Some thoughts on Second Life

Since the first ETCon back in July Second Life, or SL as the cool cats refer to it ;), has been an ever upcoming issue on my agenda. There seems to be a virus that especially infects ESL teachers and draws them into the depths of the cyber space.

I checked out Second Life two or three years ago for the first time, when the hype brought it into the magazines. As most people back then I was disappointed and soon left. In between I checked it out occasionally but after 10 or 15 minutes of flying around in empty spaces the result was the same.

After the first ETCon I wanted to give SL a last try, this time in the name of educational research. Therefore I logged in to SL every day and tried out if there are possibilities to teach on this platform.

During this research I came to some conclusions I would like to share with you.

Empty spaces – what are we living for?
Abandoned places – I guess we know the score..
On and on!
Does anybody know what we are looking for?

Queen – The Show Must Go On

1. The biggest problem is what I call the “Vanilla Sky Effect”. Do you remember the famous scene on Time Square? No? Then watch it below.

There are great places on Second Life, no doubt but most of the time you will experience exactly the same as above. And why do you think movies built on empty worlds like I am Legend are no comedies?

Humans are social animals. If we don’t find someone to interact with, we feel uncomfortable.

2. No storyline, no NPCs.
I think if you want to build an online world you have to learn from the best. In this case Blizzard. The World of Warcraft is the leading virtual world and there are several reasons for this. Two of them are the storyline that is woven into the world and the NPCs (non player characters).
When people log in to SL they expect something similar because SL appears to be a giant game from the outside. Infact it is not and I will come to this point in my conclusion.
What do all successful (online) games have in common? The world is full of artificial life that keeps the player busy. Nothing of this can be found on SL and this is the problem when you develop a game without a game developer.

3. Rely on the community, no borders, too big.
Second Life is based on the idea that the community will build the world. That is not a bad idea in itself but the problem is that everyone wants to be his own boss. So instead of working together and building one giant world people buy thousands of little islands to become “king” there.
Therefore the world is constantly growing leaving the handful of people back in more and more space. To make an experience in a closed environment, I tried out twinity, a SL style world that builds a 3D clone of Berlin and Singapur. Same effect as in point 1. For me even worse because coming from Berlin I know all these spots and seeing them empty is really strange.

4. The way is the goal.
Take WoW for example. The interesting parts are not always the quests, it is the way that leads you to the quest. The teleporting on SL destroys this. You are just jumping between detached islands, from one empty space to another.

5. The Second Life is worse than the First Life
What is the number one problem today? Useless consumption. And what are the only things you can do on SL? Sell or buy virtual stuff. SL is the perversion of our real lifes. You log in and you meet to go shopping. Luxury goods of course. Houses, shoes, dresses, cars, boats etc.

Conclusion for me was that the problems SL has are not related to bad graphics, bad usability or connection problems. The problem is the athmosphere and there SL did everything wrong it could possibly do. Maybe they over estimated the creativity of the community or the fact that humans still act like humans no matter if they are online or in the real world.

So I was at the point to finally deinstall SL from my computer until I saw the light.

But more about that in my next post about Second Life ;).

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  • ChinaMike

    I couldn't stop laughing as I read your post, laughing in agreement that is. SL is like a giant balloon that is constantly getting bigger with all the “hip” people on the surface of the balloon while people like us look on in frustration from the empty, expanding inside.

    I liked your analogy better though. I wonder what happens to language learning after it becomes a multi-player game?

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Thank you Mike :). In the next post I will write about a company which did it all right and shows that SL actually can work.

      • http://www.perfectworldproductions.com.au/ paisley.beebe@gmail.com

        Kirsten and China it sound like neither of you spent enough time in SL to be able to find the search Tab on your browser. If you look at the the menu bar you can find it. click on Events select from the drop down menu what you are interested in. If you start with events, and go to something you might like ie, a talk on education in SL, or a support group, or a live music event (there are hundreds of them on any time of day or night) or go to a club listen to music, visit an art gallery opening or see a live theatre event…the list goes on. You would have found ……yes dare I say it…people! and not only people maybe people after your own heart.

