I’ve been thinking lately about orienting people in Second Life for the first time (mostly because I’ve had the pleasure of taking a lot of people into this virtual world in the last few months). There’s just so much to consider. There’s that all important “first hour” (which can potentially be the “deal breaker” for some) when people form their impressions and set opinions. I want to make sure that their initation feels interesting, relevant, and not too overwhelming or overly “techy”.
I’ve also been thinking more about not making assumptions. Case in point. I was working with two women yesterday (nurse practitioners) in their mid-50’s who had never been in a virtual world. I hoped to work with them on a new project where we’ll connect with diabetic patients in the virtual world. They explained that they were “moderately” comfortable with technology but were quite anxious about this “really weird” stuff. I was prepared for slow-going. Much to my delight, they both caught on quite quickly. One of them, who immediately took to navigating, figuring out the camera controls, the concept of an inventory – even to flying – asked me whether or not the avatars had to be fed (she was, afterall, a nutrititonist). I asked her what prompted that question and she explained that she’d been “playing webkinz” with her 4-year old grand daughter. Webkins! I love it. But, in her mind, she’d never been in a virtual world. Isn’t that interesting?