despres. Undoubtedly an avatar and he certainly influences people, however I’d never want to insult him by calling him a brand.

The questions do overlap but I couldn’t decide which one might get to the point of what I was trying to work out.

Q. At what point does and avatar persona become a brand?

Draxtor: A simple answer to that is if you are on an entrepreneurial path, if you have something to sell. Which is totally fine. The wonder of second life is that you can do a mum and pop type shop or create something and have complete power over how to market to sell it and that’s a wonderful way to do commerce. So I would say an avatar persona becomes a brand when there’s commerce involved.

Q. Is whether an avatar becomes a brand related to the number of followers they may have on social media platforms?

Draxtor: Follows has absolutely nothing to do with anything, the idea of followers to measure the importance of what you do in terms of success in a measurable binary sense is total bullshit. That’s the capitalist paradigm. The capitalist paradigm is trying to equate number of sales to the importance and to the validity and to the greatness of a product and that’s just total bullshit.

Q. Do you think using an avatar name outside Second Life as name of blog or social channel make it a brand?

Draxtor:  I would totally do that just for consistency. If you talked to somebody who studied marketing in college would probably say I’m talking about branding, probably I am but I just don’t like the word because the word to me is clouded and soiled frankly by the nefarious agenda to sell bullshit to people for monetary gain of a small elite.

So it would appear Draxtors thoughts on the subject, matched pretty well to my own. His assertion that quite a lot of it was bullshit resonates with my thoughts that it felt so wrong to place value or worth on something or someone based on popularity or how many people know or approve of them.

On the subject of influencers however he had this to say:

I do Linden Lab contracting work where I produce weekly videos highlighting destinations, creations and creative individuals in personal profile style videos. In that sense you could see me as influencer, since I am on the payroll of Linden Lab AND showcasing the best of the platform. I don’t have a problem with that classification (influencer)however I would like to add that with my specific contract I have tremendous freedom to choose topics and the way I visually present them.
It is maybe a bit like working for the local tourism agency of country XYZ where you LOVE all the stuff the locals do and you tell stories how they do it!

That now looks like a contradiction, since I said people that identify themselves as influencers make me cringe. The difference being here is that Drax hypes imagination and creativity in the virtual world, not things for sale.

But is it that simple? Throw in money and you go from a persona to a brand? I thought maybe I need some more input, a contrary view.
I asked someone that I thought fitted this description, that receives money via sponsored ads on their social media content. I asked if they felt they considered themselves a brand and if so, at what point they thought an avatar becomes a brand.

“I think our social media foot print is kind of like a brand. Any time you are blogging or vlogging you are branding your self, your image, etc”.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a reply to a follow up question for any clarification but thier response does match up with the finance argument Drax makes. Their money comes in through their social media postigs, because they charge for ad space, which therfore makes them a brand just by posting.

So maybe it is that simple after all.

Coincedentally just hours after I posted this article Isabelle Cheren posted a spoof video called “That Cringe Social Influencer” which depicts very well the type of person I talk about above, give it a watch.

I’d love to hear any thoughts readers may have on this, so do please put your thoughts in the comments. (While you’re there, read the comment by Drax where he clarifies some points.)

This post was featured on the Second Life Community Blogon 7th April 2021.

Thoughts on Emotional connections, Real and Virtual lives.

A few things recently have set me thinking about the nature of virtual vs physical realities.

The first of those came out in my post about Virtual Hugs, which seemed to be very positively received. In that piece I talked about the importance of emotional attachment to your avatar.

I’m not debating whether virtual spaces, activities or experiences are “Real”. We interact within them, do things and have experiences within them. So from that perspective, the fact the “place” is computer generated is irrelevant, its Real. They’re just a slightly different kind of real, but you can’t deny the interactions happened.

Shortly after my blog post about hugs, a thread started on Twitter by Loki Eliot (@Demonkid) about how virtual experiences may have affected the physical reality, set me thinking more.

He posed the question of how much of our virtual lives (whichever space that may be in) pervades into our physical lives to shape our perception of it. I would say that it may well be quite a lot. Or possibly more accurately it could be proportionate to the amount of time you spent on these spaces. I’ll start by sharing my responses:

“Belief whether something is real is exactly that, belief, which is something you feel. If something happens in a virtual setting it’s no different to your mind than a physical world [..]”

“Perhaps those that mocked you may see their error now they can’t go out, but you can still do all your regular recreational things. Re-creation being the perfect word. It’s all recreation of a type of Real but better and how we want it. “

Emotional connection to your avatar and feeling part of the virtual environment are sometimes known as embodiment and immersion respectively. Whichever terms you use these things are important to get the most out of these worlds, to feel connected.

Some people can spend years in Second Life and not develop this connection. I have a friend that was in SL for years, until it finally happened. I said something like “Welcome to the Real Second Life” playing on the line from The Matrix. Others including myself form the connection quickly, it’s different for everyone.

Some people that don’t understand the idea of places or environments like SecondLife say things like:

“Just log off and forget about it”

It doesn’t work like that though. The thing that bridges the Physical and Virtual worlds is yourself. Your mind that experiences both places, you can’t switch your thoughts off. If you have an argument with someone online, particularly if they’re a friend, if they say something nasty it hurts you emotionally. It hurts in exactly the same way as if a friend in the physical world did the same.

So you would probably log out, but those feelings are still there and the exchange could rattle around inside your head for quite a long time. Note I said “online” above, because these things aren’t limited to 3D worlds, people are always getting into arguments on social media too. It can also happen in the Physical world, something that upset you at work for example. This is something the “just log off” brigade don’t realise, it’s the same emotional triggers as when they have a squabble on social media,it can hurt.

Does that mean Virtual Worlds are “Social Networks”? Perhaps in a way, we socialise and we network with our friends and make more friends. That’s where the similarity ends I think. In SL there is much less tolerance for disruptive behaviour I believe. We (Second Life residents) have a simple all-encompassing term we apply to it, “drama”. If you start any, you’re likely to be removed (ejected) from the place/group fairly promptly.

Perhaps where the virtual overlaps into the physical, is how we deal with people. We may have fewer physical interactions right now, but for those that inhabit virtual spaces, life continues as it did before or maybe even more frequently.

We may even go as far to say that interactions in Virtual Worlds are more like the Physical world than things on social media. People have jobs they go to, places they socialise at and favourite stores they like to shop in.

Imagine you ran into an old friend unexpectedly while you were out, that friendship may be refreshed, you’ll have a catch-up chat and may arrange to meet again. That kind of thing doesn’t happen on social media, because they’re flat, 2D, boring.

It’s  exactly what happened to me recently, as opposed to the hypothetical situations mentioned earlier. I went to a club to hang out with a friend and by pure chance there were a number of people there I hadn’t seen for over a year, many years in one case.

So those overlapping emotions can be positive as well as negative. I’m now looking forward to a catch-up chat, a shopping trip and another event I was invited to,  with the various different people I met.

All from the comfort of my home in the physical world.

Featured on the Second Life Community Blog on 24th March 2021.