Saturday, December 1, 2007

Virtual Worlds 2007

the Virtual Worlds conference will take place April3-4, 2008 in New York City.

Did you know that...

Over $1 Billion has been invested in 35 virtual world companies from October 2006 to October 2007??!

Here's the Press Release

Sunday, November 11, 2007

do real-life laws stretch into virtual worlds?

one of the things that has second life moving so quickly is the fact that there are very few regulations. obviously there are good things and bad things about having few regulations... but i was wondering how many real-life laws actually applied to things that happened in second life.

here's an interesting article i found. the author talks about the possibility of terrorist escaping wiretaps by using World of Warcraft or Second Life to make plans... because then they could always say "hey it's a virtual world, i was only PRETENDING". it brought up some great points, and i def. think this will probably be a bigger deal in the near future.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

facebook - so last election?

Sorry, 2008 candidates. Your Facebook and MySpace accounts are so last campaign season. The newest trend this election season? Campaigning outside of reality.

“The potential for Second Life is very big,” said Justin Hamilton, Miller’s deputy chief of staff. “It’s a fascinating way to interact, and we can reach quite a few people.”

Not enough, apparently, to convince Clinton, Obama and Edwards to pay much attention. All three presidential hopefuls’ campaigns have instead focused on social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

another great quote:
It's intense. You have to download something.

"Pols Get Second Chance To Connect Online"

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

marketing social media tools

here's what e-consultancy has to say about second life:

# Do longer term projects on Second Life as its not the environment where you get rapid spikes of traffic unless...

# get God to turn up as Random House did when marketing Richard Dawkins 'The God Delusion' in Second Life. A great book and a great piece of marketing.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

the red and black

we were in our college's newspaper, the red & black today.

they wouldn't have covered it, except Second Life is becoming such a buzz word i think they felt like they had to.

"I encourage students to take the class because this is a medium that is evolving and I think that students enjoy learning about things as they happen - being a pioneer."

the full article

Monday, November 5, 2007

the pursuit of happiness

This is not a passing fad. There are a number of other online services and virtual worlds that are growing in popularity. There are indications that Google and Microsoft may also be releasing their own virtual worlds to rival Second Life. And it is reported that $1 billion has been spent on the development of 35 different virtual worlds in just the past year. Additionally, $15 million has been spent on advertising within these programs in 2006, with this figure projected to be $150 million by 2012.

The author of this article talks about why people are motivated to spend hours behind a computer screen-- and it really just comes down to the fact that the computer screen offers an instant "comfort zone". It's also a way for people to essentially run away from their problems, albeit temporary.

People are literally leaving reality behind and living in a fantasy world.

Via RealTruth.Org

Friday, November 2, 2007


CSI: NY did an episode about a killing that was being investigated through both Second Life and real life. It was kinda interesting-- The worst (best?) part was they left the ending up to viewers and you were supposed to log onto SL and figure out the mystery/investigate in the virtual world.

i'm wondering if SL had to pay for that.

the genius part about the set-up was that the essentially eliminated Orientation Island and gave you a quick and easy way to get in world.

a random local paper covering the story

Thursday, November 1, 2007

pedophile playground

Every lifestyle group has its own place in the virtual world "Second Life" — including, apparently, pedophiles.

from Fox News

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Second Life PSA

We all know Second Life jumped the shark long ago but when an Ad Council campaign pokes fun at something you know it's really over. This PSA for obesity prevention has fun with Second Life oddities while urging people to wait 15 minutes before having seconds because, as most people don't know, it takes the brain longer to realize the stomach's full than the stomach itself. The ad points to a site, launched Thursday, called Small Step which, among other things, educates people on portion control.

Other elements of the campaign kick off next week.

from AdRants

Monday, October 1, 2007

Tween SL

YPulse: Why Whyville Ain't Just Fun; It's Useful

After YPulse on Friday, we're a little crazy about the idea of Whyville.

Whyville's yet another post-Second Life virtual world, except it's for tweens. Its citizens are mainly female, with girls comprising over 60 percent of the populace.

To explain why Whyville is so cool, we'll use the Scion example. Whyville erected the first virtual dealership for the boxy vehicle, which ended up yielding more test-drives for it than any physical place in the world.

Now, Kids can buy Whyville Scions for 15,000 clams - and if they're a little short, they can hit the Toyota lending agency to finance it.

Each Whyville inhabitant has a credit score. Certain activities can help scores improve: Getting jobs, earning raises, buying a house, all kinds of things. And if they don't meet their monthly payments, that coveted 15,000-clam Scion gets repossessed.

Founder Jim Bower observed that parents often call in to complain when their their kids' virtual plaything gets claimed by the repo man. "Would you rather they be upset over losing a virtual car over virtual money, or would you rather wait until they're 19 with a credit card that you're responsible for?" he asks.


