I have been encouraging folks to join Second Life for genealogy lately, but maybe I haven’t been clear enough on exactly why you might want to do that, and what Second Life has to offer genealogist. As always, I’m just going to go at this based on my own experiences, and not on any particular expertise on the subject.
One of the main reasons to spend time in Second Life as a genealogist, is to learn more about genealogy. In Second Life, there are specific areas (Live Roots Genealogy Zone, Just Genealogy and the Genealogy Research Center) where you can read informative displays on many different aspects of genealogy, from DNA research, to Danish research. These are things you can do all by yourself at your own pace.
I absolutely love sitting around and 'talking genealogy' with other people who share my interests. (Anyone else's eyes just glaze over, don't they?) In Second Life you can participate in regularly scheduled group discussions or just stop by and talk with whoever is around. There is a regular calendar that includes scheduled chats and other events for the month happening in any of the genealogy areas. You can find a link to the calendar at any of the genealogy spots in second life, or here. The chats cover all sorts of different topics, and are generally very informal. A couple of these are hosted by Clarise Beaumont (also known as DearMYRTLE). She hosts discussions around the patio of the Second Life Family History Center, and others over at the Just Genealogy fire pit, where a white board shows slides during the presentation. For any of them, you don’t need to make a reservation of any kind, you just show up and take a seat.
Some people hold “Office Hours” - regularly scheduled times and places where you can go and discuss your research problems with professional genealogists, and anyone else who wants to join in the discussion. It’s always helpful to get another perspective on your problems, and the other genealogists in second life are always happy to help out.
There are also regularly scheduled “chill out” sessions over at the gazebo at Live Roots, where folks are invited to get together in specific areas, just to talk about whatever is on their mind - genealogy research strategies, brickwalls, or even just ‘aha’ moments. Its great to be able to share your successes with other genealogists who are just as interested and excited about it all as you are. Constantine Kyomoon is the Live Roots area’s non-stop genealogist, and is often around to greet visitors.
And anytime you care to stop by you might find a few other avid genealogists hanging around - not just when events are scheduled. They’re a friendly bunch, just like in Real Life. Most anyone you run into will be happy to help you with anything at all, from simple or complex genealogy questions to how to navigate around in Second Life.
3. HAVE FUN
Besides the fun events in the genealogy areas (dances, contests, displays) There are lots of things to do on Second Life (although I can’t imagine why you’d want to do anything other than discuss genealogical research). You can search for different interests you might have, and enjoy virtual museums of all kinds. Today my daughter took me to the International Space Station display, where we stood on a deck and looked at the earth below us from space. That was amazing. Or you can go on rides at a carnival, go line dancing at a western saloon, watch a Shakespearean play, or listen to live music! If you can imagine it, it’s probably already on Second Life.
If you’ve already signed up for Second Life, add me to your friend list - I’m Genie Weezles. And if you’re just finally ready to take the leap, be sure to follow the instructions at either http://www.liveroots.com/zone/welcome.html or http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/2009/07/interested-in-actually-joining-second.html
I've probably left out several other good reasons for getting a Second Life, but these are some of my favorites at the moment.
Hope to see you there!