The Emperor has no clothes, and neither does Muffy Vandeverre

WJIL[reposted from WebJunction Illinois' blog, dated May 3, 2007]

Innovation and open-mindedness are essential in our business. A dose of honesty never hurts either. So, here comes my confession and thoughts.

I started my Second Life about six months ago. I was anxious to join people on Info Island and demonstrate this emerging technology and means of interaction as I spoke to library groups. I created my avatar (free of course) and jumped right in. I didn’t need an orientation, I just wanted to get to the cool library stuff.

Thus, Muffy Vandeverre was born. She is a furry. As I prepared my demonstration I was horrified as I tried to change my scandalous outfit. Wardrobe malfunction took on a whole new meaning as pieces of clothing slipped off while I frantically tried to cover-up. I was one of those kids who dreamed about giving a speech in front of their 5th grade class with only their underwear on. With nowhere else to turn, I relied on my tech-savvy socially-networked 17-year old daughter. Not even she could return my dignity and leave me with an outfit that my mother would approve of. Never in a million years would I consider myself satisfied with hot pants and a tube top, but that was the best we could do. Actually, I was finally successful in getting a Bradley University Library t-shirt. It must be 100% cotton and I think someone dried it on high – it looks more like painted skin.

After spending over an hour trying to make myself presentable, I did what any self-respecting person would do. I looked for a self-help book. Luckily, “Second Life, the offical guide” had just been released. It was the only book returned on an Amazon search for “second life.” Try it today and there are 16 titles. Maybe if I read them all I will be able to do something besides fly and sit. Actually the first book taught me some very important things about SL.

  1. Don’t ignore the orientation – and keep all the notecards you gather on your first journey through Help Island. If you don’t you’ll need a second avatar to collect them. Oh yes, that second avatar will be $9.95 please and yes, I got one. She is very respectable and fully clothed.
  2. Just like in real life, understand your milieu before you go wandering around. I chose a furry as my avatar because I thought they were cute. Then I discovered furries have a reputation – I know, stereotypes aren’t always accurate.
  3. Clothes do make the man. And a lack of clothes makes for an embarrassing public meeting.

I’m not giving up yet, but I have a good idea whether the Emperor is wearing boxers or briefs. And I sometimes have to suppress a giggle as I hum to myself, “It’s hip to be square.”

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