Color & Control:

Nurturing Belonging in Second Life


A few months ago, I was at a holiday party that the folks from rabble were hosting ( Rabble is an online news and discussion site covering and exploring important political and cultural issues in Canada and the world. I overheard Wayne MacPhail from rabble’s board of directors talking about building a virtual storefront for rabble in Second Life. I had heard of Second Life, which is a virtual reality game of sorts, but I imagined folks like my little brother and his friends sitting for hours on end with joysticks in hand, shooting automatic weapons at random bad guys. After a conversation with Wayne and a little online research, I started to see the beauty of a space where “anything is possible.”

Second Life is a “global community working together to build a new online space for creativity, collaboration, commerce, and entertainment.” Second Life “strives to bridge cultures and welcome diversity.” Part of the credo supports and nurtures “free expression, compassion and tolerance as the foundation for community” in the online world. Sounds like the perfect space to nurture belonging, doesn’t it?

Further exploration revealed that there are currently over 60 non-profit organizations in Second Life. According to Wayne from rabble, the three primary reasons for an organization to be in Second Life are awareness-building, education and networking. Wayne describes the key power of Second Life as the relationships you form with other like-minded folks from all over the world. He explains that “in some ways it’s the process of creating experiences collaboratively in Second Life that is more powerful than the experiences themselves.”

My exploration of Second Life reminds me once again that the opportunities and spaces for nurturing belonging in society are truly endless. Check out Second Life at – and let us know your thoughts and ideas for nurturing belonging in online spaces.


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