Life in CowTown

New SL Viewer Proposal: The Hermit

My plurkfriends got to hear me babble on this yesterday, but I thought I would lay out in excruciating detail what I would very much like to see in a Second Life viewer.

As background: I run a few coffee shops in Second Life (the CocoaJava Cafe in New Babbage and the Java Jive in Seraph City). I also dance and help manage the New Champagne Rooms burlesque club in Seraph City. AND I both write and am Deputy Editor for the Primgraph and Prim Perfect magazines. So, I have fun stuff on my plate.

I am a sociable person, and my friends list currently holds exactly 200 names. However, I have a real problem with multitasking and living ‘in the moment’ with instant messaging. It’s just how my brain is wired.

Given all these factors, here’s a typical log-on for Ceejay:
1. Check the secondlife.com website to get a sneak peek at how many of my friends are online, so I can mentally brace myself.
2. Take a deep breath and log on.
3. Start accepting/sorting blue notices, inventory, notecards.
4. Watch as the IM windows start opening, one after another, usually topping out at about 20.
5. Begin talking in IM, trying my best to deal with conversations that will be brief so I can close the windows.
6. Get into the more extensive conversations.
7. Try to review my “to-Do” notecard as I juggle conversations.
8. Debate teleporting over to my cafes to do maintenance, wondering who will be there and how many conversations I’ll get into there too. Decide to wait.
9. Work my way through incoming posters and other notices I will need to hang on the cafe walls.
10. Realize I just totally missed replying to an IM sent 20 minutes ago. Placate annoyed friend.
11. Realize I have 5 minutes to change clothes and get to a scheduled commitment.
12. Scramble, get there, and continue fielding IM’s at the event, only half enjoying my surroundings.
13. Realize how late it is and log off.

Sometime after logoff, I remember I was going to build something, or visit a new sim, or settle in somewhere and write. Most likely, I never moved from the spot I landed in, unless I had an event to work.

This is all good stuff I am dealing with! I rarely ever deal with drama these days, and I absolutely love the projects I am involved with. But… where’s the ‘me’ time?

Saturday I made a decision. I turned off my entire friends list from view. That alone took ten minutes, as my viewer kept refreshing and showing me ghosted X’s where they were actually unclicked. 200 names at a slow pace takes a while. And then I updated my profile to let people know what I had done, and that I could still be contacted by IM and email – I was just trying to push the spotlight off myself a little. A long, thoughtful discussion resulted and though I know some people will be upset for not being the exception to the rule, I’m standing firm by this choice.

I want my Hermit Time back. And I want someone developing Viewers to think about the Hermits inworld. Here’s my wishlist for a perfect Viewer:

1. A one-click toggle to unclick ALL friends at once. And to turn it back on again.
2. An Away function that does not block Group chat, or mess with incoming inventory. (I can’t use the current setup, it’s messed up other functions too many times).
3. The ability to time-delay the sending of a blue notice. If I could set them up in advance and let them ‘drip’ at a later time, goodness that would be a help.
4. In addition to Busy and Away statuses, I want “Me Time” status.
5. The ability to NOT appear on peoples sim radars, mini maps, etc. Especially not as a special friend-color.
6. The ability to block Avatar Detectors that exist to show if someone is online even if they are not on your friends list.
7. The ability to hide my online status from group chat windows. This one is debatable I know – if I am taking the liberty to quietly read a group, they should be aware of who’s reading. So, it’s just a flippant wish, at best.
8. Seamless transfer of inventory (yes, I mean No Trans) between a main avatar and an alt. I am totally fine with ‘registering’ my research alt so their connection is known to Linden Lab. Basically – treat them as two halves of one avatar.

I’m sure my wishlist will strike a nerve with many. We all have unique second lives, and social needs, and plenty of other personal requirements. But this is my blog and what I want is to sometimes be able to explore, build, and write in Second Life in total peace.

When I walk outside my front door in First Life, I don’t phone up all my neighbors and announce I’m on the sidewalk. If I’m sitting in a park enjoying the sunshine, I don’t expect a friend three towns away to suddenly flop down on the bench with me. But in my Second Life, there’s no corresponding sense of solitude.

I love my friends. I run social venues, and I write for as many readers as I can. But I also think that the most beautiful sunsets exist in Second Life, and I would like to quietly enjoy some of them.

There’s nothing wrong with solitude. Let’s have a Viewer that embraces and celebrates it. Please?

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Lori Alden Holuta lives between the cornfields of Mid-Michigan, where she grows vegetables and herbs when she’s not writing, editing, or playing games with a cat named Chives.

