I've been to SL a few times this week. Meg influenced me, I must admit. I met her there and she gave some "landmarks", which if you don't kow SL, (which I really don't), landmarks are like places to visit. After my visit with Meg and a couple of other teachers, one of which oddly enough is one I know really well, I went back to SL a couple of times. I went to the place that was set up by ISTE for virtual NECC. I never really met anyone though. The NECC conference center and other places that Meg recommended were always "deserted". Just like real life, second life is pretty boring with no other people to talk to.
Tonight, I signed into SL and found a place where new people could gather information about the features of the program. I "met" a member and he generously offered to help me. He "gave" me new hair and clothes to wear and a new skin (my original skin had no makeup - yikes), and showed me how to change my look. I have to admit, I learned a lot from him. I would have been more comfortable however, "getting a makeover" from a female. I'm sorry if that sounds sexist, but I was just a little creeped out by the fact that this man was handing over dresses and new hair to me, a perfect stranger. Part of me was distrustful. But on the bright side, my SL person is much better looking now and has some great clothes, although a tad more revealing than I wear in RL.
That experience helped me understand that even though emerging technologies can facilitate collaboration, connection between helpers and those who need help, and help us find others who are like minded, there is something to be said for personal contact. It's much easier to get the whole story from others when you can see facial expressions and other non-verbals. SL allows for a great deal of anonymity. That makes me distrustful of "strangers" I meet in a virtual world, more than in real life when I meet people.
I'm sure I'll go back to SL next week during NECC, but I'll stick close to Eduland, that's for sure. Look for me...I'll be the one wearing the white ball gown.