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Ear to the Ground

It’s a Wonderful Second Life

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Posted on Oct 12, 2006
Second Life graphic
From Second Life (via Popular Science)

Most people use Second Life to chat with friends and make new ones.

Check out this mind-blowing story on Second Life, the simulated online world where people socialize, shop for actual products, attend legitimate university classes, even buy virtual real estate—using real-world money.

This head-spinning enmeshing of on-line/off-line interaction represents a new model for our Internet-addled society. It’s like “The Matrix” (Version 0.1).

  • Earlier: Suzanne Vega becomes the first major recording artist to perform live in avatar form.

  • Popular Science:

    ... Like the computer game The Sims, Second Life is software that enables you to guide your avatar through a 3-D landscape, chat with other avatars, and build objects with tools. But SL, as it’s known to its 300,000 members, or “residents,” isn’t a game. It’s more like an animated version of real life. There’s no way to win and no specific objective.

    ... [I]ncreasingly, people are logging on to work, shop, or go to class. Of course, the same thing could have been said about the Web 10 years ago. Like the Web, all but the basic infrastructure in SL is built by the people who populate it. Want a conference room where you can swap blueprints with a team around the world? Create one, and other avatars can come inside. Want to sell your band’s music? Build a jukebox, fill it with MP3s, and charge SL residents in Linden dollars (SL’s currency) to download them.

    ... With its natural interactivity and open platform for creation, Second Life, or something like it, may very well be the next generation of the Web.

    ... SL’s now-thriving economy ... currently has an annual gross domestic product of $64 million (U.S. dollars). Residents buy and sell Linden dollars for real money (Linden takes a small cut of all currency exchanges) and can do a brisk business peddling everything from developed real estate to exotic body parts for residents who don’t want to design their own. There are at least 3,000 entrepreneurs making $20,000 or more a year on SL businesses; BusinessWeek devoted a recent cover story to Anshe Chung, who earns hundreds of thousands of (actual) dollars as SL’s biggest real-estate mogul.

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    By VInny E., October 27, 2006 at 5:09 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    re: DivaJean

    I know, it’s pathetic. Why can’t they just use drugs and alcohol to escape from reality like every one else?

    /sarcasm off

    Look, it’s just a game, or a really complicated chat program, either way you choose to look at it, get over it. Some people realise that they can’t change the world to suit them, games like this and even the Sims, give them the chance to do just that. It’s a temporary escape from reality.

    Report this

    By DivaBeaver, October 15, 2006 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Errr, what do you think the internet is?  I hate to point this out, but you are on it.

    Report this

    By Patrick, October 13, 2006 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    To each his own.

    Report this

    By Tom, October 13, 2006 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Have you played (been to? tried?) Second Life? It’s not nearly as exciting as it’s cracked up to be. It’s actually sort of inane if you ask me. You can imagine it becoming really cool, and there are a few neat things about it now, but it’s got a long, long, long way to go. Give me the real world any day. I’ve never been one to tune out what’s going on around me with an iPod or a Walkman either.

    Report this

    By Farakon, October 13, 2006 at 11:46 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Strangely missing from the article is any mention of the vast amount of adult content that I suspect really keeps Second Life afloat.

    Report this

    By me, October 13, 2006 at 9:49 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    lol

    Report this

    By DivaJean, October 13, 2006 at 7:13 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    This sickens me. How wrong is it that a virtual world can thrive when the real one is so rife with problems?!? Can some of these folks get out of their parents basement for one moment and spend some time in the real world and solve some of the real problems?

    Report this
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