- November 14, 2021
- Posted by: Con P. Sweeney
- Category: Facebook
With all the recent hubbub about Facebook renaming itself Meta and young Zuck heading off to discover brave, new worlds in the Metaverse, I’d decided to blog about Second Life (Yes, it’s still alive and well.) and point out to Zuck and his band of merry pranksters that the road to the Metaverse is not necessarily paved in gold (or Bitcoin for that matter.)
However, before I could fingers to the keyboard, Joe Tidy, Cyber reporter at the BBC, beat me to it.
I was a bit disappointed with his article and I still have a few watchouts for the crew over at Meta.
Let’s talk about that!
First off, I do want to give Joe credit for realizing that Second Life had existed.
However, I’m a little disappointed that just because he hasn’t been inworld for the last decade he assumes that it no longer exists.
(That would be like me saying that just because I haven’t been to London for the last ten years, it no longer exists. Although, BREXIT might take care of that!)
Also, unlike Joe who apparently wandered around inworld on a tourist package back in the day, I’ve been visiting Second Life regularly for over ten years and have been broadcasting a show, The Mystery Hour with Con Sweeney, for mystery/thriller writers from there since July 2020.
You can see my shows on our YouTube channel here.
(For those of you who may be worried, I do have a Real Life with real friends. Although, after this blogpost, some of them might not be so willing to admit that they know me.)
I’m disappointed in Joe’s article because I don’t think he went deep enough.
He rezzed inworld, adopted probably one of the worst avatar forms available to newbies, talked to guy who’d only been there for four months himself, wandered around for a bit, and managed to score an interview a vice-president at Linden Lab, the owner of Second Life.
(BTW Joe, if you’re reading this blogpost and would like to do follow-up article, I’d be happy to meet you inworld, show you my studio, and introduce you to long time Second Life residents who have real achievements to their names inworld.)
But, Joe did hit on a few key points which are accurate.
First, many, if not most, people don’t realize that Second Life is still around. Active membership has fallen off considerably from its heyday back when it was on the cover of Businessweek.
Next, once you’re inworld, you’re on your own.
You have to create your own experience, there’s no game to play, or ultimate purpose as in other virtual worlds.
Finally, moderation is a problem.
Yes, sex does exist inworld.
I hope that I’m no shocking anyone when I say it exists in Real Life too.
Historically, Second Life has had problems with bad actors running scams and the like.
Hello, doesn’t Real Life as well?
Why are we surprised that when we create a virtual copy of reality, people act just like they do in reality?
Facebook (Sorry, Meta!) has enough difficulty monitoring their current social media channel and they want to add another?
(Sometimes, I can’t help but think that it’s a good thing that Zuck is a the majority stakeholder in his own company. he’d never survive annual performance reviews anywhere else!)
What I’d like to add to Joe Tidy’s observations are the following:
- The lack of a scalable economy with a functioning currency has always hurt Second Life
- No protection for intellectual property rights in Second Life stifled innovation and entrepreneurship
- The hands off approach by Linden Lab to most of its members doesn’t help build community (Yes, a chosen few do have regular access to the Linden gods but the rest of us just have to go pound salt)
- IMHO the GUI for the user experience is still awkward and needs improvement (It’s almost twenty years old with no major changes in that time!)
- The anonymity of members inworld is at the root of Second Life’s moderation problems
- A mobile version of Second Life is long overdue
- Second Life has always lacked a true visionary like Bezos, Jobs, Gates, and even Zuck to challenge the organization and the community to aspire to even greater things.
So, this is what Zuck and the gang have to consider as they enter the Metaverse.
Oh, yes, one more thing…
How do they propose to make money while they’re at it?
Let’s see what develops out in Silicon Valley!
That’s it for now!
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