In terms of ‘what’s important to know’ starting out, I think these are among the most important:
- – You can’t see everything in a day, or even a year.
- – Talking pregnant bellies are an ever-present actuality, and they’re really annoying.
- – Right-clicking is key to just about everything in SL. If in doubt, right click on it.
- – Manners matter. If you wouldn’t get naked in front of your parents, chances are it’s really not a good idea in largely public areas in SL either. It might not seem like a big deal to you, but people who own the land on which you’re changing might take offense.
- – Occasionally SL’s asset servers will render you naked to others, even if you’re clothed on your own screen. Don’t panic, it happens to everyone at some point. CTRL-ALT-R is your friend, and you’ll learn to love clearing your cache and relogging into empty regions. Okay, maybe not love. Resign yourself to it, perhaps.
- – Make lots of folders and subfolders for your inventory, because you’re going to need them (stay tuned, I’m working on an article on inventory sorting).
- – There’s really no limit to what you can do. You can learn a new language, how to build, engage in roleplay, whatever comes to mind. The real difficulty comes in finding time to do it all!
- – Unpack your items in the Objects folder, and figure out if you’re going to keep them on a fairly regular basis, because that folder will become an unholy nightmare in short order if you don’t.- Bling (a ‘sparkle’ effect) is a common attribute in freebie jewellery and, for some unknown reason, women’s shoes. Just say no, folks.
- – The ‘garlic necklace’ people talk about is a very real (and handy) free item to get if you want to keep those annoying Bloodlines vampires away from you.
- – Nobody can ‘kill’ your avatar; similarly, you can’t die in SL. The worst that will happen to you, in a damage-enabled sim (and you can tell if a sim is damage-enabled if there’s a heart icon in the top of your client, along with a % rating of your health), is that you’ll be teleported to your home location when the health bar is at 0%.
- – If you’re feeling at all uncomfortable about a place, teleport away. If someone is bothering you in local chat, same applies. You don’t have to remain somewhere that’s making you feel that way. Feel free to use the ‘block’ function on someone who’s bothering you incessantly in IM. (Unless of course it’s me, because as a Shelter Volunteer, I’m probably IM’ing you because you look naked and you need to fix it!)- Be wary of automatic group invites – look at the group info first and decide then if you want to join. Some stores have an auto-inviter as you arrive, which honestly I find irritating.
- – Respect others. Many people don’t want to divulge RL info, for instance, and that’s their prerogative. Similarly, don’t go wandering into people’s homes and try to use their stuff. This part can be a bit tricky, because there are many sims in the Destination Guide where there are both private and public areas, so I would say, “If in doubt, don’t go in there.” Pay attention to greeter notecards, accept and read them thoroughly, because your conduct will determine if the owner of the sim allows you to stay there.
- – There is no ‘get rich quick’ scheme that will work in SL. There are a few people who can manage to sustain themselves with revenue from SL but they are exceptional individuals who have invested a great deal of time and effort and yes, money, to get where they are, just like in RL. People often learn to make items and sell them to basically fund their virtual life expenses, and that’s a far more reasonable goal. Don’t accept or wear ‘Click me for L$!’ signs, and don’t click on someone wearing one, either. It’s a scam.
- – Jobs. Jobs in SL really don’t pay much, and most (reputable) places won’t even employ you until you’re at least 30 days old – this is because they want to know you’re actually going to show up and that you know how to navigate SL. DJ’ing is very popular as a gig, but you need to have your own stream and lots of music to make it happen, and that all costs money. Jobs should really be fun, so if you want to work in SL, make it the kind of work that you’d enjoy, because you’re not going to get rich from it.
- – Lag is ever-present, and while you can take steps to reduce it, it’s not going away anytime soon. It’s simply the nature of the internet.- Make sure that anyone who claims to be a Linden (working for Linden Lab) has the user name (NOT Display Name!) of name.linden in their profile.
- – When you’re getting changed, you don’t need to first remove the clothing you’re wearing. If you’re wearing a pair of pants and want to switch them out, just right click and select ‘wear’ on the new pair. They’ll replace your old ones without rendering you naked. Hopefully.
- – Don’t offer friendship to everyone in sight. Most people in SL prefer to get to know someone for a little while – and that doesn’t mean after you say “Hi!”
- – And finally, remember that everyone you interact with is a human being (regardless of their avatar’s appearance), and deserves to be treated like one.