Second Life User Groups:
SL residents form groups in order to belong to and associate with subcultures and communities of similar interests. It would be impossible to list all SL user groups here. The number and variety is vast. It includes educators, librarians, professional groups, gamers, artists, designers, fashionistas, fetishists, and so on. A list of the largest subcultures in SL is below. Most subcultures have multiple user groups, each with their own particular focus or area of interest. Join at least a few user groups in order to start building a network of like-minded colleagues or friends in SL. Linden Labs currently limits the number of groups any individual may belong to at 25. You will receive periodic notices about news and activities from every group you join.
Be warned that SL is a reflection of real life. The more time you spend in SL, the more likely it is that you will find individual avatars, SIMS, or user groups, that will offend you. You will also find user groups that advance your professional network, advise you of online conferences and activities, improve your technological skills, and outright amuse and delight you. Keep a critical eye, an open mind, and a sense of humor. Remember, you can always teleport out of any unpleasant situation, or log off.
How to Join a Group:
Method One - One way to find a group to join is to search for one. Click open the SEARCH tab at the bottom of your SL interface. Select the GROUPS tab, and then search on a keyword that reflects your interest, such as "fashion." Related user groups will appear. You can assess a group's popularity by the number of members they have, shown to the right of the group name. Click on a group name that looks interesting; a description of the group and its activities will appear to the right. Evaluate the group's stated interests and activities carefully before you join. If the group is of interest, click the blue JOIN (L$0) button for that group. If the group allows open membership, you will be added immediately, and the group's title will appear in your avatar's name bubble, displaying your membership. (You may turn this off by clicking on EDIT on the upper right of your SL interface - GROUPS - NONE - ACTIVATE. Eventually, as you add user groups, you may also choose reveal one of your alternate group memberships this way.)
Method Two - You may also join a group by right clicking another avatar and perusing the groups from their profile. (This is also a good way to find out more about a RL person's interests before you accept their offer of friendship!) How to: Find another avatar - right click on the avatar - select GROUPS from the pie menu - go down the list of their group memberships - highlight one of interest using your cursor - click INFO from the buttons on the right - read and evaluate the group's activities - if you want to join, click the blue JOIN (L$0) buttonfor that group.
How to Leave a User Group:
You may choose to leave a user group by clicking on EDIT on the upper right of your SL interface - GROUPS - highlight the group's name - click the blue LEAVE button on the right.
Some Examples of Subcultures in Second Life:
Builders and Scripters
Cyberpunks: Found mostly in Nexus Prime. Griefers abound in this SIM, so be aware!
Elven Role Players: Elf Haven, Elf Harbour, ElvenGlen, ElvenMoor, ElvenMyst, ElvenVale.
Furries: See Luskwood, where they are "tame." (Be aware that there is a more X-rated version of Furries that you might want to avoid, located at the Luxor Pyramid in FurNation Prime.)
Gorean: A richly developed community, inspired by John Lange Normal's sci-fi novels, that explore slave-master relationships. (Be aware that this subculture and its regions can explore X-rated activities.)
Griefers: Their goal is to ruin avies' SL experience for the pure fun of it. Don't expect to find their user groups advertised!
Anti-Griefers / The SL Alliance: Anti-griefer vigilanties since 2005.
Religions: Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, etc.
Steampunks: Located in Caledon and headquartered in The Manor.
Star Wars Role Players: The Dantooine Sim.
Additional subcultures: Fashionistas, Satanists, Wiccans, Vampires, Fetish Groups
Doing Research in SL:
Social Simulation Research Lab in SL: A library of online information resources: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Hyperborea/198/83/24
SL avatar “Intellagirl” (Sarah Robbin’s) web page with techniques for doing primary research, taken from *The Research Process*.