Thursday, February 7, 2008

Whither SL? one reply

In a lecture given at Boston’s Museum of Science in April 2007, journalist Wagner James Au described sl as “collaborative lucid dreaming” which results in “promiscuous changes” to the landscape like “free-floating jazz”. The beautiful thing about sl is that the content created in-world (a.k.a ip - intellectual property), is owned solely by the residents. Whatever you make is yours to do with what you wish (Linden Labs 2003 attempts to tax resident creations inspired a full-on Boston-styled tea party revolt, resulting in LL giving residents full rights to their stuff, no fees). Everyone works with the same tools, everyone is given an equal playing field. The base of the culture is creativity. And for those of us who like to fly their freak flag high, it’s a perfect setting. I’m not surprised that the median age of users is 35…with many of us fused to home life - engulfed as we are by parenthood, or dulled slightly by professional or financial life – those of us who are daring enough to dabble in the latest technology, those of us who are reticent designers, writers, artists…here is a home…without walls to hem you in!

I listened to a short piece on NPR the other night about how, according to a marketing analyst, corporations aren’t interested in sl anymore. He was quite snotty about it actually, and I sensed a bit of a chip on his shoulder. “The people who spend their time in sl are people we’re not interested in anyway”. Nah nah. Actually, residents in sl have demonstrated that they’re not interested in you. James Au observed that “in the context of the fantastic, their brands as they exist in the real world are boring, banal, and unimaginative”. *

The creativity and imagination of residents can be overwhelming – I often find myself thinking “How did they DO that?!” but I want to learn, and the desire to learn keeps me coming back…night after night.

*Marketing in Second Life Doesn't Work by Wagner James Au.