The term “SLebrity” is the single most stupidest piece of SL lingo around – it suggests a person who is notable or “famous” within the metaverse, although not usually in the wider world.

I cringed when a magazine recently decided I was the Male SLebrity of 2008 – I fear it to be a title which automatically makes a lot of people hate you without ever meeting you. I’d rather people met me before they learnt to hate me – at least then you have a reason for it.

I’m all for people doing notable things – someone who creates fantastic clothing or stunning architecture is fully deserving of a “SLebrity” status. But I prefer to live in a world where people are admired for the work they do to enhance the metaversal experience for us all, rather than who they hang out with and who they know.

There’s a pretty notable circle of SL users who form a small segment of the metaverse – and they tend to all know each other. It tends to be all the same faces – designers, photographers, bloggers, magazine staff, Plurkers and Twitterites. You see the same faces again and again, and you can probably total them up to a thousand or so residents.

The thing is this – the only people who are aware of the SLebritism are within this circle of a thousand or so users. Which is significantly small when you consider that Second Life’s concurrency will consist of several tens of thousands of users.

And the vast majority of these users will never read a blog or an SL magazine. They don’t care for social networking tools, and they don’t care who designs their clothes until they want a refund. They certainly don’t give a damn about “SLebritism”.

So at the end of it, SLebrity status only really covers a very tiny proportion of SL users, and it’s really nothing that great to crave or want. I’ve seen numerous people who are “tag alongs” and are doing all they can to build/boost/protect their precious reputations. They really grasp at what this tiny proportion of the grid seems to think of them as though it’s their path to glory and fame.

Get a grip on yourself.


33 Responses to “SLebrity”

  1. Thank you! Hit the nail on the head (yet again!). Don’t think there’s actually anything else to say other than EPIC WIN!

  2. That’s the perfect point! It probably isolates you from a few of the exact people that would make some really good friends…

    “perceived” popularity is hogwash, and worthless…who the hell *really* wants to be a damn SLebrity, or celebrity of any sense, anyway?

  3. It still weirds me out when people fawn over me like I’m somebody special. I just paint shit in PS for god’s sake. Would they act like this if I just still designed webpages? I always try to curb that and act exactly the same with a customer or someone I meet out and about as I would with a friend…very casual and natural.

    The really odd thing is, most are shocked when they do meet me and tell me I’m “like everybody else” wtf? I never could stand the divas. I’ve met a quite a few people I admired for their talent that completely turned me off when I heard them speak as if they were “famous”. I’m grateful and extremely fortunate to be able to make a RL living in SL. Thats nothing special…thats just hard work and good marketing. It has nothing to do with celebrity or that I’m any different or better than anyone else. It’s my job!

  4. I know I have been in ‘awe’ sometimes of seeing people or talking to people. I think part of it is really their ability to master their craft more then anything else.

    Along with the idea that those of us who read alot of blogs, see the same names alot, see their accomplishments and see other people…maybe not fawning over them…but definitely giving them praise..and sometimes alot of it…can be daunting.

  5. GM Nikolaidis Says:

    amen Prad. A friend of mine tells me that she once made a trip to the onrez sim to reset a password. A random person she met there said something like “wow, I finally meet a celebrity!”. My friend said “no, I’m just someone having problems with onrez”.

  6. This comment is way the hell shorter than my original intended one, if you can believe it.

    I used to be a somewhat high-profile name in my RL industry. (Now I’m just a self-exiled societal recluse pulling a Brian Wilson for a year, minus the cocaine and massive weight gain). As such, when I joined SL a year ago, I loved the sweet, sweet anonymity here.

    (I also had no clue who the SLebrities were and probably still wouldn’t if I weren’t such a blog junkie.)

    But it didn’t take long before I started a badly designed blog to fulfill my need to pull strangers into my world and overblab every detail of my life to the whopping 10 people who currently read it. And no doubt you’ll sometimes find me hanging at the fringes of big-deal SL social events as a no-name.

    Does this make me a tagalong or a wannabe? Probably to some. But being in the public eye sadly has shaped my RL identity for the past three years, so I call it a habit. And I recognize that it’s not a healthy way to define ourselves.

