The Second Life Doubters Club

The Second Life Doubters Club has a few new members from the corporate world.

From Wired magazine comes "How Madison Avenue Is Wasting Millions on a Deserted Second Life"

Coke and the NBA are hardly alone. Adrift in the uncharted sea that is Web 2.0 — YouTube, MySpace, social networking, user-generated content, virtual worlds — corporate marketers look at Second Life and see something to grab onto. At least 50 major companies have ventured into the virtual world to date, spending millions in the process. IBM has created a massive complex of adjoining islands dedicated to recruitment, employee training, and in-world business meetings. Coldwell Banker has opened a virtual real estate office. Brands like Adidas, H&R Block, and Sears have set up shop. CNET and Reuters have opened virtual bureaus there. It's as if the moon suddenly had oxygen. Nobody wants to miss out.

I recently "attended" a meeting in Second Life and even though I'm still an SL novice, most of the others were total newbies. Wow, was it a mess of lost people, software problems and very little meeting.

"Then there's the question of what people do when they get there. Once you put in several hours flailing around learning how to function in Second Life, there isn't much to do. That may explain why more than 85 percent of the avatars created have been abandoned." Companies say, 'It's an experiment' — but what are they learning?" Rishad Tobaccowala, CEO of Denuo, asks. "Basically, they're learning how to create an avatar and walk around in Second Life." Which is fine if that's what you want to do. Just don't expect to sell a lot of Coke."

Which led The Chronicle of Higher Education's Wired Campus blog to say:

The Wired article and the discussion did not talk about colleges that are building campuses in Second Life, but it seems that some people in higher education might be asking the same tough questions that Mr. Anderson is. More than 100 colleges have set up some kind of presence in Second Life, according to officials at Linden Lab, the company that runs the environment. But are those campuses attracting enough visitors to make the investments worth it?

Still new to all his SL talk? Here's a good set of 4 articles from the THE Journal that gives a more balanced look at the pros & cons of using SL in education.


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