Avatar Influencer Strawberry Singh

As She Celebrates 15 Years in Second Life, Avatar Influencer Strawberry Singh Discusses the Tedium of Creator Credits & Ways to Bring Back the Fun

Strawberry Singh SL blog credits Linden Lab

Strawberry Singh, who became the SL community’s top social media influencer and then went on to work for Linden Lab in 2019, has a new post celebrating her 15 years in the virtual world. It includes a surprising confession — she almost quit SL entirely, mainly due to the tedium of posting credits to her avatar fashion reviews:

I had been feeling like the creative light Second Life had always been for me was diminishing because I was getting bogged down with doing mesh head reviews. I have to be honest with you, I absolutely hated doing those videos. I had come to a point where I loathed all the time I was putting into reviewing things and sharing style credits and not being able to just be more creative and have the time to do fun things in Second Life.

“Writing out style credits for every single item I was wearing in each post was a lot of work back then,” she tells me. “I had so many blogs just saved as drafts at a time and I couldn’t publish them until I took at least 30 minutes to sit there and write out all the style credits. It was time-consuming, exhausting, and not fun at all.” (She hastens to add that she’s still glad she made those reviews: “[A]s much as I was tired of it at the end, I know how important those videos were and many people have reached out to me and said that they learned a lot from [them].”)

This is actually a common theme in SL social media, and a recurring complaint that comes up when Cajsa writes about Second Life fashion blogs — either the creator credits are non-existent, incomplete, or not informative enough for readers to know where they might buy those listen items. It’s the blessing and curse of a virtual world where everything is user-generated: If you’re really trying to give credits to every creator whose work is depicted in a screenshot, it’s a painstaking process where you will need to credit the creator of everything in view, up to and including the literal sky.

That to one side, Strawberry has ideas for how the community could inject more fun into the social media ecosystem of SL:

“I’d love to see more people get into creating videos. Either adding them to their blog posts or just sharing them on socials. Our avatars are beautiful and the animations available are just incredible too so to capture that on video, it looks amazing.” (See her Instagram video above for inspiration.) 

It’s why I did the OBS Tutorial again recently, because people kept asking me how to create videos. I hope it gets more people into doing that. Exploring and recording different destinations or making videos of their avatars dancing, and including their friends, etc. It will make their whole blogging experience more fun.”

Agreed! I’m somewhat biased, but I’ve enjoyed watching the Seracast videos for that very reason

As for a less tedious way of creating credit lists, Berry believes there’s a HUD which may do that, but forgot the production information. In other words, it’s difficult for us to credit the creator of a credit creator.

I actually think this might be something Linden Lab could better solve: As all this data already exists on the asset database, wouldn’t it be relatively easy to add a function which generates a list of all the creators associated with an avatar, including attachments and their current location on?

Update, 4:45pm PT: Berry just recalled there’s an output function for your outfit details, at least — in the official viewer. Watch below:

I just remembered there is a way to save your outfit details in the Outfits menu in the viewer. I made a quick video to show.

Alter Ego

FOX ‘s Alter Ego: A Mixed Reality Competition Show from Producers Who Don’t Understand Avatars or Why Virtual Worlds Make Them Real

Above: Pop star Grimes, who believes reality is a virtual world created by an omniscient AI, explains how Alter Ego works

Months after its producers began scouting among the Second Life community for avatar-based performers, the avatar-based reality competition show Alter Ego is here: Watch on Fox TV’s site

I just saw the first episode and I have mixed feelings about its mixed reality presentation. Fundamentally, the whole concept seems to be directed at an audience who don’t quite understand how virtual world avatars work, created by producers who definitely don’t know how they work. Which is strange, because the vast majority of the show’s target Gen Y/Z audience (I’m tempted to say all of them) have an avatar in Fortnite and other virtual worlds.

Speaking of which, as I suspected, the show uses Unreal, the graphics engine that also runs Fortnite:

To film, Alter Ego relies on 14 cameras, eight of which use advanced camera-tracking technologies. “It’s not something that’s done in post,” creative producer Michael Zinman — who previously partnered with Fox on The Masked Singer — tells Rolling Stone on the still-empty studio floor. Above our heads, thousands of Infrared Reflective (IR) markers — one-inch-by-one-inch silver squares that, essentially, create a map for these cameras — twinkle like a mini galaxy. The smart cameras then communicate with Unreal Engine, a video-game design software [sic!], to render the avatars in real time.

… The problem is, outside a virtual world context like Fortnite, the Unreal avatars seem strange and disconnected from the live audience and judges.

Alter Ego FOX reality show avatar virtual world Unreal

And while I like the concept of real people who were previously afraid to perform in real life, afraid they’d be judged on their real life appearance because they don’t fit the expected mold… that’s already a core concept to the reality show competition format! (Hello, Susan Boyle became famous for that very reason back in 2009.) 

No: The magic of avatars is not the 3D graphics in and of itself, but the immersive social context of the virtual world in which they appear. It’s why hundreds if not thousands of people now have full-time professions as performers in countless virtual worlds.

