Late last night, dancing with Isa Goodman on Koru and catching up with each other on the week’s news and happenings, an interesting phenomenon developed – a neighbourly meeting!
Isa and I have adjoining parcels of land on the mainland, even though we mostly seem to meet up on Koru, and both of them are primarily gardens. In Isa’s case a quiet place to get away from things and in my case a large public garden that is visited and enjoyed by a wide variety of avatars, some of whom have become good friends. The existence of a large garden area appears to be an attractor to other garden builders and three of these neighbours, Zotarah Shepherd, Drongle Macmohan and Myah Juran all happened to be online at the same time – a relatively rare occurence. The three of them joined Isa and I on Koru and we exchanged neighbourly news and concerns as we all danced!
It was the first time that I had felt a different sense of community in Second Life. I have long felt at home in the virtual community of educators both on Koru and in other educational sims but here were 5 RL individuals, most of whom would never have met even in SL if not for being virtual neighbours. Over the past months we have offered each other support of various kinds and it was a pleasure to introduce Myah our newest neighbour to the others. We didn’t dance for long but it was surprisingly reassuring to know that we have a neighborhood in which we belong.
It reminded me to the PhD research that a NZ student, Archmunster Toll, is doing into how far the concept of nationhood extends into Second Life. His survey questions including several that ask after your sense of ‘belonging’ to the region that you have as your SL home. I was a little flummoxed when I saw the questions a month or so ago but I have finally begun to realise that I DO feel a sense of neighbourly community with other land owners in my home regions and that I have developed some pride that the sim and its surrounds are developing in a way that I find not only friendly but aesthetically tasteful too.
How long before someone designs us a flag and how will we feel about interlopers then !