Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Second Life Valleywagged and "Shirked"

I read Clay Shirky's post on Valleywag more than once. I was hoping to find at least some reference to his avatar so that I could at least take comfort that he wasn't yet another "reporter" withouth any first hand knowledge or experience. After all, Clay started talking about Second Life since it's launch in 2003 so one would assume that he has at least one avatar, maybe even an alt or two. But, after reading the well traveled Shirky's post, I am left wondering .. have you *even* experienced Second Life lately Clay?

To quote from Clay's post:
Someone who tries a social service once and bails isn't really a user any more than someone who gets a sample spoon of ice cream and walks out is a customer.
I'd have to agree, and I would add:
Someone who tries *anything* once and bails isn't really a *reporter, writer, consultant or teacher* any more than someone who gets a sample spoon of ice cream and walks out is a customer.
So Clay and I conceptually agree about what it means to have some credibility, but there is where it stops.

Today is an odd day - I disagree with Clay Shirky and agree *in prinicple* with Prokofy Neva who obviously stayed up much later than I did last night crafting a response to Clay's "petulant dismissal of Second Life". Prokofy and I do not share the same perspective on a number of issues, such as conspiracy and insider theories, but we share a resoundingly common perspective from this well written vantage:

Shirky's essay doesn't even have to be long on real field-tested analysis (I've never heard of him even coming to Second Life; he doesn't appeared to have glanced at the economics stats page); it's enough for him, with his street cred, to begin whining about all the huge hype. I'm a big debunker of the hype, too. Yet the spirit of what is happening in Second Life is being missed in the welter of analysis about fake sign-up numbers and cludgy technology.

The fact is that Second Life represents a new form of emotional bandwidth, as Pathfinder Linden and others have called it, that indicates new forms of communication that might become a medium as well as a message: not that we are all one with hands across the sea -- that is so last century, which was actually chock-full of genocides -- but that even with our very real and deep differences, we can communicate *better* through shared expression, building, projects, and interactivity outside the boundaries of space, time, physical appearance, and even race or gender.

I could not have said it better, but that is where our alignment ends. The fact is, Second Life is an example of a rich environment where everyone can benefit, even the "tekkies" as Prokofy calls them, as well as every archetype outlined by Henrik Bennetsen.
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