I happened to log in world the other night while Itazura Radio and several other of my friends were recording the Coronaverse podcast. After we finished up, Itazura took us on a field trip to see one of the latest projects he’s been working on as a Mole, Social Island.
Itazura was one of the first people I ever met in Second Life, and has been a good friend for years. But it wasn’t until fairly recently that I found out his (then) secret identity: Abnor Mole. The Moles are a team of builders contracted by Linden Lab as part of the Linden Department Of Public Works. They’re the ones responsible for the roads that run through Mainland like Route 8, as well as contributing to some of the builds you see in places like Bay City, Zindra, Second Life Birthday events, and now- Social Island.
Social Island is one of the new starting areas that acts as the initial landing point for people entering Second Life for the first time. It’s a lot more friendly than the old Infohubs of the past, like Ahern. And unlike the more recent starting areas where you can’t return once you leave- anyone can go visit Social Island. The first thing you see when you teleport to the island is a series of tiki huts set out in the water, connected by a winding dock. I thought this was really pretty!
Following a path up a nearby hill, I encountered this interesting structure that contained multiple portals that were labeled “Music”, “Art”, “Social”, “Wilderness”, etc. I assume this is a more ‘physical’ representation of the Destination Guide, and I think it’s a good idea. Someone new to Second Life is probably more focused on exploring their environment and I think flipping through a bunch of search panels might break their immersion. I think this is a good jumping point to send them off into the world for more exploration. My only complaint is that it seems kind of off the beaten path. Tucked between a couple of mountains, it isn’t that noticable. Although in retrospect, that is actually the beauty of Social Island. A far cry from the earlier infohubs- this place is packed full of hidden places of interest and things to explore. This is my third time back, and I find something new every time.
Despite the lack of people in these pictures, Social Island is actually quite full. Although I notice that the majority of people seem to congregate on the platform at the center of the island, and don’t tend to stray from that spot to explore unless they see someone else nearby the interact with. While taking pictures, I would start out as the only person there. But within moments, more and more people would start to show up.
This ‘zen’ mediation spot is probably my favorite place on the island. There is a rain storm here, with lightening and thunder, and you can see the raindrops on the stones. I was the only person in this section but by the time I got my camera lined up, someone had followed me and fell into the pool and was floundering around, trying to get out. I stuck around for a few minutes, messing with different angles and photos. By the time I got out of Flycam mode and looked around, there were two people stuck in the pool and a couple more clustered around me.
From the landing platform, you can follow a glass walkway down to another of my favorite spots- Club SL.
This place is very well done! It features several club and lounge areas overlooking a pool area and dance floor. I recommend paying extra special attention to the chairs at the bars.. there is more to them than meets the eye.
As I said before, there are a lot of hidden little nooks and crannies to discover. Some of them are easier to find than others.
I especially liked the H2O Lounge. I almost missed it the first time I was here, since it’s kind of tucked underneath the dance floor. Easy to overlook if you aren’t paying attention, but I think that’s part of the charm. Once you go inside, you’ll see a private little swim-up lounge area. It reminds me a lot of the swim-up bars that are popular in many of the hotel pools in Las Vegas.
All of these places are just a part of Social Island. I left several things out- partly because there are just too many things to show. And partly to encourage you to go explore for yourself! I think I might come back sometimes just to meet some new people who are just entering Second Life for the first time, and maybe help them out a bit. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the habit of just hanging out with your own social circle. Stepping outside of your comfort zone to meet someone completely new might not always be easy to do. But sometimes, that’s how the best friends are made.