PopSci and Reuters on/in Second Life

Just a quick mention here, as if I need to add another blog link to the hype, that Popular Science has an in-depth article about Second Life — add that to the other articles recently in Wired and elsewhere).

Also, Reuters now has a news feed dedicated to Second Life. Here’s the LINK. Interestingly, their first big story is about Congress launching a “probe into virtual economies” — get ready for your pose-balls and chain mail to show up on your IRS long form.

I’m not a huge fan of hype, really, though I get caught up in it like anybody. I have qualms about Second Life, though.

I’m not going to go into depth right now, but my qualms include the way Linden Labs’ head Philip Rosedale seems to have very idealistic ideas about what SL is and can be (another Web! just like Burning Man!).

Rosedale doesn’t seem to get that the Web and Burning Man weren’t and aren’t owned by a single company, and that they grew in cultures of (mainly) free sharing of ideas, experiences and knowledge. But, since it has had a ‘real’ economy that exchanges with real dollars, in Second Life you can hardly get anyone to share a decent teleport script or clothing texture without being charged money for it.

My hat’s off to their efforts, but I hope nobody’s planning to do anything mission-critical in SL just yet, if for no other reason than it’s highly unstable. Maybe that’s a necessity — but the hype isn’t acknowledging the downsides.

Still … I’ll probably be in there again at some point this week, figuring out how to make things float, talk and look cool. *sigh*

Author: Andrew Hinton

I use information to architect better places for humans. More at andrewhinton.com.