[Dear Readers - I have re-posted my article submission for the SL Blogger Mix'N'Match event here for those of you who may have missed it on the Fashion Avengers blog. I hope you enjoy it.]
As you may be aware, we in Second Life are limited to joining no more than 25 groups at one time. This can make for some difficult choices, because it seems as though every store, every friend who is a DJ or artist, every land or rental organization, etc. has a group to join.
I don't have it as bad as some do. Some push the limits – always belonging to the full 25 groups and having to decide which to drop when new ones come along. I am only in 22 groups. Yes! That means that I have three precious slots open. Envy me! Mwahahahaha!!
When I got the writing assignment to tell you about which groups I cannot live without and why, I studied my groups. And I polled others about their groups. And what I realized is that the groups we choose to belong to can be analyzed according to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs (Think back…Psychology 101 in college? That 8 am class you skipped all the time?) This is how I thought I would determine which groups I cannot live without!
If you will recall (Well, your roommate would recall – he/she never skipped classes.), according to Maslow, our fundamental needs are for the physiological requirements of life – eating, drinking, sleep, etc. I realize that our avatars have no need for food or drinks, but Maslow's theory might explain why I am so damned fascinated by prim foods and beverages. Of course, no one has groups for food, so we shall just move on to the next level.
The second level of the hierarchy represents our need for safety and security – as in shelter, employment, access to resources, etc. In SL, part of this need is met through our land/property/rental groups -- and big, fat ban lines. Without shelter we'd be changing clothing in sandboxes and sorting our inventory in the middle of Route 7. (Shout out to blogger Nika Dreamscape!) We'd also have no place to display our giant rabbit, grand piano or 458 animation sex bed. Note: By the way, my land group title is 'Mrs. Jerremy Darwin', so it fulfills another need for me, as we shall examine shortly.
If you happen to be gainfully employed in SL, your need for security is also met through your work related groups. I have several groups connected to my employment – I have a group for my job as a model (Dream Models), for my job as a SL News Network writer (SLNN Style Team) and for my "job" as a blogger (SL Bloggers).
Our needs for love and belonging come next. This includes everything from friendships to sexual intimacy. Having these needs explains why you are a member of both your buddy's DJ fan group and the Big Booty Beach Club VIPs. I am a member of the SL Blogger group (another group that fulfills more than one need), a friend's furniture store, DJ fan groups, friends' business groups, etc. My land group figures in here, too, because my SL husband gets very happy when he sees me wearing my 'Mrs. Jerremy Darwin' group tag, thus fulfilling my need for virtual boinking.
I have also lobbied to belong to the Darwin Clan group, since I am a Darwin by marriage. But so far, they have not let me in. Harrumph.
My last meeting with the Darwin Clan did not go very well. They still won't invite me into the group.
You may have noticed that I have not talked much about store groups yet. That is because I had such a hard time figuring out where they belong. I guess they should be in between Safety needs and Love/Belonging needs. If you have ever logged in naked at an infohub you will understand how clothing is a security need. (What? Just me? Drat!) And who doesn't feel the love when you get a group gift? I don't join a lot of store groups anymore thanks to Subscribe O'Matic machines that allow us to be part of a "store fan club" without using up a group space. (This results in my having a space or three open for prim food groups if only someone would start some. I'm just sayin'.)
The next higher level of needs is for self-esteem and confidence. This particular need is why you see every other avatar in SL proclaiming to be a SexyAvatar Agency Model or SL's Hottest Hottie or a member of some other make believe group with a made up group tag. These people make me sad. My own strutting around in my Dream Model's tag is a completely different situation, of course.
Finally, we have the need for self-actualization. This is the pinnacle of our development as human and pixel beings. This level represents our needs for self-growth, artsy-fartsy things, creativity, morality and more. Unfortunately, Linden Labs does not give us enough group slots to be self-actualized. They hate us.
I am kidding!! Linden Labs has only a mild dislike for us.
Groups at the self-actualization level include building groups, groups for participation in creative activities (like my membership in the Primtionary Players Group), learning or academic groups, religious/spiritual groups, etc.
I hope that you now understand how each of your groups meets your needs. Our groups are a very important part of our SLives.
In conclusion, I would have to say that I cannot live without any of my groups. So there. :-P