Avatar chat is one of the most basic and most popular features of the Second Life virtual world. Second Life is an online community where users can chat in real time for free. Second Life has several different chat features and a wide selection of emoticons which allows for even greater self expression.
To understand avatar chat you must first understand the avatar. Avatar is the name given to any self-representing graphic in online spaces. These virtual animations are your representative in Second Life.
Sound complicated? It’s very easy to create an avatar using the Second Life tutorial videos. The creation module will walk you step by step through the creation process. You can determine shape, skin, hair, eyes and many other physical attributes of your avatar to make it a realistic portrayal of yourself or a total fantasy.
Once your avatar has been created you can enter the world of Second Life and communicate with other users. Chatting is done using a texting format similar to instant messaging (IM). But be careful – as opposed to IMing, your chatting in Second Life can be overheard by anyone within range.
To communicate in Second Life through chat you simply click on the chat “bubble” button located at the bottom menu on the Second Life viewer interface, (or screen). This will open up a sub-screen: “Local chat” where you can type your message. To “say” your messages in the virtual world click the say button. This will immediately post what you have typed.
As mentioned earlier, others can hear your chats. Anyone in a certain range can see your texts or “hear what you say”. To predetermine a chatting distance you can access the dropdown “say” menu and change the range. Whisper avatar chat can be heard in a range of 10 meters. Say chat can be heard by anyone in a 20 meter area. Shout go for 100 meters. Region/state owners can also use the top menu on the Second Life viewer interface (or screen) to “Send message to region” choosing: world - Region/State - Region. With this option your conversations/messages will be heard by everyone within your own region.
Chat in Second Life does make provisions for private conversations. This will necessitate using an IM platform. To initiate a private conversation for avatar chatting you must right click on the person’s avatar with whom you wish to speak. From the menu options choose: “Send IM”. A “Communicate” screen will appear and you can send an instant message to the other avatar. You can also communicate with other avatars using the different options (Contacts, Local Chat ...) in the “Communicate” button on the bottom menu on the Second Life viewer interface (or screen).
This revolutionary method of chatting is fun and easy to learn. As technology offers more and more ways to connect with people online, a whole new world of friendship is opening to anyone ready for the possibilities.
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