    Some people need to be in the spotlight. It’s their way of giving their lives meaning and definition. Others are perfectly content to live their lives, have fun and love their friends without public recognition or approval. I used to be fall in the former category (in RL), so I write this comment as someone who can relate. I’ve spent the past year walking a path toward humility and transformation. I don’t want to be defined by my career and/or social status anymore. I want to be someone who is loved and loves back in mass quantities — and ultimately is remembered that way.

    (Does a hippy dance and throws flowers at everyone.)

    I agree with you that we have ‘SLebrities’ who deserve that status for their remarkable talents and the extent to which they give back to the SL community (and many more unknowns out there deserve more recognition). But many of the others — the tagalongs, as you call them — are masters of public relations tactics, whether they realize it or not. So let’s give them that!

    But hey Prad, if we’d didn’t have both types, then gawd damn, how boring our society would be!

    I compare SLebrities to looking through a kaleidoscope — sometimes you witness a gorgeous collaboration of colors and shapes, but sometimes you just get muddy, unsightly chaos.

    And when you get down to it, it’s tunnel vision either way.

  7. I do think there are some true SLebrities, Prad. Those whose contributions to SL are significant and do make them more well-known and deservedly so. For example, Peter Strindberg for his translating software that has made the SL world so much friendlier to all, Torley Linden for his wonderful tutorials, AM Radio, Eshi Otawara and others for their amazing sim-building and art installations. Certainly they are not known to all, but they are widely known, admired and respected and they deserve that admiration for their contributions.

    I am sure there are many others, but those are the ones who come to mind quickly.

  8. There are always people who are better known in a community. I think there is nothing wrong with that. In my opinion the problem is: who decides who is a celebrity and who isn’t…

  9. *cough* Peter doesn’t have a software*cough*
    *cough*Peter has people, like me, working for him*cough*

  10. Elizabeth Hallstrom Says:

    Don’t you know who I am? I’m famous!

  11. The definition of Celebrity is crap in RL and SL, basically describes someone who courts fame and adoration. There are so many people I admire and am in awe of in SL for their creativity and talent and they would probably be embarrassed by being referred to as celebrity.

  12. Who doesn’t want to be famous? :p

    No matter if you like the term ‘Slebrity’ or not, I think it’s wonderful that we celebrate talent and creativity in Second Life. Being ‘famous’ isn’t bad, really… especially in Second Life. I think that most often, it is the talent and that an individual has that makes them ‘well known’. In RL, we have Paris Hilton, famous for being famous; that’s not so easy to do in Second Life. To be ‘famous’ in SL you need to have built something, or designed something, or said something that moves people. THAT’S who we celebrate… they’re the ones who deserve celebration.

    Maybe it was the publication in question that maybe rubbed you the wrong way?

    Celebrity comes from being celebrated… and if you deserve (and I think you DO, BTW) don’t worry about whether or not you’re a SLebrity. Just smile that you’ve touched someone.

  13. I love this post.
    That is all.

  14. Maryna hit the point… the problem is not the existence of SLebrities (which might be the n-th proof of how similar to our real world SL is).
    The problem (and to me highly annoying) is when people go around splattering their SLebritism in front of everybody and leaving no space for others to breathe… because they’re cool like that!

    And quite some portion of them probably shouldn’t even apply for being SLebrities, if it wasn’t for their snobbiness (or however you say that…).

    Ok, that was my rant 😛

  15. The cult of the RL Celebrity has always been facinating if not sometime frustrating to me. The aura and glamour given to celebrities is often all out of porportion to what these people achieve or even to how interesting, intelligent, or creative they really are. The irony of SLebrities in SL is quite humorous considering the fact that we “create” ourselves visually in this environment. I enjoy the envionment of SL and the people within it…it is in a sense a microcosm of our world at large and the values (no matter how nutty) we hold dear. SLebrities are just a part of that world… And the creative people are what holds this world together.