        Its too easy to ridicule a few hundred thousand people for being somewhere in this large virtual world but believe me we are not all hiding somewhere. Its like landing in Sydney in the middle of the street at night and saying ok show me where I go….to no one…its a social network not a Game, but search is the most simplest and easiest way to find like minded people who are interested in the same things you are. If you are checking out SL because you are interested in seeing if it would benefit you for education you might want to check out the Macbeth sim or meet up with other educators at one of the campuses on SL there are quite a lot of them and they are also shown in search. Its like the web. You can't just open a browser and expect it to read your mind and show you what you want, if you don't know where to start use..search…um google whatever.

        People often ridicule what they don't understand. If you want a taste of who and what is happening in SL without going in there again. Have a look at some of the 100 episodes of Tonight Live that we have filmed in SL that don't….talk about shopping and clubbing ect…you might be pleasantly surprised what people do in SL. How about Googling Education in Second Life on the web and see what you find.http://archive.treet.tv/programs/tonight-live If you ever want help send me an IM in world the name below is my Avatar name.

        • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

          Thanks Paisley,
          you mentioned another problem: you have to spend a certain ammount of time on SL to get it and you have to search for people.
          The problem is that most people don't want to spend that time “to get it”.
          Your post goes in the direction I see it now. SL is not a world, game or so on, SL is an application like Skype. A sophisticated 3D chat. It's just a tool that helps people to connect.
          I think SL is not represented in the right way. People like me get a false picture when reading about it. If you break it down to what it is, it actually makes sense.

          • http://www.perfectworldproductions.com.au/ paisley.beebe@gmail.com

            Kirsten its best you don't try to sum it up, so its like “anything” nope nope and nope, none of the above would be anywhere like it. And…clicking the search button takes ummm all of like…10 secs? so if you can't be bothered with doing that to TP to something where there are people then I don't see how you can be bothered learning anything!
            Think about all the gadgets the software you have learned in the last 10 years, was any of it straight forward learnt in 10 mins, I doubt it. People in SL do not spend years standing around in circles chatting like in a chat room….hahah its…interactive!…Look its like trying to explain a colour is to a blind man who has never seen.

            I'd like you to take your post, print it out hang it up on a wall in a frame, and in 5 years time look at it again hit yourself over the head and say Oh Yeh!!! Now that might sound arrogant but try taking yourself back to the early early eighties and what your first reaction was to learning about the internet. How you are feeling now, is just the same as most of us did, ……”ohh I don't like the internet, I can't find anything I want!, its only useful if you know where to find something” remember all that? its the same animal its just…..NEW and right now a bunch of early adopters are using it, for all sorts of things you couldn't imagine! if you don't want to know what those things are, then you can stay stuck where you are, or have a go.

            If people didn't want to spend the Time to “get it” I wonder what gave all those hundreds of thousands of different types of people all over the world, the perseverance to “get it” and no we are not all loser types sitting in the basement with no First Life! I've made you an offer…

            Do you have any idea at all how many universities and language programs and colleges are using SL? (heard of Language Lab? Cornell University Texas University Princeton and so many I can't think of them all)….educated supposedly forward thinking people…and have stayed in SL? they can't all be weirdos and losers…or loners, still one less Cynic in SL is no skin of our noses :)

          • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

            You will be happy to know that I have an EDUKWEST interview with Shiv of LanguageLab in one hour :).

            I think, I poked in the right direction. It is good to see that there are strong emotions behind the users in Second Life. I like that.

            And you can print out my blog post, of course. Then we meet in 5 years and compare ;). Btw, I really like the stuff I saw on your website.

            And I never said there are only weirdos and losers on SL. I say the environment makes it too hard, yes even with a search function that takes 10 secs, for most of the people to get behind the scheme. :) Otherwise, why is SL not flooded with people? Why is everybody still using facebook or chatrooms or Twitter when he could do the same and much more on Second Life?