These days on Whyville, kids can engineer their own Toyotas. And it's not a paper-doll kind of thing - they actually learn things about real cars, and use that knowledge in the creative process.

When asked why the site's demo is largely female, Bower called Whyville a place where girls are "expected to be smart."

"Users are encouraged to generate, not consume, in the community," he said.

There's a good way to hit the tween set.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Snow Crash Reference

NY Times Article About SL -- "Even in a Virtual World, 'Stuff' Matters"

Second Life was started in 2003 by a Silicon Valley techie inspired by a sci-fi novel, “Snow Crash.” It is owned by a private company called Linden Lab. The original idea of the game was to unleash creativity. Residents don’t have to wear the latest fashions; they don’t have to look — or act — human at all. They can take any animal, robotic, or inanimate form they want.

yeah, her avator is way hotter than she really is

I love this article, "Even in a Virtual World, Stuff Matters" because it shows that our consumerism translates even into a virtual world where it shouldn't matter. The girl above even keeps a list of things she wants to buy. That's just sad.

... Right?

The items are made of pixels, and don't actually exist, yet people still spend money on them. This girl makes Linden dollars interviewing for the fashion industry.... Anyone see a problem here? Yeah, in real life she wouldn't get that job because, sorry, but she's not that fashionable. She doesn't look trendy, she needs a haircut and a new pair of glasses at the very least. The only thing she's got going for her in the picture is the Apple computer.

Last month, she earned 40,000 Linden dollars ($150), for interviewing designers, arranging fashion shoots and writing about trends in Second Life, called SL by frequent users. “I usually spend what I earn,” Ms. Hawkins said. “It’s entertaining.”



Some other information about Second Life to ponder according to a Wall Street Journal story:

* A large percentage of online game players said their virtual friends are equal to or better than their real friends.

* More than a quarter of them said the emotional highlight of the past week happened in a computer world.

* A typical game player spends 20 to 40 hours a week in a virtual world.

* Studies suggest that, on a neurological level, players don't distinguish between real life and virtual relationships. If you get dumped by your virtual lover, it appears to hurt just as bad.

* Addiction to interactive fantasy role-playing games is under study by the American Medical Association.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

"Real Estate In An Unreal World"

I came across this article online about real estate in Second Life. The article compared SL to Narnia, which made me giggle. But I kind-of liked the comparison. In so many ways, it does feel like a fantasy, made-up world. Oh wait. It is.

But here we go again... Confusing fantasy with real life. We talk about how people often try to recreate themselves... their lives... Maybe with an extra touch- 10 pounds less, better hair, better boobs, more money. But still, there's this inherit need to have reality represented. Sure, we can fly, but overall, this "Second" life has so many real world components. And real estate is another great example.

These houses aren't for sale on SL... They're for sale in real life. And people are actually going to SL to tour them!! Craziness....

Check it out for yourself:

SL - An Addiction?

I have come to the conclusion that many people on Second Life are addicted... I think it's kind-of like an addiction to dating or going out... Except you're home on your computer, and you probably don' really date or go out. Hmmm. Creepy.

When I talk to people about my class, most people are confused. How and Why, they want to know. That's easy. Then they tell me it's something people get addicted to and can't get off of. They talk about people being holed up in their room for hours on end, pretending to socialize.

I still like the idea of Second Life, but every time I get on it, I feel like I'm wasting my time. I keep hearing my mom's voice in my head "get off the computer... and go outside and play!" Sure, that was 5 years ago, but still... I have plenty of friends. I don't want/need friends on Second Life.

This should motivate me to figure out how other people will see it and how to draw them in... hook line and sinker.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Linden Labs: Normal.

When Shamp went around assigning tasks to various people, Leslie decided I would write about Linden Labs. (Thanks.) No, but actually, I was pretty stoked. I was led to believe that Linden Lab was a company that was out of the ordinary. Not so normal. Different. Unique.

I don't know if maybe Shamp had some specific insight from a SL Conference... or insider trading. Hey, who knows. The fact is, I can't really find anything that leads me to believe that they're too different from any new media company.... I mean their Founder & CEO built a computer in 4th grade. That's pretty cool. But other than that, nothing really stands out.

When you look at LL's website, you notice they describe themselves as cool.
The people are cool:
Everyone is smart, everyone is very good at what they do, and everyone has a chance to contribute. The environment is intellectually rich, dynamic, and creative. Passion and SMARTS rule!
Hmmmm. Now see, this here... This rubs me the wrong way. You don't usually write about yourselves as cool. If you're cool, you know it, and other people will eventually know it.

