I just found out about this yesterday, in a setting that I found vaguely troubling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life
I was at an academic conference, and this dude with a Ph. D. in something (not sure what, maybe English, maybe Computer Science, I couldn’t tell) made a sales pitch (in place of a formal academic presentation on Virginia Woolf, which was what everyone else was doing) about"Second Life"–and these academic types ate up with a gigantic spoon.
To me, it sounded like 7-year-old girls talking about dressing up their dollies, getting all excited about whether the calico dress should be worn with a little red ribbon but, no, these grownup academic types with many published books apiece were asking all sorts of interested questions of this dude, so I guess I’m not really getting it.
Anybody done it? What’s the appeal? A friend of mine, similiarly skeptical to me, drily opined, “I’ve got quite enough going on in my first life, thanks,” but pretty much everyone else there was into it.
I play on Second Life now and then, mostly just to hang with my long-distance boyfriend when he asks me to go on with him.
I think the appeal of SL is that it really does offer a lot of possibilities and also ways for companies and/or colleges to interact with people. For example, a car show contest was done on SL around summer last year if I remember correctly, and you could see the symbols of major car companies around, so I guess they were ‘sponsoring’ it.
Also, when “I Am Legend” was being released in theaters, a sim was opened where a game was established for users to play on the side of either the diseased or a non-diseased combatant. Also, you could play as a dog instead that played a more supportive role in sniffing out power-ups and work in-tandem with your ‘human’ partner. It was pretty fun actually.
Plus, it’s not unheard of for musical artists to host ‘live’ concerts for others on SL.
The thing about SL though, is that although there’s opportunity to do pretty much anything and everything, it’s also heavily influenced by “you get out of it what you put into it”. It’s easy to find yourself bored in-game and not knowing what to do, so even figuring out what to do next can take some effort in searching about.
SL has also been spotted by companies such as Best Buy. I remember going into a store on SL that had a big Best Buy logo, and they had ‘products’ on display that, when clicked, opened up your browser to their website where you could purchase it for real. It wasn’t a large store though, and seemed more a ‘trial’ thing for them. So companies and institutions were, for a time, looking into SL as a way to increase their reach to the public, but I haven’t heard much of anything since then about it.
Oh, and they’ve also done Job Fairs on Second Life.
I tried it once. I wasn’t that impressed with it…I don’t think I got out of the practice ground. Some guy kept trying to talk to me with such charming lines as “Wassup bitch?” and he kept bumping his avatar into mine.
I’ve played it. I was hooked for about a week but then burned out. It’s definitely very reliant on your imagination and your intent. I had a lot of fun exploring. I would have been glued to my seat for weeks exploring the beautiful custom-made environments, except that the software just couldn’t render the images fast enough to really fly around and explore properly. Maybe it was my PC, so I might check it out again sometime.
As for the people, well, there are many nice people, but there are also lots of weirdos and porn freaks. Lots of furries. Also, it seems hard to find anything involving large groups of people that’s not dancing, porno. gambling, or some combination thereof.
An ex-GF of mine used to play it obsessively. She was the assistant manager of a boathouse. You can actually make enough money on SL to warrant it being called a real job, although she didn’t. It’s the economic and social psychological aspect of SL that academics slurp up like risotto juice.
Science Friday (NPR show) apparently has a presence there, although I have never tried SL, so I have no idea what they do there that’s better than on radio. I’ve also heard that some people working internationally prefer being paid in SL$, as there is no changing fees, etc.
I understand that he invented the term “metaverse” (from that lecture Saturday) but don’t really get what’s so fabulous about the invention. What’s the difference between dressing your dolly up and pretending that she has money and friends, and SL? Why would a grownup be drawn to it?
I mean, I can fantasize I am a major league baseball player, and imagine all sorts of in-game situations I am presented with, and what I would I would do in each one, but I don’t need any other people to share my fantasy–it would probably make it suck pretty hard, in fact.
I play in Second Life quite a bit. However, almost all of my activities in Second Life revolve around what’s essentially a game within a game–a MMORPG. It’s called the City of Lost Angels (link) (Note–it’s billed as a sex community. It’s really not. Images possibly slightly NSFW, but no nudity or anything like that).
Before I found the RP stuff in there? I was with everyone else. Bor-RING. Now, though, it’s like free, gothy WoW.
I don’t get it either. I work for a major research institution and there are some people here who are using it and think it’s the bees’ knees. While I can see it having some limited applications (creating a simulated environment for students to practice/interact in when a real one is not available for whatever reason), when it was presented to our department for possible use, I thought the idea for the most part was just … strange. We do have one set of classes that might benefit from its use, but only for a very specific purpose, and it seemed the intention was to use it for all distance classes, regardless of subject.
I think a lot of people would have trouble getting up to speed with it too - once off campus, the information superhighway often becomes a dirt road (especially considering we have students who live all over the world), and I could see technology issues becoming a major headache.
I am a “resident” of SL. My real life is in fact totally unsatisfying right now, and I am not in a postition to change that until at least December. In SL, I’m meeting people, working a job that is fun, renting and furnishing a place to live that is so much nicer than anything I can afford in real life. Of course, I’m playing, and yes, I suppose it is pathetic, but even though I have a picture of myself in my profile, and i admit my real age to anyone who asks, I find that there are fewer barriers between myself and others of all ages. Second Lifers seem to want to talk to everybody. I find it a totally satisfying social outlet, and really how is it any stranger than any other computer game? In my case the goal of the game is networking, but for others there are other goals.
By and large, however, I’m very shy online (and in person, come to think of it) so I avoid places with large groups of people I might be expected to interact with (like the intellectual conversations ivylass mentioned) and just explore the different landscapes. There are some cool recreations of famous architecture that people must have spent months of their lives developing.
Sorry if my question seemed to put SLers down, Gillian. I was reacting to SL in a professional context–what anyone does for fun is cool with me, but I don’t get it being talked up in an uber-professional setting, and I REALLY don’t get why professionals were going ga-ga over this.
I thought someone was going to go ga-ga, but negatively: I was half-expecting a “WTF are you doing here, talking about this dorky past-time, to a bunch of serious-as-death academics minutely discussing fine points of modernist literary theory?” but NOOOOO–they gobbled this stuff up.
I’ve played Second Life ever since just after beta, and folks are right. You get out of it what you put in. For me personally, it’s flying around and watching what people are making, and trying to build things of my own on my land.
Early on, there were a lot of artists running around and fewer socializers, if that makes sense. Now the balance’s swung toward the socializers so the artists are harder to find. They’re still out there, though!
We have poetry readings and hangouts, although I have yet to make it inworld on a night when there’s an event – too busy with RL. I’m also nowhere near being a clubber, so those don’t hold interest for me.
However, it’s also personally fascinating trying to catch up to what newfangled stuff the cool kids are doing inworld these days.
nyctea scandiaca, try browsing the group directory to find groups that have interests that you want to check out, and then check to see if they have a physical location that you can hit up. What sorts of interests do you have?