          • http://www.perfectworldproductions.com.au/ paisley.beebe@gmail.com

            Kirsten it is flooded with people I logged on today with another 75 thousand of them at 10am my time? over the course of a day its like 300 thousand logging in and not all the same people every day…Its growing exponentially every single year, yes its going to be a slower growth than Facebook and Twitter, this is not a 2 click viewer, but then you can do a lot more with it than facebook or twitter. Facebook or Twitter will be taken over or pushed aside by other applications they are very simple programs, and SL is already facing some competition, but no one is seriously trying to do what they are doing, allowing the users to create their own world. The people cannot fill up all the sims, the world is far too big! You need to go where the people are at that time! try walking down my street in the middle of a working day, its like an empty SL sim why? because everyone is in the city at work! its the same thing people gather in places at specific times and at places where there are things to do and to watch or buy. Not everyone in SL gets it right with builds they build something pretty but useless or not pretty enough, and they don't get the people there? same as RL with white elephant shopping malls. Use search 10 secs..to company :) Im not a sales person for SL and yes I am passionate about it, and right now I don't care 2 hoots if any of my RL friends or coworkers use it, but its sad to see such a misguided post from an educator as yourself who totally misses the point…10 secs hit search…and thanks for the props for the show, don't forget I have over 100 of them now 3 guests per show, and not one of those guests talks about shopping or how to get laid in SL…

      • http://www.perfectworldproductions.com.au/ paisley.beebe@gmail.com

        I think….in reply to my comment some smart alec wag TP'd off to my inworld Studio and sent me this…of course the landed when there are not shows being filmed heheh [3:59] Bret Georgette: ALONE….SAD….ALOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…………………NO ONE AROUND NOT ON THE SIM NOT ON THE MAP…….ALL YOU HAVE IS JUST YOURSELF…..SAD, ALONE, DEPRESSED LIKE STRANDED ON AN ALIEN PLANET….OMG…I NEED TO GET OF HERE NOW OR I MIGHT GO INTO RL DEPRESSION TOO!!! ……………………………..BYE

        can't be sure but…I had to laugh specially when he started to tell me in a 3rd IM he really did like the ambience of my studio…There are 4 Sims at Northpoint where we film Tonight Live with 4 Studios, a race track where the Dirt Field Races are run for TV and RacerX's Giant Snail Racing set, but like all studios I guess when they are “dark” meaning not being used for filming we get visitors quite a few actually anywhere from 100 per day to a few thousand on good days. So no you can't go there expecting a whole bunch of Actors Film crew and extras wandering around dressed in Roman soldiers costumes! thankyou Bret you gave me a huge laugh!
        Paisley

        • Bret Georgette

          That was definitely a joke! :D IF you really thought I was being serious, well I think you need some help ;)

      • http://www.perfectworldproductions.com.au/ paisley.beebe@gmail.com

        No one else could wait for part 2 either Kirsten sorry….
        http://firstlife.isfullofcrap.com/2009/09/if_th

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  • Wolfie Rankin

    The reason I go to secondlife is to be with people, and many of the people I know have been sick in some way and can't get out, and some are cut off by living in regional areas (See Beautiful Kate). Although I've been on SL since 2006, I'm not, and never will consider myself a gamer.
    The attraction for me was “here's a blank slate, do what you like with it” I didn't need guns, there were no princesses to rescue, there were no orcs or minotaurs to fight…. there was no game! and I find many others with the same philosophy as me. We do as we want, we create as we like… if people want some sort of game action, there are islands that cater for that very thing. but many of us don't. What you pointed out about Blizzard is the very reason you won't find me on WoW.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Thank you for your comment, Wolfie. You pointed out a strong point of SL which is on the other hand also a weak one.
      It is great that you can create stuff on SL and form a world. The problem is people are not working together most of the time. It fragments the world, the experience and for a casual user it makes it very difficult to get into SL.
      And that is the reason why SL still is no mainstream. I can imagine, most people on SL don't want it become mainstream but I think Lindenlab would like to see that.
      And WoW is only a niche. Not everbody is into fantasy. But what about an approach like the Sims? At least there need to be NPCs in SL to fill the world and tasks to do. Get a job, earn money or whatever. Only a small part of us is a creater and an even smaller part has the time to create stuff for SL.