I worked at a company in NYC over the summer, and they were. Cool. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. The company was hip. In fact, the other intern even said at one point "I don't think I would be able to work for them after graduation. I mean... face it... I'm just not cool enough". But that's not in our company motto. That's not on our website. Maybe they were joking around (for the record, I don't think they were), but it rubbed me the wrong way. Plus... they wrote "cool" on the same page as "3,000 CPUs and growing!". No. Those do NOT go together. I promise.

On an external website I found that Linden Lab promotes inventing, collaborating, and "most importantly" having fun while doing the above. Yeah, I get it. But when we sign up for jobs, in the real world, that's usually the idea. Maybe it's "being productive" instead of inventing... Or fill in your company's niche instead of "inventing", but nothing new there.

The company overall seems pretty idealistic. Every interview with Philip Rosedale, the founder and CEO, seems like a call to recruitment. Every word planned, nothing could be said without somehow tying it back to Second Life. And then he used the word
... Organic. That's a natural integration. One that for the typical consumer passes by and they don't even realize there was planning behind it; They just have an inherit feeling. To me, nothing about Second Life seems "organic".

Now, I'm not bashing Second Life. Or Linden Labs for that matter. I'm just saying that I was lead to believe I would find a very... surprising... environment that Linden Labs lead, and so far, I can't find anything that really stands out.

In addition, one blog notes that Linden Lab attracts people because it's a "cool company" but not because they pay well or actually treat their employees well.

One article, titled "Linden Lab's Metaverse Maths: 1 + 1 = 10" talks about how they have created a business model that barely allows them to survive as a profitable company. That makes me a little nervous... Because if they can't make money, then they can't put money back in Second Life. And if they can't figure out their own company, how are they supposed to figure out how it works in a virtual world?? Ya know? Have they set themselves on a
grow or die

One quote that stood out to me from that article was
You can think of it as a very sophisticated model of a Ponzi scheme :) which only works as long as it constantly grows, exponentially, with more and more users buying more and more sims. Unlike, say, web hosting services — where the setup fees are mostly speculative, and can be forfeited as a discount to long-term users — LL cannot afford to do that, or else their business model crumbles to dust.

My props to them? One guy created a parody of second life... Get A First Life. Instead of asking him to "cease and desist" they basically told him to proceed as usual, saying
We do not believe that reasonable people would argue as to whether the website located at constitutes parody – it clearly is. Linden Lab is well known among its customers and in the general business community as a company with enlightened and well-informed views regarding intellectual property rights, including the fair use doctrine, open source licensing, and other principles that support creativity and self-expression. We know parody when we see it.

Ha! I love it. Very clever. My overall analysis: Normal.

As far as their history:
The name "Linden" comes from the street its first offices were located on: 333 Linden Street. They have since moved twice with the second location coincidently on Second Street, and the current offices on Sansome Street (contact information (

A linden is also a type of tilia ( tree, but there are no "linden" trees in Second Life. The "lab" part of the name may be meant to invoke thoughts of expirementation as this is a large part of the development of Second Life, not just for Linden Lab but also for the residents--but there is no actual lab in the offices.

The logo for Linden Lab, a cube tree, was made by a contractor at the request of LL for something industrial yet also organic. The logo is sometimes mistaken to be an image of an avatar's "selection particles" selecting a cube.

The website Second Life History is a great resource.

Yeah... We had a "Virtual" Class

"I've always wanted to tell my students to stop flying during class. Guys. Stop flying around." - Shamp

Minus the chaos of people flying; teleporting; and me trying not to run into my classmates... class was, well, normal. Ok, that's a lie. Class in Second Life was far from normal. My boyfriend sat behind me playing guitar laughing at avatars, wondering aloud if that was actually how my classmates looked in real life. And after he wandered away, as I leaned in, talking to my laptop, my puppy was quite confused who I was talking to. I'm sure I looked pretty silly.

I'm not really a name person... So the people in my class that I didn't know yet, well, I really don't know their avatars. It's hard enough putting a name with a face, harder yet to put a Second Life name with an avatar face with an actual person from class's face with an actual real life name. You see where I'm going with this? We need to upload screen shots of our avatars with our avatar names below, our real names following, and maybe even a smaller headshot of who we actually are. Then if you change your avatar drastically, you can upload another screen shot.... On our class webpage maybe?

Alas, we will continue on the journey... and figure things out as we go. Right??

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Rosie Randt

So I've always wanted to have the initials RR sooo I made my SecondLife name Rosie Randt.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Start of Something New

We're "exploring the ways of communication" and the "pace of innovation is astounding"... This blog will be about Second Life...

Apparently there are 7 million users (3-4) active, and is pretty pure and untapped at this point. We're going to try and figure out what we can do with it...