03 January 2011

Scrappy Genealogist Learns to Blog - My Visit to Second Life

Who knew? Who knew that blogging was such a social activity? It turns out that blogging by itself, simply talking about your own story, photos, whatever, isn't the whole deal. Blogging is a reciprocal thing, more like making friends than making speeches. 

Blogging is more than sharing, it is about making social connections. Finding others in the blogging world who share the genealogy passion, who appreciate the work involved and who willingly share both triumphs and failures has been a gift. This gift I try to return by commenting on other blogs and by taking part in group activities like the Carnival of Genealogy and daily blogging themes from geneabloggers.

Blogging has led me to get more involved with other online social venues, Twitter, Facebook, Technorati, GenealogyWise and last night Second Life. Second Life should have a drum roll after it. It is self described as the 'world's largest user created, 3-D virtual world community". I will have to take their word for it. After DearMYRTLE's meeting about her January Organization Checklist in front of the Family History Centre, I was exhausted and had to go to bed. Just learning to walk in a virtual world can be challenging, unless you are eleven years old and adept at video games. Now that I have had a good rest and some time to ponder my experience in Second Life, I give it two thumbs up.

  • GET STARTED: It is easy and free to join Second Life.You will create a user name that will be your name in Second Life (hoping I can edit mine) and choose an initial representation of your virtual self. In my case I was a bald goth with stiletto boots. Not sure how that happened, but my advice to you is, even if you do not like your initial virtual self, DO NOT try to change your clothes the first time you visit. I didn't know what I was doing and ended up almost naked in the Family History Centre. I kid you not, when I say that it felt like a bad dream while I was scrambling to figure out how to get dressed. 
  • PRACTICE:  Do not wait until 30 minutes before a meeting to join. Do it now or while you have some spare time :) and start in the Welcome Center. There you can learn how to walk and do other basic things, like change your clothes, etc, before you show up at a genealogy meeting filled with professional genealogists.
  • GET INVOLVED: There are many social activities scheduled in Second Life, including Ol' Myrt's monthly organizing meeting, meetings discussing brick walls and a monthly virtual APG meeting. You can see the schedule for the UGG, the Union of Genealogy Groups here. Virtual social networking in Second Life is a great solution to the cost in both time and money of physically traveling to meetings.
There is still a tremendous amount for me to learn, but I am excited about the possibilities for meeting other genealogists, learning, collaborating and...making friends. If you would like more technical information about joining, see DearMYRTLE's page here, where she certainly isn't bald or goth or called Myrtle.

Will you join me?

Scrappy Gen

1 comment:

  1. It was wonderful having you join us last evening in Second Life. The FUN part is that though I am a white-haired grandmother in real life, in Second Life, I created a svelte avatar with long flowing hair.

    The INTERESTING part is meeting with other experienced and beginning genealogists to discuss the challenges (successes and failures) when climbing family trees.

    You did an admirable job getting around on your first time in Second Life.

    Look forward to see you "in world" again soon!


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