Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cybergrrl Oh Fashion Attempts

I love shopping in SL, but I can't vouch for my sense of style other than to say if I had the money in RL - and wanted to spend it on clothing and had places to go - I'd probably wear what my avatar wears. Just a sampling...

The top and pants (suede) are freebies. Hair by Gurl6 and shoes from Shiny Things.

Top from Mischief. I think pants were freebies. Hair was probably 10 Linden at a Goth store and a little too big for my head. Shoes from Shiny Things.

My fave hair from Gurl6. Top was freebie - possibly from Freebie Jeebies along with the capris. Boots from Shiny Things.

Shirt and pants from Mischief. Shoes from Shiny Things. Hair from Gurl6. I love this outfit because other than the belly showing, it looks exactly like something I'd wear in RL.

Can't say I'd wear this in RL anytime soon - no place to wear it, and I'm not much into heels. This whole outfit was freebie - Freebie Jeebies, I think. Hair is Gurl6.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My thoughts on the article: Is This Man Cheating on His Wife?

Not to be lazy, but here is another cross post from another of my blogs.

Link: Is This Man Cheating on His Wife? -

I had to comment on this article. My husband left it out for me to read - his not-so-hidden code for "See, this is why I'm worried about you spending time on Second Life."

Without a lot of time to gather my thoughts, I reassured him by explaining the following to him:

1. Reporters looking for someone "addicted to the Internet" or "cheating on their wife virtually" will always find someone who fits the bill. That doesn't mean it is the norm or prevalent. It just means that the reporter had a story and found her sources.

2. People with a propensity toward addiction can become addicted to the Internet. This Internet addiction was written about in the 1990s - scary, hyped-up stories looking at the worst of the worst situations. Now it is Virtual World addiction but it is all the same thing - addiction.

3. Looking at the real life of the guy featured in the article, he seems a bit of a...loser. His real life has been mostly drifting from job to job, no real direction. Someone like this - who may be dissatisfied with their real life - may find a virtual world attractive because you can be whatever you want to be in it. In Second Life, he is a successful entrepreneur.

4. My husband pointed out the quote from Jeremy Bailenson, director of Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, who says "Our brains are not specialized for 21st-century media. There's no switch that says, 'Process this differently because it's on a screen.' " My first response to this was that, again, reporters looking for people who will say what they want to hear for the stories they are writing will find the perfect person to quote.

That said, it is also possible that the reporter found out about this article from a press release from Stanford's Virtual Human Interaction Lab talking about their 5 year research and thought "Wow, this would make a good article."

There are also several recent related news stories in other publications like Stanford lab makes it reality and Stanford Lab Explores Hman Effects of Virtual Reality Technology. These could have caught the reporter's eye and then she looked for a "fresh" angle.

I know there are people who are in Second Life having virtual affairs, going on virtual dates with other avatars even if they are married, flirting with others virtually. I'm not naive.

But I reassured my husband that while I enjoy my time in Second Life, it is not because I am having an affair or want to have an affair. I'm not looking to engage in a relationship with someone else in a virtual world. My relationship is with him, and even though he will probably never set foot in Second Life, that doesn't mean I'll go looking for a virtual husband.

I'm in Second Life for several reasons:

1. It is helpful to my work as an Internet consultant to know what virtual worlds are all about.

2. As a serial entrepreneur, marketer and veteran online community builder, I immediately saw the potential for doing business and building community in Second Life and think that marketing can be done in virtual worlds if strategic and long-term.

3. It definitely appeals to the side of me that used to make paper dolls as a little girl. I love shopping virtually and putting together ensembles. I can't say I'm the most fashionable avatar around, but my avatar wears the things that I would wear if I spent money on clothing and had places to go to wear those things.

4. I have always been fascinated with science fiction, futuristic things and after reading Neuromancer in the early 90s, with virtual worlds. Being in Second Life isn't fake to me. So maybe I'm proving Jeremy Bailenson right in that I don't really say "This is fake in Second Life - this is not my real life." I look at my time in SL as an extension of the work I do in my real life with a little extra shopping thrown in.

I made a vow to myself that I would stop playing Second Life after my initial $50 investment in a PayPal account ran out and if I hadn't yet figured out how to make Linden. I still have $30 in that account and enough Linden to keep my avatar in cute outfits for a long time.

Bottom line: We're all in Second Life for different reasons. Reporters can find exactly who they are looking for to tell the story they want to tell. Today, the media is hyping virtual world addiction and virtual world cheating. Look back 10 years and you'll see the same thing about Internet addiction and virtual cheating in Internet chat rooms. This isn't new. And this isn't news.

Monday, August 13, 2007

In response to: Chip Griffin: Pardon the Disruption: Throwing in the Towel on Second Life

This was originally posted on another of my blogs...

Chip Griffin (Chip Graysmark in Second Life) is giving up on Second Life after only 6 months. He thinks that SL has disappointing numbers and states that no company has reaped major rewards from being there.

How long is long enough when it comes to giving Second Life a try? I'm over 4 months into my Second Life "experiment" and have come away with an entirely different perception than Griffin.


Griffin says he spent most of his time on Crayonville Island and attending the coffee with crayon weekly events.

"While I enjoyed the weekly "Coffee with Crayon" event for the chance to chat with fellow communicators, it felt a bit too much like web chats circa 1997," says Griffin.

I have to admit that there is something a bit '97 Web Chat-esque about text chat in SL - but for me, having avatars to look at and having my own avatar to move around and gesture as I chat adds an entirely new - and enjoyable - dimension to the text chatting. And now with voice, it will undoubtedly add a whole new aspect to communication and community in SL.

Unlike Griffin, I haven't stayed in one place. I've sought out events - most often by asking my "friends" who are online at the same time I am. "What are you doing?" If they are at a club, concert or party, I'll ask if it is open to the public and request a TP if it is.

I've been discovering new musical artists who are talented and whose music I genuinely like. I am considering checking out iTunes or their Web sites to see if they have music for sale. Ka-Ching!! Could be money in the bank for these real world performers who market themselves through their musician avatars on SL.

I also read (disclosure: I'm a business reporter for them as well) to learn about events and interesting places inworld. In fact, when I first was on SL with nowhere to go and while I was still unclear how to get anywhere, I read an article on about Elysian Isle - Random House UK's new island - and took a SLURL straight to it. Not only did I discover one of the most charming locations inworld - wooden boardwalks, quaint shops, beautiful forests, a rose garden, theater, music hall and so much more - I immediately contacted the land owner & proposed that I work for him.

Now I meet people and have a purpose - inviting them to join the Elysian Isle group and to visit the isle when I work at the Cafe des Amis on Tuesdays 1-3pm SLT. I'm like the Isle's hostess and it adds a purpose to many of the interactions I have on SL.

I've also been to numerous dances and private parties - much preferable to night clubs - and really love watching my avatar dance. Picking out the right outfit for the parties is also fun for me - very reminiscent of playing paper dolls as a girl but much more creative now (and costly!).

Making Money

Griffin says no company is reaping any big rewards from participating on SL. This is the same thing people were saying in 1995 about the Internet. Big companies were spending big bucks because they felt they had to be there first but had zero plan on what to do there or how anything would work ( anyone?). Their money and experimentation did pave the way for the rest of us even though so many of them went bust.

My advice to companies trying out a new platform or medium is: Do it in phases. Some early experimentation will be a loss leader, but there is value to gain from a presence on Second Life. Where there are people, there are potential customers.

But can a big company reap big rewards right now? Of course not! And those who say they can are foolish. This is a long term investment - a step by step proposition. It combines grassroots marketing, brand building, establishing customer relationships and then converting it all eventually into hard sales. Of course, if you have something to sell that SL residents want, you will make money. How much money is relative.

Will a presence in SL translate into real world sales of real world products and services? That probably will take some time and it has to be done the right way by the right companies. American Apparel recently closed down their hybrid inworld/offline shopping experience because it wasn't translating into real world sales on their Web site.

Well, I have a very good reason why that failed despite them having a classy store and clever integration of clothing for avatars with a link to the same item for people. The kind of person who really gets into Second Life most likely is NOT the type to buy American Apparel's preppy/sporty clothing.

Personally, I was tempted to buy something because it was executed so well, but it just wasn't my style although I did buy a track jacket for my avatar. I do believe, however, the right clothing brands could do well inworld and on the Web.


I know some people are making money off me right now because I love to shop inworld. In fact, I work my two jobs - business reporter for and writer-in-residence on Elysian Isle - to support my SL shopping habit. I'm guessing I've spent over $150US so far - $50 of which was my initial dollar investment into my SL experiment and the rest money I've earned inworld. (I made a promise to myself I would quit SL if I couldn't make enough money to shop - and so far, I'm doing quite well).

