Epoq 2.2 New Media:
How to get started in Second Life

Portraits of Some Second Life Residents
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Photography by Stone Semyorka at the Stoneflower Photography Studio in Second Life
Here's how to travel into the virtual world:
  • The company that creates Second Life on the Internet is Linden Research Inc., operating as Linden Lab, at San Francisco.   What is Second Life? »

  • To have the best experience with your computer, check out Linden Lab's computer requirements page to make sure your computer can run the Second Life viewer:   Computer system requirements »

  • Next, sign up for a free Second Life account:   Free account sign up »

    With the basic free account, you can do virtually everything anybody can do in Second Life. The viewer, or browser that lets you look into the Second Life world, also is free.

  • When creating your free account, you will be asked to select a first name and a last name for your avatar. You make up your own first name and select a last name from a list provided by Linden Lab.

    Be sure to choose first and last names you like and can be proud of because the name you choose now is the name you will have in-world. You can't change it later.
Who doesn't love free?

The basic membership is free. The avatar is free. The viewer software is free.
  • You don't have to give them a credit card number, unless you wish to.

    Why might you wish to? There is a premium membership for those who wish to own land. It's probably best to be in SL for at least a short time to look around before deciding to become a premium member to buy land. You can upgrade to premium member at any time later. It costs $9.95 monthly or only $6 a month if paying for a year.

    The premium account gives a resident the right to buy and hold land. A premium-account resident receives a free house on a small plot of land and a $L300 per week stipend and access to more comprehensive user support.

  • Most users are operating with free accounts. Registration is free. The avatar is free. Time logged on is free, other than general internet connection and usage fees.

    Most any of the clothing, tools, vehicles or other objects that you might wish to acquire while you are in Second Life is likely to be readily available free. Freebie stores and warehouses are everywhere.

  • However, there is a flourishing retail economy with many pretty, handy, useful things to buy. Those are paid for with linden dollars, which you can purchase at any time only if desired. You are not required to buy any.

  • To be an in-world consumer, you can buy 1,000 linden dollars for about 4 U.S. dollars. That means shopping is fun and cheap.
There are age limits

While you are registering your new account you will give Linden Lab your birthdate and some information so they can verify your age. They are very careful about keeping children and teens under 18 out of the s regions of the SL grid.
  • Adult residents of Second Life age 18 and up can access the entire SL grid. They can move freely through tens of thousands of regions with content rated general, moderate or adult.
  • On the other hand, residents age 16-17 have access only to the several thousand SL regions rated general, which contain content appropriate for all ages. They are not able to enter regions labeled moderate or adult.
  • Residents age 13-15 are restricted to general lands operated by their sponsoring school or institution and are not able to enter any other regions.
  • There is no access to the SL grid for persons under 13.
  • There is no maximum age limit.
Getting your personal agent
  • Now pick your avatar. There are six male and six female figures for you to choose from:   See the starter avatars here »

    Like most everybody else, you undoubtedly will change the look of your avatar later after you become comfortable in-world. You can change your skin, hair, eyes, clothes, other attachments. Everybody does.
Open your personal portal to the virtual world
  • Next, download and install the Second Life viewer:
    Download the free viewer »

  • Run the viewer and log in with your new avatar account to start exploring the Second Life world.
Walking, flying and teleporting are fun
  • When you log in to Second Life for the first time, you will land on Orientation Island.

    It is designed to guide new residents – called newbies – through Second Life's controls and features. If you spend time on Orientation Island learning how to navigate and use Second Life, you'll have a much more rewarding experience later.

    There's also a Help Island.

    If you would like to return at any time after you leave Orientation Island, you would visit the Public Orientation Island or the Public Help Island.

    Those Islands are identical to the original Orientation Island and Help Island you visited during your first login. However, they're open to the public.

  • If you get lost or confused while navigating around Second Life, ask someone for help. Most experienced residents are happy to help new arrivals. After all, everybody needed help at one time or another.
Where should you be in the virtual world?

Second Life is a very open place. Residents are free to explore a broad diversity of creative pursuits.
  • The openness has fostered some amazing content. Linden Lab works to preserve that openness while at the same time ensuring individual residents can engage in a manner most suited to their needs and interests.

  • By enabling a resident to exercise control over her or his experience, Second Life is an open environment with each resident able to tailor the experience in such a way as to exercise discretion with certain content when it is appropriate to do so.

  • This does not affect the kinds of content that are permitted in Second Life, just how they can be accessed, and by whom.

  • Land in SL is marked either general or moderate or adult. Those ratings are something like the ratings used by the movie and television industries to denote the age-appropriateness of behavior, language and creations.

  • Here's a more complete description of the land ratings:
    Second Life: General vs. Moderate vs. Adult »

Getting started links:
Learn more about virtual worlds and Second Life:

© 2013 Dr. Anthony Curtis, Mass Communication Dept., University of North Carolina at Pembroke    e-mail    home page
The name Second Life and the hand logo and logotype are registered trademarks of Linden Lab