How to ‘whisper’ in Second Life

There are 2 main ways to communicate by text in SecondLife: typing directly into the Chat box, which means everyone within a 20 metre radius will hear you; or via IM (Instant Message), which is a private chat that no-one except you and the person you are IMing with will hear. But you probably already know that…

… what you might not know is that there is another way of communicating by text with the people in your immediate area, just more ‘quietly’ – useful if you want to talk openly, but without disturbing other people in a┬ábusy space. ‘Whispering’ in this way reduces the radius in which your conversation can be heard, from the usual 20 metres down to 10 metres.

It’s easy to do: simply put a / in front of whatever you have to say, like this:

/ I am whispering, woo hoo!

Of course another way would be to use a Group IM, but that can be too much of a hassle if you’re typing quickly. This way is easier – but of course, it’s not as private!

You might also like to check out this article, which covers all the basics of interacting in SecondLife. It was written specifically for SecondFest newbies, but most of the info in there is still relevant/useful.


September 13, 2007 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Help! I’m wearing a box! (How to open boxes in Second Life)

Wearing a box in Second LifeMany items that you buy in Second Life come in boxes (containers). This is usually done so the creator can put multiple items into one “download”, just the same way you would use a .ZIP or .SIT file on your computer.

Clothing that has multiple components usually comes in a box, and sometimes clothing that has only one piece comes in a box, packaged with a landmark or notecard that gives instructions or information. If you don’t realise this, and you click on the item name and wear it, you could end up looking like this picture!

It’s easy to take the box off your head or other body part – simply right-click on the box, then select DETACH. It will automatically go back into your inventory.

Opening boxes is easy, provided you have permission to create or “res/rez” things on the land where you are standing. Most land in Second Life has restricted create rights, so you might have to go to a “sandbox” to open your box. A sandbox is a place in Second Life where anyone can create things, so you can do a lot more than just opening boxes there. But for now, that’s all you need to do.

Some shops allow you to rez and open your box/shopping bag right there in the store. You can tell by looking at the status bar at the top of your screen, almost in the middle (just to the left of the place name, which is in blue). If there is a cube with a red slash through it, you don’t have permission to create things. If the symbol isn’t there, you can go ahead and rez your box right there. Here’s what I mean:

Create icon in Second Life

If you can’t rez/open your box in the store, you need to find a sandbox. To do this, use the search (CTRL F) – click the PLACES tab, and type SANDBOX into the search box. You should end up with loads of results. A word of caution: you may see all sorts of things going on in a sandbox, as that’s where people go to make pretty much everything you see in Second Life. So don’t be alarmed if you teleport into a sandbox and find a giant penis in front of you! Some sandboxes also allow weapons, so you might find some crazy shooting happening when you get there. I always choose sandboxes that don’t allow this kind of thing, and you can, too. The description on the search results will tell you what to expect.

To open your box and get what’s inside:

  1. Open your inventory (CTRL I) and find the item.
  2. Click and drag the item onto the floor. It will make a sound kind of like a rattlesnake. After a second or two, it should appear.
  3. Right-click on the box and select OPEN.
  4. In the new window, select COPY TO INVENTORY. Sometimes the items cannot be copied, they will be moved. Click OK if a pop-up tells you this.That’s it – the items will show up in your inventory. But there is one final step: clean up after yourself! Please don’t forget and leave your box lying around like litter:
  5. To clear away your box, right click on it and select TAKE. It will go back into your inventory. If you want to, you can always delete the box by dragging it to the trash in your inventory but always make sure you are deleting the box and not the contents! They might have the same name.

August 26, 2007 at 4:48 pm 2 comments

How to stop looking like a newbie in Second Life

Newbie Makeover

Eeek! You’ve just signed up to SecondLife, only to find that you are less-than-beautiful, and you might even be imagining the faint sound of virtual sniggering by some of the old timers as you sheepishly do your duck-walk… We’ve all been there, and I sometimes get approached by newbies asking for help, so I thought I’d write a summary of what you can do to stop looking like a newbie.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, if your last name is Linden), all these things cost money, so the first thing you’re gonna need to do is head over to and buy some Linden dollars. Once you’ve set up your account, you can buy more Linden dollars in-world by clicking on the little blue $ in the top right of your screen. Overall, based on my own experience, I’d estimate you’ll spend around $1000 – $2000* on all the stuff you need to start looking good… though there are bargains out there, so you may end up spending considerably less. That amount currently equates to roughly $4 USD – $9 USD, so you’re doing this for the price of a couple of drinks. Not too bad, if you’re going to spend a lot of time in-world. (see * below for my thoughts on free stuff)

This is a long article, but it’s chock full of newbie tips, so make yourself a cup of tea and read through the whole shebang before you go into Second Life. I promise it will not be too painful! There’s even a bonus secret at the end as a reward. I have broken the article up into several postings, to make it easier to read, and so you can do one step at a time if you’re time-poor.

In theory, you could do these steps out of sequence, but there is a method to my madness, and the steps are in this order for a reason: each step usually contains information that you will find useful in the following step(s). And sometimes it doesn’t make sense to do them in a different order: for example, you are usually better off buying hair to match your shape, so you’d want to get a shape first or else risk wasting money.

My recommendations on how to stop looking like a newbie in 5 easy steps:

  1. Get a new shape
  2. Get a new skin
  3. Get a new walk
  4. Get all dressed up
  5. Get some new hair (plus a secret bonus tip!)



You could, in theory, wander around all the shops picking up every freebie you find, and create your look that way. But to be honest, all newbies do this, so all you will do is end up looking different, but still newbie. Most free stuff is rubbish. That’s why it’s free. I estimate for every 100 crap freebies, there is one decent one. So if you have the time & patience to sort through the chaff to find the one kernel of wheat, by all means do so – but that’s not the point of this article.

In all steps, I have included advice on how you can things in a cost-effective way, so while it is possible to look pretty good cheaply, you really do need to spend at least some money if you really want to stop looking like a newbie. If you think you will be spending much time in Second Life, it’s worth it, mainly because it’s fun & creative to make an avatar!

August 26, 2007 at 1:42 pm 2 comments

Stop looking like a newbie: Step 5 – Get new hair

Step 5 of 5 in “How to stop looking like a newbie in Second Life”

Continue Reading August 26, 2007 at 1:38 pm 7 comments

Stop looking like a newbie: Step 4 – Get all dressed up

Step 4 of 5 in “How to stop looking like a newbie in Second Life”

Continue Reading August 26, 2007 at 1:38 pm Leave a comment

Stop looking like a newbie: Step 3 – Get a new walk

Step 3 of 5 in “How to stop looking like a newbie in Second Life”

Continue Reading August 26, 2007 at 1:37 pm Leave a comment

Stop looking like a newbie: Step 2 – Get a new skin

Step 2 of 5 in “How to stop looking like a newbie in Second Life”

Continue Reading August 26, 2007 at 1:36 pm 1 comment

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