My favorite places to shop are Shiny Things for shoes and Mischief for outfits although I have items from over a dozen other stores in my Inventory. When I have a themed party to attend, I search high and low for the right outfit. I've purchased a 50s sock hop ensemble including saddle shoes, a 1920s flapper dress, a tie-dyed shirt for the Summer of Love concert, and now I'm on the hunt for a futuristic outfit ala the Jetsons.

I also recently furnished my apartment on Elysian Isle with low prim furniture. I found a fantastic shop with an entire Asian-inspired living room set including a Japanese wall print and bonsai plant. Lacking any interior decorating skills myself, I just bought up almost the entire set and over an hour trying to figure out how to arrange everything in my living room.

Then I shopped around until I found the perfect low prim bed that fit the decor. I messaged the designer of the bed to see if I could purchase a different color than what was on display. AnneMarie McCellan responded immediately and not only changed the color of the bed to match perfectly with the carpet I had already purchased, but also custom designed some Japanese screens to separate my bedroom from my living area. She also sold me the perfect Asian print for my bedroom wall then helped me rearrange the furniture and taught me how to do it myself. It was all well worth every Linden spent.

Living a Second Life

As I write this blog post, I realize how I'm speaking about my activities in Second Life as if they were actually happening in real life. Well, the more I think about it, the more I realize that they are. Sure it is my avatar doing these things - shopping, going to parties, meeting people, dancing, working in a cafe, furnishing an apartment - but it is me doing these things as well - just in a different space.

Says Griffin,
"I always try to avoid living within the tech bubble and put myself in the shoes of 'average' users. That doesn't mean I won't live out on the cutting edge or even the bleeding edge, but it is important that we all never lose sight of the fact that we are an abnormal minority and not necessarily the harbinger of trends to come."

I agree somewhat but mostly, I disagree with Griffin's premise. Yes, we are early adopters and yes, just because we like it doesn't mean everyone will like I loved going onto BBSs in 1987, but they didn't really go mainstream until AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe improved their systems. I loved the Web in 1994, but it didn't really go mainstream until 1998 or later. I've blogged since the late 90s in various forms, but even those didn't take off until 2000.

I remember when I showed my Dad email and America Online back in 1992. "I can't see any use for it. I can't see any value in it," he told me. Today, he emails me many times a week and is thrilled to receive photos and videos of his granddaughter. And he teaches Algebra online for the University of Phoenix. He is not a computer geek, techy or industry insider, but the Internet plays an important role in his life today.

love Second Life. I don't expect it to go mainstream yet, but in some form - most likely a much improved form - it will hit the mainstream in ways we aren't even expecting. Right now, we might be experimenting, but other people are living their Second Lives as adjuncts to their first lives. And sure, some are even living their Second Lives at the expense of their first lives - but there will always be addicts and abusers of anything you put out there so media hype aside, Second Life isn't ruining hundred or thousands of lives - addiction is.

My husband doesn't know what to think of my use of Second Life. I am careful not to use it when he's home or if I'd like to, I make sure he is busy doing something else and doesn't mind. I mostly log in during the day as part of my work. Not just the work where I get paid in Linden, but my work as an Internet strategist who consults with companies and nonprofit organizations about the best ways to extend their brands and messages online. My exploration of Second Life helps me advise my clients.

Connection and Community

But let's be honest, I'm not enjoying Second Life because it is making me a better Internet consultant. I'm enjoying it because I'm making contacts and connections online in a way that I haven't been able to do offline where I live.

I moved to Alaska in 2005 - newly married, in my 40s, working from home - and employed every trick in the book to network and meet people. I thought that once I had a baby, I'd find the whole community of mommies welcoming me with open arms. But people here in Alaska seem to come to Alaska either for the outdoors or to get away from other people. After 2 years, I only have one girlfriend and most of the time, she's busy with her own life.

So I truly appreciate the contacts I've made within Second Life - many of whom are contacts I've made on Twitter. The crossover makes sense. We're all comfortable communicating online, with chat, with blogging - of course we'd feel comfortable in a virtual world that we could actually see and move within. Clumsily at first, mind you, but once you learn to move around - and get places - it just feels right.

