The End Complete

•December 11, 2007 • 4 Comments

The class has finally come to a close, and it seems longer than just a few months ago since it was first started. With this closing, I’ve included my comments about the final project, the class in general, and my involvement in both.

However, I decided to give it a theme.

This is The End Complete.

I -  The Fall Of House Atlantic

“Noooooo, no, no, nooooooo, no, no, nooooooo!”

After noticing the titles of sections for this entry (and noticing that they are links to music through Napster associated with them), one could possibly think that maybe I’m being too harsh with my opinions of the class and Second Life in general.

Hear me out.

This isn’t to completely bash the concept or the execution, but to give my opinions on how well the experience went for me and what I’ve gained out of it all. I’ve had a lot of difficulty with Second Life, tried to do what I could when working with it and writing about it, and had some interesting experiences along the way. I’ve also had problems with keeping up with text-based chats in class, been part of one group that basically took over and negated other members’ participation, and had even been privately accused of non-participation by a member of a different group. This is my write up of my Second Life experience, as well as my defense for what I have accomplished with this class and what I’ve gained out of it.

Plus, the music is great to listen to and is just brilliant with its overall story… very sci-fi intense.

II – Radio Bye Bye

The most complicated part of SL that I experienced was… communication. I think we all did in this class.

Trying to set up voice chat for everyone to use was interesting, and it took me some time to research why I couldn’t do it from my home. Thankfully, a change of the router in my house made it work for me, and we were able to have a full class or two with voice. But for a majority of the semester, it would be everyone chatting in text (with the exception for one class when voice chat had an epic fail, and Prof. Erde went into all voice while the rest of the class wrote back in text). So, around 10 or so students are all throwing their text-based input to the professor and back again in a tiny chat box…

Why don’t we just load up an IRC chat?

Seriously though, scanning through a sea of text just trying to catch up with the discussion and who-is-replying-to-who was very difficult to do. I actually gained a few headaches from trying to read the text.

Also, connection to the server was a bit off as well. Second Life kept giving me problems, regardless of version number and OS/hardware operations, when trying to either connect or stay connected to the server. One of the classes I had made it clear that I needed to leave class early for a business meeting in Stamford, and during the class I kept getting booted from the server. When I tried to ask about a topic being discussed (because my chat history kept getting erased each time I got disconnected), the response from Prof. Erde was, “Try to keep up, Wii.”

Whether that was a joke to keep me laughing through the disconnects, or if he thought I honestly was not trying to keep up with the discussion or the news around me, it still annoyed me. The next time the server dropped me, I shut down the computer and left for my meeting early, frustrated and annoyed with SL.

In working with projects, sometimes people’s personal schedules got in the way of working as a group, or working as individuals. I have past blog entries about group work to reflect on this, as well as Section III of this entry. But even trying to communicate with users within SL, outside of the class, it seemed like I was on my own for the most part when it came to working on projects and learning SL code. Either people didn’t have time to help (which is understandable), or people wanted to just sell me things. It went from being an academic study to watching people failingly attempt to make money.

Being in the Interactive Communications program, I originally thought that the Virtual Worlds class would have given me more insight into a whole new world of virtual communication. Instead, I got headaches.

But, I’ve done the best I could with trying to work and go to class, as well as writing blog entries, for a system that didn’t cooperate with me. Besides, it always made for great conversation with non-classmates, as they were interested in what the class was about.

“We’re throwing all caution to the wind.
It’s better to think about what’s ahead than behind.
Then maybe I’ve got a better chance at failure.
But my mind has a clever way of turning all the worst to right, I’ve found…”

III – The End Complete

The final project has been completed for our group, and in most part, I believe it was a complete success. Naimya, Gigii, and I all contributed to getting the store set up, constructed, and business booming for its grand opening. That opening night definitely helped with grabbing people’s attention to the store, and I think my going around and telling people about the opening (as well as trying to give away cards and shirts) really helped bring in people. I was honestly surprised by the amount of people who took time out of their busy SL schedule and stopped by to say hi. Gigii even reported a large amount of sales for the evening, which is great considering very few people still know about the store’s existence.

When I started working with the project, I chose to work on the ability to have two people share a shirt together as one – a Siamese-Twin shirt. With this task, I wanted to educate myself in the ways of coding for SL. However, because of coding difficulties, it was hard to get it pulled together before the semester ended. Therefore, I moved to making something usable as apposed to trying to learn more SL coding. After meetings with the group, we all agreed that the quickest and simplest solutions with the time we had would be best. It would have been nice to have more, but we took what we could get.

