Second Life Basics - The Kira Institute
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Second Life Basics

First things first

To attend a Kira event in Second Life you need to be registered with Second Life and have a Second Life avatar. You'll also need a 'viewer' - a special application for your computer that allows you to experience Second Life. To set up a free Second Life account go to To download your free viewer go to Please take a few moments to check the system requirements linked from that page.

When you open the Second Life program it will automatically take you to "Orientation Island" where you will learn the basics about moving around, modifying your appearance, and using various other SL features. It will be important that you feel reasonably happy with moving around, albeit clumsily at first, can travel to places you wish to go to, and can communicate. Completing the orientation tasks will help you achieve these things.

You can visit your own orientation area (of which there are many) many times on different occasions as you learn the basics. However, the 'real' events you will wish to attend are on Second Life 'mainland'. Stay in orientation as long as you feel you need because when you eventually teleport to the mainland, you'll not be able to return to orientation.

How to participate in Kira events

Events will be at particular venues, such as the Kira Café. There's often a link on the web page describing these events. The link will be a SLURL - a Second Life URL. Clicking on the link will bring up a map and a pointer to your destination, together with an invitation to "teleport now". Clicking on that link will start the Second Life viewer and, after you've logged in, take you to the event.

When you get to the event, you may wish to take a 'landmark'. This are the equivalent of a browser bookmark and you can use it in future to get to a location quickly.

Kira events are sometimes in voice and sometimes in text chat only. The advertisement for the event will usually say which. (If it does not say, it is usually safe to assume text only.) At some events, there is a principal speaker who uses voice to speak but who watches for questions and other feedback from the audience in text chat only.

We strongly advise practising both voice communication and text chat during orientation. This will allow you have your equipment comfortably configured ahead of time.

We also strongly advise equipping yourself with a combined headset of headphones and microphone if you ever wish to use voice communication on Second Life. If you only use your computer speakers and built-in microphone instead of a headset, you may cause echoes and feedback that make it hard for others to communicate.

Etiquette and best practices at the Kira events

If there is a presentation going on, we ask the audience not to speak in voice because it is distracting and difficult to hear two people talking at once. You can talk to each other and the speaker using the ordinary text chat box. Very few events invite all participants to speak.

A good rule of thumb is to listen rather than speak/type. The event may encourage spontaneous contributions, or it may be one-at-a-time round-robin, or it may only ask for feedback only at the end. If you listen, you will quickly get the feel for whether greetings are appropriate, and you will discover how best to participate. If you arrive late at an event, slip in quietly; apologies may disturb other people.

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