Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is the Nature of Second Life Changing?

Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein 

Wandering across Second Life (SL) as is my wont, (Significant Other prefers this to my former globetrotting days in Real Life (RL)) I’ve covered much virtual time and distance.

Many things have changed over the course of this time, but, I think I’ve uncovered something new.  (Significant Other’s eyes roll.)

Recently, I went back to visit one of the great sand boxes inworld, the Hobo Jungle, sadly only to find that it’s now gone.  I’d just missed it as it closed about six months ago.  Now, an adult sim is in its place.  It’s beautiful but serves a totally different function.  (And, there may be a story here in the future.)

Once again, this got me thinking (And Significant Other worrying.)

Is something more fundamental going on inworld?

Is the nature of SL itself changing? 

Are we seeing SL metamorphasize (I’ve always wanted to use that word.) into something new?

          The premise behind SL originally was that it could be whatever you wanted it to be.  This naturally drew in the creative types, many of who created large scale, if usually empty, beautiful sims.  This is what I submit is changing.

SL was arguably the first true virtual world on a large scale available to the general public.  But something happened along the way.

New forms of social media like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and the like came along.  People were more engaged in socializing than building things.  In fact, most probably couldn’t have cared less about building things. Their energies were directed into being liked. 

Meanwhile, in RL things were changing too.  People abandoned physical games for virtual ones.  Relationships moved online.  People who previously couldn't connect with others because of disabilities, physical remoteness, or just being plain old fashioned shy could now engage with others.  Globally no less!  Hobbies like model building, military miniatures, and board games had a serious falling off as people moved online.  Putting aside virtual relationships, RL relationships have moved online

All this has been reflected inworld too.

The already mentioned loss of big builds is one example.  Another is the phenomena of active groups based around sims closing rapidly because the founders are worn out by all the effort required especially if they're successful.

But, residents are active inworld socially. builds are simpler, and groups have themes and many times no owned sim.  The degree of social interaction is high, sometimes flowing
over into RL.

What does all this mean?

It could mean SL has a long life ahead of it. 

Scripters who work on avatars and their fashions may take precedence over builders. 

SL could evolve closer to RL for those who wish to remain anonymous with more focus on relationship building. 

SL could become a sanctuary for those who are alone IRL.

SL could become a place where everyone knows your name at least virtually!

What could the future hold for SL?

A very good question!  (Significant Other thinks I ask very good questions and only wishes that I could answer a few of them.)

I still believe there's a lot of potential in SL.

We may see a blurring of the lines between SL and  RL.

Could Bitcoin or other cybercurrencies finally permit an inworld economy to start to begin to flourish?

SL could outlast all of us but in order to do so, it needs a reason for people to want come, a reason to want to stay, and a reason to comeback.

The answer ultimately lies with all of us!

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives. 

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!


Leoandthemouse said...

I think Avatar accessories and clothing have been more popular than builds for some time. This is why in Sansar the lab are planning to take a cut of inworld transactions rather than land tier. The Linden already provides a useful currency for an already flourishing inworld economy (60 million US dollars).
The big question is will users transfer to Sansar and abandon Second Life.

Jerold Garber said...

It seems to me that Second Life may actually get to realize the promise of the original creative team that conceived it. It may become an extension of RL. I see some signs of that now and again and they are encouraging. But the real gift of Second Life remains; it is what we want it to be.

jes said...

hobo sandbox? south side of heterocera continent?
map makes it look like there is an airport there now.