New SL Viewer Proposal: The Hermit

My plurkfriends got to hear me babble on this yesterday, but I thought I would lay out in excruciating detail what I would very much like to see in a Second Life viewer.

As background: I run a few coffee shops in Second Life (the CocoaJava Cafe in New Babbage and the Java Jive in Seraph City). I also dance and help manage the New Champagne Rooms burlesque club in Seraph City. AND I both write and am Deputy Editor for the Primgraph and Prim Perfect magazines. So, I have fun stuff on my plate.

I am a sociable person, and my friends list currently holds exactly 200 names. However, I have a real problem with multitasking and living ‘in the moment’ with instant messaging. It’s just how my brain is wired.

Given all these factors, here’s a typical log-on for Ceejay:
1. Check the website to get a sneak peek at how many of my friends are online, so I can mentally brace myself.
2. Take a deep breath and log on.
3. Start accepting/sorting blue notices, inventory, notecards.
4. Watch as the IM windows start opening, one after another, usually topping out at about 20.
5. Begin talking in IM, trying my best to deal with conversations that will be brief so I can close the windows.
6. Get into the more extensive conversations.
7. Try to review my “to-Do” notecard as I juggle conversations.
8. Debate teleporting over to my cafes to do maintenance, wondering who will be there and how many conversations I’ll get into there too. Decide to wait.
9. Work my way through incoming posters and other notices I will need to hang on the cafe walls.
10. Realize I just totally missed replying to an IM sent 20 minutes ago. Placate annoyed friend.
11. Realize I have 5 minutes to change clothes and get to a scheduled commitment.
12. Scramble, get there, and continue fielding IM’s at the event, only half enjoying my surroundings.
13. Realize how late it is and log off.

Sometime after logoff, I remember I was going to build something, or visit a new sim, or settle in somewhere and write. Most likely, I never moved from the spot I landed in, unless I had an event to work.

This is all good stuff I am dealing with! I rarely ever deal with drama these days, and I absolutely love the projects I am involved with. But… where’s the ‘me’ time?

Saturday I made a decision. I turned off my entire friends list from view. That alone took ten minutes, as my viewer kept refreshing and showing me ghosted X’s where they were actually unclicked. 200 names at a slow pace takes a while. And then I updated my profile to let people know what I had done, and that I could still be contacted by IM and email – I was just trying to push the spotlight off myself a little. A long, thoughtful discussion resulted and though I know some people will be upset for not being the exception to the rule, I’m standing firm by this choice.

I want my Hermit Time back. And I want someone developing Viewers to think about the Hermits inworld. Here’s my wishlist for a perfect Viewer:

1. A one-click toggle to unclick ALL friends at once. And to turn it back on again.
2. An Away function that does not block Group chat, or mess with incoming inventory. (I can’t use the current setup, it’s messed up other functions too many times).
3. The ability to time-delay the sending of a blue notice. If I could set them up in advance and let them ‘drip’ at a later time, goodness that would be a help.
4. In addition to Busy and Away statuses, I want “Me Time” status.
5. The ability to NOT appear on peoples sim radars, mini maps, etc. Especially not as a special friend-color.
6. The ability to block Avatar Detectors that exist to show if someone is online even if they are not on your friends list.
7. The ability to hide my online status from group chat windows. This one is debatable I know – if I am taking the liberty to quietly read a group, they should be aware of who’s reading. So, it’s just a flippant wish, at best.
8. Seamless transfer of inventory (yes, I mean No Trans) between a main avatar and an alt. I am totally fine with ‘registering’ my research alt so their connection is known to Linden Lab. Basically – treat them as two halves of one avatar.

I’m sure my wishlist will strike a nerve with many. We all have unique second lives, and social needs, and plenty of other personal requirements. But this is my blog and what I want is to sometimes be able to explore, build, and write in Second Life in total peace.

When I walk outside my front door in First Life, I don’t phone up all my neighbors and announce I’m on the sidewalk. If I’m sitting in a park enjoying the sunshine, I don’t expect a friend three towns away to suddenly flop down on the bench with me. But in my Second Life, there’s no corresponding sense of solitude.

I love my friends. I run social venues, and I write for as many readers as I can. But I also think that the most beautiful sunsets exist in Second Life, and I would like to quietly enjoy some of them.

There’s nothing wrong with solitude. Let’s have a Viewer that embraces and celebrates it. Please?


  1. After 5.5 years of being a SL creator I completely agree with every single word!! I’m a hermit by nature. Love my me time, time to build, time to *think* about a new creative process, but it’s virtually (literally) impossible with the way SL handles privacy. Setting up business hours, auto responding, all great options but still ineffective as most ppl simply bypass them. Unfortunately if you do not respond, whether you’re afk, responding to other IMs or whatever, you’re deemed rude or impolite and have the casualty of having to apologize for not being attentive – enough.

    I, personally, would love all the features you propose. I hope a developer seriously considers them. Until then, happy hunting on your journey for peace and quiet 🙂

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