Friday, December 29, 2006

Last to Know: New York Times Missed the Memo on Second Life Debunking

Caption in The New York Times this morning:
Millions of people inhabit "Second Life," a Web site that lets participants create a parallel existence made only of pixels — and their imagination
Headline on Valleywag two days ago:
Second Life—A debunking, in five acts
Apparently, the New York Times didn't get the memo and still features the suspect best-case numbers in Louise Story's story on the future of advertising.

Which is it—wave of the future, media naivete, or Second Wha?

Mickeleh's Take: The way I'd like to answer it is to poll all of the folks who have written glowing stories about Second Life and find out how many of them live there. For my part... if I wanted to spend time building an avatar, I'd do it on At least they'll send me the outfit to wear in First Life. (BTW, as of this writing, Second Life is down. But I'm used to that... a couple of week's ago my first life was down in the Seattle storm outage.)

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Anonymous said...

second wha? never heard of it.

Mickeleh said...

Second Life is an online virtual world. It lets users enter, move around, build things, buy things, meet people. In some ways it's like a video game environment, but there's no prescribed game play. You can make of it what you will.

Second Life enthusiasts are almost cult-like in their devotion and evangelism.

Some marketers have invested in creating events and environments within second life--as much for the bragging rights and secondary exposure in press coverage as for the opportunity to directly pitch to the Second Life user base.

The skeptic's view is that lots of people sign up, poke around for a while, and never go back.

So the claim that millions of people have signed up is probably true. The claim that millions of people actually live there is probably false.

Clay Shirky is almost as enthusiastic about debunking Second Life as its devotees are about promoting it.

Mickeleh said...

While Second Life is down as of this writing, you can get a good flavor of what goes on in there from these movies and photos.