In recent news, I was amused to be surfing the web and find out that Second Life’s been awarded the dubious distinction of being one of the “5 Worst Websites” on the Internet. By whom? None other than TIME, who also previously put Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale on their TIME 100 list of people “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world”.
I’m gettin’ mixed messages here! :O
Not to mention, we have a website (you’re looking at it right now!), and we can communicate with the web from inworld (e.g., profile Web tabs, the llHTTPRequest scripting call, etc.), but saying “Second Life is a website” is as accurate as saying “This bowl of fruit is a banana” or “The color red is the rainbow”.
The myopia is understandable. Really.
And at least we get some really kewl comics having fun with the “website” thang, like Sherman’s Lagoon:
But wait, there’s more!
I’m sure Hawthorne will love the new reflective water in our upcoming WindLight viewer:
A lot of today’s media coverage of Second Life will be laughed about in years to come — and I certainly don’t mean dripping sarcasm, but a pleasant retrospectacle more along the lines of a gleeful, “Honey, remember that’s what it was like when we first met!”
While Second Life is unique in many ways, there’s precedent for interpretation of events as they’re being lived to be quite different from how we see them when looking back. I’m not just talking about big hair in the 80s, either — watch this video about the “growing phenomenon of Internet”.
And things that were once perceived as being bizarre, we’ve gradually gotten used to. For example, our abundance of user-created content isn’t such a crazy concept as it was 5 years ago. Even Photoshop filters are taking advantage of this model. Not unlike how Apple’s innovations have become ubiquitous delights (I’m sure some of you are enjoying your shiny new iPhones), Second Life is traveling past the troughs of “novelty”. Science fiction is becoming the casual everyday…
(Another raw shot taken inworld, with no post-processing.)
Speaking of sci-fi, I’m often reminded that Second Life is a strange sort of soul-searching mirror, in that what you say about SL tells a story of who you are. After all, let’s not forget that TIME’s person of the last year is “You“, and again, they specifically mentioned us:
And we didn’t just watch, we also worked. Like crazy. We made Facebook profiles and Second Life avatars…
While it’s as obvious as water is wet that Linden Lab’s a for-profit business, it’s also true that there are the finer things in Second Life which money can’t buy:
- We can’t endow you with an insatiable curiosity, but we can enable creative tools to inspire you to rediscover your childhood passions — and share them with newfound friends.
- We can’t find the love of your life, but we can listen and respond to your ideas for making it easier to connect to other Residents who share your interests.
- We can’t fix all the damn bugs (which we abhor too) in a single day, month, or even years, but we can commit to making progress and communicating regularly to you about issues, such as when there are problems on release day. And beyond this, because Second Life is so, well, you-driven, through triages and other means, we can open up more possibilities for you to be involved in shaping our future.
The TIME blurb is accurate in pointing out some of the problems we have, which we continue to work on. Yet it asks:
We’re sure that somebody out there is enjoying Second Life, but why?
How would you answer this? Let me know in the comments.
And see you in Second Life,
Torley Linden is a Product Manager & more who regularly contributes to the Official Linden Blog. He/she/it breaks pronouns. Read Torley’s previous posts, and if you liked those WindLight snapshots, there’s more here.