      • Wolfie Rankin

        What we found with ABC Island is that we had an influx of new people who went two ways, either they dropped out, or they saw the potential in SL. If they stayed, the next step was always to buy land… usually a small parcel on an island, and those who did really well would mostly buy an island. What that did was exactly as you say, split everyone up. However people will return if you put on something worth seeing… We're working on having a concert on the island soon and that will always draw people back.

        I look at SL like this, and companys who wish to go into SL need to understand this. Would you go into an empty shopping centre and buy things from a menu? no, you wouldn't… if “feels” creepy.

        Our minds look at a webpage and go “ahh peaceful reading, fine” but see SL as a space where there ought to be others. a company therefore needs staff on their island for people to start a proper conversation with and to get help if needed.

        We've set up this structure at ABC, but find we have to work very hard to get stuff happening.

        With SL getting little promotion, yes, definitely… When Abi went on ABC radio and spoke about SL, we had an influx of people again, SL is rarely ever mentioned on TV and most people I speak to don't even know it exists.

        People in SL do different things, I'm not a builder, I get very frustrated with it, but I can explain SL and help new people adapt to it. Friends Script or they perform etc etc… we all have different functions… but it takes time to work out what you're good at, then you have a reason to come back.

        A side note is that I did sign up for Blue Mars recently. but was a bit shocked when the download was 1.2GB, for me, on 512k ADSL, that's a five hour wait… nasty. :)

        Wolfie!

  • http://www.theenglishteacheronline.com Aniya

    OOOhh now this post is right up my street so to speak ;) My views are the following: I also joined several years ago as did Kirsten only to think what the heck is this, get me out of here, I really wondered why people raved the thing, I then tried again and still wasn't convinced, only recently (a few months ago) I re-entered with some teachers/colleagues was shown the basics and after a few days started to hit it off with SL. I would say SL is a love/hate relationship, you either love it or you don't, let's face it it's not everyones cup of tea. Another thing that Kirsten mentions is the amount of time, this can be off putting for a lot of people, initially if you don't have time to spend on it, it won't be for you, and personally I believe this is the initial key for those who wish to pursue SL in at least a productive manner. I would condemn a lot of people who don't have anything else better to do than become vampires and engage in other strange activities that you come across on there and get addicted to a meaningless second life because their first life sucks too. I agree with the other two commenters use the search bar and then you'll find the vast amount of events etc., People seem to assume that SL is this, that or the other without even really trying it out properly and then they make sarcastic remarks like “get yourself a real life” this is unfair to people who do actually make a living on there and help/teach others…I will look forward to reading about the company who made it on there, perhaps I'll follow suit. ;)

  • Wolfie Rankin

    I'll add a little bit more, Playing SL can't really get you anywhere in life, look at me… nothing… well except for the close association with ABC, oh, and the SBS doco we made last year which is coming up in december, and the little spot in Beautiful Kate which lasted all of three seconds but was fun to do. The SL friend who wanted to partner up with me and tour Tasmania together… not the SL island either! How about the US SL friend who came over to see me and fixed my computer for me while he was here AND returned the following year with his RL wife who he met on SL (We toured Victoria together and had a wonderful time). the many actual, real life friendships I otherwise wouldn't have had if not for Secondlife. The generous love and support which I've been given too. I have an incredible amount of gratitude for everyone, Australians and those around the world. I've been incredibly fortunate that I found and understood this thing which is anything but a “game”.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      So what it all comes down again are people. Communities. To have fun on SL, like every where on the internet, you need to join a community.

      Let me ask you: how did you get on Second Life? Did you find it out on your own, or were you guided, invited by an experienced SL user?

