Sunday, April 20, 2008

Second Life diary

“Study on Second Life and the pursuit of happiness”à This article showed the positive correlation between those who are happy in the real world and also happy in the virtual world. This can be due to the fact that satisfied people in the real world have developed social skills which have helped them progress in their lives and develop a strong personality and fulfilling lifestyle. They are able to transfer these skills into a virtual world. It is not uncommon for unsatisfied people are able to create a more satisfactory life in the virtual world. This could be due to a character’s ability to be anonymous and complete actions which they wouldn’t normally do in real life scenarios. If you embarrass yourself in front of a stranger online, behind a nondescript screen name, no one you know is likely to find out about it.

“This week’s events from the AvaStar”àThis was somewhat interesting that they have a newsletter to inform users what’s going on in the world of second life. Activities include dancing, live music and a charity event for Diabetes Australia.
“Rosedale discloses FBI griefing probe to Congress”à This article discussed possible gambling activities within second life and the ability to oversee transaction of money through this virtual world. I’m not really sure how money can be filtered but I guess if this is a possibility then gambling could be present. Democratic Rep. Jane Harman, of California, is quoted as saying “…these glorious tools…” within this article. I’m a little unsure if she is referring to censorship or the tools of Second Life. If she is referring to second life, I’m not really sure how this is a glorious tool. This article also introduces the term ‘griefing’, defining it as “…an antisocial phenomena endemic to Second Life, in which avatars take enjoyment from deliberately spoiling other users’ experiences.” Perfect example of why I wouldn’t really want to be involved with a virtual world.

“SL posts strong economic growth on dwindling enrollments.” This article discussed how second life is losing momentum when it comes to enrollment numbers, but it is still managing to be economically successful. This is somewhat due to the increase in costs of land prices and the amount of money that users are putting into the game in general. The enrollment numbers somewhat surprise me, because I had never really heard of second life until this class and it sounded like a lot of people were getting involved in this online community. I also didn’t realize it has been around for so long. Taking this into consideration the dwindling numbers are somewhat more understandable. Its popularity was probably pretty high when it was first introduced, however there are only so many people who have access to the internet and are also willing to spend time in these virtual worlds.

“At VW08, Kids are the focus”: This article discussed the virtual worlds conference which was held in New York City. Here kids were being targeted for a new online development spawning from the original second life. Currently this service is only available for people 18+ and due to this the ability to attract a large number of users may be difficult since this age group cannot spend hours a day on the computer building an avatar and communicating with others through their character. Kids have greater amount of free time and probably a higher interest is participating in something like second life, but a greatly edited version. It will be much more tightly controlled than the original second life, creating a secure kid friendly environment.

“Frustrated Virtual agencies look beyond Second Life” Before reading this article I wasn’t aware of how much product advertising is involved with second life. Also the ties they discussed between second life and shows life CSI were interesting. I guess they were trying to motivate CSI fans to get involved with second life by evolving the characters and surroundings to fit the theme of CSI: NY. This is an interesting thought, and I could see why it would attract fans of the show; however it sounds like it wasn’t as successful as the producers would have hoped. There are many different obstacles that must be overcome in order to successfully launch these types of ideas. There may be some potential in the future; however it’ll take a lot of work as well as a great deal of trial and error in order to understand the different aspects involved with this kind of project. This may be something the second life creators will have to look into more since the growth of second life is slowing down.

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