A few more opinions on Second Life. After my first post, PJ had some comments on it. In a similar vein, Eric Rice weighs in prompted by Chris Pirillo’s post. Chris’ experience is about the same as mine.
The countervailing opinion of the boosters seems to be that those of us who are bored and perplexed by SL have the wrong attitude. They say we should be looking at it as a freeform tool for creation and interaction, rather than as a game that will entertain us. PJ says I should be looking at it as a 3D modeling tool; Eric says it is true participatory media. All I know is that I was looking for something intuitive and I found something that presented me with a learning curve that I didn’t particularly want. Eric says ‘[…] it’s this wide open “The Earth: What do you do on it?” thing that is way different that something with a specific purpose’. Well, you can put me in any American city and I guarantee I can make something interesting happen faster than I’ve been able to in Second Life – which as yet I never have. I already know how to work the world and don’t need to read the manual. The world has a less shitty interface.
The basic thrust of the SL as a substrate for creativity argument doesn’t much sway me. In fact, every time I’ve shut it off in disgust, I’ve turned around and put some work in something more immediately tangible to me – AmigoFish or a podcast or something. I’m not wild about using my money to buy assets or my time to build value in such a non-portable way. When someone else can flip a switch one day and turn off my work, I don’t like that situation. Lest you protest the unlikeliness of that, I lost a lot of my writing when GEnie shut down, and it’s about to happen again with Dueling Modems. It’s not a question of if but when with this sort of thing. I’d rather have more control over my output than this.
Note that as in all such things, I’m not trying to talk anyone out of liking it. I’m saying that based on my experiences so far, this thing ain’t for me. In fact, I deleted the client off the laptop after the last unsatisfactory experience. Wake me up in a few years and maybe I’ll try it again.