Yes, I'm making friends in Second Life. Does it replace real life? No way, no how. But as an adjunct to my first life, I have to say that I welcome it. Not only am I less lonely, I've got great hair, and I am much better dressed!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Do Avatars Dream of Digital Sheep?

I was up part of the night thinking of this blog post title. Not really, but I have been curious about the fact that I find myself dreaming about Second Life a lot lately.

Mind you, I'm not dreaming "IN" Second Life, meaning in my dreams I am not my avatar Cybergrrl Oh and the environment around me isn't SL. I'm just dreaming about all the things I want to do in Second Life and all the things I'm doing.

I was worrying about what to wear to my housewarming party which may not even happen now because of the Grid outage. I was picturing the outfits I have in my inventory and the new one I purchased hastily the other day from Blaze with another rushed purchase of matching shoes at Shiny Things. Would I wear that, I wondered?

And who would show up at my party? Would anyone show up? After yesterday's well attended gathering at the Cafe des Amis where I played hostess, I hoped it was a sign that the party would be even more successful.

(a few guests and friends at the Cafe des Amis yesterday)

I also thought about other events I could hold on Elysian Isle and how to get the word out. And I dreamt about ways to build community in SL and the conversations I've had with others recently in SL. I've been taking my role as writer-in-residence very seriously and have even become somewhat of a grassroots marketer for the Isle.

If I had imagined the Grid would be down during my party, I don't think I would have slept at all. As you can see, This Is Not A Game. I don't dream about games.

Pity Party

I had planned a housewarming party for my new apartment on Elysian Isle but the Grid is down.

I can't think of what this would be comparable to in "real life." The power is out? That wouldn't be the same because you could still have a party without electricity - you just need people and a little imagination.

But when the Grid is down, you don't have people...errr...avatars. You cannot access, you cannot connect.

And I'm just whining because I want to have a party! Invitations have gone out, I think I have the right outfit picked out, TheDiva is ready to get the place rocking, and we're all stuck with literally no place to go.

I guess in SL, this qualifies as a natural disaster beyond our control. What a terrible feeling.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Friday, August 3, 2007

BlogHer07 in Second Life

Really enjoyed participating on the panel on media coverage in SL for BlogHer 07 in Second Life covered by SLCN.TV with 57 Miles (Nick Wilson) and Starr Sonic ( And yes, I did talk about my breasts at the end.

Watch the panel!

Here are a few snaps I took at BlogHer 07 inworld.

Attending a panel as an audience member.

View from the stage.

Our panel on media coverage in SL moderated by Khadijah Burali.

After the panel - hanging out...

The day after the conference ended...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Cybergrrl Oh: Reporter

Here are some links to recent articles I've written for Second Life News Network (

Feeling groovy in Second Life

Racing event involves Tour de France bikers

Audio shaky for recent panel on voice

Author William Gibson to make appearance in Second Life to promote 'Spook County'

Manpower hosts panel on virtual work to offer paying in-world jobs

SLCC 2007 almost sold out

'Forest of Dennis' Brings Second Life's First "Reality Show" to Elysian Isle

I'd be remiss if I didn't publish this news release since I am the writer-in-residence & all-around marketing gal at Elysian Isle.



'Absorbing, provocative and huge fun' - The Times

'Complusive and hugely entertaining' - The Observer

Ebury Publishing are building a virtual 'Forest of Dennis' in Second Life to promote the paperback publication of "How to Get Rich" by Felix Dennis, (2nd August 07) .

Within the Forest, there will be an extract from the book and a video playing on a loop of Felix Dennis reciting one of his poems about how to get rich. Posters with quotes from the book and review quotes will be placed on trees in the forest.

Visitors to the 'Forest of Dennis' can take part in a competition to submit their best ideas of how to make money in Second Life. Three winners will receive a signed copy of "How to Get Rich." In addition, the third prize winner will receive 10,000 Linden, the second prize is 15,000 Linden and first prize is 25,000 Linden.

The first Second Life "Reality Show" takes place when each of the winners are given a plot on the Random House island to develop their business idea including a cost-free two-month lease. Ebury Publishing will post regular updates on the contestants' progress on the mini site on Random House UK's Web site. The ultimate winner - the resident who makes the most money during the "show" - will then get an additional 50,000 Linden.

All visitors to the forest will receive a free pair of Felix-style glasses and a free “Ask me how to get rich” t-shirt.

For interviews, IM Nick Gloucester