What is Second Life?

Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by millions of people from around the globe. While the Second Life interface and display are similar to most popular multiplayer online games, there are two key, unique differences:
  1. Creativity: Second Life provides near unlimited freedom to its Residents. This world really is whatever you make it, and your experience is what you want out of it. If you want to hang out with your friends in a garden or nightclub, you can. If you want to go shopping or fight dragons, you can. If you want to start a business, create a game or build a skyscraper you can. It’s up to you.
  2. Ownership: If you choose to own land to live, work and build on, you pay a monthly lease fee based on the amount of land you own. You also own anything you create—residents retain intellectual property rights over their in-world creations.

What can I do in Second Life?

  • Create: In Second Life you can create anything you can imagine with powerful, highly flexible building tools, using geometric primitives and a simple, intuitive interface. Start with creating your avatar, the easy-to-use tools let personalize it any way you like, from the tip of your nose to the tint of your skin.
  • Meet People: Within your first hour, you'll notice that several residents approach you and introduce themselves – Second Lifers are eager to welcome you and show you around. Within this vibrant society of people, it's easy to find people with similar interests to you. At any time there are dozens of events where you can party at nightclubs, attend fashion shows and art openings or just play games.
  • Own Land: Owning land in Second Life allows you to build, display, and store your virtual creations, as well as host events and businesses.

What does Second Life have to do with women and history?

At the 2009 SAWH Conference at the University of South Carolina, Randolph Hollingsworth presented a short teaser on how gender and identity might be intriguingly explored by students, educators and researchers using Second Life as a platform for immersive learning. See her presentation, "Gender and Women's Bodies in Second Life: Exploration and Problem-Solving in a Virtual World" Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated - add them to the discussion area by clicking on the Discussions tab at the top of this page.