Avoiding the Issue

Monday, June 23

I started vacation today. Hey, no time to start playing with the computer. I had Real Life things to do. But I still logged to read the forum, check the social network, email coworkers and friends. I was still talking about joining SL. M was still encouraging me, even telling me that I should write a blog to detail my journey. Right. Like I’m going to write a blog. Be real.

Tuesday, June 24

The VUC forum had a question that intrigued me. I thought, gee, what if they could do this…. I debated posting my thoughts to the forum. But vanity got in the way. I have no experience in these issues. What if someone has already proposed this or what if my suggestion is simply total nonsense? I’d be embarrassed to have someone point that out in public. So I sent off an email to D, hoping again that I wasn’t violating forum etiquette. But this time he didn’t answer. HEY!! Shouldn’t everything revolve around ME and MY needs? Oh wait – I’m supposed to be a grown up now, and mature. I was starting to get very fidgety. I WANTED to participate in the discussion. I wanted to understand and maybe even contribute. Oh, but it’s late and there are things I need to do to be ready for Real Life Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 25

Real Life Wednesday left no time for Virtual life. Barely had time to read the forums, check the network.

Trying it on for Size

Saturday, June 21

Pretending to be someone I’m not, at a party I brag about how I’m going to join SL, hold virtual meetings, become the “leading edge” in my team. The non-technical crowd is impressed. By a techie, I’m no techie. But these people think this is a cool idea.

Sunday, June 22

My family was over for dinner so I announced this new part of my job description to them. If I thought my initial reaction was negative, it was nothing compared to the scorn and disbelief and derision my triumphant proclamation received. I was so excited about learning something new, something modern, something adventurous. They wanted to know why any company would support such a thing. Why would any person waste their time doing this? What was the matter with a regular chat room? Who needed this kind of thing? And you’d pay good money for this?? Ouch. Sometimes it hurts to look in the mirror. And I thought back to my company’s social networking site. This is what I said when M invited me to join that and look at how much fun and use I get from it now. I didn’t want to be that negative. And so my resolution was hardening more and more.

How it Began – Day 2

Friday, June 20

So I began eavesdropping on the Virtual Universe Community (VUC) forum at my company. I read the posts. I googled topics that made no sense on first reading. I got brave. On Friday I emailed someone who seemed to know a lot about the VUC and SL but also seemed to have a sense of humor. I had no idea how I’d be received. I was a stranger, an uninformed and fairly ignorant stranger, writing to ask the simplest most basic questions. I had no idea if that was a gross violation of etiquette, or if it would be acceptable. But I figured I had nothing to lose, at worst he’d ignore the email. So I introduced myself, confessed my total lack of technical knowledge, my total lack of SL knowledge, and asked for the opportunity to ask questions. Within 2 hours I had a reply. A warm, friendly welcoming reply. I was so pleased and grateful. D is so much more technical and knowledgeable than I on all things computer and SL and probably many more topics. But he answered all of my questions and then some, provided links, provided presentations, and encouraged me to give it a try.

Give it a try. But I’m a coward. I had visions of being lost in the virtual world. Of committing some horrible faux pas. Of making a fool of myself. Wasting money. Getting hurt. So I wrote back and asked more questions. And I started talking about how I WAS going to join SL. Maybe if I said it enough I’d believe it and actually do it. Maybe. So I announced to more coworkers that I was going to join SL. I saw a notice of a VUC meeting and forwarded it to my manager M. M said – go, you’re our SL ambassador. Okay, so do it! Still too scary.

How it all Began

Thursday, June 19

It started innocently enough, as these things do. I was following a thread in a private social networking site, which led to another thread and another. I found myself on a site that extolled the wonders of SL. SL? Never heard of it, but the post was intriguing. Someone else commented. So I followed that thread, but was still unenlightened. I was IM’ing with a coworker – a young man, definitely more in touch w/ games and trends than I am. He didn’t know too much about SL either, but was somewhat scornful and dismissive. “No point, no goal” he said. “Why bother?” It sounded like role-playing to me – pretending to be someone or something else. Not especially appealing. But I googled SL and found more and more articles and threads and information.

So I turned to my officemates. WHY would anyone want to do this?? One coworker is always game to argue the other side. He said to me “Hey, when your husband is watching TV, or playing a game on the computer, and you want something to do, what do you do? You might like to go down to the corner tavern and have a drink and chat with friends. Except there is no corner tavern, drinking has too many calories, you couldn’t drive there and back, and you go to sleep too early.” I couldn’t argue with any of that! He said “But if you could log on to SL and hang out somewhere chatting with someone, you’d enjoy that.” And I had to admit, that did sound appealing. “And besides” B added “a month ago you would have scoffed at the idea that you would have any use or interest in social networking.” Touche! My manager (and friend) took up the baton. “Figure out how we can have a virtual scrum” he said. We can hold a meeting in SL.

And that’s how I was hooked, as simple as that. Learn something new that might be fun both socially and professionally. Why not?