I have been involved in a number of real and virtual communities, from my local Quaker church to the discussion board I administer for swing dance fanatics. After getting past the initial honeymoon phase of getting to know a community, figuring out how it is organized and who does what, you eventually come to the point of having to decide what you want your role in the community to be. You ask yourself, how much time to I want to devote to this? What unique gifts do I want to share? What do they offer me as person? Who do I aspire to be?
Second Life is no different. Your resident profile puts that up front, asking you what your skills and interests are, from building to scripting to event planning. There are of course multiple roles that you might play in different sub-cultures in SL. You might be an instructor at Teazers University, a super-hero in the Green Lantern Corps, and an escort in the Netherlands sim all at the same time.
I think it’s safe to say that the people who end up sticking around SL are those who find a role in-world that they enjoy playing. I.e. an amateur musician in a small town might get a good bit of satisfaction from performing for comparatively much larger audiences in Second Life. Someone who feels a deep connection to the animal kingdom might find their truer self expressed as a flying squirrel or a bunny in a ballgag in SL.
So who do I want to be? Much of my RL and virtual life outside of SL is spent as a moderator, a connector, a facilitator. So it would make sense for me to build up this role in Second Life as well.
To do this suggests to me specific skill sets that are relevant to moderating and connecting in SL:
- Voicechat: Building up my knowledge and abilities in setting up voice chats that work in parrallel to events in SL would be a very helpful skill.
- Streaming Audio & Video: enabling RL events to be streamed in SL is increasingly going to be a popular tool.
- Powerpoint slides in-world: allowing people to view the slides of a presentation.
There are certainly other relevant SL skills that I can’t think of right now. But that is a good start.
If I could serve a useful function in SL as a bridge-builder, that could be a satisfying corrollary to the other parts of my life.