Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Get Another Life

The Breakfast News portion of BBC News 24 ran an item on Second Life this morning. Luckily I hadn’t taken a mouthful of coffee at the time otherwise it would have flowed over my bottom lip, poured down my chin and immediately pooled on the floor. You’ve got to be kidding me, right?

I’m only just recovering from being introduced to MySpace and now I have Second Life thrown in my face. I’m not sure my little brain can cope. I suppose, like MySpace, it allows people who live in isolated communities to reach out and feel like they belong; that they’re not alone out there.

But, also like MySpace, it gives people the chance to be who they want to be. Life can be tough. Life can be shitty. Life can be unfair. Life may have not turned out like you wanted it to. But deal with it; don’t escape from it.

The big thing about the Second Life online community is creating your own avatar. As demonstrated by the avatar of the news presenter reporting the item, you can be thinner, fatter, change you hair colour or your whole appearance.

Which meant that in the brief guided tour of various environs during the report, nobody seemed afflicted by poor diet and lack of exercise. Most of the avatars looked like refugees from a fetish-lite club. Even the avatar of computer developer, who guided the reporter through this virtual world, was certainly an idealised version of his actual self.

After the filmed report was over, and they cut back to the studio to comment on the report, even before he was properly introduced, it was obvious that the overweight, bespectacled chap on the sofa was our man in the flesh.

While it would be quite easy to write it off as just another form of fantasy role-playing, without any dungeons, or even dragons for that matter, commerce has sniffed out Second Life and started to make inroads. The world has it’s own economy and currency. According to a box on the home page, in the last 24 hours, over $327,000 was spent in transactions. So it's certainly working for some people.

While exposure on MySpace brought Arctic Monkeys to the attention of the public, the news item reported that Duran Duran are going to premiere their new album with a concert in the virtual world. With resident-created Second Life videos on the website’s media page, how long before film studios premiere new releases in this world. If people don’t want the hassle of going to actual cinemas to watch a new movie, instead preferring to wait until it is made available on DVD, will they pay to watch it in a virtual movie theater?

So far Second Life sounds like a perfect world. Unless of course you like to feel sunlight on your skin or the wind blowing through your hair. Unless you like to meet real people face to face.


At 8:11 pm, Blogger wcdixon said...

So you did take the first run at Second Life...WTF?

Good for you - and well said.

And thanks for the post...er comment this morning - made my day.

Now to head to a real meeting with real people...shit, I don't know if I'll be able to functon.

At 8:48 pm, Blogger Riddley Walker said...

You think that's bad? I have to work with him! Hehehe... ;-)


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