Following a signpost from Ziki Questi’s blog, I spent some time yesterday at ‘Second Life History’, an LEA (Linden Endowment for the Arts) installation by Sniper Siemens which presents a walk through SL’s history, from 2001 right up to 2014 (where a set of steps leads towards SL2).
It’s a fascinating virtual stroll and it’s particularly easy to linger on some of the photographs along the way, snapshots of a world that looks very different from the metaverse today. My only real complaint, in fact, would be that there weren’t enough of these. This got me thinking: personal snapshots are amongst the few inventory items not bound eventually to perish so long as they get saved out onto a hard disk before SL gets switched off; wouldn’t it be great if someone created a year-by-year collection of these, contributed to by as many different residents as possible?
Around the exhibit, information is also presented through a series of sculptures depicting key SL events in the order that they occurred. Personally, I’m most interested in the period before I joined (although it was still interesting to revisit some of the headlines from my own time in SL). Here are ten facts you may or may not know about that period:
- SL started out as ‘LindenWorld’ in 2001.
- ‘Da Boom’ was the first SL sim (and it still exists today).
- Stellar Sunshine was the first SL resident. She joined in March 2002 and is now aged 12 years and four months old.
- Linden Dollars were introduced in December 2003.
- The full range of basic prim shapes we have for building inworld today wasn’t complete until 2004.
- Teleporting was introduced in 2004, but it was only from one ‘telehub’ to another and you had to pay to use it. Free point-to-point teleporting as we know it today wasn’t introduced until December 2005.
- The free basic account wasn’t introduced until October 2005. Free accounts used to pay a L$50 stipend every week, but this stopped in May 2006.
- The first ‘gateway’ for the first hour experience was opened in November 2005 (Orientation Island).
- Megaprims were created by Gene Replacement aka Plastic Duck in 2006.
- A hack in September 2006 allowed access to residents’ real names, contact information and passwords.
The installation is only open until 30 July, so hurry over to take a look if you can. It’s an immersive reminder of what a fascinating story the tale of SL is, and one I count myself privileged to have witnessed unfolding.