Even though I hadn’t been around for much of the store location and land purchasing processes, I was around for set up of the store and for promotions. I figured the best methods for promotions would be word-of-mouth, avatar-to-avatar. Dressing up in a Gizmo costume really attracted people to the grand opening. Hopefully, Gigii can take this newly found popularity into the future for ecoutee.

However, what bothered me the most about the project is (again) the communication that our group had to work with. Like mentioned before, I’ve had problems with staying logged into SL and with communicating with people over SL, but it just became more of a hassle to meet online than it would have been to meet in person. We probably should have just met in person, but with the fact that we had to be at a computer anyways, trying to bring people and computers together would have been even more difficult. Then, with the times we could meet, we would either show up for a short time, or not all the group would be present because one member would be late (and I’m guilty of that one as well). We were still able to get things done, but we would have to stick to e-mail and phone communications for really important information that couldn’t wait to be discussed.

Also, I had an issue with one group member that seemed to take control of the project from almost every aspect, even though it was not their project to continue on past this class. I’m not going to single anyone out with names (even though there’s a 50/50 shot at getting the member correct in guessing), but this particular individual took control particularly in the way the store was going to be operated (again, which wasn’t their store), both in person and in writing. In one occurrence, it was told to me that this individual questioned my involvement with the group, and questioned if we would fail the class altogether.

Makes you feel really good when you try your best to put all you can into a project, and people still manage to associate the work with “nothing accomplished”, doesn’t it?

Yes, every group needs to have someone who can take charge and get things done, but that didn’t mean that the rest of the group wasn’t getting anything done at all. As I recall, a lot of people who showed up came because of my advertising. We could have put a lot of money into that store, picked a high-traffic area, and even made some kick-ass products… and it wouldn’t have meant a damn thing if no one knew we existed. I’m not saying that I was the only one who did advertisements. Both of the other group members did a very fine job spreading the word. I’m just saying that, for being in the background a lot, I did a fine job with the project and did a fair share of work for the project.

And everyone should have a right to complain about something that’s bothering them. In this case, I chose to do so after the project was completed, for the sake of not wanting to make enemies and getting the project completed and successful. I didn’t do it just to get it done; I did what I did to give ecoutee the best chance of survival it can get in SL.

QUICK NOTE: Just before posting this blog entry online, I found out that the particular group member in question apologized to another for their behavior throughout the process of the class. Although it would have been nice to receive one myself, I’m at the very least happy that this individual has recognized the potential problems, both constructively and personally, with worrying about something for too long then trying to take over at the last minute.

“Dig deeper. Remember all you’ve been and all you’ve left behind.
Wave goodbye, my dear.
Dig deeper. Remember all you’ve been and all you’ve left behind.
Welcome home, my dear.”

IV – The Road And The Damned

With what seems like me ranting the whole time about the class, there was a lot of good that I’ve learned as well. SL does offer a great place to have as an educational ground for learning about interactivity in a virtual environment, and I agree that the future will be in some sort of virtual environment. SL also has great possibilities and potentials if they keep working on the format more. With some software tweaks and better servers for traffic, as well as some more ways to educate users on how things work in SL (and some out-of-world advertising), SL could really start hitting it off again.

But the one question that friends and colleagues have asked me about the class as a whole was, “If the class is about Virtual Worlds, why did your class only focus on one?”

My answer was in the fact that trying to get everyone to work with just one program only was a hassle. Plus, the ability to expand in creation and imagination can only be achieved through a platform like SL.

The flip-side of that, however, was that there are other alternatives to it. A friend of mine was telling me that the program, “There,” has been expanding to allow more customized creation of objects and communities, and there was even a commerce as well (almost competitive with SL). He admitted that the avatars were more “cartoony” than SL, but most people don’t even notice. The basic element of communication is still there, and the support and stability of There is better (in his opinion) than that of SL.

One opinion I even joked about once was how we could have had a week in World of Warcraft. The 10-day free passes are given out at stores and in game boxes like candy, and have a wide range of support for graphics, as well as support for voice chat. It could have been as simple as one or two classes to play around in (and Blizzard would have loved the advertising and the possibility of gaining full-time users afterwards). It was a funny idea, but it would have touched on another virtual world.

