One of the first things I do when I meet someone new in Second Life is look at their profile. Why do I do this? Well, because it's a lot faster than playing 20 questions. Unfortunately, a lot of people never fill in their profile, and I have to resort to asking them if they are an animal, vegetable, or mineral. In Second Life, that's not necessarily an odd question :) . Looking a someone's profile can be useful, though, even if they haven't filled it in. All of the groups they belong to will be listed there. For example, say you meet some guy in a sandbox and he asks you to go with him because he has a cool sim to show you. You look at his profile and notice all of the groups he belongs to are Gor related. You can probably safely assume he wants to show you a Gor sim. If that's your thing, by all means follow him. If, on the other hand, a Second Life of perpetual servitude is not your thing, you probably should politely decline his invitation. I am not, by the way, being at all critical of the Goreans. It's not my thing, but I think it's great that people who want to explore that world can.
Anyway, the point is that profiles can be a very useful tool, and you should know how to look at someone else's profile, and how to fill yours in. Looking at someone's profile is very simple. Just right click with your mouse cursor over their avatar. A pie menu will pop up in front of them. On the right side of this menu it will say "Profile". Left click on that and their profile will pop up. Here is me doing that on my friend Heavenly's profile.
Across the top of the profile, you will see several tabs. The first one, 2nd Life, has all the basic information about that avatar in Second Life. You can see how old they are (not in real life, just when the account was created), all the groups they belong to, a picture, and a description of whatever they wanted to say about themselves. The last tab is called "My Notes". Here, you can make notes about that person. Yes, you are entering information on their profile. Well, not really. Only you will see these notes, but they will only show up when you view that avatars pofile. If, for example, someone bothers you in a sandbox after you asked them to leave you alone, you can write in here, "This guy wouldn't leave me alone in blahblah sandbox on July 20, 2007." Then, if you run into Mr. Jerk again a month later and read his profile, your note will be there reminding you what he did.
Ok, now lets fill in our profile. From the edit menu, select "Profile".
By the way, those are my friends Heavenly and Roland in the screenshot. I did get their permission for them to show up on this blog. If you're going to start posting pictures from Second Life on the internet, you should ask people's permission if they're in the picture. That's just good manners, I think. Anyway, your profile will pop up just like the other person's did when you viewed their profile. Only now you can enter information on all the tabs. On the first tab, all you can enter is a description. Write whatever you want here, but remember that anyone you meet in Second Life will be able to read this. Also, this is supposed to be the description of your Second Life, not your first. There's another tab for that. You can also upload a snapshot here. I used a snapshot of myself, but you don't have to.
The second tab is called "Web". If you have a website, or a blog, you can enter the URL for it here. That webpage will then be viewable in your profile. I think this is pretty cool, and I've noticed more people using it lately.
Next is a tab called "Interests". This has a series of check boxes for you to mark what skills you have, and what you would like to do, such as building, scripting, groups, buying, selling, etc.
The next tab is called "Picks". This was intended to be used for showing your favorite places in Second Life. If you click on the "New" button here, a snapsot of your current location will be shown here, with the name of the location to the left. The neat thing is that you can rename this to whatever you want, enter a description for it, and even change the snapsot. Because of this, you can use this tab to show pictures of your friends, you favorite places, cool snapshots you took, etc.
Next, is a tab called "Classified". This is for places classified ads. So, if you're selling a plot of land, selling a dress, or hiring a bartender, you can place an ad for it using this tab.
Next is the "1st Life" tab. This is pretty much like the "2nd Life" tab, except it only has a picture and a description. Again, this is supposed to be about your 1st life. The real you, in other words. My experience has been that most people either leave this blank or put something like "I'll have to get to know you well before I tell you anything about my first life." I think this is a good idea. You need to be very careful about revealing personal infomation here, because everyone in Second Life will be able to see it. Don't put your phone number and address here, in other words. I just left mine blank.
The last tab is the "My Notes" tab. You could put something here, I suppose, but you will be the only one able to see it. Again, I left mine blank.
Well that's all there is to profiles I think. I want to make one last comment, though. For some reason, it has been my experience that more men than women in Second Life fail to fill in their profile. Of course, you can never really be sure what someone's 1st life gender is, but several of my friends have noticed this as well. Guys, do yourselves a favor and fill in your profile. You might even find it more effective at meeting women that "Hey, Baby".