      • http://www.perfectworldproductions.com.au/ paisley.beebe@gmail.com

        Kirsten you are trying to learn what SL is without experiencing it. And thats ok, your looking for a quick add, a convince me in 5 mins soundbite. You do not NEED to join a community, and its not just about fun I work almost 6 days a week on projects for Second Life both out of it and in it, Ive also streamed my live music show into it. I certainly do not just use it for fun, its my job, which happens to be fun most of the time…have you read what Ive said? look up. Universities in SL do not bring the hundreds maybe thousands of students in SL just for “fun” IBM does not bring its employees in SL just for “Fun” I found SL through a womans magazine talking about musicians in SL, I roamed around for a day or so and met someone who helped me…and you know what just 2 days ago one of my staff and myself did just that for a brand new noob…not for any reason but just cause we probably were both “helped” by someone 3 years ago too. I didn't go to SL for any purpose at all, just curiosity, and no Im not a gamer never played a video game or computer game in my life! they bore me to tears.
        Paisley

      • Corcosman

        “So what it all comes down again are people. Communities. To have fun on SL, like every where on the internet, you need to join a community.”

        Yes, of course, you “get it” !

        I would just add that events (both formal and informal) are the lifeblood of the many communities (also formal and informal) within Second Life.

        • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

          Thanks :). You did not want for my second post but yes, I finally got it. It's of course quite obvious but I as many others, I think, started with a wrong idea about SL.

  • jokay

    China and Kirsten.. I'd invite you to join us on the Islands of jokaydia in Second Life, where i host a community of practice focussed on education in virtual worlds. We hold regular professional development events, build and support education projects, run conferences and social events.. and we play to learn. You can find out more at http://jokaydia.com and i'm more than happy to show you some of the projects going on there.

    I'd also invite you to check out the Sleducation wiki @ http://sleducation.wikispaces.com where you will find some mini case studies of more than 100 educational projects which have or are happening inworld. Watch the videos, follow the links, visit the spaces… it might help you to get a stronger idea of how and what educators are doing inworld! ;)

    In the end the value of Second Life is not in the platform or the prims, but in the networks of people that you can connect with. As Wolfie points out, SL and being part of the community there can connect you to some astounding opportunities.. if you are willing put some time and effort into join the networks of people who are working, socialising and teaching and learning there.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Hey Jokay,
      thanks for the invite. I will definitely get back to you and check out the links.

      Do you see SL as one giant community or is it more a universe of communities?

      • jokay

        I think there's a collection of interconnected communities inworld.. loosely joined nodes in a sense. The educational community is one of the largest and most vibrant, and the diversity of projects and perspectives from educators all over the world often makes it a very inspiring place to be.

  • crapmariner

    Dusan Writer is to Chris Abraham what Jokay is to Kristen Winkler.

    Is the LL plan for handling vocal critics “Just let one of the gung-ho customers deal with it” ?

    -ls/cm

    • http://www.perfectworldproductions.com.au/ paisley.beebe@gmail.com

      Wadda Mi Chopped Virtual Liver!

      • crapmariner

        I actually like chopped liver. It's been a while I made a batch of it, but it's such a mess to make. And it's not really good for my health.

        -ls/cm

  • AdricAntfarm

    Whatever you are on, I will take a quarter paper of it baby.

  • http://charlanna.wordpress.com/ Charlanna

    I've been an avid Second Life user and have decided that Second Life either resonates with someone or it doesn't. And guess what? Neither are wrong.

    I wrote a little about this in my SL-related blog in a post called “My Tammy Faye Bakker Moment.” (http://charlanna.wordpress.com/2009/06/25/my-ta…) SL has resonated with me and I'll admit that I started with a really intense passion for the possibilities of virtual worlds and broad applications. But unless you're someone who really groks SL, it seems to best work for applications that would be onerous, dangerous, or otherwise prohibitive in the real world. So I think what we'll continue to see with SL is a core group of users while the average person will interact with it in targeted ways (group projects to create molecules, global military planning exercises, and so on…) I think the latest usage stats from LL seem to bear that out; something like 90% of the time spent in SL comes from 20% of the users.