In terms of sticking with SL, if I were to have done the class again, I would have been happy with staying in the classroom, instead of being remote, spending a good part of the class talking as people and then logging online for an activity. Coming from someone who only came to class remotely, one could criticize my thinking. Then again, even if I showed up to the classroom, we still would have done all communication through chat in game and not in class. So, what would have been the point of showing up in class at all? I think having the online experience should be in addition to face-to-face interaction, and not a replacement for it. It obviously doesn’t completely work.

“I believed in the world once in front of me.
Well, now that’s gone…”

V – On The Brink

When I started taking this class, I had very high hopes for enjoyment in my education of how virtual worlds worked (knowing it was all going to be in SL, I called it the “Second Life Class”). I figured it would be the one class I would have the most fun in, and would want to talk about it for a long time.

I honestly want to forget it happened, now.

I know that’s a harsh thing to say, and yes it definitely was an experience, but with the bad outweighing the good during the semester, it was really not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting to learn to code things and create objects and stores that would sell well and meet new people and so on and so on.

I learned to code things, but not enough to create complex items. With the lack of resources out there and lack of help from avid SL users who didn’t have time, I was on my own. That sucked. I can’t even think of a more academic term to describe the feeling of being alone in a world about community and communication. I felt almost sucked away from whatever was potentially there in SL to learn and interact with. I have books and contacts, and I still feel lost and alone when I log in.

I created objects, but nothing that was amazing enough to pass as quality work in the eyes of hardcore developers in SL. I know, 3D modeling takes a long time to do, but even basic objects were difficult to work with and, again, I had little resources to go by to teach modeling techniques in SL.

I worked with a store, but that experience has been written about a couple of times before.

I met people, and discovered that most people who are in SL are people who are avidly logged in every day for several hours a day. Some make their living in SL. It’s almost like an addiction; once you’ve found your niche there, it’s hard to let go. But, I feel like a “noob” every time I log in, and I’ve had my account for well over a year now.

It would be one thing if the class was boring. At least I could talk about visiting different islands, making machinima, and opening an online store. But every time I had to think about Second Life, I would either be frustrated, upset, or even depressed by the thought of having to log in for any reason. I even tried to log in for recreational purposes (as the game it is, I tried to treat it like a game), and I felt completely out of place (and that would be before I’d have issues with server slow-downs and bootings). SL wasn’t meant for gaming, but for producing things and making connections in its community.

But, in the grand scheme of things, it’s still just a game to me. There is a future in online communications, and SL can advance further than it is now. However, if SL stays the way it is now, I don’t see it being the future of anything, other than a dying platform.

Throughout the semester, I would search for information to assist me with coding or 3D shaping or even locations to buy land. About half the time, I came across an article from The Long Tail, titled, “Why I gave up on Second Life.” There, the author explains how he made a presence for a book signing in SL for, “The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More.” Apparently, the signing only gained like 30 people in SL, yet the blog is popular in traffic and audience. He has decided to give up on SL because, even though he had a good turn-out in SL, he says:

“…in terms of things that I value, such as links, smart comments, traffic to my blog, etc, the SL appearance might as well have never happened. It didn’t leave a ripple in the world I live in (AKA Real Life).”

He finishes by saying that, “I can defend our SL investment on educational grounds, but not on any other.”

Seeing this article time and time again coming up when searching for “Second Life” online did not make me feel any better about doing work, and going online, for this class. I did the best that I could, and I believe my work was well done considering my patience for the platform. But I think it could have been done differently, and for me personally, I did not enjoy it.

I, too, will be giving up on Second Life.

With that being said, I have a couple thousand Linden Dollars available which I know I won’t use and can’t cash out. If anyone would like them, please send me a comment or a message in SL, and the next time I log in (which will only be for the purpose of giving the Lindens to said person), I will send them off. Then I will retire Wii Xi (or have him commit virtual suicide, whichever is more appropriate to call it).

I might try to revisit the idea of Second Life someday. Maybe after I spend some time away from it, I can get a better experience out of it.

Maybe…

“These words need now an ending, as they did at the start.
But I’ll keep on pretending,
I won’t go.

Don’t cry no more, boy.
You’ve got the other side of your life, so enjoy.
I’ll move out the front door,
And take out your trash,
But I’ll no longer be haunting here,
I’m not coming back.”

