I’d like to say a word about the “new user experience” in SL. It’s been a while since I was a “new user,” and I understand that Linden Labs is working to make the orientation better, but I understand that it can still be a little bumpy.
Let me put it this way. SL is a very big place, with something to offer for anyone. Let’s call it your “dream location,” as there is a spot in SL to match any vision of paradise anyone has ever come up with. So, you have this vision in your head. For the sake of example, let’s say you always wanted to live in Paris. Your vision of arriving in Paris is of landing right in front of the Eiffel Tower. You are very stylishly dressed, and you picture yourself ambling over to the Champs Elysses for a cafe au lait with the locals, who will all speak fluent English, and be instantly charmed by you.
But here is how it really plays out. You land at a small airport on the outskirts of the city, and end up on a bus, crowded in with all of the people who happened to be on the plane with you, most of whom you may have absolutely nothing in common with. Many of them do not speak your language, and their customs seem odd to you. You are very disoriented in this foreign place, and haven’t figured out how the money works, or how to ask where the bathroom is. You are all taken to a rather seedy part of town and dropped off at a bus station, where you are accosted by many strange people, some of whom seem to be there to take advantage of the tourists.
Now, if you really had traveled all that way to see Paris, you would hopefully push through the strangeness and discomfort, and find your way to that cafe you had pictured in your head. You probably wouldn’t just give up at that point and get back on the bus to the airport. But many people become overwhelmed and discouraged when they encounter a similar experience when entering SL, and give up on it.
I encourage you to push through the strangeness and give it a chance. Yes, you will feel awkward at first, and many of the orientation spots are overrun with people who apparently have nothing better to do than give newbies a rough time of it. But keep at it. Most of the people here are really very friendly, and are very eager to help you get the hang of things. We all remember what those first days were like, so people will really go out of their way to help you out, and won’t mind that you keep walking into the walls, and can’t figure out how to get that box off of your head. Much seem to be made of the more sensational aspects of SL, and it is often portrayed as a giant red-light district. But it is so much more than that. It is a reflection of every aspect of human (and fantasy) culture that anyone has ever envisioned. There is something there for everyone. Trust me. It is worth the trip!