Last week I talked about games within Second Life that you could play. In theory all of these games can be social, but just how do you get social through a game? It's much easier than you might think. Knowing where people hang out is the key.
Let's start with the obvious one, the Roleplaying Games. With these games you show up at a specific location as your avatar dressed and ready to pretend to be the character for the game. The good thing about meeting people this way is that you have a shared interest right off the bat- the game itself. As this is a game with an ongoing storyline, there is lots to get involved with immediately and 'performing' in role can also be a way to spark friendship and overcome any awkwardness of meeting new people. Before you know it you'll have a new friend and roleplaying groups also often have their own social network of sorts to stay in touch with people.
The Power of Groups
In Second Life you can join various groups based on your interests. One of the primary functions of all Groups is that they can have their own chat room. This is where the aspect of a social network comes in for the roleplaying games. People will join the group and through its chat room function they can talk or play with one another even if they aren't at the same location. But groups aren't just of use to roleplayers.
Shops and interest groups are one of the simplest ways to meet new people in Second Life.. Most groups have the chat function enabled and often random conversations will occur. Of course conversations will centre around the shared interest of the group, but you'd be surprised at the spontaneous interesting conversations that occur. Of course there's always the possibility of annoying conversations and people in these groups, but it's always easy to close the chat window or leave the group if it's irritating or just "not your thing".
Gathering in Person
This leads me directly to just how you'd get social with the other games whose interfaces are the on screen heads up displays, (HUDs). While these games may not have chat and contact facilities built into them, usually you can find groups that cater to these games. Sometimes there may even be sims, (in world locations), where players meet up in person to play together and socialise.
The last game I want to touch on that I mentioned in last week's column were club theme events. The club themes can bring a very wide range of people. Often the common denominator will be the music genre, but sometimes friends will bring others or even people will attend just because they like the club or DJ. So, there can be a wide range of people at themed club events. There's usually conversation happening in the local chat, so it's easy to be involved as much or as little in the conversations as suits you.
Of course your mileage may vary with all of the above ways of meeting people. As with any social interaction in the real world and maybe even doubly on the internet, there are people who we won't get along with and just get on our nerves. Not all of these ways will work, but there's always something for everyone. All you can do is give it a go and have a bit of fun playing a game and maybe make some new friends.