As an man of many grids, I often find myself asking, “What the hell time is it?”
Yes, even for a person who knows a thing or two about the mysteries and nuances of time (I am a time-traveller, you know) , I have often found myself as confused as the next virtual guy about what time some event in this vast and seemingly endless Metaverse is taking place.
“I’ll be on at 7 or 8 tonight,” a friend told me in an email just today. Whose 7 or 8? Hers? Mine? Is that SLT? Or is it UTC? Wait, which grid does she mean and what time are they on there?
Isn’t it time we did something about this mess? (Isn’t it ‘time’ – did you catch that? /me snickers)
There was a time (omg, I can’t stop it) in the Real World when people talking to each other across time zones would use Greenwich Mean Time or GMT. Later it became politically correct to refer to it instead as UTC, the French for Coordinated Universal Time. Yours truly once had a job in which time was always given in UTC.
In Virtual Worlds, Second Life Time, became the standard as who was going to argue with Second Life? Linden Lab is based in San Francisco and on Pacific Time in the U. S. so SLT became to the Virtual World what GMT was to the Real World.
But now, with a plethora of virtual worlds out there, it is long past time (I’m not even trying to do it!) we come up with a broader term, that doesn’t refer to a certain grid, and a universal time which spans the Metaverse, that people will immediately know or can easily adapt to. And, in the new age of the Hypergrid, the time is now (so sorry) to address this issue once and for all.
First, the choice of time zone.
I think there are really only two choices here. Either we go with UTC or we go with SLT. Any other zone would just cause mass confusion and there would be no good reason to choose another.
Personally, I would prefer UTC. I think it’s a no brainer. But I am wrong. UTC would not be a good choice. Let’s face it, the biggest market for virtual worlds – as with most things – is the United States. Picking a time that most Americans can easily compute and can relate to without thinking about it, is essential. And if you say “UTC” to most Americans, they will have no idea what you are talking about. They might know UPC but they don’t know UTC. And they are not going to be bothered with figuring it out or adapting to it. A losing battle there, fugetaboutit.
So that leaves us with SLT. End of discussion.
Second, the name of this new time reference.
A lot of people in other virtual worlds don’t want anything to do with Second Life so they will not accept SLT. Some grids have established their own time by picking the time zone they are based in and calling it by the RL time zone name or by their grid’s name. That’s fine until they invite people from other grids over to an event. This is why we are here in this state of confusion in the first place.
And, by the way, many grids already realize that most users are familiar with and use SLT, and so even if they have their own time or use UTC they will also give the SLT for an event. Or they will avoid the Second Life reference and use PT along with UTC or their own time. If they want people to show up, that is.
It would be much simpler if we only had to make one time reference rather than two. But some are just not going to use SLT no matter what. Call it political correctness if you want but we gotta change the name if other grids are going to play along. It’s the GMT vs. UTC battle all over again.
I have two suggestions for a new name for Second Life Time. And, importantly, they are obvious. I say we go with VT or VWT. Virtual Time or Virtual World Time. I find either acceptable although I like the first one better. VT. Shorter is better.
“I’ll be on tonight at 7 or 8 VT.”
Works for me.
Now where do I go to get this made official?