    I think the challenge facing LL is that they realize this reality but don't seem to know what to do with it. Targeted applications of SL will definitely add value to the casual user's experience, but it will continue to be built up by power users (unless they get tired of making the model work and flee to another virtual world).

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Thanks for your post Charlanna. Could not agree more. That is basically happens with most educational companies / institutions on SL. A core group builds the environment and then leads the users to use it.

  • http://secondthoughts.typepad.com Prokofy

    What you're describing is the persistent experience of some people, not only with Second Life but real life. I think one of the reasons there are not terribly many intellectuals in SL is because they are defeated by the lack of a novel-like structure with a narrative and a device to move themselves along the narrative that they can identify and have a comfort level with. Many people are to TV, movies, i-Pod even the Internet providing very simple engagement without much effort and SL requires more effort to get to the point where it is clickable for engagement.

    Even real life equips you with more narrative devices and props, your family, upbringing, school, a job, etc. that propels you along the path of life. SL is more of a blank canvas with tools but at this point, it does have enough connective tissue with 75,000 concurrency that you should be able to find something that grabs you.

    There are various over-arching narratives but they take awhile to become visible, the “Soul of the New Machine” or “sandboxers versus settlers” or any number of story lines that you will pick up, but it requires effort, and it requires in part you write your own story.

    It's like RL: There's only some percentage of the population that enjoys making their own Halloween costumes or who have mothers who make them for them; most people buy the store-bought ones because their friends did and it's easier and often more cool.

    People here telling you that you simply have to use search as you would on the Internet are right. Search/places is better than search/all which is a jumble. You have to try different key words and not be frustrated by one search, just as you do on Google (capture what you yourself do on Google, trying different words, clicking here and there, trying this or that, and replicate it).

    On Google, you don't say OMG the narrative is interrupted because I magically “teleported” instantly from one page to another, sometimes waiting for a page to load. It's just…a different page. Within one site, you again will click from page to page and be “teleported”. With a paper book, you have to turn the page, and you don't say OMG the narrative is interrupted. You've simply internalized those features and they are masked and they stand out for you now in SL. It's how it works. Teleportation is the stitching between the scenes or pages, not the interruption, and in a virtual world you have the added serendipity of people's “picks” which you can browse and teleport to; objects that contain their creator names, whose profiles you can click on to bring up their picks, etc. etc.

    Go to Ross infohub here and browse around all the second-level tutorials (i.e. once you have passed flying and walking at orientation) that tell you what is out there, suggestions, how to do more things like buy land and such)

    http://slurl.com/secondlife/Ross/42/227/57

    or search for “infohub” inworld to see all the infohubs, resident and Linden made, they are all interesting in their own way and have different aspects of SL.

    Some are very crowded, but with the sort of people you find in any huge public mass and maybe not “your sort”. Others are less crowded but eventually you'll likely have to pick an event, not a place, to find the green dots (likely people, although sometimes in fact they are those NPCs or bots you reference).

    You seem to have two conflicting problems with SL, which is on the one hand it is filled with all these *other people* (remember what the fellow said about hell?) who are doing what they want with their mindless and soulless consumption blah blah, which isn't taking part in a collective farm potato harvest or a rousing chorus of Kumbayah, but doing their thing on their own with like-minded people. Like *you* want to do.

    So they don't tend to gather for a giant meeting of 2,000 people to pass a boring resolution, like the UN, and quarrel over paragraphs or do whatever it is you think a mass of people online should be doing. Ideas?

    On the other hand, you complain that there isn't enough to do, that “somebody” should provide entertainment, interactivity, a story line, whatever. There are plenty of people who in fact do that for others in SL, but they tend to be role-playing sects (Goreans, Lycans, elves, furries, whatever) and not likely the mainstream sort of things you are looking for. So you have to then browse Events or Places or Showcase (the Lindens' own picks, which can be lame) or read blogs for various recommendations of where to go, groups to join for discussion, etc.

