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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