The 5th anniversary party for the Second Life Herald started at 2:00 SLT and by 2:40 SLT had to be moved to a different sim. At that stage, I was still in Real Life working on some editing for a local periodical but I was monitoring my Gmail chat and there was a message from Pixeleen Mistral alerting folks to the shift to the Woodbury sim.
By the time I got there, the place was full of names I recognized and people I didn't. It struck me that I have been writing pieces for the Herald since January 2008 and have never actually met anyone. And I'm not sure I still have. The place was a blooming, buzzing confusion with folks tossing web addresses for hastily created YouTube videos at me. By the time all the folks had rezzed for me, the Sim crashed. Kaput.
It took me a few minutes to log back in, choosing "My Last Location" as the entry point. Tragically, the location was still down because I ended up in my house. So I sat back, started chatting to Alice, and waited for some information from the group.
A message arrived that folks were moving to a new location - the party had become a progressive. Someone sent me a TP and I found myself underwater below the Temple of Iris! A few folks began appearing, including Pixeleen, who turned out to be shorter than I expected. We bantered for about 15 minutes about nothing much. Trivia at its finest.
Pix had to leave to make dinner. Somehow it seemed so ordinary and banal. And once she had left, the others dropped one by one back to wherever they normally hung out in Second Life. Or Real Life - I don't know.
And it's the not-knowing that I find so fascinating. I feel like I belong to a group that is made up of individuals, and that they is very little "groupiness" to it. I might also speculate that this is, in part, because of the nature of the Herald. One of the things that gives it the flavor of antagonism that it has is the fact that it isn't a "hobby publication" where a bunch of friends get together and play at being journalist. No, it is actually a focal point for a bunch of individuals who may well not even like each other, let alone know each other and hang out.
This is also a strength of the Herald. It can be sacred at times and then profane. It can focus on trivia and then substance. It can be praised and ridiculed in the same article. It can be scatological and then erudite. It swings from left to right, forwards and backwards, offending and delighting at the same time.
Five years and still going. All in all, that's not bad for a Second Life publication (although it admittedly started in the Sims environment). It's fun to be part of it. It remains one of the two publications in SL that I prefer to spend my time on, the other being SLentrepreneur.
My time in SL lately has been less. Real life has some priorities but that doesn't mean I'm about to leave. What I'm doing is the same as Mony - developing a balance. Her balance is tipped much more toward the Real Life end of the scale, and that's what she needs! Mine is too, but I still spend a few hours per week in-world.
I have two new Herald investigations to work on, I have completed an article for FreeLife, and I have two others to chase for SLentrepreneur. Toss in the odd piece for the Metaverse Tribune - which is struggling a little at the moment to remain topical since Runeswan Ceawlin left - and that should fill my plate.