    So frankly, it sounds to me like you are seized with the same sort of ideological problem that a lot of intellectuals who consider themselves liberals or leftists have with RL and SL: that there is all this “capitalism”, that there is all this evil “consumption” and all this souless mindless “greed” etc. If green tea and Birkenstocks are your thing in RL, SL may not be for you, although frankly, right this minute I myself am drinking green tea and wearing Bancroftstocks in SL which are almost like the real thing, but then, I guess I'm a mindful consumer.

    People want to be free and do what they want. They don't listen to your admonitions that they shouldn't be consuming. In fact, a lot of people who probably have a tenth of your income in RL come in SL precisely because the consumption there is cheap for a lot of the same props, i.e. beach house, jet skis, diamonds, etc. Other people don't care about beach houses or diamonds but create art or create groups for RL discussions or start a business. And why can't they? Mass culture isn't for everybody, but people get to have it despite your preferences. In order to make the platform free and open-ended, it does have to be “empty” and “boring” for people who can't grab on to it — or otherwise it would be made-to-order and more like a Disney movie or WoW. You want WoW, go to WoW.

    Have you ever read “Bobos in Paradise” by David Brooks?

    Remember how awful high school was until you made a friend? Or fell into a group of people where you felt you belonged? or found an activity like the poetry magazine? Or at least found a teacher who seemed interesting? etc.

    I would simply have to disagree that useless consumption is the number one problem in the world. Useless violence is far more of a problem, and that's usually something on the way to what you might characterize as useless consumption which other people wish for, especially in the poor world.

    Go ahead, Kirsten, live a little. Forego your mocha skim latte this week for $3.75 US, and go all out and buy yourself $1000 Lindens and get a little black dress and some pearls and go dancing and donate to the victims of the Phillipines flood and hear a Metanomics lecture.

    Last night I bought myself a pair of neat blue suede shoes for US $1.35. Yes, it was mindless consumption but I hadn't bought any new pixel shoes for a year. I also bought a new Nehru suit from Casa del Shai and half the proceeds went to the flood victims. It's just sort of one of the many things you find in SL that “go beyond themselves”.

    • http://www.perfectworldproductions.com.au/ paisley.beebe@gmail.com

      Great Post Prokofy! much more eloquent than my rantings, very nice “Love Bomb” feel too. Do we have to use the love bombs? why?

    • http://www.theenglishteacheronline.com Aniya

      This is a great post, a group of us sitting around a campfire on SL last last were talking about the misconseption people have of Second Life, only when you become a frequent resident and realize how much it can offer you do you then understand it. Someone pointed out the fact they can meet up with there friends anywhere in the world and make and evening of it. I too recently wrote my views as an educator on there http://www.theenglishteacheronline.com/teaching… my student thought it was rather cool too…Looking forward to the follow up to this post, and Kirsten you've certainly got us all going lol ;)

      • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

        You know Aniya, that's my job. Playing the devil's advocate. My lawyer genes are coming through ;).

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      My things in real life are Gucci and Dior ;). And you should not judge me by one post. Read the rest of my blog, or my other blogs, or take a look at my free German learning website etc. There is much more about me but one (half) post about second life.

      About useless consumption, I think it is the root of the problems we are facing. The way we in the developed countries live is not leading us anywhere but to exploitation of the planet. And as you said, the developing countries basically want to do the same now. We are not good poster childs for them.

      But thank you for your great comment. Very resourceful!

  • http://marisaconstantinides.edublogs.org/ Marisa Constantinides

    Hi Kirsten,

    I was about to make the comment that you have totally missed the whole point of SL (in a purring voice…:-)) but I shall wait to read your next post in which you tell us all about your grand revelation.

    • http://kirstenwinkler.com KirstenWinkler

      Actually I had three revelations. ;)

  • liliag

    Wonderful comparison with Vanilla Sky. Second Life will go down in flames, it's just a matter of time. I just wish I'm around to see when that happens.
    Lilia Gephardt @ email hosting