Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Second Life for Dummies

Why I selected this book, what I had hoped to gain from this book:
I selected the book Second Life for Dummies, writing by Sarah Robbins and Mark Bell, for a few reasons; the interest it sparked in my mind, other projects, and Professor Czapleski. Ever since I hear about SL (Second Life) I have been curious to find out what the big fuss is about. However, I am not an online gamer but the possibilities on this site are endless. Secondly, I have another project in this class, the social media project, which my teammate and I have decided to find out about SL. This book has helped me in researching about SL. Additionally, in another business course we are studying the industry of SL, where this book has also helped. Finally, is an instructor that I had last semester who introduced the online program of SL to our class, which also sparked my interest.

From this texted, I hope to gain information about how to navigate through Second Life, how to make money, and the basic framework of what goes on in this virtual world. Through my reading, I have found everything that I was looking for.

What is SL for Dummies about, what is the subject matter, and why was this written:
Second Life for Dummies is a detailed how-to book for individuals who want to be a resident on SL. A resident is someone who is a part of SL; this is like being a player on a video game. This book is broken down into sections: an introduction, an overview, exploring and socializing, tools and money, building, and opportunities.

The introduction explains why SL was created, who it was created by and how the idea of Second Life came about. Through this section it elucidates the basics of SL; such as islands that your need to be careful of when entering SL or ideas that have be on the media that are not true.

The overview section goes into detail about what SL is used for such as: business ventures, social networking, and new product experimenting. Additionally, throughout this part it shows you step by step of how to set your computer up, allowing individuals to log onto the program. Next, it will take you through the process of setting your account up and getting a feel for your new environment in SL. This book also gives you tips of islands (coordinates on SL) where you can explore to get familiar with this virtual world and pick up freebees to customize your avatar. Finally, this section will give you tools to use when navigating through SL to get where you want to go without looking like a newbie.

The next segment is how to explore and socialize with other avatar people. This may sound easy, however, one must know how to use their tools in the program in order to communicate and travel to different landmarks. In SL, appearance is everything. Knowing where to find the latest trends, finding objects at a good price and being able to change your clothes is important. Additionally, this section discusses how to find events and groups that you have interests in and how to join in on the fun. This is where a resident will be able to network and social with other avatars.

Tools, money, and land are in the following chapters. First the book talks about all the tools that are at your disposal. These include, clothing that can be stored in your inventory and how to access them later, how to manage your inventory by creating and deleting objects, or sharing your files with other residents in SL. Next, is the most important part, money; the book describes how to get money through their online website ( and how to sell your money back to be exchanged into U.S. dollars. The book also explains what the money is worth; about $4 for every 1000 Linden dollars. Linden dollars is SL’s currency. Finally, are land opportunities; how you can buy land, who you can buy the land from, ways to search when purchasing land, and what to use the land for.

The next section explains about building. Your avatar can hire someone to build on your land for you, or you can create your own buildings through programs provide through SL. However, this skill is very hard to master and requires a lot of practice and experience. Additionally, building is not limited to traditional buildings you would see on city streets. Building also includes, customizing the clothing you make or buy from other residents, making your own hair dos, or even creating your own poses, gestures, and animations.

Lastly, is the opportunities in SL; this by far the best part in my opinion. In this section, the book explains and illustrates how to find jobs in Second Life and how to make money to spend it in the virtual world. Next, is how the economy works, this is actually a lot like our first life (or the real world). The only exception to this is that you cannot lose any assets from your first life. The final part in this section explores the world of education. Individuals can tour and attend certain Universities on SL. This is more or less an excellence extended studies program.
This book is defiantly for beginners who are starting to explore this new virtual world. However, this world should not be taken lightly, but as an opportunity to visit new options of make money for your first life.

I believe this book was written to give individuals a helpful tool to get started in Second Life. This place can be overwhelming when you first enter. There is a lot to know about this complex environment and without having an insider, such as these two authors to explain the “rules”, you will be lost and confused when navigating through this virtual world.

The general type of this book and its format:
Second Life for Dummies is a how-to book that gives great examples and live shots inside SL to guide you through their illustrations. The format of this book is an easy to follow instructional guide to navigate and make a life SL.

