Editorial: Reciprocity, or Going Where Your Bread Is Buttered

Have you ever been on the receiving end of mass teleports (TPs) and group conferences from an array of hosts, DJs and venues?  Prior to disabling my group chat feature, I did.

And while I initially had no problem with these habitual TP’s, etc.; it began to take a toll on me.  The mass TPs and group chats seemed like a cattle call rather than a way to commune and get to know other Second Life community members; there was nothing personal in them, and the only time I ever heard from many of these DJs and hosts was when they were having a party.  There was never an individual, nor personal hello…not one conversation held that conveyed anything other than “letting go” at yet another elaborately orchestrated party.

This realization would become especially perplexing when I would invite these same individuals to gatherings at the SL Parade Headquarters, because whenever I had an event, none of them would turn up to support it.  And while I understand that many SL community members are busy at various clubs and other venues, I also think it prudent that if one asks for support, then there should be willingness to give the same support to others business owners, too.

This mindset is a little bit more than going where your bread is buttered.  Though a lucid reference that has been used since the 1500’s, the concept of “going to where your bread is buttered” stems on the concept of reciprocity. According to Wikipedia, “…reciprocity is a social rule that says people should repay, in kind, what another person has provided for them;[1] that is, people give back (reciprocate) the kind of treatment they have received from another.” (wikipedia.org)

The power of choice is ours when it comes to patronizing venues, but in an ideal world, this patronage should center around the concept of reciprocity.  If I attend a venue for instance, and I am tipping DJs, Hosts, and the venue to boot, it would be nice to get that same support, too. Further, not only should I receive this support, but others that regularly patronize a given venue should as well.

from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/398850110732632719/

And this concept of reciprocity should not be limited to clubs, but also be intrinsic in SL churches and other types of venues, too.  In terms of the SL church, it is my belief that reciprocity should come in the form of direct community involvement.  From holding private conferences between two individual members who have publicly bickered on social media, to mapping out fundraisers for community members that are experiencing real life hardship, this form of reciprocity should be in accordance to what a real life church would do.

Wikipedia also vividly describes another tenet of reciprocity by providing examples.  The online encyclopedia states, “By virtue of the rule of reciprocity, people are obligated to repay favors, gifts, invitations, etc. in the future. If someone receives a gift for their birthday, a reciprocal expectation may influence them to do the same on the gift-giver’s birthday. This sense of future obligation associated with reciprocity makes it possible to build continuing relationships and exchanges. Reciprocal actions of this nature are important to social psychology as they can help explain the maintenance of social norms.” (wikipedia.org)

I would also like to stress that the kind of reciprocity that I am encouraging is not negative.  I am encouraging positive (and balanced) reciprocity.  When practiced in this light, reciprocity is more than a moral obligation; it also entails the building and cultivation of relationships within social groups. With this in mind, how can a venue–let alone a DJ, Host, etc.–ask for the SL community’s support, yet fail to give the very same support they ask for in return?  Though a rhetorical question, I would argue that if the true definition of reciprocity was practiced, it would facilitate some sincere interaction and effective business building.

ReRe Sandalwood relaxes at the SL Parade’s Cafe…

The last time I questioned motives and priorities in Second Life, I got pounded upon.  However, this pounding will not stop me (nor should it stop you) from stating the obvious:  it is important to support businesses (DJs, hosts, etc.) and venues that will go out their way to legitimately support the success of others.  Doing so creates a more personalized atmosphere, while also demonstrating a sincere effort in legitimately supporting in-world businesses.

Author: ReRe Sandalwood

Single mom of one child in Real Life. In Second Life, I function as the Editor-In-Chief of The SL Parade, where I regularly write about all things RL and SL. I also own land inworld, and have created a space designed to encourage comfort and relaxation.

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