Using Second Life as a platform for cyberlearning & cyberculture

Recently, a few people looked up my blog to get an idea on what I’m currently doing using Second Life® as a “platform”, and commented that they were expecting more information about that here.

Well, there is a reason for almost everything, and the first thing that came to my mind is that this is mostly a blog on Second Life’s society and psychology (with a few tips, tricks, and guides thrown in-between 🙂 ). Like many others, I try to avoid mixing “real life” with my “second life”, not at the least because of my respecting other’s restraints in publishing more of their own real life information, but also due to some aspects that will become clear by the end of this article.

First of all, you must understand that I do have a technical background (it’s not hard to find that out), but I have been involved in practically everything, some things with some success, many others which have been utter failures. I sold web sites as well as kitchens; I painted shops at malls and carried hand-painted handcrafted tiles in my car across the country; I worked in big open offices in my cubicle, as well as in tiny shops with perhaps 24 m2 and 3 companies inside the same space; I configured computers, routers, and phone switches, while at the same time publishing literary books, planning ad space on outdoors for cultural events, or sending letters inviting authors and artists to exhibitions; I ran international events in congress centres with attendances of 15,000 people, some of them technical, some of them cultural, but I also organised small discussion events not unlike the Thinkers’ events (and about the same topics as well) with an attendance of 15 or so people. I co-managed companies with 20,000 customers and companies with 20; I did accounting for tiny companies and marketing for non-profit associations. And I also was a organ player at a local church and sang (very badly, mind you) in choirs. Whew. Does this sound like bragging? Not likely. When I was a teenager, I very seriously wished to have an artistic career (like so many do). But I quickly found out after learning four different musical instruments that I would never be able to play one professionally, no matter how hard I studied; my painting/sculpting skills are so bad that I was absolutely ashamed of doing such a mess with the tools I had, although I had some training in aesthetics, techniques, and art history; I like photography and even cinema, but can’t hardly expect to compete even with the clumsier amateur; I could discuss philosophy, but would always invariably mix up authors; and when the Web came out in 1993, I found out that I would never be a Web designer, despite having the dubious honour of setting up Portugal’s first ever Web page and teaching the team that did the second one; to a certain extent, the only moderate ability I did have was writing reasonably well (enough to get an award and publish a book) but definitely not good enough to make a living of it. Also, it doesn’t help that I live in the least literary country of Europe, where there are probably more “literary awards” than readers…

I soon found out that I’m not good enough on anything, and, as a teenager, I had to deal with that. It was tough and frustrating to be around groups of people that had lots of talent in so many different areas, and have most of the training they had and even master most of the skills they had acquired, but be completely unable to do anything they did ? all my attempts were, at best, laughable. As a teenager, this was something hard to swallow.

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