Maybe Age Does Matter in Second Life

Pirates Keep (moderate)

I saw a comment, somewhere, in response to the news that Second Life was going to be on Steam↑. The individual wasn’t impressed with this news because SL “is full of old people”. My first two reactions were “How can you tell?” and “So?”. What possible difference could it make?

Pirates Keep (moderate)

People have enough trouble figuring out gender, suddenly age will be an issue? Maybe we could make all of the residents over 30 wear grey stars on their sleeves just to make it easier on the young’uns to avoid contamination.

After fussing with this on and off for weeks I’ve reached some conclusions. *grin*

Disclaimer: I’m speaking in generalities but recognize that my comments won’t be applicable to everybody.

Pirates Keep (moderate)

I think there is a difference – but it’s not that people my age are creakier, stodgy or boring (which is what I assume he meant). I think the difference is in attitude. Us older folks, for one thing, don’t consider last week’s Real Housewives of Anywhere or Honey Boo Boo as history (or even interesting). More experience and knowledge also means we have a different context for things (and can quote more than Lindsay Lobotomy).

As age relates to Second Life though, the difference is important.

Pirates Keep (moderate)

I suspect, although I’m sure many will insist I’m wrong, that it is those of us with more mileage who still have a sense of wonder about what we can and are doing on the grid. It’s that constant sense of appreciation for the potential that might set us apart from the recently post-pubescent.

I believe that the people who recognize the advancements offered by the metaverse  are the ones doing the most to seize on that potential. Those who take it for granted are the ones who wait to be spoon-fed the results and focus on their entitlements.

That’s fine – just don’t be surprised if we take our pound of flesh. Dissing us won’t reduce the price we’ll someday make you pay. :)

Pirates Keep (moderate)
Leave a comment


  1. Lacewing Mesmeriser

     /  October 14, 2012

    I can usually pitch a guy the correct side of 30 writhin 3 sentences when he’s flirting, sadly for lots of negative reasons (but am happy to be wrong now and again).
    Also (huge generalization again, sorry) the younger guys are less likely to wear long hair. Not worked out an equivalent system for female avatars yet though.

  2. Sometimes I think age is even more of a dirty little secret in SL than whether one’s avatar is the same sex as one’s physical body (the importance of which eludes me). In any case, according to Linden Labs, residents’ age trends above 35. I have graying anatomy myself, and I know very few people under 45 — but that’s probably the result of who I spend time with. I’m willing to bet that if everyone over 40 left SL, 75% of the creative types (including clothing and hair designers, scripters, artists, and animators) would be gone.

    Lacewing — some of my female friends (over 40) gave me a makeover, and among other things, they made me wear shorter hair. Go figure.

  3. Age always matter. And, I never thought I’m alone in this, I always had a good perception of the age of other people I meet on the grid (a few surprises here and there taken as what makes the life interesting). Age does affect the way we perceive the world and the way we perceive and express ourselves. it’s visible, at least to us with some experience or if you prefer it: age.

  4. haha funny: i was just wondering where you took the photo when i read the headline and your wordpress name. cheers

  5. Tier is expensive …owning regions even more so; older people tend to have more disposable income so the demographic numbers the Lab provides for resident age doesn’t surprise me. Since most of the content in Second Life is created by the residents and you have to pay the Lab if you want build and keep that build active, their business model has to favor older people. What’s unfortunate is the age-ism that Honour describes. It amazes me how much time and energy SLers put into trying to discover the “truth” about who the person running the avatar “really” is. Instead focus on the actions and behaviors of the avatar; if someone is engaging and kind to you in SL does it really matter if they’re a 60 year old male accountant or a 22 year old female student in real life?

    • Exactly! thank you :) I keep saying that one of the positives about the virtual is that people aren’t judged based on appearance etc., it’s the “real you” that is experienced. Age is just another variable that doesn’t matter any more than weight or height or physical ability or race etc.

  6. Hi Honour… I believe you are right about the age difference. I go to a lot of night clubs and can dress like the younger crowd, sorta, but the thing that always tells age is not dress or the latest slang but attitudes. Also, I think the younger generations are really undergoing a rewiring of their attention spans because it shows up a lot.

    I hate to generalize but I wouldn’t want to live in the world the 20-somethings think they live in. It reminds me why I’m glad I’m 39+. Maybe there are a lot of us 39+-somethings in SL but I think we are the ones who’ve built this world.

  7. One of the advantages of formalised codes of language and behaviour as can be found in, say, Caledon (but also of course other areas) is that they eliminate, or at least reduce, signifiers of RL age. I can, I think, reasonably guarantee that I would have sounded the same a decade ago and will do a decade hence; there will be a similar superfluity of commas for instance. One is also much less likely to discuss, say, the latest music-hall acts, opinions of which might be vary according to youth and experience.

  8. Gorgeous photos again!

    I believe most of the great creators and contributors in SL are older and also that they’d be more likely to consistently come up with tier money. I also agree about them having a sense of wonder and appreciation.

    What I’ve noticed after having tried to interact in the role playing communities is that those who’re older with more life experience of tragedy, loss, disappointment and the general walking through hell under their belts, the less likely they are to want to roleplay the grosser, more vicious and hateful, angry scenes.

    I tend to make instant judgments about avatars names.

  9. I’m nearly 61, and I approve this message :)

    *wanders off singing Steely Dan’s “Hey, 19″…*

  10. Ellen

     /  October 14, 2012

    What a great post. My RL better half (who I brought into SL) and I were just discussing this a few weeks ago. We are both over 40-ish *cough* and over the years have just become more enchanted with what SL, and the growing technology of the metaverse in general, offers. When someone says they are ‘bored’ in SL, it’s a sure indicator to me of a someone under 30. Also, a very good point about us having more disposable income for this kind of entertainment, I would submit also we have a more time to devote to in-world content creation and business, having already been through the “omg, gotta go to school/ get the job/ find the life partner” hysteria that consumes our youth. :-D

  11. I certainly enjoyed the vibrant community of creators and idealists I met in SL in my first years 2006 to 2009 were golden I’d say. One of the things that was great was that people weren’t that much into worrying about age or other things outside of SL. We were into immersive experimentation of all kinds. Questions like “how old are you?” or “where are you from?” marked you as a noob. A lot has changed since then.

    Case in point. Someone I don’t know randomly sent me an invite to a sex club tonight and I IM’ed back “why would you think to invite someone with a profile all about classical music and art to a sex club group”… silence… then…response… “Wait, you’re serious! There’s classical music in SL?”

    Well maybe soon there won’t be, just like there is far less of much of the stuff that made logging on worthwhile… lectures, educational events, social justice organizing,,, and so on. I guess it’s just like an old foggy to remember the good ol’ days. Certainly I no longer log on daily as I used to.

    By the way, my classic response to guys hitting on me in SL was to pull on a dragon avatar and flame them or turn into some other non-humanoid creature…perhaps a geometric shape. Do you think a glowing green crystal appears more youthful than a metallic series of rotating spheres and rings?

  12. Dousa Dragonash

     /  October 15, 2012

    One day rl skin creams will work and then what?

  13. There is obviously a lot to realize about this. I feel you made certain good points in features also.

  1. Maybe Age Does Matter in Second Life « Honour's Post ... | Second Life and Virtual Worlds |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: