[Humanist] 23.601 Second Life

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jan 27 09:28:00 CET 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 601.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak" <sobkow at amu.edu.pl>               (66)
        Subject: whatever happened to Second Life?

  [2]   From:    David Golumbia <dgolumbia at gmail.com>                      (49)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.598 whatever happened to Second Life?

        Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010 15:05:17 +0100
        From: "Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak" <sobkow at amu.edu.pl>
        Subject: whatever happened to Second Life?

> Some here will be interested in the gloomy report on and discussion of 
> Second Life, at
> www.pcpro.co.uk/features/354457/whatever-happened-to-second-life/1.
> Does this decline in popularity matter? What, do you suppose, does it tell 
> us about VR techniques generally?

There's been some discussion of this article/issue on SLED, the SL Educators 
I've reacted in my own blog here: 
I first quoted excerpts from the paper:

The first thing I notice upon dropping out of the Second Life sky once more 
is how empty the place is. On my first visit back in 2006, I couldn't walk 
through the training level without clumsily bumping into the throng of 
fellow newbies. Now, there's enough room to swing the contents of Noah's 
ark, let alone a cat. I walk and then fly around the landscape for ten 
minutes or so, but can't find a single soul to shoot the breeze with.
In fact, Second Life seems so increasingly obsessed with aping the real 
world that it's in danger of becoming an interactive version of those creepy 
model villages you only find in English holiday resorts.
And yet, I still can't help wondering what the point of all this is? Yes, 
these virtual recreations are magnificent and impressive, but once you've 
wandered around and seen the sights, what else is there to do? There are no 
goals, no objectives, no points to be won or levels to be completed. Yes, 
there's a degree of social interaction - although precious little of it in 
these glossy showcase areas. [...] Three years on, and Second Life seems no 
closer to finding a respectable reason for being than it did in 2006. It 
might try and shuffle sex into a corner, and pretend that it's a melting pot 
of creativity, business and academia, but it ultimately serves no purpose.

Now, there are at least three point here worth discussing... Briefly on 

(1) That SL is empty: there's been loads of rebuttals here, using statistics 
(like RL venues, such as discos, shops, bars, etc., are deserted most of the 
time, too: they're simply closed) to show that this impression is erroneous, 
even if subjectively overwhelming (but then some of our overwhelming 
impressions about RL have proved to be patently untrue :-)

(2) SL can do better than ape RL: here I agree... See my "added value" 
discussion thread on this ning 
(http://zakajek.ning.com/forum/topics/added-value-of-sl-for-flt), where I 
talk about replicating (or not) RL teaching in-world.

(3) The point of SL? The point od SL is that there is no God-given point at 
all :-) This is exactly like in RL: there's no sense in it except what you 
make of it yourself. YOU give life sense, both in RL and SL. It is profound 
misunderstanding to expect that somebody will do it for you, in either 
world. So SL has no obligation to "find a respectable reason for being", jut 
like RL does not. Indeed, either "serves no purpose". If that bothers you, 

This email is:   [X] bloggable   [ ] ask first   [ ] private
prof. Wlodzimierz Sobkowiak
School of English
Adam Mickiewicz University
al. Niepodleglosci 4
61-874 Poznan
tel. (48-61) 8293506
fax (48-61) 8523103
e-mail: sobkow at amu.edu.pl
e-mail: swlodek at ifa.amu.edu.pl
Skype: wasobk
My web places: http://ifa.amu.edu.pl/~swlodek/links.html

        Date: Tue, 26 Jan 2010 09:36:50 -0500
        From: David Golumbia <dgolumbia at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 23.598 whatever happened to Second Life?
        In-Reply-To: <20100126063747.BF6C949503 at woodward.joyent.us>

earlier this month there was a really thorough discussion of this topic,
including quite a few SL artists, over in the [idc] part of the world,
starting with andreas schiffler's question, "anyone using SL?":


David Golumbia
dgolumbia at gmail.com

More information about the Humanist mailing list