This afternoon I set about reading Wikinomics (Tapscott and Williams). They mention Second Life. Alot. I had a look at second Life when it first came out. In those days I was still very self conscious about online networking and quickly logged out as soon as someone said Hello.
While reading I became curious as to how Second Life could be used by a law firm such as mine. Is this something I should also be pushing at my colleagues and employers? Can we use this?
Having downloaded the software I was impressed with how much there was to do but the range of options very quickly became a deluge. I was swimming in messages telling me how to do this, do that, keyboard shortcuts, “You can fly”, bad haircuts on the Change Your Appearance screen and way too much information about textures.
I was reminded why I love Twitter so much. It has an extremely stripped down offering. Tweets. 140 characters and that’s it.
One simple tool, albeit a very versatile one.
With Twitter the message is clear. With Second Life, I felt as if I was getting lost in the thing itself instead of being able to discern how I can apply the thing. For all of that I recall when I first entered Twitter. The public timeline there is a similarly disengaging experience. You need to populate your online arena with friends and contacts.
On that basis it would be rash to dismiss Second Life on the back of no more than 90 minutes stumbling around. What is clear though is that Second Life does not have the immediacy of other online tools. I am thinking that it would probably actually make sense to have a consultant develop a Second Life presence whereas it would be a nonsense to have consultants write your blog or Twitter comments.
For now though I will not be pushing my firm to open a Second Life office.
Since I shared my experiences on Twitter this afternoon, I have been encouraged to keep trying by @BettinaTizzy. In turn she has pointed me to her fascinating blog “Not Possible IRL” and especially her 10 secret tips for Second Life Newbies. Recommended reading, especially if you have dipped your toe and felt as bewildered as I did.
What are other peoples experiences of Second Life either from a social or commercial point of view?