Our World. Our Reality. – by Torley Linden

Personal perspectives… I’m often put in the odd position of getting two emails or IMs at just about the same time, each containing an opinion about what Linden Lab should do next which conflicts with the other. I often put the respective Residents in touch, hoping they’ll communicate, but all too often this is met with stony silence or “You should do it my way, I speak for the community and know what’s best!” *sigh*

You know what I wish? I wish sometimes the contents of my email inbox weren’t private, and that everyone could see everything. It doesn’t work that way, but it’d go a long way towards dissolving misconceptions of “Linden Lab never replies to anyone!” It’s like, I can answer 99 questions, and miss 1, but then I get called out on that 1. Same thing with IMs, and I know our expanding Liaisons, Live Helpers, and Support can relate: when someone’s asking me for assistance but they don’t see the half-dozen other things I’m juggling.

And too much juggling is bad. It leads to lack of focus, stress, and poor work quality… not to mention degraded health. These have real human costs, which are often unseen. They hit me back months ago when I had Repetitive Stress Injury. This ain’t a cry for pity — rather, it’s an emphasis that I wanna give you my fullest when I’m on the job (”I’M CRAZY EXTREME!!!”), and I know for a fact many Lindens passionately do. And while we’re continuing to scale, and adding more Lindens, there’s only so much each person can take on. Criticism which helps us as a whole get better is surely welcome. But hateful ranting hurts us. Which in turns ends up hurting you. It makes first life — and Second Life worse. And if I didn’t write this, how would you know how I feel? And since communication’s what I do… it all comes together.

So why did I come to Second Life in the first place? It’s because my life sucked and I wanted it to get better! (I thought it’d help me kill some time, but it ended up transforming into something much more meaningful…) Why did I stay? It’s because my life was in the process of getting better. I made lots of new friends and learned a lot about myself I didn’t know, or was previously afraid to admit. Why did I want to work at Linden Lab? Because I was inspired by Linden employees, and I do believe what we do will help improve people’s lives.

We aren’t Generic Company X. Price rises are hard on the pocketbook, big changes are hard on one’s habits, no doubt about that. We all have adversities in our existences. But whenever I hear stories of someone discovering themselves and opening up positively here, I’m awed. Even everyday “having fun with friends” adds a lot of value and happiness to someone staying around on planet Earth, no matter which life they’re living.

I’m familiar with just about every comeback to that. You may find this hard to believe, but those cliches (”I call BS!”) are the same things I used to say to others when doubting their motives. But at the end of a hard day, what’s really true, like a loyal puppy, will stick around with you. Everything else just falls away.

To be absolutely clear on this: I speak from my heart, it’s the best I, or any of us can do. No hidden insecurities fogging what I’m writing. It’s one of many reasons why I’m happy about working for LL, that they let me express myself like this. They didn’t censor me or turn me into a freakin’ graysuit — watermelon YAYZERAMA!, which translates into how much I want you to have a good time here, and keep coming back for more. When you believe it’s worthwhile spending your first life in Second Life, it’s such an honor. And for all of this, I’m grateful. And for the part I, Torley, play in making your Second Life even a little bit better, as a Community Developer of Communications, I’m even more thankful.

The crux of communication is a two-way street, and I must be receptive to our Residents’ opinions and how they earnestly perceive the world. We have both our technological and social networks, and none of us likes when they get disrupted, because that means a break in communication. Despite the lag and drama, we want to be connected.

Yes, we are a business, more money is good for us. What I’m saying ignores none of that. I’d like to point to what has been ignored, or at least, understated: people’s lives being changed for the better here. Being happy, being in love, is beyond any numeric sum. You don’t hear enough of those stories (yet OMG poseball tales run amuck), but maybe that’s just the way things are.

But they don’t have to stay that way.

From the time we are born naked, we never change in wanting to be held and told things are going to be alright. We want reassurance. We want to feel secure. We want to know: “Are we there yet?”

There is no final destination: Second Life, like first life, is a journey. My simple recommendation: keep a trip diary (it can be a personal blog), record what you enjoyed, and share your memories with people you care about. It’s served me well: whenever there are potholes in the Information Ultrahighway that is Second Life, I look back at all the good times, then look forward to all the great experiences I’ll share that haven’t happened yet.

Our world our reality 2006-11-04

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