Friday, May 25, 2007

Best Practices in Education

While many people, probably most people, don't approve of my SL profession, it must be said that I am in the business that requires more....hmmm... hands on teaching .... than any other in SL. I must train girls to look good, not just good, hot. I must train clients how to "interface" with the trade... is that still a current buzzword? Many times a client will come to a girl and not know how things work, like his own attachment. I am at the Best Practices in Education event in Outreach.

I'm sitting in one presentation where the, she sounds like she is a graduate student, is talking about a scavenger hunt. Her in world name is Catherine Soderstrom, and she is being very sensible and patient.

Her class was a scavenger hunt, and it is a reasonable exercise, because much of SL is a giant scavenger hunt. The question is always whether it is worth trying to search for a free object that does what you want, pay for it, or do it yourself from the beginning. Consider, if you will, the occuption of escort. You have to find things for your look, find places to meet clients, find clients, find a place to take them, or make it yourself.

The present said something very simple, but also very true right now: the orientation process doesn't stop with orientation island. She doesn't know the half of it. I would be willing to lay a very good wager that she didn't wake up this morning with "So you like to fuck?" in her message box. I would be willing to wager that a naked newbie with a cheap cock attached isn't going to wander into her class room and shout "I want to FUCK!" several times, and will have to have it patiently explained that, no dear, the whole of SL isn't one giant orgy room. She won't have someone come up to her, and when she refuses to "suck my dick now," be called a crazy bitch.

The escort is the first responder to the incoming wave of people, many of whom are looking for something that mere pornography can't provide. Educating these poeple in that hardest of SL lessons, namely, this isn't World of Whorecraft, is not pleasant.

As a result, she, like me, spends a good deal of time telling people about the mechanics of sl, what a HUD is for example. I won't tell you how long I was in SL before I knew what it stood for. And a good deal of time asking for feedback. My profession does too.

Her orientation also had several steps requiring students talk to people. This too is very smart, because SL is a game of people, not a game of things. Most of what you need to be better off today than yesterday, you can find from people. You don't need a job, I say over and over again, you need a life. And a life starts with friends.

The upper and lower worlds aren't so much different, however, the element of pressure is.


The other reality of my profession is strange one. That is, a society that is the product of centuries of slow stumbling progress towards humanism and liberalism, has formed, as its virtual doppelganger, an illiberal society. A society which preaches tolerance and equality, has "escort" as the entry level position for women in Second Life. A society which is proud of its democracy, and yet rushes into live in a virtual dictatorship with a cult of personality.

I am including myself in this. After all, the difference between crack and sl, is that I would never whore myself for crack. Clearly the most important education we need to do, is to ask ourselves why this is the case, why, when given the chance to build the egalitarian society of any kind, we spend a great deal of time create inequality, and simulating reality rather badly.

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