Recent discussions about a community conference in Second Life made me reflect on just what that community is to me.
My Second Life community doesn’t have a capital city in California. It isn’t limited by geo-political boundaries. Virtual community lives in the gathered consciousness of groups of beings from across the planet–sharing laughter, ideas, a sense of purpose or a moment of pure beauty.
The virtual community that I’ve come to love is usually a kinder place than the rest of life. We are patient with the crazy, the newcomer and we welcome and accommodate the disabled. We have the pioneering spirit, a lot of us like to make things ourselves (even if they come out a little lop-sided). Our entertainment is home-grown and our musical kitchen-parties and town-hall story-telling podiums have been equally graced by internationally renowned artists and amateurs who simply love the art.
We struggle and laugh with translators in order to make people who don’t speak the same languages all feel included and marvel at how much we have in common, no matter how far apart we may have logged into Second Life from, how far apart we are on the globe. My Second Life community is less about the technology or business of virtual worlds and more about what people do and share within those worlds. I remember my first meeting in SL was held around one of Robbie Dingo’s drum circles. Delia Lake was planning her “All About Water” exhibit (it still exists) and I was a clueless newbie all agog at the idea of a virtual drum circle with an international tribe of environmentalists meeting in this new world.
At Music Island we all throw our Lindens in the pot to contribute to the expenses of the musicians who perform for us. We know that we all don’t have as much money to spare but we all are able to come together despite our wealth or poverty. That’s the beauty of virtual community.
One day some of us might chance to meet each other face-to-face but because we’ve already met soul-to-soul, shared our thoughts and seen the colours of all our dreams, we don’t really feel the need.