I’m hopeful the show succeeds but it’s hard to see that happening, especially after the mocap gimmick wears off. Again, it’s still missing the opportunity of recruiting virtual world-based performers like Skye Galaxy from Second Life or TFMJonny from VRChat to appear, bringing those worlds’ fanbases with them. to cheer them on. But maybe that’s coming up in later episodes.

If the show survives long enough, that is, because… yikes:

I’m working on the assumption that Alter Ego will be canned after a single episode, because for my own sake I have to place some faith in mankind. But if it isn’t, and this wretched series eventually ends up with a winner, then who will actually become famous? Is it the shy, fallible human who performs backstage with a camera stuck to their forehead? Or is it their perfect avatar? For the life of me, I hope it’s the former. Singing competitions have always carried a sheen of exploitation to them, so imagine how much worse it would be when you’re put to work as the workhorse component of a cartoon fairy. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Hand on heart, Alter Ego is the worst thing I have seen on television in a decade. Please, someone, fire this monstrosity into the sun so it cannot hurt us any more.

A very special thank you to Wagner James and nwn for this opinion post.

Have a Great week from all of us at Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands

Tammy’s Garden

As many of you know we lost a beloved staff member who had been apart of the Zoha Islands Team for many years.
She passed away April 15th, 2022. Along with the help of some close friends, Tammy’s Garden, in memory of Tammiedee Mayo, is now open to leave cards, memories etc for her family.

Feel free to come down and remember Tammy. The garden is on the site of her former home and even has 2 trees that belonged to her. All visitors are welcome to (and encouraged to) leave a sympathy notecard in one of the several tables located throughout the garden (please keep the sympathy cards family friendly as they will be shared with her RL  son). The garden will be open to the public until May 20th.



Second Life Creator in Occupied Ukraine

City Keeps Selling Her Virtual Fashion to Help Support Her Family. A Russian Friend is Assisting Her.

OSMIA second life Ukraine Russia

Among the many strange moments amid an utterly horrible war, this one must be the most surreal: Hanna of OSMIA, a leading Second Life brand, is a Ukraine citizen in real life, and since Russia’s invasion, has been hiding out in her now-occupied city. She is now nearly 7 months pregnant. But because OSMIA is a key income source for her and her now-growing family, she must still maintain her virtual world brand. And after many weeks of sporadic Internet service — what with a genocidal war happening around her — she was finally able to upload a new avatar fashion release, pretty clothes for glamorous, carefree avatars:

“I am from Ukraine and there is a war in my country, I am in a city under Russian occupation,” as she put it simply on her OSMIA Facebook page. “Now I have the Internet (for how long I don’t know). I was able to publish a release that was supposed to be released on February 25th.”

Click here for more details.

“I want to say a big thank you to the Kustom9 event and Rebel Gal for offering and giving me space for my latest release, which should have been released at the end of February,” she adds.  Notably, Rebel Gal is based in Russia, another Russian Second Life user among many who have rallied to help their Ukrainian friends while their government’s army ravages the neighboring country.

As for Hanna, who I communicate with on Facebook from time to time, I won’t say where she is now, except to say that she is thankfully much safer than she was last month. But like the rest of her nation, still far from being truly safe.

Our hearts go out to Ukraine ♥♥♥

Have a Great Week From All Of Us At Zoha Islands and Fruit Islands


Watch: Rising Indie Pop Star Aufwie Kickstarted

His Career in Second Life During the Pandemic — Now Here’s His First Music Video Shot in SL

After performing in Second Life during (and because!) of the pandemic lock down since last year, rising indie pop star Aufwie recently released his first music video shot in Second Life — watch above! Very nicely shot and edited by VRutega, Aufwie’s “throw me to the sea” because quite literal in the virtual world.

“[The machinima] uses the sea as a metaphor for oblivion and how someone can actually throw u into oblivion by forgetting about you, taking u out of their lives,” he tells me now. “Sinking as a metaphor of how depression pulls u down.”

His virtual performances in SL through 2021 helped him take his career to the next stage — both in the virtual world and across social media:

Aufwie & band IRL

The pandemic put me on a hard place by preventing me from performing in real life and doing any other type of musical activities,” as he put it to me back then. “And that’s when I started seeing it as an actual job and took a more professional approach.”

Since then he’s also launched a TikTok channel where many of his performances have gone fairly viral:

He is still, on top of that, performing on a regular basis in SL — click here to join his Discord to get gig announcements.

Something tells me he may be doing less SL shows soon, however, as he’s likely to be catapulted into the big time.

Aufwie SL pop start machinima TikTok

Thanks to his SL manager (yes he has a manager in Second Life) Dara, for the updates!

Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands


‘Second Life’ creator shares lessons learned from one of the world’s first metaverses

by Thomas Wilde on

Second Life is still consistently updated to this day, with its most recent patch shipping on March 14. (Linden Labs Image)

Philip Rosedale has spent a lot of time thinking about the “metaverse,” long before it became a buzzword in today’s tech world, and he’s got plenty of lessons to share with technologists building related software for the future.