Resources:

Chris Anderson. “The Long Tail: Why I gave up on Second Life.” July 30th, 2007. http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2007/07/why-i-gave-up-o.html

Coheed and Cambria. “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Vol. II: No World For Tomorrow.” 2007.

The Grand Opening of ecoutee in Second Life

•December 1, 2007 • Leave a Comment

It all came down to this one night… Would we attract people, or did we completely miss the mark?

Rewinding back to days earlier…

After my trials and errors with making the double-ee-shirt, and after talking to Gigii in one meeting and Naimya on Wednesday night about the same topic, both had the same opinion that we should use a static shirt to create the illusion that the shirt can be worn. With shirt construction out of the way, it was time to spread the word about ecoutee’s opening.

I decided that the best way to attract attention is to look like I want attention, and doing that as Wii Xi wouldn’t do the job.

So, I decided to dress up in costume for the occasion. Disguised from my normal look, I went around to do advertising for the store. I wanted to find a good place to tell people about the store, so I went to the Sandboxes. Upon login, the Sandboxes give warnings about no advertising of products or services, no selling of products or services, and no shooting of other people within the Sandboxes. I also noticed giant billboard ads for cheap land, people selling their products to each other, and a futuristic-bounty-hunter-looking player shooting random players as they were working.

Perfect.

People definitely saw me and were interested in what I had to say (thanks to my avatar), as I walked around talking to random people about ecoutee and handing out notecards with the landmark location enclosed. One person I had chatted with, Vicky, was very excited about showing up to the grand opening and said she would show up with her friends after she gets out of work in SL.

Vicky Dance

Her SL title: “Sexy Stripper”

I had a great response from people wanting to show up, so with that working for me, I was able to focus on getting ready for the grand opening. Naimya sent out a quick checklist via e-mail to help with any little things that should be added or changed on Friday morning. In it, there was a suggestion of , “an improved Double ee tee that’s a bit more than a flat placard, with a side note that, “Prof Erde is helping Wii with this.” Did this mean that Prof. Erde was going to contact me on Friday during the day about this, or was I to contact him, or did Gigii and Naimya have a plan from Thursday’s meeting (which I had been out of state at the time and could not attend)? I asked Gigii when I had time to, and she explained that it was discussed on Thursday that Prof. Erde had an idea and an SL coded example to work with our shirt display. We figured I should send a quick e-mail to him to ask about it. Considering though that the earliest chance I had that day to be at a computer for more than 5 minutes was an hour before opening, I wasn’t expecting a quick response. But, I hope to give the shirt thing one final swing before my final class post. If not, all else still went well.

Jojogirl

Which led to that final hour before. I got a chance to finally introduce myself to Jojogirl Bailey, one of the caretakers of the island the store was set up on. She had been working on an event to take place right outside of the store after our grand opening. Sweet – more business for us!

However, the celebration was interrupted by a lagging and slow server response. Of course! About a half an hour before opening, and the server starts to flake out. Wonderful and predictable Second Life. With all the money going through the ‘collection plates of commerce,’ why can’t ‘the Gods’ afford better servers?!

shirt sign

When Naimya arrived, I suggested that the snowflakes we had running through the store could have been starting to slow things down a little (not the entire issue, but dropping some particle effects couldn’t hurt). Things appeared to run smoother when the snowflakes were disabled; not perfect, but better. Between Naimya and I, we were able to get a lot set up during the pre-opening stages of the store, including a fancy sign I designed (with Naimya’s written text) for the store. Gigii arrived a little late, but because she’s been frantically setting up the store both in Second Life and in real life, where the store would ultimately make more money.

opening1

Maybe I’ll discuss with her about helping with making the ecoutee website in the future… ;)

Then the store opened, and…

opening2

The turnout was great!! It was tough to stay interacting with people, mostly because I was assisting with a live television production in RL at the same time of the opening of the store in SL, but it was still very cool to see how many people responded to our spreading of the advertising for the store. I felt like my time hadn’t been wasted, and that made me feel great. We all had a good laugh when Vicky showed up and discussed what she did in SL. Naimya’s reaction was the best, which was something like, “Wii, how did you and Vicky meet? Or would you prefer not to say?” I couldn’t stop laughing! I even switched back to my costume to show people how I went around advertising the store. People in the store thought I was cute with my change in avatar.

opening4

My girlfriend, however, kept grabbing my arm in real life during the opening as the females in the store commented on my costume, jokingly growling and saying to the screen, “You can’t have him – He’s mine!!”

opening3

The entire night turned out well. The final outcome was a joy to see, considering the amount of work we’ve all done for this project, and I’m very happy with the results.

