Real-life consumerism for Second Life…

10Sep07

SLFor good or for bad, Second Life still grabs the attention of US mainstream media. Today’s New York Times has a long account mostly focused on the on-going centrality of the “real stuff” even in the “virtual world”. Here is some quick copy&paste:
«Second Life residents find ways to make money so they can spend it to do things, look impressive, and get more stuff, even if it’s made only of pixels….”Why can’t we break away from a consumerist, appearance-oriented culture?” said Nick Yee, who has studied the sociology of virtual worlds and recently received a doctorate in communication from Stanford. “What does Second Life say about us, that we trade our consumerist-oriented culture for one that’s even worse?”…Some SL residents are calling for in-world regulatory agencies — the user-run Second Life Exchange Commission has just begun operating — and some expect real-world institutions to become involved as the SL population and economy expands.»
The picture depicted here is not too far from the “reality”, even if the overall, socially-based, open-to-all, user-created dynamics and situations of this new experiment are often underplayed by outsider media. Most important, however, SL users remain very active, strong and determined to go forward despite any criticism. Indeed, they flocked at the recent Third SLCC Chicago convention where Philip Rosedale – founder of SL creator Linden Lab – proclaimed that «this is something that everybody on Earth is going to use» and that the virtual world will be «bigger than the Web.» Let’s hope so – maybe with a bit less consumerism?



2 Responses to “Real-life consumerism for Second Life…”

  1. Hi Berny, nice sinchronicity. I just posted an article as well about Second Life focusing more on the psychological needs to have virtual worlds, as if we want to backup a messed up planet. I didn’t much considered the commercial aspect, your article is stimulating me to look deeper in that direction too.

  2. actually, ivo, the business-based (or better, the economy-driven) aspects of SL have always been one of its major engines and strength, and there are scores of articles/material about that (ie, the SL Herald)

    and more than “to backup a messed up planet”, i think here we have the attempt to re-create and experiment with a new planet, new social behaviors/ventures, and so on, which somewhat is quite an healthy need/will, no?

    although it seems still too hard to imagine (not to mention to build from the bottom up) such new environments, filled with creative and different features from the typical earthly matters — as the last NYT piece correctly suggests


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