Blowing My Wad In Second Life
No, the headline isn’t what you think. I decided to shut the virtual door on Second Life, and therefore end the “game” (well, maybe it’s not) in a suitable manner. Through my travels I built up $200 of Linden dollars, and my last quest was to blow it all. That sounded more appealing than putting it in a virtual bank account or cashing it out, since it seems that amount of Linden dollars is worth less than $1 US.
I found it easy to blow my virtual pittance since I had no desire to accumilate any virtual objects of virtual worth. So I played some slot machines (losing money) and visited several dance clubs, eventually giving all my cash to a virtual dancing girl who looked like she was gliding underwater with glowing hair. Along the way, I passed through a digital home that was set up by Sears. It was completly empty (not virtually empty).
I would have spent the cash more quickly, but I consistently ran into lag, which is actually is one of the more annoying aspects of Second Life. When you walk into a very popular venue, it takes a while – minutes even, for the objects to solidify. Meanwhile, people are greyed out, their clothes in the wrong place, and your avatar might get stuck in a wall or beneath a floor.
So in this post are several snap shots of stuff I encountered over the past month or so. I think in total I logged in about six or seven times, way more times than I think the average person would, and certainly more attention was given than to any of the Web 2.0 websites I’ve poked around on in my “Interesting” posts – and I still didn’t find Second Life appealing enough to get seriously involved with it. I was even open to meeting up with a virtual tour guide, who offered to show me around in a comment on this blog, but sadly, he was never online when I was. And while my relatives send me links to YouTube videos and flickr stuff, I think it will be quite some time before mainstream folks start signing up to create a virtual grandma avatar and face the menace of flying ten foot furry dildos.
In retrospect, the primary benefit I received from Second Life are a few snarky, annoyed blog posts which received a link from Valleywag and I believe as a result, inclusion in both Techmeme and Megite.
When virtual reality gets to be more like the Star Trek holodeck, putting you in a personal episode of Battlestar Galactica (with the cast of Gilmore Girls as a stand-ins for all the Cylons), I’ll give it another shot.
Until then, count me as one of the “inactive” users of Second Life.
Additional reading: Ballpark, The Guardian, Mathew Ingram, h4x3d, Slashdot, digg
In the interest of fairness, here’s Second Life’s reply to Valleywag: Second Life Insider
Check out some user photos of Second Life at flickr