Just another UMW Blogs weblog

Virtual Worlds. Ooohhhh, ahhhhh!

I understand the fascination.  Doing whatever you want, with whoever you want, as you act however you want, and effectively “become” whoever you want.  Everyone needs an escape, thats pretty reasonable to me.  I guess I just underestimate peoples’ imaginations.

Second Life is a cool idea, at heart.  You get to walk around (and also fly, for some reason), mingle with other users, play dress up, play house, all sorts of (admittedly mundane) activities.  You can buy things, with real money, that you earn in the real world (or dive into your allowance), and spend it on virtual land or virtual items.  Conversely, you can also sell things in Second Life.  Supposedly there are millionaire entrepreneurs who have cashed in on this enterprise.  Congrats, really.

I used Second Life briefly for this class as part of the “Hands-on” exercises, but this was not my first experience in this virtual world.  A few years ago I had a similar class assignment, and had to visit a few places in Second Life and then write a review, on both Second Life and the company “island” i was to visit.  I’ll be honest, between the giant polygons, dull atmosphere, and overall empty areas I was confronted with; my view of Second Life was just about set in stone.

At one point there was a lot of hype for this platform, with multiple corporations owning land, and using it for commercial reasons (marketing, advertisement, Dell actually let you customize and buy PCs through their property) and for inter-business communication/coordination.  Apparently most corporations have stopped using it for advertising or other commercial reasons, but some still use it for virtual trade shows, and long distance learning.

Second Life is an interesting idea, but I don’t think the application/technology or the world is quite ready for the idea.  One day, maybe.  Until then though, I’m going to keep trying to fathom how its possible for people to become millionaires on Second Life.  I hope I never understand it.


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