If you want to check out any more pictures from the event, check out:
http://flickr.com/photos/avatarsuperstars/

What’s left for this class? A couple of make-up posts, and my final opinions of the group project and the class experience as a whole.

“ecoutee”-moi, s’il vous plaît?

•November 28, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Time to clean the dust off the keyboard and write about my favorite online program, Second Life! Yay!

Before I get into the progress of my project for the class, I want to acknowledge that it has been a while since I’ve done some serious blogging about SL. Yes, I did a post last week, but because I knew I have a few to catch up on and I didn’t want another on my list. I will be going into complete detail of my opinions of SL and my experiences there for my final blog entry with this class, but I just want to mention how my interest for SL has significantly decreased since the beginning of this semester. The blog posts haven’t been forgotten because of busy schedules, but mostly avoided because of my increasing dislike for SL.

It’s hard to force yourself to do something that causes so much aggravation.

With that said (leaving the topic open for my final blog entry later on), my progress on the final project has made me feel like I’ve learned a lot about SL in the past weeks. Unfortunately, what I learned was not what I was expecting. I’ve been in charge of developing the ecoutee double-t-shirt for the group. What this was supposed to be was a vehicle where two people could sit in it and appear to look like they were wearing a double-t-shirt (think Siamese twin shirt). The vehicle didn’t need to drive, which should have made things easier to work on.

And this is where Murphy lays down the law.

Since I wanted to learn some SL coding anyway, I decided to start with developing a car-like vehicle. My teammate, Naimya, sent me an object for an Ultimate Vehicle which had coding in it to work like a car. Unfortunately, it doesn’t move very cleanly (or when I went to work with it, not at all). So, getting an object from someone else to edit doesn’t work. I decided to do my own searching.

I came across, “A Speed Guide to Virtual Driving in Second Life,” which is an excellent source of information on what the code should look like, how every function works, and makes for a great car. I learned very quickly how painfully perfect this code really was.

egg 1

Introducing my first experiment in the world of coding: The Egg-O-Matic! If you know the reference, you know what I was trying to go for. It was going to be a vehicle that “floated” above the ground and could be driven around, kind of like a car without wheels (which essentially is any car in SL – the wheels don’t make it move, but the whole object moves).

egg 2

However, thanks to the physics involved with the egg, it completely flipped upside-down in operations. Looks more like a coconut-shell car, or a turtle shell. Couldn’t get that to work out, so the idea was scrapped. But, it gave me inspiration for the shirt idea. If I could make a shape like the “coconut shell” and make it look kind of like a shirt, then it would pass for a double-t-shirt!

Stage Two: The Double-T-Shirt concept. The funny thing about a concept is that it doesn’t always match the execution. A nice cone shape, add some sleeves, drop in some code, and presto! A working vehicle shirt… thing! With the example of the Egg-O-Matic, this should work perfectly.

shirt of death

Instead, I got the Shirt of Death. It’s actually booted me off SL in one occasion.

Since we didn’t exactly need the shirt to act as a vehicle, I decided to scrap the vehicle concept. After meeting with the group, they suggested making a stale picture of the double-t-shirt concept (which Gigii supplied), and make a stand-alone (or sit alone) version of the vehicle, one that does not drive, but one that still has two seats.

doubletee

I tried to make the flat piece of shirt stay in one spot, while adding chairs for the vehicle script to attach to. However, I couldn’t get the script to allow where the two seats would be. Then I figured, why do a vehicle at all? I could just add blocks behind the shirt design and people can sit down easily.

doubletee behind

And it worked!! Except for the fact that sitting in the proper direction was not simple. In order to be facing forward, a user would have to click on the seat while standing in front of the seat looking towards the shirt design… which makes clicking of the seat to sit in impossible, unless a user did a camera change and then clicked the seat. Too much work for the average user.

After a phone call with Gigii during the day, I met with the group last night to discuss our progress with the assignment. Naimya wasn’t there, but he did set up a suggestion. He placed a smaller version of the double-t-shirt icon in front of the couch that’s in the store. It needs to be tweaked, but it works.

seated

Sometimes the simplest solution is the best.