  16. There are no Sl Celebrity’s, just a bunch of e – cliques, the in crowd, the noob tards, the sex fiends, the social rejects, the cutsey lolipop wearing ” i speak japanese only, speak slow english “, the zomg roflcoptrs who post meaningless bullshit into their profile quotes, the ghetto hoodrats who still use that retarded kids giggle from 2005, the middle aged housewives who “hoooo” at any given situation and some more bla bla’s.

    If you don’t get XP or Honorpoints by being a ” Sl Celebrity “, then it’s none but a self created metaphor.


  17. Much the same as RL celebrity really… mostly just people who are “famous for being famous”.

    I agree, it’s completely pointless.

  18. so what’s the benefit of being slebrity?

  19. ♥JellyBean♥ Says:

    Moar buttsecks!

  20. Yeah I hate the term “SLebrity” SO MUCH.

    I was in the group of a designer once who referred to herself an a SLebrity and I think I vomited a little in my mouth. I have not spent a single Linden there since. I can’t be bothered to fuel someone’s ego. 😛

  21. Heidi Halberstadt Says:

    BEING a SLebrity is ok, it’s just the nature of human beings to either elevate or denigrate others. ACTING like one, though, isn’t.

  22. Ya, I mean I’ve been in SL for 4 yrs and have no clue who you are, SLebrity? ha I love how everyone is a super high fashion model, mega fashionista or SLebrity whatsahoosit and most people have no clue who these ‘famous’ people are, lmao…..whatevs

  23. Hypocrite Says:

    You could have very easily removed yourself from the nomination list from that magazine if you really did despise the ‘SLebrity’ stigma.

    Seeing how you didn’t…….

  24. Heh.. you’re assuming I give a crap about other people’s lists. I’ve got better things to be doing with my time in-world, ktnxbai.

    Oh, and grow a set will ya? You’re so smart being Anonymous.. really. Here’s a slow clap just for you.

    *Slow Clap*

  25. Being a SLebrity gets you moar buttsecks? No one told me! Gotta work on becoming a SLebrity so I can get me some of that buttsecks.

    Most of the SLebrity’s I know of do stuff, they make, create, write, organize. They’re famous for what they do, they earned their SLebrity.

  26. whoa. I’m pro-buttsecks too.

    *works hard to obtain the buttsecks*

  27. doveswanson Says:

    I prefer the term “SL GIANT” myself….but nice to meet you, Mr SLebrity 08.

  28. gabbymccullough Says:

    if I become a slebrity, do I get buttsecks with Prad? o.o

  29. Thank you for using the word “SLebrity” so many times in ONE article! My personal campaign to increase the use of the word “SLebrity” is well underway and may well gain extra traction.

    However, be wary of folks who claim they don’t want to be a SLebrity. Of course they do, and faux posturing of humility is transparent. It’s like “Oh, I hate being rich” or “I hate being beautiful” or “I’m just an ordinary person.” Bah, humbug.

    If you want a new word with which to impress folks at parties, it’s “paralipsis” – the art of bringing attention to things by saying you are NOT bringing attention to it. This post is an example of such 😉

  30. Where exactly did I say I’m not bringing attention to it? The post is called “SLebrity”.. I think I’m quite clearly bringing attention to it.

    Perhaps you should try reading, as opposed to reading whatever it is you want to read.. 😉

  31. My aim, trivial and pathetic as it may seem to SLebrities, is to see if the use of the WORD slebrity can be increased in 2009 simply by having folks use it more in articles, blogs, comments, or whatever textual transmission channels are open and can be counted by the mighty Google search engine. Bringing attention to the concept of “SLebrity” as a phenomenon is what you did indeed talk about; tracking the rise – or fall -of the word “slebrity” is what I am curious to do over the next year.

    I did try that “reading” thing once: I gave it up because of the lack of pictures. 😉

  32. I like how Emerald puts it…

    I’ve had what I thought was the privilege to ‘bump elbows’ with a few who I thought to be quite famous (and not only in SL) and for the most part they’re humble and welcomed me into the circle warmly. But, there was that one who basks in it and surely wanted me to bow down–yeah, right. I like the humility, and could care less about the statuses…

    and, OMG!! Beck commented here?!?!! *faints*

  33. Exactly…sort of like a “CEO” Tag means a full acquaintance with the checkout scanner in RL.

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