Second Life has recently been given a bad rep from Director Jason Spingarn-Koff. Mr. Spingam-Koff’s ‘documentary’ on Second Life, a virtual world that is used for business and social interaction, is despite Oprah’s approval one dimensional.
Called Life 2.0, Spingam-Koff’s documentary follows several lives through their virtual interactions, presenting the virtual world as one of loss and broken marriages. While I agree with the director that these situations are often the case in Second Life, they are just as often not.
Comparing Second Life to a world of emotional misfits is like going into a classroom of kindergarteners at an elementary school and then dubbing the entire building a preschool. Mr. Spingam-Koff has missed a large part of the population, and in doing so presents a biased piece of film work.
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to see worlds like Second Life receive a little of the spotlight. Collectively called the metaverse, these virtual environments provide people all over the world a way of working and interacting together. To say that they are all craven and needy individuals, however, is very far from the truth. I am living proof.
I met my husband online. Two countries and twenty years separated us. We had no chance to ever meet under normal circumstances, but fate chose to bring us together through the miracle of technology. We started getting to know each other better by interacting in Second Life.
The modern day equivalent of the old fashioned dating concept, my future husband and I made real investments in virtual property and started a business together. We spent hours chatting and telling each other about ourselves. What started as a close friendship grew into something much more intense and after nearly two years we decided to meet in person.
Despite the differences in nationality and age, we were a perfect match physically as well as mentally. Because we already had spent so many hours working out our mental and emotional relationship, adding the physical element seemed natural and right. My online partner decided to take the next step and travel to my country. The visit was phenomenal, and we decided to take things all the way. After his visit to America was finished I followed him to Australia where we were, and are, happily married.
You might think that would be the end of our Second Life adventures now that we were together in the physical world, but again it proved to be a valuable resource. While waiting in Australia for my visa I found couldn’t legally work for a year or more. To make things harder, the camper that I thought I had sold before I left fell through, leaving me still owing payments but with no US income.
Once again I turned to Second Life and I started seriously working our virtual clothing business. It kept me mentally challenged during the long year of not working, and more importantly it kept my $200 a month camper payment paid.
Because of my financial successes, marketing my first fictional book in Second Life was a no brainer. Titled End of Mae, I sent a promotional press release out to the TV, radio and magazines in Second Life, as well as some of the professional organizations.
The result was phenomenal, and in one month I had more publicity for my book, and more sales, than most first time fiction sees in a lifetime. I was so impressed with the success I wrote another book to share that information with other artists/authors/musicians needing to promote for pennies.
My second book, No Money Marketing: All You Need Is Like has been out one week and has spent the majority of those days on Amazon’s 100 Bestseller List in the Advertising/Marketing category. Half of the book gives a detailed account of what I did in Second Life to succeed; all the specifics and how they can be replicated are there. I owe Second Life my gratitude for a successful marriage, online business and two thriving books. Second Life enhanced my first one.
I challenge Jason Spingarn-Koff and Oprah to come see the part of Second Life that helped me survive financially in a foreign country. I ask them to explore the relationships that turned out with a happy ending… and I can give them a long list of names besides my own. I ask Spingam-Koff if he even bothered to find out the amazing parts of Second Life, or did he spend all of his time hanging out in the red light district? Not everyone comes into Second Life for the seedy side.
As I said before, I’m glad to see Second Life getting the spotlight it deserves, but perhaps more exploration needs to be done before Life 2.0 can qualify for the grandiose title of “documentary”. Rather it is more like an expose, a shallow dip into the darker side of virtual life to highlight the shocking.
It’s there, just as in your first life, if you look for it. Focusing all the attention on it that part however is the equivalent of saying “This is Africa” and showing nothing but a video of some hyenas.