Joining Second Life

When you join Second Life you have the option of joining as free Basic or a Premium member (which starts at US$9.95 a month). When exploring Second Life for the first time it’s best to take out a Basic account which can be later be upgraded to a Premium one if needed. Most things in Second Life can be had for free although you’ll need to be a premium member if you want to buy land.

Head to and click Get Started. The registration process is straightforward.

No-one in Second Life goes by their real name. They adopt a Second Life version which is inevitably exotic because most ordinary names have gone. Second Life is said to have more than two million residents. When selecting your last name you’ll notice a Second Life in-joke: several of the surnames belong to famous rugby players.

When selecting your avatar bear in mind that eventually you will significantly change its appearance. Pick a simple one – like the Boy or Girl Next Door. They have basic shapes and clothes which are easier to modify later on when developing more original looks. You won’t keep your avatar’s existing looks for long once you’re in Second Life because they broadcast the fact that you are a noob (not a cool look if you’re looking for romance). You might also notice the furry animals – this is your first inkling of the weirdness you’ll come across in Second Life. Many members choose to join Second Life as animal characters and even have romances with others cute pets. This tutorial will stick to people.

The wholesome look of the Boy Next Door – a popular starting look for many guys but you can be sure most men will eventualy modify their avatars. Predictably they will them turn into hunks with bodybuilder physiques buccaneers Rambos or cool dance club DJs. We’re yet to come across any male Second Life resident with an avatar that’s short fat and balding or which looks like an accountant. If their Second Life appearance is a reflection of their fantasy selves most men are not interested in looking intelligent but more like action heroes.

Like the Boy Next Door the Girl Next Door is easy to modify. If the guys eventually change their appearance to look like hunks the girls eventually change theirs to look like tall leggy vamps. If aliens were to land in Second Life they would be convinced most women in it make a living on the catwalk. We’re yet to come across any that look like frumpy librarians (although we did see one girl avatar who’d padded herself with extra weight).

Signup is straightforward. Never mind that our tutorial’s avatar has ended up with a name like Jeb Arado.

At this point you don’t have to upgrade to Premium. You can enjoy Second Life by living on freebies but you may want to upgrade if you want to buy land or enjoy other privileges later.

Done. Now you’ll just need to activate your membership from the email Second Life sends to the email account you’ve provided.

When you’ve activated your account from the email sent to you by Second Life you’ll get a link to a download of the Second Life client. Make sure your computer can handle a graphically intensive environment and that you have a fast connection.


Next: Firing up the client and Orientation Island