Second Life Emptiness

I had made a mental, not physical, note to myself to attend the online knees-up that was yesterday’s Sun employee event in Second Life. Of course, I was extraordinarily busy doing web prototype updates and determining the length of various pieces of data string yesterday, so I forgot all about it. In any case, being in the UK timezone meant that by the time Jonathan was speaking, I was already driving to a grotty venue down by the river to see a band nobody likes, and when Liz Matthews was taking to the stage I was probably lying in a pool of beer surrounded by students half my age screeching for an encore.

The fact that I missed it, however, and that various people have since recounted the experience, made me want to revisit Second Life and reconnect with the possibilities for syncing up some of our web experiences with the whole other-worldliness of planet Linden. I first signed into Second Life well over a year ago and we had a few meetings in there and talked about marketing opportunities, building experiences, what the engagement model was and all those kind of ethereal things that a new environment makes you think about. Lou was particularly visionary, of course, and was able to articulate just the kind of opportunities that Second Life could offer and how we might weave it seamlessly into our key customer journeys. Most of us, however, were just trying to pass the ‘you can now fly’ exam and wondering where you could buy those enormous body parts from.

Sun does have a rather lovely presence in Second Life these days and people like Fiona and Christy have obviously done an enormous amount to raise awareness, as the success of the events demonstrate, but there’s still that disconnect between how we’re engaging customers on the old rickety web and how we’re able to interact directly in Second Life. It was designed that way, of course, so what do I expect, but I’d like to do more than just copy-and-paste a slurl for an event. Perhaps there’s some neat Second Life Grid API in the pipeline that supports web-based collaboration via the platform or something, or maybe we’ll start pricing our products online in Linden dollars. However it manifests itself, it would hopefully be more than just jumping from one world to the other, either by a web-based slurl, or a SL-based web browser. That’s just like wearing your anorak inside out and calling it a new coat.

Anyway, to my reason for going to Second Life today, I thought I might do some of that social interaction thing and pretend to be someone worth chatting to and maybe catch the fallout of the employee event somehow. How wrong I was. I mean, I might not expect to see it thronging with hordes of flying groupies around the Sun Pavillion at lunchtime in the UK (2am Pacific), but there’s always a Java developer from Belgium or something, looking at the free Sun jackets, surely. Not today. No green dots. Just me.

I hung around for a while, taking screenshots of myself, like I was on holiday, and decided to take a sneak look at Club Java, just to make sure there’s were no swingers hanging around that had missed the last virtual bus home. There wasn’t, so really, there was nothing else to do…

Listening Post: The Mars Volta: The Bedlam In Goliath


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