Rosedale, founder of Linden Lab and creator of the open-ended construction/simulation game Second Life, recently spoke at Madrona Venture Labs’ Launchable event, sitting down for an interview with veteran tech exec Spencer Rascoff, who taped an episode of his podcast Office Hours.

Philip Rosedale.

Rosedale founded Linden in 1999, which went on to launch Second Life in 2003. Linden is currently headquartered in San Francisco, with satellite offices in Seattle, Boston, Charlottesville, and Davis, Calif. Rosedale served as its CEO until 2008, and is currently back at Linden as a strategic advisor.

Described variously as an online multimedia platform, a virtual space, and one of the overall weirdest experiences you could have on the internet in the 2000s, SL effectively blazed a trail for a lot of the base concepts that go into the current idea of the metaverse. This includes in-game currency, avatar design, and a peculiar, Web1.0-ish take on a decentralized economy. To this day, almost 19 years into its lifespan, there are people who make an actual living on what they can create within Second Life and sell to other users.

Players in SL participate in the world via a custom-made avatar, which can take just about any form, and can sculpt the world around themselves via a specialized programming language. Over the years, fans have created museums, stadiums, research centers, radio stations, and churches in SL, with several different nations going so far as to open virtual embassies.

That puts Rosedale in a unique position with regards to the metaverse, as he’s essentially been working off and on in the overall space since 2003. Most of what metaverse boosters have been discussing is something that’s already possible in Second Life, and Linden Lab has already had many of the problems that companies like Meta will have to deal with.

According to Rosedale, speaking off the cuff, roughly a million users still use Second Life today, but there aren’t a hundred million because “it doesn’t work for grownups yet.” The problem with an avatar is that it can’t match the amount of information that’s communicated by looking directly at another human’s face, which is why Rascoff’s interview was being held in a shared Zoom meeting rather than Second Life. An avatar can’t yet match the experience of a face-to-face human interaction.

“What happened at Second Life was that we were good enough for people who were committed enough to really want to live there,” Rosedale said, “and in many cases, to give up their real-life identity and project themselves wholly into a virtual world that they could call their own.”

“What I think we did right is that we gave them enough power and ownership over the space. We open-sourced our client early on.”

Rosedale also notes that content created for SL isn’t owned by Linden Lab, which is a principle the company took and stood behind relatively early in its run. “We did just enough to get a fire started there.”

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg uses a haptic glove research prototype intended to create a realistic sense of touch in the metaverse. (Meta Photo)

Conversely, Rosedale has “a lot of reactions” to Meta. “The biggest thought that I have is, ‘Oh God, not with that business model,’” he told Rascoff. “I was just at South by Southwest and I sat in listening to Neal Stephenson [author of the 1992 novel Snow Crash that created/popularized the terms “avatar” and “metaverse”], and he said the same thing, which delighted me. ‘Don’t use that business model.’”

In general, Rosedale painted a picture of the metaverse as potentially dangerous, particularly with regard to the integration of AI. As a metaverse gathers information about its users, it presents possibilities like the development of AI-based recordings of people that could potentially be mistaken for real.

Conversely, in Second Life, people have met, fallen in love, and gotten married. A real personal connection can take place, one that crosses cultural boundaries, despite that first meeting taking place behind avatars. Those connections, Rosedale says, have to be “intimate, real-time, [and] present.”

“[The Meta] advertising model has become a combination of surveillance and AI that’s designed to entice you, modify your behavior, draw your eyes away from something else,” he said. “The difference when you take that to the metaverse is that in the real world, where we know where the ads are. So we can ignore them.”

“Think what things would be like if that ended,” Rosedale continued, “if you were literally in the real world and the person walking next to you might be an advertisement. The existential risk of humans being placed in 3D spaces where you don’t know where the ads are, and where they’re empowered by the staggering amount of surveillance data you can get. I personally think there is no way we can go even a little way down that road, and some combination of regulation, good decisions, and a shared sense of what the dangers are will get us going the right way on that.”

Other takeaways from the interview include:

  • When asked to discuss his personal vision of the metaverse, Rosedale’s two big points are the transition from 2D to 3D, and “making the internet live.” Instead of the solo experience of browsing a webpage, a metaverse user would be able to use a site together with other people that they could see, identify, and communicate with.
  • Full-on, facially-attached computers as a metaverse interface are 10 years away, Rosedale thinks. Mobile devices are likely to get closer to that first as the technology matures.
  • Rosedale is vocally concerned about crypto as it relates to wealth inequality. “Crypto’s absolutely going the long way on that, as any economist can tell you. It’s making a small group of people richer than ever before, which is not what I think we need as a species right now.”
  • The utility of the in-game currency of Second Life, the Linden Dollar, is that it can be used to make small purchases. Most of the exchanges made in the in-app economy of SL, as users buy assets from professional SL crafters, are only a few dollars’ worth at a time. That granularity is going to be necessary for any metaversal cryptocurrency. A two-dollar purchase with a $40 banking fee is a non-starter.

Listen to the full interview with Rosedale in this episode of Office Hours.