My (virtual) life is my message. - Mahatma Gandhi

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Save the Planet ~ Live Virtually

Wow, February already? Somehow the days since Christmas have slid by through January in a flurry of activity.

Contrary to being bored while I wait for my visa, I have found the days too short, too many things on my to do list for not enough hours.  What on earth have I been doing with myself, some may wonder, that takes so much time and energy?  And my official answer would be, designing virtual clothes for our online business.

I know the terms "virtual" and "online" are sometimes hard to take seriously.  The limitless potential of the internet, after all, is still in it's formulative stages.  At this time we stand at the cusp of a new age, the rules are still being thought of and for many of us the internet is still a place to check email once a week and not much else.

To others of us, myself included, the internet has quickly settled in to our daily lives and become an integral part.  We bank, shop, date, stay updated, socialize and research all from our keyboards.  I won't even get into porn, that's another arena I'll leave for others to cover.  Suffice to say that to some of us, the internet is the bomb, and without it our day is, well.... bombed.

Recently I've turned to the internet to fill a need that my present day 'afk' world can't.... working.  As I wait in Australia (I've been here 6 months as of today) for my visa to be approved, I found myself in a one room flat with hours to occupy while my other half is at work. 

I'm not naturally a tv watcher, I don't drive here yet and I haven't gotten to know anyone well enough to be friends.  So I turned to a little virtual design business my husband and I had started together last year to keep myself occupied...and woke up an obsession.

Our business, House of SilverJinx, designs products for virtual lifestyles, specifically in the internet world of Second Life.  We make a variety of products for 'the sl lifestyle' and sell them in an online marketplace as well as 'inworld'.  Real people purchase our products, paying us in Second Life currency known as Lindens.  We regularly exchange our Lindens for real life US currency.  So, even though we are designing virtual items, we are reaping real rewards.

When we started our little business it wasn't anything serious.  We had a few items up on the market which we promptly forgot about until we cashed in our earnings.  In around one year, off of a handful of items, we had made over $600.  The wheels started turning in my mind, and I started to wonder what would happen if I worked at this 'game' like a 'real business'? 

So that's where I've been, sitting in our private studio and slaving away over textures, prims and scripts, creating marketing campaigns and setting up inworld shops.  Things are going very well, and surprisingly I'm finding the whole business very satisfying on many levels.  The experience has opened up a new concept of virtual value to me. 

Big businesses like IBM are using Second Life for conferences, colleges are teaching courses...there are television broadcasts, radio stations, music videos, banks, malls, churches, nightclubs, cultures, sub cultures, villages, amusement parks... all in a world that runs on thought and electricity.  My virtual creations will never rot in a landfill or choke wildlife.  It sounds good to me, and I'm hooked.

As far as I'm concerned, save the planet ~ live virtually!

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