Saturday, July 13, 2013

Take The Plunge


So you've decided to try becoming a digital mermaid/merman in Second Life? This article is written from the perspective that you have already gone to, downloaded the software, signed in as a new member with your own unique mer name, chosen a legged avatar and gone through some of the newcomer orientation resources provided for those legged people. YOU, my soon to be friend, are ready to take the plunge!

With a minimum of description, let me give you a list of the things to do – to give you a good solid start on the process of becoming a mermaid or merman in Second Life. This is not meant to explain all the details of everything (they change often enough that you are better off discovering them in-world yourself). It is meant to give you direction. You will have to talk with other mers and read some of the materials prepared to get the detailed instructions. There is much more to do than this checklist, of course – this is meant as a guide to get you started.


1. JOIN THE SWF GROUP: Use the Second Life program search feature and find the Safe Waters Foundation group and the Safe Waters Foundation headquarters landmark. Hint: For some silly reason, sometimes our group doesn't pop up in search – the complete and correct name to use is !!!Safe Waters Foundation!!! – give that one a try. Once you have found the group information for Safe Waters Foundation (SWF for short), join by clicking on the join button. 

2. TELEPORT TO SWF HEADQUARTERS: You may have already discovered our headquarters in search. If not, get there now. Teleport to the headquarters location. You should land at the welcome desk. Get a copy of the SWF toolkit – it is on the desk and looks like a huge big tool box. You’ll have to open it to get some very helpful note cards and a few freebies. Headquarters is a place to find a lot of help – both in group chat and around the location. Walk around the building, and outside too. Be curious and explore!

3. FIND THE GIFT POOLS: While exploring- watch for the Safe Waters Foundation (SWF) gift pools (hint: outside the building by the amphitheatre). Inside the black pearls are free mermaid/merman tails. You can get the content from each of the pearls by clicking them and choosing to purchase each for zero $L (linden dollars – the currency in SL). Get all the mer tails that are in there. There is also a great self-help Guide for Young Mermaids (and Mermen) in the pools – authored by Leslie Beaumont. Grab her guide and all the other free gifts – they are great and fun to play with – but remember our focus right now is to transform you into a mermaid or merman. 

4. TRANSFORM: To be a mer you need a tail and an animation override (AO). There are free mer AO’s (stand alone, and some tails come with an AO included). If you get one of the free tails that doesn't have an AO with it, just look in inventory and you can wear a mer AO from one of the other free tails. When you are wearing both (AO and tail), look at yourself friend – you are transformed!

5. MOVE AROUND AND LEARN TO BE MER: Take some time now to swim around. Enjoy the beauty and get used to your new form. Are you having fun yet? Now, there is a lot more information to learn – many more options for you to become the mer of your dreams. My suggestion is to explore initially by yourself, and when you run into something that you just can’t figure out or you are ready to start asking more questions – it is time to find another mermaid or merman. 

6. FIND A MER FRIEND: The most frequent questions we get is “how do I find other mermaids and mermen?  There are many answers of course, as we are creative creatures. I suggest you send an instant message (IM) to the Safe Waters Foundation (SWF) group chat. You can also find other mer groups and mer sims by exploring the adboards on the walls of headquarters.  Teleport around until your find someone! Please join those other mer groups to find ones that fit your time zone and style.  SWF is currently the largest mer group in Second Life – which is why I suggest you first sending an IM into the SWF group chat to broadcast across many mer at once. Of course, be polite and don’t spam. You will find the majority of merfolk friendly and helpful. 

7. CONTACT A MER MENTOR: Another suggestion is to find a Mer Mentor – a section of headquarters will show you which if any are online. Mer mentors are experienced mer with the heart to help new merfolk. They are volunteers – if you will go to the Mentor desk you can see if they are online and contact them. One popular SWF Mer Mentor, Blithe Binder (blithe.lorefield) describes her approach:
When someone contacts me, the first thing I do is find out if it is a casual inquiry or if they are ready to take the plunge, so to speak. Usually it is the latter, so I get them signed up to the SWF group right away, and tell them that even if I'm not on when they have a question, they can always inquire in the group chat and everyone is so helpful. I also encourage them to attend the meetings. Then if they have time, I take them to find a free tail and AO, so they can get the feel of it. I "converted" three ladies the other night and every one of them loved the feeling, describing it as feeling so free. 
We explore the SWF Headquarters and I encourage them to always feel free to ask questions, and before they know it, they'll be zipping along through the seas reflecting their own personal mer style! - Blithe Binder, SWF Mer Mentor
So don’t be scared or shy, everyone comes to Second Life with a different set of skills and we want you to get the help you need. You can see which mentors are in-world behind our Mentor Desk at headquarters.

8. QUESTION AND KEEP LEARNING: The SL world is always changing, and there are an infinite number of possibilities of things to explore in SL. With regard to being mer, some questions to explore with your new friends would have to include:
a) Getting a better than free AO
b) Where to find freebies
c) Favorite designers and styles of tails
d) Resource sims, web sites and blogs
e) How to dance
f) Organizing your inventory
g) Where to role-play or any of the other activities possible in mer form (including snail racing, mer races, mer Olympics, group swims, explore the Blake Sea, whale and pirate adventures – it’s a long list!)
h) How to use outfits (free or purchased) to mix/match outfits and create your own unique style
I hope you have found this post helpful in starting a digital mermaid existence in Second Life. Some of us are serious mers (always wear a tail) and others find they enjoy using any number of avatars. You can be anything you want in SL. We welcome comments below and hope to improve this document over time. Every trip starts with a first step (or draft *smile*).

Please come back to the Digital Mermaid blog for more information and ideas. We would especially like to get your ideas on other topics we could share (email them to The goal is to get you one blog-post a week – on being a mermaid in the virtual world!

* There are lots of resources for finding help in Second Life.  You may want to explore much more than the merm option once you get there.  We highly recommend Selby Evan’s blog, Virtual Outworld to get a lot more very accurate and up to date information on using Second Life and other virtual worlds.  Here is his web link.

There is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) in the SWF information kiosks.  They are located near either of the main entryways.  The look like a little stand and have a topic showing on screen.  Use the buttons to click through all the offered information until you find the frequently asked questions screen.  Click the screen to receive a free note card on that topic.  If you don’t find what you want there – please do instant message (IM) or send a note card (NC) to myself (GraceSWF Wrigglesworth) so we can update!

Author: GraceSWF Wrigglesworth, SWF Founder and CEO

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This blog is not affiliated with Second Life or anything else.

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