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.