black-and-white photo of 2 women standing side by side and against a wall. One has a big smile when the wind blows the other's hair.

Friends List – February

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

black and white photo of two women against a wall. One is smiling and looking at the camera, the other is yawning with the wind blowing her long, dark hair into her face

I sent notecards out to my 36 SL “Friends” whose names begin with “A” or “B” in January. I requested an hour to spend with my “Friend.” 3 people IM’d that it was a cool project. 3 more IM’d that they’d like to meetup. And by the time January was over, I’d only actually seen one of them, Ama Ree, on January 1.

Undaunted, here is Mining My Friends List – Chapter II – February. This month I’m sending out to my 29 friends whose names begin with “C” or “D”. Here’s hoping I can see more of my C-D friends than the 3% of my A-B friends I managed in January.




Dear
Calliope Novaland
Calliope Lexington
Candice Wang
Carabella “Cara” Babii
Carina Larsen
Cas (Casondrenee Whybrow)
Cathy Zong
Chantal Harvey
Charlie (Agnes Sharple)
Cheese Powder
Cheyenne (Monerda Skute)
Chi5 Shenzhou
Chicadd
Cinnabar (Nightingale Xuanzang)
Cole Marie Soleil
Comet Morigi
Connie Arida
Cookie Salamander
Crazy Girl (Semra Styles)
Curt Kongo
Dagmar Eberhardt
Daniel Voyager
Danika Messerchmitt
Dino Ferina
Diptheria Glas
Dividni Shostakovich
Dominique Easterling
Douglas Story
Draxtor Despres,

Although I just included you as 1 of 29 recipients from the “C-D” part of my SL friends list, I mean this notecard to be anything but impersonal. Despite the slightly spammy distribution, I’m saying Hello! to YOU, wishing YOU Happy Valentine’s Day, and hoping that YOU AND I can get together sometime in February.

I’ve been thinking about my “Friends List.” Or my Friends Lists. My 1,003 Facebook “friends,” my 289 SL “friends” and so on. What is a “friend” anyway? IRL you might get someone’s card at a conference, and on arriving home, not quite remember who they are. In oldschool RL, people like your plumber might have been in your “Rolodex.” That didn’t necessarily mean they were your “friend,” but they were a good “contact” to have. In cyberspace today, Facebook calls them “Friends,” LinkedIn calls them “Connections,” and Google+ calls them simply “People.”

As a pretty social place, perhaps it’s appropriate that SL calls them “Friends.” Even so, like that RL stack of business cards from the conference, adjacent names in your SL Friends list might represent good friends, acquaintances, and who-were-they-again? It’s no shame: you do an event, have a conversation, add a “friend,” and then time goes by. Sometimes we get busy. Sometimes we forget.

Still, I’ve been staring at my SL Friends List recently, wondering who everyone is, both in the metaphysical, and individual senses, and thinking that a friends list should mean more. That it should at least mean that it’s someone you spend an hour a year with! So, I’ve decided to do just that. I’m reaching out to all my “A-B” friends in January, “C-D” friends in February, “E-F” friends in March… and finishing up with all my “W-X-Y-Z” friends in December 2015.

If you’re interested, and if your schedule permits, I’d like to spend an hour with You anytime in February 2015. We could have coffee, or a beer. We could go shopping, or dancing. We could look at art, or make some. Whatever you like.

If you’re interested, drop me an IM or Notecard in-world, or an email to vanessa@blaylock.nl, with a few days / times that work for you.

Happy Valentines Friend!
Here’s to a wonderful 2015!
Hope to see you in February!

Love,

Vanessa Blaylock's signature

Photo: * B&W 1 by Elizabeth Albert

About Vanessa Blaylock

I was the Choreographer at Vanessa Blaylock Dancers and the Artistic Director at Vanessa Blaylock Company. Today my work focuses on Public Art projects. I'm interested in the mediation of perception and mixed reality performance works. I'm passionate about community and civil rights in cyberspace.

4 thoughts on “Friends List – February

  1. Thank you for actualizing another great idea for creating and sustaining a true virtual society!

    Can’t wait til you get to “R!”

    1. You know, I certainly didn’t expect to meetup with 100% or even 50%, but so far out of my 65 A-B-C-D “friends” I’ve only metup with 1: Ama Ree.

      There could be many reasons for this:
      1. I suck (or am boring / offputting / too weird / etc)
      2. SL peeps like spontaneity, and hate scheduling things
      3. Notecards get lost and not read, or are just too impersonal

      Not sure I can to do too much about #1 or #2, but for #3, I think for the March “E-F” batch I’ll skip the notecards and send each person a personal IM and see if the numbers go up any.

      Whatever it means, the idea that only 2% of your “friends” are willing to spend 1 hour / year with you is pretty thought provoking! 😀

      IDK how even to say this without seeming EMO about it, but perhaps for 2016 I’ll just unfriend everybody and start from scratch!

  2. Cool initiative. I cannot help but feel the word “friend” slightly loses its strength in the context of FB and other social media. Or at least, I find myself sighing deeply each time I end up making a profile on some website and can add “friends”.

    Then again, in gaming worlds my friends list feels more real, because it consists of people I hang out with and do fun things with – and isn’t that what friends do? Even though most are probably vague friends… but they are friends of a sort nonetheless.

    Anyway, in case you make it to R (it seems that’s getting a popular letter!) I’d happily dust off SL to meet up. If I’m even on that friend list, as in SL days my Ravanel is still very much a newborn.

    1. Great to hear from you Rav! And a pretty interesting point. Platforms like FB do have a shallowness to them. I think their strength is from your outside connections that it is a presentation of. I think it’s challenging to really connect to peeps you only know thru FB.

      On the other hand, Virtual Worlds, MMORPG’s, yes the’re “virtual” and “online”… but they have a different, more embodied sort of Placefulness than FB et al. You’re right, it’s still hard for a “good” MMORPG friend to have the same relationship as a “good” RL friend, but even if lighter, there’s some aspect of it.

      It’s interesting to note that we launched Medici University in January twenty-fourteen, but it wasn’t till January twenty-fifteen when we got 6.5 hectares of virtual land that the place really took off.

      It went from “Virtual University” to… well… “Virtual University.” But Virtual University with 6.5 hectares of land that avatars can walk around on and make stuff and leave it there for months… is different from Virtual University that exists only on FB, Blogs, etc.

      I keep wanting to refer to the current MU as “real” or “physical” or “real virtual” or “physical virtual” or something like that, to distinguish it from the 2014 MU. Anyone could have “signed up ” at 2014 MU and done a program… but it took a “real virtual” or “fake physical” or something, campus to really launch it.

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