6 Comments

  • Ceejay Writer

    Along with SL being an escape for many, it's also a place we can finetune our skills. My writing is very important to me – and learning what it takes to produce a publication. It takes a lot of work BUT it's dear to my heart. It's hard for many to understand this, when I get pinged to come dancing but I'm deep in research… to me, SL is not just A Great Big Chatwindow, it's another reality with MANY subtle facets to be explored and exploited. I have email – I get offlines. I'm accessible, and I'm enjoying my second life sooooo much! It's more than a chatwindow, and I am always acessible through conventional communication means!

  • Breezy Carver

    *smiles* i just am glad your well and happy 🙂
    waves and happy twirlssssssss

    (( to be honest there is so much anger on this *game* of late … land mines mho !! but that would be a whole other post ))

    I think folks forget this is really is an escape for many of us from The evil stress of grown up real life !!
    when others bring their own dysfunctions and frustrations of the day from other worlds into world .. it does make for an unsafe environment !! Again mho .. if people respected one another a wee bit more and enjoyed the experience for what it is .. to and for all.. Then I don't think we would want to be hermits .. *hugs*
    with love from an old friend 🙂

  • Suzanne

    I can relate to your log on experience. The distractions are fun, but I would feel smarmy when I'd log off and still not have done what I went on to do. Now, I log on and immediately hit busy mode. I have found it is the ONLY way take care of the stuff I want to take care of. And, I usually uncheck the box that enables friends to locate me and know I am online. It's important to claim your own time; it's the only way to grow, really. Great post.

  • Rowan Derryth

    Ceej,

    Everything I'm about to say is in the spirit of friendship, and from the mouth of a brutally honest Sag – two things I KNOW you appreciate 😉

    First, I am not at all offended or upset by your choice. To me you are as reachable as you ever were, and if this helps your peace of mind, then I support it.

    But I have to point out that, as I said, you are STILL just as reachable. You've announced this so as not to offend, so for people who know you and want to IM, they still will, knowing you may or may not be there. You said yourself that you get tons of offline IMs, so people will send messages whether they see you or no. It may cut down on the hellos and waves, but is that enough to help?

    I've joked with you about how you plurk about not plurking 😀 It's kinda cute to me. But that, the stop sign or absent gchat, and now this, say two things to me: 1)You are very busy, and even though you may WANT my hellos – and those of others 😉 – I will not be adding to the pile unless I have something REALLY important to say, and I do this as your FRIEND; 2) You are feeling FAR too stressed about this, and yes, something needs to be done.

    With that, I am going to give you my 2 cents, which I hope will somehow be helpful:

    1) Worry less about upsetting people when you are busy! Seriously, you do NOT have to tell us every time you are too busy to respond, plurk, whatever. Your sense of obligation is admirable, but I think it adds to your stress. We know what a DOER you are, it is part of what we like. So just DO, don't worry about letting us know you have to DO, and for those who DO get offended at slow response – well, they need a lesson in being less needy, and need to get over it.

    2)Along with that, don't worry if you can't get back to people right away! We'll understand, really.

    3)I'm going to go down the road of blasphemy here – try Viewer 2, or maybe Kristen's viewer. The reason I say this is the way notices are managed. I hated the constant blue menus and in-your-face notices before, it made me feel interrupted. They are more subtle in Viewer 2, and pile up neatly in your task bar for when YOU are ready to deal with THEM. And they collect there for days, and you can just look through the subjects quickly, like email. I really like it. Same with chat, inventory, etc. You might like how much less obtrusive it feels.

    4)If you STILL feel that you are having a hard time managing after all this, why not take an academic approach, and set a calendar? Perhaps where you have daily or a few times a week of 'office hours'; as well as set time that is TIME OFF (me time!). It isn't ideal since SL is supposed to be relaxing overall, but if you truly are struggling, then maybe you should try that for a while.

    You've been around longer than I, and perhaps I'm an upstart here. I am like you that I enjoy being busy and productive – and have an awfully hard time saying NO, especially to fun projects. But I always, always try and remember that SL, for ME, should first and foremost be FUN. And when stress overshadows fun, you have to stop and ask yourself – is what I'm doing here truly what I want? I know you've asked yourself this before, and it isn't news to you. But all of your 'busy can't talk sorry' messages – and I wonder if you realize how many there are – sound like someone so busy to the point of being overwhelmed, so maybe it's a question to ask again.

    I hope this works, and you don't have to worry about offense from my side. But I'll be honest, even though you've said you want me to contact you (!!!) I'm ALWAYS hesitant because of this. It isn't for lack of lurve, but rather the opposite. I want you to be happy!

    *hugs*

    Ro

  • Ceejay Writer

    Seamless inventory sharing across avatars is the Holy Grail for users, and the Nightmare for creators, I am sure. And I understand it. If I had everything ELSE on my wishlist, I wouldn't need a research alt though and the situation would be moot! 😀

  • GM Nikolaidis

    I agree with most of these. It seems that the alt is the best solution at the moment, but being able to have a single inventory per actual user (regardless of sl logins) would be a great feature. I can hear content creators screaming about that one now 🙂

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