Similar books and a key competitive set:
The Beginners Guide to Second Life, Scripting Recipes for Second Life, and Creating Your World are all books that are related and similar to Second Life for Dummies. The Beginners Guide does not go into great detail and does not have help hint through out to help you succeed. Scripting Recipes discuss “fun” thing to do which do not include how to make money in SL. Finally, Creating Your World includes a tutorial and examples on a CD that can be viewed in addition to the reading.

Author’s Qualifications:
Sarah Robbins who is one of the authors was the first educator to teach a class on Second Life. She is currently the Director of Emerging Technology in Media at Indiana University. Robbins is also a candidate for a PhD in Rhetoric at Ball State University. Additionally, she knows everything to know about SL and has her own avatar which she uses as explains in the text. Furthermore, Mark Bell is student at Indiana University studying Telecommunications in the PhD program. He specifically studies virtual worlds a part of social networks. Prior to going back to school he was in the computer field for 14 years as a trainer and documentation specialist. Mark himself has done a wide-ranging of research on Second Life and is also a resident in SL.

Intended Audience:
The intended audience for this book is adults, over the age of 18, who want to gain more knowledge of how to become a part of the Second Life community. This book is directed to beginners in the virtual gaming industry, such as me. However, there are islands on SL that are geared towards tens ages 14-17, though this book is not directed towards young adults. This virtual world is for adult communication, making real money, and not for the light hearted.

Primary value:
The primary value of this book for me was to gain knowledge that I could use for other projects in my courses this semester. However, on a deeper level, this book gave me the tools to understand a second world where I too, can discover new ways to make money just but sitting at my computer. I believe that I have also gained greater knowledge of how to promote and market real world products to the demographic in this virtual world. These individuals are adults range from their 20’s into their 50’s, and who are also early innovators.

Strongest aspects of the book:
The best aspects of this book are the sections that discuss how a resident can achieve wealth in SL. The book gives excellent examples of what the authors have done to have a positive cash follow and the different ways to create real money through this program. Anyone, can simply sit around SL and make money, however, this is not the best way. Most importantly, just like in the real world one has to find their “nitch” in the market and do what they do best to create wealth. It is not easy, but it is a whole lot more fun make money in SL than it is in real life.

Weakness, inconsistencies, incorrect assumptions of this book:
The weakness of this book is that it only gives the basics of SL. However, this is what the book is, but if it explored all the options of how to customize your clothing or all the options of how to make money, this would greatly improve the content. I did not notice any inconsistencies within this book. However, a few times the authors did repeat themselves. Additionally, I do not know do any incorrect assumptions this book had because of my lack of experience on the topic of Second Life. I have no knowledge of SL and would not be able to differentiate true facts from false ones until I can fully explore this virtual world myself.

How I would rate this book comparatively to others:
I would rate this book very high. The content of this book was exactly what I was looking for and more. If anyone is interested in socializing with individuals around the world, staking their claim, or making money I would highly recommend reading this book to get started.


  1. This book seemed very interesting. Your presentation was today and it was a great explanation and you gave a great description of the book and explained exactly what second life was.

    It sounds very interesting and even though I am not a huge fan of reading I might have to check this out.

  2. This was something I had never even heard of before. After your presentation I felt like I at least understood the concept of it. The idea of this book seems a little different to me so I don't know if I will read it but I appreciated the jump start on knowledge that you gave me on this subject.

  3. I was really wanting to know what Second Life was about, so thank you for the overview. This looks like a book I would like to read.

  4. I had never heard of second life before your presentation. However it was very informative and made me want to go home and check out what this second life is all about. Great book and presentation.

  5. Second life scares me. I can see a lot of potential for it and the info provided here and from your presentation helped me to understand it more. I did end up looking into second life a little more and it still scares me.

  6. I agree with Bob, I think Second Life is something people can get way to addicted to - lose their sense of reality in a way. Nevertheless, thats what marketing is all about I guess. So why not use a tool like Second Life to promote products and brands. Sounds like a profitable opportunity, although I really am no fan of it.