01:36 PM

IT World Eyes 'Second Life' Virtual Reality

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Second Life, For Business And Pleasure
2. Today's Top Story
    - 'Second Life' Lessons: Cisco, IBM Pace Corporate Push Into Virtual Worlds
    - Second Life Image Gallery
3. Second Life In The First Person
    - Second Life Is Hard To Use—Is That A Bug Or A Feature?
    - The Most Unusual Person In Second Life
    - What Happens In Second Life, Stays In SL
    - The First Celebrity Of Second Life Says She Was Misquoted
4. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
5. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"I've been 'playing' SL since mid-October of last year. I haven't surfed the Web with any regularity since. Why? The damn game is so immersive and it's very addicting. If you're into Seinfeldian humor, then SL is awesome ... what a time-waster, I admit. However the ppl there are hilarious, passionate, and well, with a population of 3 million, you can meet a lot of them ... Not to mention you can gamble, club hop, race-car drive, skinny-dip, and meet a bunch of ppl in a matter of a couple of hours. lol." -- InformationWeek blog reader "cef"

1. Editor's Note: Second Life, For Business and Pleasure

Today we bring two distinct perspectives on Second Life: what's driving a high-profile series of corporate trials and the personal experiences of Mitch Wagner.

Contributor Alice LaPlante notes that despite the considerable hype surrounding SL, it's not ready to deliver compelling ROI to a big company.

"Having trouble understanding what your customers really want in a pair of jeans? Let them design them personally! Ditto a car. Or a new kitchen. Want to increase brand awareness? Open a storefront where shoppers can virtually browse your products, "engage" with them, and become more loyal! Hope to convert browsing into real dollars? Enable a link that sends them to your Web site where they can hand over their credit cards! It sounds good. The problem is that none of this is happening."

What is happening, Mitch finds, is lots of personal interaction with characters who are engaging, weird, or just plain lonely—or all of the above.

Share your SL experiences with Mitch at any one of the entries in his new Digital Life blog.

Tom Smith

2. Today's Top Story

'Second Life' Lessons: Cisco, IBM Pace Corporate Push Into Virtual Worlds
Companies as varied as Toyota, Dell, Sears, and Adidas have all established bulkheads in the 3-D virtual world called "Second Life." Is this influx of brands an exciting precursor of how we'll be conducting business very soon, or the ultimate exercise in corporate flat-footedness?

Second Life Image Gallery

3. Second Life In The First Person

Second Life Is Hard To Use—Is That A Bug Or A Feature?
Second Life is hard to use. Everybody knows it. I've logged something like 20 hours on SL in the past week and a half, and I'm still a consummate klutz. SL needs to be easier to use—but not too easy, because if it was easy, it would undercut the nature of the world and remove one of its most appealing qualities.

The Most Unusual Person In Second Life
Ida Keen is the most unusual person I've met in Second Life. You'll recall that the people I've met in SL include Dirjha Summers, an exotic dancer who works in a midnight city prowled by vampires and demons, along with Tateru Nino, an androgynous figure in a long robe who works in an office floating high in the clouds. Ida Keen, however, is an ordinary woman who lives, along with her husband, in an approximate reproduction of her grandmother's house on the Florida shore. She wears jeans, a sweater, and sneakers.

What Happens In Second Life, Stays In SL
Role-playing is an essential part of Second Life. But some people take it more seriously than others. Some people act as if Second Life really is a second life—as if the person who exists in that virtual world really is a different person from the one in the real world.

The First Celebrity Of Second Life Says She Was Misquoted
Anshe Chung just e-mailed me to correct some statements in my earlier blog post. She says she never engaged in cybersex for Linden Dollars. She compares what she did to what a geisha does: "A geisha is not paid for sex, although an individual geisha may choose to pursue sexual relationships with men she meets through her work."

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