Most of us – whether we’d admit it or not – have a love-hate relationship with sl. There are those times when we’d happily proclaim the virtual life to be far better than the one on the other side of the screen, whilst there are other times that we’d happily consign sl to the most noxious pits of virtual Hades. On the whole, the good side seems to triumph… or you wouldn’t still be here reading this, would you?
Even so, the way we approach our online life is often extremely polarised – in a world that manages to encompass 16 million colours, in pretty much 3 dimensions, it always surprises me that we seem to appreciate it as only black or white and that we often only see into it only as deeply as the flat screen in front of us.
When our shoes fail to rez, or we find ourselves waiting impatiently for buildings to form from grey spheres… when the audio stream stutters… when the TP fails, for some reason, rather than treat these as the minor irritations they really are, (and yes, they really are just minor irritations, even if they happen umpteen times in a session), we slide the self-pity control up to 11 and behave as if it’s the end of the world. Our reaction tends towards what would possibly be appropriate if someone was petrol-bombing our granny, when really it should be, ‘Oh dear, i’ve been logged out in the middle of listening to a song that i’ve heard a million times before, whilst surrounded by my friends with whom i’ve spent the last hour talking utter bollox nonsense. i’ll just click this button and log back in…’
When things go wrong we rant and we rave about how Linden Lab couldn’t organise a gangbang in a brothel and how their creaky, cardboard and duct tape viewer is about as much use as a chocolate teapot, blah, blah, blah! And deity forbid that a new feature should ever be introduced that might possibly make our inworld experience better… that’s guaranteed to ruin sl forever!
We lose all sense of perspective – what we never do is consider, for example, how much time we’ve spent in sl in the past week, against how much time it’s gone wrong in that time. Here’s a little equation for you to consider next time you fancy a moan…
x/y * 100 = z
100 – z = H
x = number of hours i’ve been logged in this week
y = number of hours sl has been borked for me this week
z = permitted proportion of outrage you’re permitted to feel entitled to
So, if i’m logged in for 20 hours this week, and if i add up all the unsatisfactory minutes that sl passes my way in that time… say 30 minutes, tops; my outrage factor is:
0.5/20 * 100 = 2.5
Which brings me to ‘Factor H’ – the Happiness Factor, (also known as ‘Yay! Capacity’), and in this example, Factor H is a massive 97.5 – so, how come it’s always the measly 2.5 micro-measures of outrage that i’ll inevitably dwell on?
i’ll be honest with you, in the past couple of weeks, my inworld experience has been that of living on Planet Happy. Fooling about, taking pictures, exploring and generally having a whale of a time have been the order of the day, and it’s been blooming good fun! Yes indeed, there were crashes, glitches, bake-fails and the occasional lag-induced walking off into the virtual sunset, but i couldn’t actually give squiddly-doodle-squat about any of that nonsense, because on the whole, my Factor H levels were far more important to me! My bucket was full, i knew where my cheese was and my Tao was full of Pooh.
Here’s the thing: sl is no different to rl in many respects – we just think it should be. If you wander round in rl looking for problems, you’re going to find them, surprise, surprise! Worse, the more problems you find, the more they’re going to bog you down and screw you up. Then again, there’s those immensely irritating people who can always find humour in a disaster, beauty in a mass of rubble and sunshine on the crappiest British summer’s day.
Guess which i am.
SL will never work properly or perfectly… rl never does, and we’ve had more practice at that! Besides which, it runs on computers, need i say more? So, what’s the point of dwelling on the teeny, weeny crapsicles that occasionally – or even frequently – strew our virtual footpath, when we may as well grin and bear it, and get on with the serious business of simply having fun?
But it’s all right now, in fact, it’s a gas!
But it’s all right. Im jumpin jack flash,
Its a gas! gas! gas!
The Rolling Stones – Jumpin Jack Flash