Lessons Learned

After reading about the Torrid Midnight saga, and listening to her recent explication about what has happened on the recent Secondcast episode, you see a cautionary tale about the pitfalls about Second Life. Torrid Midnight has decided to take a break from Second Life, but more importantly you hear a story of a woman whose life was changed by Second Life. In the episode Torrid speaks about how before SL she had not ever heard about Photoshop or any of the programs that is required to use to create clothing and designs, programs that seems to have mastered if you take a look at any of her designs. The cautionary tale begins with Torrid’s reflection of possibly going back to school and “have been doing things that I’ve not done in three years since I’ve started Second Life. I’ve been outside a hell of a lot more…”
Unlike other MMO’s, Second Life is VERY addicting for several reasons. Mainly it is a social world without the requirements of leveling, doing quests, or performing mundane tasks to succeed. Second Life is very much about handing the user control of their world and letting them do what they wish. It can become a world where you explore you inner most fantasies, create a world that is entirely based on your imagination, or create a profit on these things. The ability to turn your imagination into a product, service, or something that can be turned into a real life income is one of the many reasons why Second Life has gotten the sort of wide media attention of late. It is also the virtual worldness (if that is a word), the ability to meet people, to experience a truly social and real interaction through this interface over the Internet that is very real. MMO’s have this ability to simulate real, complex, and emotional relationships that pass beyond the virtual plane, but usually in the form of elves, orcs. In Second Life that ability of relationship creation is performed in spaces and with avatars that best represent us.
To succeed in this world, you have to work hard at it, and while doing that you begin to create, build and develop long lasting relationships with people that you may have never met before. It allures you, draws you in, and captivates you in a way only rivaled by the real world. The recent drama surrounding the Torrid Midnight happens on larger and smaller scales on a consistent basis. What happens when it the world that you have become a staple of, an important figure collapses on you? This is where the cautionary tale beings. Torrid, hounded by this drama is the cause of her leaving Second life, but what does she return to? There’s an entire real life that she admits being disconnected from, even that her life has changed from being a daredevil, risk taker to being wrapped up by digital drama and ego bruising. Granted the beauty about Second Life is that you do develop new skills, learn about yourself, perform tasks that you may have not thought about doing, even learn about the computer, but you run the risk of being entrapped in its world, begin loosing grasp of the real world that you inhabit, and even remove yourself from it. The best comment of the podcast is “it only kind makes sense… to be in Second Life… if there is something that you feel that you can do there… that kind of enhances your real life.” Second Life is not the answer to your problems; it may be some sort of placebo or may be a place where you can hide from what ever you are afraid of in your real life but one’s real life must be addressed, enjoyed, and balanced with what one does in Second life.
As for Torrid Midnight, I wish her the best of luck in what ever she wishes to accomplish, but I hate seeing such hard lessons learned from such a messy event.