The Atlantic’s Leslie Jamison Looks At Second Life and Virtual Living

Mitsumi Town Tokyo

Back in June I asked Leslie Jamison what her Second Life article for The Atlantic would be about, Leslie replied; “The piece is focused on why SL is meaningful to particular residents, as well as the kinds of relationships & community it makes possible.”

The article; The Digital Ruins of a Forgotten Future, was published on November 10th and certainly highlights why SL is meaningful to particular residents, as well as the kinds of relationship & community it makes possible, the article also goes much further, deeper and beyond Second Life into the concept of living online.

The article is long (although there’s a soundcloud recording on the article page if you would prefer to listen), beautifully written, honest, written for an intended audience who may not be familiar with Second Life and exemplifies the type of journalism I admire greatly because it allows Second Life residents the opportunity to voice why they enjoy or embrace Second Life.

New World Notes Land

The article has largely received positive feedback but is not without its critics, as can be exemplified by the comments of show 162: war of the social worlds, The Drax Files Radio Hour (with Jo Yardley). The critical comments avoid being abusive, which is both welcome and constructive.

The article features a number of interviews with Second Life residents and I’m particularly pleased to see Gentle Heron, of the excellent Virtual Ability Inc. featured because accessibility is such an important subject that doesn’t get anywhere near the attention it warrants.

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Sansar Make Friends Before Unleashing Fashion

Sansar Jenn's Gang

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, in Sansar that hasn’t been as straight forward as it could have been because people were not easy to identify, but that’s all changing.

Linden Lab yesterday announced – Sansar’s more fun with friends! Find out how with the new Friends Release :

Sansar will auto-update to the Friends Release, and the next time you login you’ll be able to find people you know in Sansar and grow your friends list by simply searching for their Avatar IDs. With the Friends release, it’s also easier to make friends in desktop mode – just click on avatars to see their names and send friend requests.

An important point to note here is that it’s the Avatar ID you can search for, this is an important distinction to make because an Avatar ID is unique and may not be the same as an Avatar Name, which isn’t unique.

Sansar Jenn and Gindipple Face Off

As an example, a search for “Inara Pey” reveals no result, but a search for Inara’s Avatar ID finds, Inara Pey.

Talking of Inara Pey, she has an excellent blog post on this Sansar release : Sansar Friends Release Overview.

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Ars Technica’s Samuel Axon Returns To Second Life and Finds Plenty Of Life

Panic of Pumpkin In Okinawa_001

Samuel Axon over at Ars Technica has returned to Second Life and published a very good article on the hopes, fears, past and future of Second Life, Sansar and much more.

What makes this article so good is that Samuel has experience of Second Life, knows all about the past hype but in a very refreshing manner he points out that Second Life is still very much around, even if users have some concerns about Linden Lab’s focus on Sansar :

Believe it or not, the platform today enjoys a healthy community. Not only does it still exist, but if you ask Second Life’s creators, the platform may be thriving. Ask its users, on the other hand, and the picture gets a bit hazier.

The article covers an interesting aspect of Second Life, how the area of commerce has in many ways followed physical world patterns, with the online Marketplace thriving in many areas whilst inworld commerce struggles with its virtual bricks and mortar version in other areas.

The article also mentions the growth of virtual pets as a product, with Fennux creator Daemon Blackflag talking about how people breed virtual pets and sell them.

Storybrooke Gardens

The article features quotes from Second Life merchants, residents and Linden Lab employees, which all adds up to a very good overview of the platform from people who know about the platform, this is a refreshing change from a lot of Second Life articles.

Karsten Rutledge of Greedy Greedy fame talks about how the hype of past years such as 2007 was always a load of nonsense, but we also get a view of how technology developments can hamper the ambitions of platforms, when Second Life was full in its hype cycle Social Media wasn’t the thriving platform it is today.

Peter Gray, Linden Lab’s Senior Director of Communications (AKA Gray of the Lab from San Francisco) touches upon these developments :

Gray even ventured a theory for why the original narrative didn’t pan out. “I think it’s worth bearing in mind that a lot of those experiments were done before people were very familiar with social media,” he said. “In short, if people were to approach creating virtual experiences for those types of things now, whether it be a marketing outreach or that kind of thing, I think they might take a different approach to do it.”

This is worth bearing mind as Linden Lab’s Sansar finds its feet, the development of Virtual Reality and other technologies could completely change the direction Sansar takes, this is true of technological developments throughout history.

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Sansar Gears Up For Halloween With Prizes, Karaoke and Live Music

Sansar Jenn Does Halloween

Linden Lab’s Sansar is gearing up for Halloween with a series of events and prizes, as a blog post by Sansar Jenn reveals; October in Sansar is Going to be Scary Good! 

The post informs us of a series of planned events, including :

A Contest with a Wicked Sweet Prize

Sansar’s Scariest Experiences is a competition whereby people can create a brand new Sansar experience in the spirit of Halloween. This competition comes with a very eye catching prize :

One grand prize winner will receive $10,000 (USD), an Oculus Rift + Touch bundle and a one year Sansar Super Creator Subscription. Three honorable mentions will each each receive a one year Sansar Creator Subscription.

However if you want to enter time is short, the closing date is October 15th. Click the link earlier in this post for details.

Sansar caroline and a witch

Other events include Friday 13th at Draxtor Despres 114 Harvest. This could be a very scary experience if Draxtor decides to sing the Monster Mesh, make sure you bring some Bavarian bread.

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AltspaceVR Appear To Be In The Right Place At The Right Time For Microsoft’s Purchase

AltspaceVR yesterday announced they would be joining Microsoft in a deal that looks to suit both parties. This is quite a turnaround in fortune for AltspaceVR, which bid the world a very sad goodbye on July 28th before announcing on August 15th that AltspaceVR is Back!

The new deal with Microsoft looks good for AltspaceVR :

AltspaceVR will stay AltspaceVR. Microsoft is most interested in preserving the current community that uses AltspaceVR to connect and interact with new and old friends. These first few months will focus on fostering our community and making sure AltspaceVR remains a friendly, welcoming and vibrant place to hang out in virtual reality.

Sometimes when a company gets purchased it gets incorporated in another company and we never really hear of it again. This isn’t the case with this deal and that’s good news.

I do not know why Microsoft have purchased AltspaceVR. but it’s fun to speculate and with my speculation hat on it looks to me as if AltspaceVR was in the right place at the right time to take advantages of developments in Software and Hardware that Microsoft are heavily involved with.

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