It would have been nice to have learned something about coding in SL, and even using the proper sources didn’t assist me in understand it too much either, but maybe that’s just me. Maybe I wasn’t cut to do programming in SL. At least, I feel discouraged from wanting to try again.

Today, I’m going to try some advertising around some public locations to get people to come to the grand opening of ecoutee on Friday, November 30th at 7:00pm EST. I’m going to try a few experiments in the advertising, including “dressing up in costume” to get people to show up.

Maybe this will be easier than trying to create the shirt.

Come to ecoutee at: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Etopia%20Island/146/62/22

What’s mine is mine… or yours?

•November 14, 2007 • Leave a Comment

The one thing I’ve always admired about the SL system is the fact that they’ve been devoted to the users. They want to make their cut of a profit somewhere, but at least they try to hook up the users with some benefits as well.

However, one thing still confuses me: The idea of intellectual property rights in SL. A quote from the reading, “Your Second Life?”:

…players of the game would be granted intellectual property rights in their creations both within the game space and in ‘real life’. This was a radical departure for the online gaming industry, where nearly all End User License Agreements (EULA) and Terms of Service (TOS) require Players to sign over their intellectual property rights in order to enter into the virtual space of the game.

Now, I understand completely about why there should be intellectual property rights given for something created in real life (that’s how our world works). So, someone in SL also has the ability to own their work that they create there. That’s fine, but wouldn’t that leave things open for a lawsuit to Linden Labs? The way I see it, SL exists because of the content that the users create, and the users own intellectual property rights on what they make. Hypothetically, if Linden Labs were to start publicly showing off their world in screenshots, and someone’s really awesome object or design for area is shown, and then copied in something real-world (like if another online program other than SL were to create the same thing), who can that user blame? Their intellectual property is only protected within SL, making sure that no one steals anyone else’s ideas in game.

The obvious solution to this problem would be to get the work set with a copyright ahead of time, protecting it against being copied out of SL. It doesn’t even have to be the SL object that’s protected, but the idea and blueprints (for the 3D model) for the object or whatnot protected. In the situation above, Linden Labs does not control the government, and therefore cannot protect everyone from everything. Even Linden Labs can’t protect themselves from everything! If they shut down someone’s account, and that user decides to sue, what’s going to stop them? If it was Linden Labs’ fault that a particular “intellectual property” gets copied, are they to blame? How is that idea protected then?

Maybe I’m just missing something, but there has got to be more to it than just, “We can protect you from other users stealing your stuff.” Even then, what protections are there? “We’ll delete the offending user’s account and hope we don’t get brought into court over it,” is the solution? I think they need to just take the easy route and say, “You make it, we own it.” Of course, Linden Labs will do anything they can to keep the content flowing. After all, if they didn’t have users creating the content, they’d have to do it all.

Like we need another “World of Warcraft meets Second Life” clone…

Resource:

Herman, Coombe, & Kaye. Your Second Life? Goodwill and the performativity of intellectual property in online digital gaming. Cultural Studies , Volume 20, Numbers 2-3, -3/March/May 2006.

Politics and SL

•November 6, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I hate politics… with a passion.

Politics, in my opinion, can be the route of all evil. Of course money is usually the cause, but money is usually a tool that is used by people for specific intentions, so I don’t consider money to be a route. But a specific means to an end can be a greater good or evil. Usually, politics fall into that category.

Personally, I’ve had issues in the past dealing with people in political matters, mainly because people in general have specific personal agendas in the “good” they are trying to do. Not to get into any specifics myself, but I’ve always tried to do the best for others before myself. I’ve been told my biggest weakness in life is my huge heart, trying to take care of everyone before myself. But when I know people who also want to do good for others, but find ways to benefit themselves, I end up being the bad guy for trying to expose them. Plus, people rarely ever agree in politics about anything, so discussions are avoided as much as possible by me.

With that being said, someone out there thought it would be a great idea to have political figures come into SL and talk politics. According to websites online (such as Datamation’s article and the IPDI blog), the turnout was very fair. I honestly expected to hear about riots in SL and protests when political figures logged into the game. But, everyone supposedly was mature about their presence and virtual Congress was held in SL.

I believe that the advertising of political parties and events in SL is not any different from that of normal product advertising. Again, I’m not a particular fan of politics, especially when I’m trying to just relax and play a game. So, being bombarded with news and ads about political events can be as annoying as products trying to get into one’s home via SL.

