Second Best Life

Second Life is the future of the Web…or is it? I was at a meeting this evening where IT directors debated the pros and cons of Second Life.

On the one hand, Second Life could be the next Amazon, and disrupt any business that only resides on the two dimensional Web 1.0. So there certainly is an argument for at least exploring what all the fuss is about.

But many of the IT directors this evening were not convinced.

The people at Linden Labs have present their view of the world within Second Life, and since they are based in California, you are unlikely to be able to make an avatars of yourself if you don’t fit the ideal Californian physique.

The debate raised concern over scalability. Can Linden Labs cope?

But the real dilemma is that unlike the world of Facebook, MySpace et al, where your status in the virtual community bolsters your real identity, people on Second Life tend to take on personas that have little similarity to their first life identity.

Now, I wonder why companies like IBM are spending valuable research and development time and budget on this “make believe” world? Do companies honestly believe that because people in this fantasy wonderland like to drive fast, red Italian sports cars, their real customers are also like this. It’s just a fantasy. If the avatars on Second Life could afford such luxuries they would already own one and probably wouldn’t need a second life.

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Hurrah! A voice of sanity in the maelstrom of Web 2.0 and all things "social networking". I hardly have time for this current life, never mind a "second life"! Frivolity aside thought, there needs to be consideration as to the likely impact of this push towards maintaining an online existence on the already fragile fabric of society in which we are currenty seeing lots of holes (in terms of education and behaviour). The nuance of implying that by not being involved in a social network online, you are missing out - doesn't quite sit with all things "inclusion".

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I think you are right Cliff, but I don't think that this is presenting the whole picture. Maybe IBM are investing time and effort on Second Life because of the idea it reflects rather than specifically the product itself?

Can I suggest this article to read, if you haven't already. It highlights that it might be better for you to look East, not West, for the future of virtual worlds: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/jun/02/newmedia.web20

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