Wednesday, October 31, 2007

IL2007: Cyber Tour of Second Life

I did a 15 minute cyber tour of Second Life to a standing room only (SRO) crowd in the exhibit hall. I showed people part of Info International Island and even interacted with a couple of people there. Yes, the tour was live! For some, this was their first look of SL running in real time. (BTW there is no other way of running it, although can see videos -- e.g., videos on YouTube by Ohio University and NOAA -- and pictures of SL.)

During the cyber tour, I told them five things I thought they should know:

  1. A basic Second Life account is FREE. It is amazing how much you can do if you have a basic account. However, you cannot own land and cannot buy/sell things. Is that a stopper? No, not for many of us. I'm on a free account and have done presentations in SL and taught classes in SL.
  2. The residents are making SL what they want it to be. Linden Labs, who created SL, aren't building it. It is people who have SL avatars that are building the places, products and services.
  3. There are no formal governments in SL, but there are simple rules to keep things civil. Really "the rules" try to get us to play nice consistently and to "do unto others as we want others to do unto us." Other than that, Linden Labs is following the rules of the U.S., which is where the company is located. For example, gambling is no longer allowed in SL, since gambling for money on the Internet is not legal in the U.S.
  4. In order to run SL, you need a computer with lots of memory, a good video card, and a high-speed Internet access. Some people find that they cannot run other programs when they run SL, and that is something they had to figure out for their setup.
  5. People from all walks of life, socio-economic status, physical abilities, interests and time-constraints are active in SL.
Afterwards, I got several questions. SL seems to always generate questions! I suspect a few people will contact me later with even more questions.

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