Monday, February 05, 2007

A newbie's look at Second Life

Have you heard of Second Life?

If you listen to the premier PR podcast, For Immediate Release (FIR), hosted by PR podcasting legends Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, you've likely heard plenty.

Shel and Neville were among the first PR types to tout the benefits of this brave new world. In fact, Crayon, a new PR "virtual" agency that they've set up with Joseph Jaffe and CC Chapman (two other well-known podcasters) is headquartered in Second Life. (The pic above was posted by Second Life resideny Cleon Goff, whom I believe is CC Chapman in the real world. That's CC on the right.)

Those guys think that there is a world of opportunity for businesses in Second Life and they seem to be having a great time getting involved. They've begun a special Thursday morning session called "Coffee with Crayon" where anyone can drop by their Second Life office lobby and hang out. Sounds intriguing (although I've not tried it out myself.)

Now I should admit right here that although I've read a lot about Second Life, I'm not a member. I haven't tried it myself. I am intrigued, but so far, I haven't found a convenient time to sit down and invest some of my own time in learning about it.

I do spend a lot of time on my computer(s). My wife is always after me because I'm developing a hunch from sitting here all the time. And my dogs figure I spend way too much time in the office, instead of out walking them.

But I've never had much interest in video games, especially role-playing games, which seems to be the genre that Second Life has evolved from.

So while my RL (real life) doesn't include SL (second life), I'm interested in what's going on there, especially if it something I need to keep abreast of in order to be able to help my clients make sense of it.

One of the things I've been noticing more and more is how the mainstream media is starting to pay attention to things like Second Life, a natural outgrowth of their growing awareness of Social Media activities.

This past weekend, the London Review of Books published an article by novelist Jenni Diski about Second Life called "Jowls are Available." She takes a humourous cruise through the offerings available, from a distinctly non-techie point of view.

In late October, the Observer newspaper also featured the site. Their intrepid reporter spent a week in-world and reported back to those of us in the real world in an entertaining piece called Goodbye, cruel world ...

There are plenty of other reviews out there (as a Google search will reveal) as well as the first how-to book: Second Life: The Official Guide.

I don't have any valuable insight to offer into this phenomenon. But I suspect it's worth watching. The rapid rise of Second Life is just the prelude to a revolution in how we interact with each other using the Web. It's going to be a wild ride, and while we won't all be actively participating, the beauty of the Web is that we all get to watch.

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