As a dedicated Second Lifer, I can appreciate that people build actual meaningful relationships on there (I’ve even seen a few that ended in marriage). However, relationships on SL tend to flare up and burn out in record time (I think it has something to do with the fact that there are four SL days to every RL day…basically a new day starts every six hours) so what seems like true love can very easily fizzle out in just a matter of weeks.
But, in the true entrepreneurial spirit of Second Life, someone has found a way to merge both SL and RL all while keeping your privacy. While strolling around OnRez (a website that allows SL creators to sell their wares off-world, and lets addicts like me buy when they aren’t able to get in world; it also helps when you’re feeling particularly lazy and you don’t feel like in-world store hopping and dealing with lag and rez time), I found this little beauty. The concept is simple enough: You pay L$15000 (about $57 US, depending on how the Linden dollar market is doing; at the moment $1 US equals just about L$265…nice to know the US dollar is worth something somewhere, isn’t it) to purchase flowers, candy, wine or jewelry, you give these gifts to your beau in-world, they fill out some information and the gift you gave them on Second Life gets sent to them in Real Life. All without the giver ever knowing the recipient’s address or other personal information.
On one hand, this is a really good idea. Starfruit is owned by a Swiss telecom company, so it has the funding and connections to do exactly what it advertises and it ships to nearly everywhere. So why do I feel apprehensive about this idea? Simply put, there are a lot of people who are married in RL (whether happily or not) and having these sorts of gifts popping up could lead to the end of some marriages. You’re already hearing cases about how sites like Facebook and MySpace ruined someone’s marriage (sure, blame a website, let’s just ignore the big pink elephant in the room that’s carrying the banner “YOUR MARRIAGE WAS ALREADY IN TROUBLE TO BEGIN WITH”).
Plus…I dunno…it seems odd to have the two worlds intersect like that. I have lots of SL friends, but I don’t know if I’d go through the trouble of meeting up with them. I’m not sure that I’d want to meet them. Why destroy the illusion? Tucked safely away behind the avatars, people are willing to be less inhibited. They are more honest with themselves and others. I know details about people’s real lives that they wouldn’t dare tell anyone short of a priest in a confessional. Seeing that person in real life would simply bring it too close to home for my tastes.
However…I do have a birthday coming up…maybe I can drop some hints to a few friends and see if they’ll send me something *grins*