I can understand the reasons for wanting to appear in SL for politics. The benefits of reaching out to another audience for attention can help with getting communication exchanged between a political figure and the public. However, if there is to be a new trend of people going online to attract people, political figured should try other programs to attract attention through.

Why not World of Warcraft?

Think about it! Political figures could go after an entire genre of people who would probably never pay attention to politics in real life, and would then be fighting an online battle and discussing politics with their public audience. That would be fun and wicked cool to talk about.

But in all seriousness, is the really that different to meet in WoW than it is in SL? Really, just because there’s no killing in SL and no virtual Capitol in WoW, does that mean that the topics, exchange of questions, and the overall experience of being able to communicate directly with someone of political power really differ between the formats? Yes, there’s probably going to be a more recreational experience meeting a political figure in WoW, and probably some criticism with a political figure playing an MMORPG, but the ability to communicate with these figures in ways unimagined before can be tapped into for its fullest extent.

I find the idea of being in a virtual Congress in SL, listening to a political figure speak for a while, then a quick Q&A to be a little dry and boring. Come on!! We are in SL here!! There must be other ways to spice up the experience for everyone online to enjoy while being educated and informed as well. I’m not saying the idea is completely flawed, I just think there are better ways to approach how to do this.

It would be the same as having a class in SL, but only sit around and chat by voice instead of going to other places and creating things in world.

Business Starting and Event Making in SL

•October 30, 2007 • Leave a Comment

For those wanting to start an event in SL, the thing to easily remember is that communication (which is the key foundation of the internet) is key to business.

I read the articles assigned for this blog entry, and I must say… they really haven’t taught me anything new.  All I got out of it all was, “If you want to run a business, look like one.  If you’re going to hold an event, treat it like an event in real life.”  Well, yeah, but is there anything else I should know?

And the answer is… of course, but how much do I want to hear on what I probably would have guessed on my own?  It’s one thing to say, “I’m going to go around SL and tell everyone about this event.” It’s another thing to do so.  And even then, with the right advertising, promotions, and setup to the right audience, there’s always the possibility that very few people will be interested, or they will have a stronger relationship with another company for goods.

But, starting a company in SL is like starting a company in RL.  There will be risks… just the risks are far less in SL than RL.

Even then, I still think the only real profit to be made in SL would be in real estate.  You’ll never go poor in SL if you have land to sell.

WoW-ing Business in the Future?

•October 23, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Ok, let me get this straight. IBM wrote and article about how MMORPG’s can demonstrate the future of business communication and leadership, and think that World of Warcraft, as well as other games, can help advance those future fundamentals?

If the future of business looks like communication in WoW, then count me out.

First of all, a majority of the gamers found in WoW are not the same crowd of people that play Second Life. For the most part, everyone who plays WoW are geeks who love to play games and have medieval themes (or are fans of the Blizzard series). I know that sounds biased, but read me out.

An article written by Sarah Anderson tackles the possibilities of the addictive behaviors of the World of Warcraft. In an interview with a player named Alyssa Adams, Adams talks about her experiences meeting up with people in WoW:

“She describes [her WoW-playing friends] as young men between 20 – 24 years old, some with degrees and most with part-time jobs, but none are enrolled in school. … ‘I know many of them smoke weed, so they are permanently high and permanently in the game; they’re just not in reality,” she said. “And there are tons of people like that too. That game will screw you over.’ ”

The online communities in these games show that, even though there is leadership involved in being the head of a Horde clan or running a campaign, the people in front of the computer screen do not benefit from these leadership roles. The guy in the office who’s quiet and does his work without talking to anyone could also be the guy commanding armies of Orcs and Blood Elves to slaughter the Alliance at night. It may make him a leader in game, but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s still being anti-social in real life.

At least with a game like golfing, the social activity of playing a game against each other can have some limit towards the competition involved. In WoW, you have two choices: you’re either with your co-workers, or you’re against them. If you’re working with them in WoW, it’s hard to discuss business matters while fighting a dragon. On the flipside, would anyone care about the new quarterly numbers if you’re in the middle of a raid against each other?

I think that business and gaming should be like church and state – separated.

Resources:

IBM, “Virtual Worlds: Real Leaders.”

Sarah Anderson, Game on: World of Warcraft. The Daily of the University of Washington. http://thedaily.washington.edu/article/2007/4/19/gameOnWorldOfWarcraft

 
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