What’s In A Name?

There has been one thing that has always niggled me in Second Life, ever since I first joined in 2015. It’s something that I’ve been stuck with for as long as I can remember.

That something is the username that I chose when I signed up. For various reasons, including the state of mind I was in back then, I opted for a username (all one word) starting with ‘sissy’.

While I’ve changed the name that is displayed to most people in Second Life, multiple times, over the years, that username has been fixed in stone. Until now.

And for whatever reason — either the person didn’t look at my display name in Second Life, or had the display of that name turned off in their viewer app — some folks would invariably address me as ‘sissy’.

That was a name I no longer identified with, and it made me cringe when I was addressed as such.

Prior to 2010, Linden Labs, the owners and creators of Second Life, had allowed newcomers to pick both a first and last name. However, they decided to phase out that system, and people joining subsequently had just a first name of their choice and the last name ‘Resident’.

Just over a year ago, Linden Labs started teasing the prospects of Last Names returning, and allowing users the option to change their username entirely. There were some caveats, however. This option would only be available to Premium account holders. And as in the past, the options for Last Name would be limited to a rotating list of options, with those options being removed from selection once a certain criteria was met.

They finally launched the new system this month, to a mixed response. As well as the requirement of a paid-for Premium account, each name change would cost US$40. Many have balked at that expense. However, while I sympathise with those concerns, for me the overriding one was that I could finally have a username that more closely matches who I am now.

So, this past week, I ponied up the monies, and now I’m ‘Spiffy Voxel’. I had originally thought that I’d wait in the hope that the option for the last name of ‘Spitfire’ might become available. But since most folks now know me in Second Life as Spiffy, I opted to use that as my first name. ‘Voxel’ was one of the few options currently on offer that struck a chord with me.

Other than needing to change the login details I use with the Firestorm viewer — and then restore my viewer configuration and conversation archives — there isn’t that much difference in how I go about in Second Life. But in my head, it feels ‘right’ now.

An unnecessary extravagance? Perhaps. But it mattered to me that people address me in Second Life as who I am now, not as who I used to be in the distant past. 🙂


    1. I’ve added some extra widgets to the footer of my blog, hope that helps. I think following on WordPress.com only works if you’re logged into WordPress.com when you visit. (Mine is self-hosted, but connected via JetPack.)

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