Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The "Meet" Market (Synthesis Note [44])

I was having a conversation recently with an SL resident who was essentially saying that she does not understand why people take relationships in Second Life so seriously. Her relationship in world is strictly sexual as she enjoys the delights of intellectual dialogue and the excitement that is experienced when another person describes in great detail the way the sexual fantasy makes them feel in the tangible world. She appreciates living her SL without the messy details of being in a committed relationship. She firmly declared “Its role play, not Match.com!

I don’t know that I agree with that. When newcomers to the grid visit the Second Life website, they are greeted by a video montage that includes a virtual couple enjoying a romantic date together that ends with them embracing at the top of the Eiffel Tower. I would say Linden Labs is on board with the idea that sex sells and people are coming to SL for more than business meetings or combat role play. 2010 statistics indicate that 17% of all partners who got married in the past year met over the internet. That’s A LOT of couples. Its par for the course that some of that match making would have occurred on gaming platforms.

Unlike sites like “Match.com” Second Life offers two things 1) the ability to create yourself in your grandest vision and to “live” within that ideal; and 2) the ability to remain completely anonymous while actively engaging others socially. Unlike other virtual gaming platforms, it is strictly a social grid. No levels to achieve, no PVPing or battles to win. Although it may not always be the intention of people visiting SL to fall in love “with an avatar,” It happens thousands of times a day. Its hard to resist being pursued in your perfection and having the ideal you’ve held in mind and translated digitally, be validated by another person. Even better, it allows someone to really get to know YOU, appreciating that most people accept that the human behind the screen is not likely to be an identical match to his or her avatar.

The tricky part is being open enough with your partner to be clear about expectations of the relationship...because as my counterpart asserted, for her SL is for role play, not a true love connection. If you find yourself looking for that, and are not clear that it is role play for your partner, you are inevitably set up for heartbreak and lots of disappointment.

The key is going into relationships with your eyes WIDE open and to have expectations CLEAR in your mind…clear enough that you can convey them to another person and clear enough that you can excuse yourself from potential relationships that do not meet that. After all, if you ARE seeking a love connection in a virtual world there are many MANY possibilities, and why settle or take time and opportunity away from the person you truly desire? It is unfair to blame someone else for your disappointment if you failed to inquire about another person’s expectations or worse, never communicated your own.

The diversity of Second Life extends beyond anything we can experience in the tangible world, which in some ways may make it seem more appealing than life lived amongst the breathing. Any ideal you fantasize about for yourself or a partner, assuredly exists. As you explore all the possibilities, don’t lose touch with who you truly are, and that which will bring both lives happiness and fulfillment. In short, don’t become “meat” in the market. (grin)

Love, peace and blessings XO


Elizabeth Spieler said...

This gal has a right to play in SL that way if she chooses, but now so many men think all women want to be just a free sexual ride, that I can barely stand to be in SL anymore. Men are now surfing groups and putting comments in their profile that they just want to have sexual experiences, of course for free. My avatar in world has no indication that I seek to be someone's free sexual toy, and frankly it's annoying constantly telling men I have no interest. Then the men get angry and tell me I have sexual hangups, and I should seek counseling. What? Women like the one you spoke to, gives all the other players a set up for dysfunction. People that want to engage in such behavior really need to only go to adult hangouts and stop surfing for free sex on PG and G rated sims.

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