Friday, June 22, 2007

Several Months Out

I can't even really remember the last time I logged into Second Life. It must've been at least 4 months now or more I'm afraid. I'm still paying for my account every month however, so I must still desire to maintain the option of a presence. Perhaps simply for bragging rights or so I can jump back on the bandwagon when it starts rolling again. Either way, I've become exactly the phenomenon that I had never quite understood a couple years ago.

I've become a Second Life lurker.

I've become too disinterested with the current state of the culture, but am inherently curious and drawn to the concept of Second Life. Years ago when I was logging on every day for at least an hour or two (and often times far, far more); I would occasionally run into some ancient member of the Tyrell Corporation. This was always a time to take pause from one's current activity to celebrate, question, and generally pester the poor sap. We'd fill them in on what has happened, learn what they've been up to, and in the blink of an eye they were gone.

It was interesting to me because much of what I knew about them was left in relic prims strewn about Gibson or by second-hand accounts of their deeds from other members. It was like some of these older members had some group folklore attached to them. Meeting them was quite like meeting heroes or deities of legend.

While I would speculate as to how much of an impact I actually left (if any), I think I've joined them. I keep up with the goings on and log in from time to time to experience the world anew before disappearing back into the digital ether. Instead of familiarity, it's like waking from a long sleep into a world so vastly confusing and alien from the one you knew. I'm constantly amazed by the pace of cultural change within the world, as I'm sure my group's ancestors must've been. New members, people, memes, locations, policies... one wonders how these newer users aren't running around like chickens without heads.

It's also quite shocking to meet new members who know you only by the tales left behind.

(or perhaps by your mysterious name in the group list and your aging profile in the directory).

Will I ever come back? If I did, would I be able to process and accept the changes since I was last actively involved or has the world changed too much for me to adapt?

It's virtual, isn't it?


At 3:21 PM, Blogger Jordi R Cardona said...

Hello Icon

I read your blog and I feel it's great. I like very much your opinions, though I am not a SL user.
People from SL tend to talk as it was the first or the only 3d community, and there have been many through years. Now there's near 10 or 15, some as big as SL.

But in all them it tends to happen the same that you related.
So I am curious about your view on this: why do you think you get bored of entering? Or you didn't get bored... why then you don't go there in again? I saw many people get famous in 3d comunities, and then go away. What you could have found that made you not to go away?
Things in Real life made you go away for such a long time?
What makes you lazy to get into again?
I wonder why.


At 12:18 PM, Blogger Icon Serpentine said...


It's true, SL wasn't the first. I was involved in a few VRML communities; others I've come to know through SL were involved with ActiveWorlds. It is quite odd to see people get all excited about SL like it was the first kid on the block; people don't do their research before they go off on rants.

As for why I don't log in as much anymore... well it's a combination of things.

A major thing for me is the cultural shift; it's become a very competitive atmosphere while the old tribal "we're in this together" vibe has been displaced by the ever-increasing geography and population.

It's also lost its bleeding-edge appeal; the technology has largely remained stagnant and boring. The original innovation has become a commodity and LL appears more interested in selling the brand than in improving the platform itself. The limitations that used to be fun to work around are now just annoying. It's not really as exciting as it used to be when it was first introduced. We explored the limits and we're still stuck inside them.

Lastly, it's a time-commitment. I've become more involved with my career and artistic pursuits. SL is still on my radar, but it's at such a low priority right now. Most posts on NWN are really just about the latest corporate fray, registration numbers, or L$ valuations. It's not enough to maintain a higher priority on my list of interests.

Perhaps if LL was more engaged in pushing the boundaries of the platform instead of pandering to casual users with the same old tech they've been hawking for almost 4 years now, it would be exciting for me again. For now, I just keep in touch with my friends and try to stay current with in-world events.

At 4:11 PM, Blogger Jordi R Cardona said...

Thanks for replying Icon.

I use to build VRML worlds, now I am changing to X3D.

Your answer is very interesting too.

When you talk about the cultural shift, it makes me think it may be the main reason.

When 3d comunities start, they always have high purposes, like they mean to be a new Utopia, where people may fulfill their inner needs. The belonging to a group is the main need (for me too).

Then some things can happen that the group disolves as problems arise.

The technology level - I think that is not a problem. As some comunities, for example those based on Traveller, are really old technologies, but they have solid human groups with a nice relationships between them.
I think the human factor is the most important one.

When you say that there is "a very competitive atmosphere", what do you mean? What things happen that reveal that? Or it is a general sense?

I don't know how people in a 3d social community may become "competitive" against the others. Maybe it is caused by the economical environment in SL? In other comunities there is not such a clear notion of money. Maybe this be the cause?

Jordi R Cardona

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Icon Serpentine said...


When I say "competitive," I mean it in the economic sense. The main focus of the world is the struggle to get corporations to sign on board to develop projects. Almost like the mid-90's web; it stopped being about developing cool things and our "utopia" has become an object of neglect.

It was slow coming, but perhaps the reach of Eternal September has finally reached SL. Isn't this what LL has always wanted? And supposing they do have that critical mass; where's the contingent of hardcore users/hackers moving to?

At 4:47 AM, Blogger Jordi R Cardona said...

Maybe they return to older 3d comunities, less populated ones.


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