Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second Life?

I have been accused in another place of spending too much time on the internet, but in fact all I do is use my RSS reader carefully.

Over the last couple of months we have seen how the profile of Second Life has grown. Indeed for while it was almost impossible to open a newspaper, read an e magazine or even scan a news feed without seeing a mention, an article or a link to Second Life. I spent a little time there a while ago and have to confess I was bored.

Whatever we think of Second Life or its many inhabitants; we cannot fail to be impressed by their Marketing department who have kept our eye on their activity in the real worlds of music, marketing, science and education. Only this month Judge Richard's A. Posner popped up to speak and talk about his recently published book Not a Suicide Pact. As a non resident of Second Life I missed the talk but the transcript of the dialogue seems interesting, covering a range of legal, ethical and moral topics.

Although I understand the urge to want to participate I was surprised to read earlier this week of the homeless teenage avatar representing the Asociacion Menajeros de la Paz (Messenegers of Peace).

Their web site states
"the brand new trend in internet, Second Life is a virtual world where players can create their appearance, objects and properties, but also it's possible to help improve life in the real world.
Since November 16th, a virtual homeless boy named MenajerosDeLaPaz jubilee is living in this world, warning the residents that mny people still need help and everyone can do something against poverty, injustice and abandon."

Good for them.......but I'm not all seems a bit gimmicky to me. Perhaps it won't be long before The Big Issue is on sale. Then possibly Lindens could be put to real use.

My Boing Boing feed pointed me at this critical article by Clay Shirkey that makes interesting reading.

He writes
"I suspect Second Life is largely a "Try Me" virus, where reports of a strange and wonderful new thing draw the masses to log in and try it, but whose ability to retain anything but a fraction of those users is limited. The pattern of a Try Me virus is a rapid spread of first time users, most of whom drop out quickly, with most of the dropouts becoming immune to later use."

I think I'm with Shirkey!

(A version of this post first appeared as a comment)

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