WHAT IS ROLEPLAY?
Think of acting. Think of storytelling. Second Life has many opportunities to live out fantasies in a virtual 3D world, a world that is user generated using lifelike animations and objects. It is ideal for those who wish to roleplay with others, real-time, real humans anywhere in the world with access to a computer and network interface.
You can "roleplay" just being yourself in Second Life, perhaps with a "slightly" nicer body, and do any number of activities that ordinary people do all the time in real life. Or, if you have a particular interest in a certain type of life, certain activities, certain places, certain time periods, you can live a more exotic fantasy life in Second Life playing a role "in character" to make such a fantasy life as close to real as possible to the type of life you are trying to imitate.
Living a fantasy life "in character" takes a seriousness of purpose, a dedication to be as real as possible to the character you are playing. Not only for your own enjoyment, but for the enjoyment of those who play with you. You need to use your imagination and creativity to have a truly fulfilling roleplay session.
The first thing to consider in roleplay is who are you? After you have selected the roleplay environment (a certain type of life, certain activities, certain places, certain time periods), you need to invent a character you wish to play in that environment. What type of character most interests you? For it is that type of character you will be best at and enjoy playing the most.
Is your character human or not human? Is it male or female? Dominant or subservient? High class, middle class, low class? Aggressive or passive? Friendly or not so friendly? Skilled or not skilled and what area are you skilled in, if any? How do you want to relate to others? How serious do you wish to roleplay? The more serious roleplayers will spend more time in a roleplay environment including making it their places of residence.
What is your personal history, in character? This is fictional of course, but where did you come from? What is your past? Many use their Second Life Picks to describe their past and their basic story (as well as their Second Life profile "About".)
Defining a good story in advance will get you in a more serious mindset when you roleplay. It gives you a context for your own sake as well as those who roleplay with you.
What About Now?
So you have a story, but what do you want now "in character"? Do you want to make likeminded friends? Do you want to find romance? Are you looking for sex? Do you want to have a responsible role to serve the community? Perhaps estate management, group management, government? Perhaps you have products to sell in a store? Maybe you wish to put on a play, to act, to entertain?
Maybe you want a rougher experience? To be in a military role or a fighter role? Maybe, in this safer Second Life world, you fantasize being used and abused, to serve or be used by others in a very low class role, a servant, a slave? Or maybe you wish to dominate others and/or mistreat others, a master type role.
This is your Second Life, your opportunity to live out a fantasy life as YOU wish. Like in real life, however, there are limits. As in real life, one cannot do whatever they wish with impunity. Even in Second life, there are rules to live by, including roleplay environments and consequences to breaking those rules.
So decide what you want to do, who you want to be, and enjoy that fantasy life.