Why a post on Second Life? Because you just can't get away from Second Life these days -- putting aside the exact terms of Cory and Dmitri's bet, Second Life is certainly vying with WoW as the apple of the media's eye, the virtual world publicity monger du jour. For instance, in the past month of so I've personally encountered:
- An eight-page Wired "Let's Go" travel guide to Second Life, complete with a fold-out map. (Can't beat a fold-out map!)
- A nice big article in The Economist about Second Life with quotes from Ted, "father of virtual reality" Jason Lanier, Cory, and Henry Jenkins.
- Henry Jenkins writing an essay-length blog post about brands in Second Life, and declaring that "Second Life has been one of the hot new stories in participatory culture in recent months."
- Yochai Benkler's Wealth of Networks, the Web 2.0 book du jour, which mentions Second Life on pages 74-75, 136 according to the index. (But I think I saw it alluded to several more times than that as a paradigmatic "peer production" environment.)
- A Wall Street Journal write-up on Virtual Fashion -- a.k.a. the fashion designers of Second Life.
- A Harvard Law School extension course in Second Life.
- Even the good folks at Cultural Studies are featuring articles about Second Life.
Who knows what others have stumbled across, but you get the point.
So here we are, supposed to be on top of these things just as much as the above-mentioned luminaries (well, I guess Ted is one of the above mentioned luminaries), but the last time we really focused on Second Life in our discussions here was when Ted was wondering if we should really care about Second Life's security breach. He opined there that SL is "Web 2.0 more than anything else" and the rest of the discussion took place in the comments. Before that, I had offered up the fact in August that I didn't actually see Suzanne Vega perform in Second Life but that even if I had I didn't imagine it would have been quite as interesting as people were saying it was. (I'm sure you all appreciated that deep insight.)
So, to the point: there's apparently all this enthusiasm about Second Life today, as opposed to other VWs, in the mass media and among the digerati. We've got what seems to be a slight lack of enthusiasm about Second Life (at least lately) here on Terra Nova. We've been talking about WoW, Eve, Meridian 59, Virtual Laguna Beach, community managers, etc., but not talking much about Second Life.
So what's our problem catching the Second Life wave? Is this something like MUD-Dev
syndrome ('We've already covered that back in 2003!")? Are we still afraid of promoting Cory's pet project? Is it time to set up a Terra Nova island?
Update: In the first comment, Samantha says the call question should be: Besides being covered by other organizations, why should we be talking about Second Life? How does discussing Second Life inform or develop our collective view of virtual worlds?
Update 2 (Oct 5): This is incredible: Endie at Zombie Pirate Ninja Monkey runs the numbers, actually bringing some empirical data about our posting practices to bear on this debate. ("So what I did was rip every TN article since the beginning of June, using a piece of code that I wrote to extract oil-sector data from the EIA site.") Read the whole post, but here's the breakdown of the last 100 posts: World of Warcraft 29% / Second Life 20% / Eve-Online 6%. Thanks, Endie, that's awesome!