Is Second Life Really Sad?

Trevor Cook has a post today entitled “Second Life popularity shows the sadness of modern life.

He cites an ABC News item that refers to Second Life as, “the three-dimensional world where people escape their own existences to life a different virtual life.”

While this may be true for some people, I don’t think it’s the only reason for Second Life.  It may have started that way, but the following and participation has taken on a life of its own and for a different reason. 

Trevor goes on to discuss how he’s amazed at the fact that we have so many opportunities for entertainment and participation in the real world yet we look for other worlds to escape to.  He says that it may be a “sign of the disappointment a lot of people feel that their lives are not living up to some glorious vision that advertisers pump them full of.”

I think this view of Second Life completely misses the point and will cause people to miss out on the opportunities contained in this virtual world.  I should say that, while I see the opportunities, I haven’t completely emptied my glass of Second Life Kool-Aid.  I still don’t get the concept of having a drink/food/sex in-world.  Those things are lost on me yet, but I don’t think that detracts from my enjoyment or success in-world.

For some, they do get too wrapped up in Second Life, WOW, etc and completely escape their lives.  This can happen in any form of technology I think.  People choosing virtual over real worlds.  Some people are just more prone to go down that path…and that’s not unique to Second Life.

Second Life does provide one great thing, in a unique way…connection.  I have talked to people in-world that I would have either never been in a physical location to connect with or would be too intimidated to talk to in person.  But, in Second Life, I can find them, connect with them, talk to them and build a relationship in a way that wouldn’t have been possible before. 

Why not just do it via chat?

Sure, much of the “connection” revolves around the concept of chatting/typing words to each other.  It’s different though.  You can see someone (albeit a digital someone) in front of you.  You can look around at more than a simple gray and white box, waiting for the words to come back.  It’s more of an experience than simply a chat.

My conclusion?  Second Life will grow (assuming Linden can work out their issues) and people will continue to connect.  Sure, the avatars and digital people seem a little “geeky” and tough to get your head around, but to dismiss the tool because of this puts many at a great disadvantage. 

After all, we’re supposed to be about content…right?  The tools are just tools, but connecting with people to discuss content is what it’s all about.

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Is Second Life Really Sad?

8 thoughts on “Is Second Life Really Sad?

  1. Mike says:

    Well less than 75% of the people do not get it because there normal life sucks that 25% just gets it because there sex life sucks there is so much sex in 2nd life it is a 40 year old vergins dream

  2. Tom L. says:

    I also believe that people can get too wrapped up into Second Life that they completely forget about their social lives and get addicted to the game. But I also agree with Kevin that Second Life is a place where you can meet a lot of people that you wouldn’t even talk to in real person because you would be too intimidated. I do believe this is a positive aspect of the game because if you expand your social relationships in the game, you will more easily seek contact in real life with persons you would otherwise never talk to.

  3. Dries says:

    I don’t believe in second life. I don’t get how people can get addicted to these types of games. You pay evey month to play the game online. When you’re online you’ll get virual dollars and vitual houses, but those virtual things won’t do any good in your real life. It’s just a waiste of money. There are of course people with social problems and people who get bullied at school. And mayby they will seek a newer world,a virtual world, where they will be accepted and then have no problems talking to other people. Ok that’s fun for a while but at some point you will get bored and then you’ll get back in the real life and see that nothing has changed. After all I think it’s just a waiste of time and money. If you want to achieve something in your life do it in the real world and not in a virtual world because it’s worth nothing.

  4. Vincent says:

    I don’t get the big hype. Why would you want to put all of your spare time into something virtual, something that surely doesn’t benefit you in real life? I agree with Trevor when he says that there are enough possibilities to entertain yourself other than sitting in front of your computer and playing second life. Take your wife out to diner, play with your kids, or do something valuable for society if the preceding doesn’t apply to you.
    Then there’s another aspect. Fleeing into a virtual world won’t solve anyone’s personal/social problems, if that’s the reason they’d join. Getting help in real life will…

  5. Axel V. says:

    I don’t have a second life account and I’m not planning on making one. Not that I’m afraid of the Virtual world of second life or anything, but I just don’t see the goal you’re trying to reach while spending time online, playing Second Life. Are you trying to make friends? Or are you just trying to ignore the possible fact that you don’t have a First Life? Why make friends online, while you can do this in a bar or a club. By playing Second Life and trying to meet new people trough this new portal, Your social skills will be harmed and your real life will have no value at all. I agree with Trevor when he says that there are plenty of ways to entertain yourself in the real world. Why avoid them?

  6. Niels G. says:

    I don’t think you can compare this virtual reality world with the real world. But the bad thing is that people who play Second Life don’t relfect their virtual life with their real life. That is an opportunity for those people to avoid real life issues. I must admit that I also played a virtual ‘reality’ game, called WoW. And it’s true that it affect your social habits. Because you are spending hours and hours at home leveling with your own-made character, gaining experience, and upgrading your gear . The only difference with WoW and Second Life is that the WoW-world is a fantasy world and the SL-world isn’t. It is based on true life habits in a world where people can escape in.

  7. Hey, great comments!

    I really have a love/hate relationship with SL. I think there’s opportunity there, but I struggle to get on board like so many people that think it will change the world.

    I do think there are definitely different groups of people there. If, like me, you approach SL with the mindset that you’re there to connect with people of common interest…great! But, approaching it as a lifestyle can be detrimental.

    I just don’t understand the people that see it as replacing things like WebEx and others as the best way to meet with many people at once. It’s got a LONG way to go before that.


  8. Nick OdB says:

    I can understand people play it sometimes. You could compare Second Life to a video game so I think people are attracted to it because in that virtual world they’re able to do things they can’t do in the regular world. They can go out of their bounderies. However I think it’s kind of wrong to spend more time on this Second Life then on your real life. Like I said ‘it’s just a videogame’, you can’t let this control your life. I defenitely agree that it’s a great way of meeting people. It gives chatting a new dimension and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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