Excellent Metaverse Territories introduced me to a great blogpost about Second Life from Broken Toys called “Utopia Hidden Underground: Another Look at SL“.
All in all it sums up nicely with:
“That core of the singularity is what is actually Second Life’s core
strength, and what keeps its users struggling through the level grind and the
broken client and the lack of governmental, er, Linden oversight. Because as a
social MMO, once you get past all the clutter and dross, SL actually works. I
can honestly say that nowhere else online have I argued about Islamic
fundamentalism at one in the morning while lounging in a pool with a half-naked
demon-thing. Much like how people played Ultima Online despite its rampant
peekay and endless bugs simply because it was the promise of something new,
people find the core of SL is actually the other players. That’s something
that’s difficult to break.”
It’s definitely a must read. And ofcourse I was intrigued to find that the women in SL (or the female avatars at least) are the citizens in charge. I really like that and I enjoy that there’s somewhere in this online universe that women dominate. Because, to be honest, putting up with male geek arrogant snobbery can be really tedious at times, not to mention stagnant. I was asked why I didn’t have a closer look at what happens with gameplay politics when women are in charge (The Sims Online) at my Masters exam – and it’s intrigued me ever since. I’ve been wanting to pull out some of my data to see if I can find some patterns for a while – but alas!
This piece also looks closely at the social classes in Second Life. Scott Jennings really puts an effort into exploring SL and sharing his expert findings (he’s been around a few MMOing years).
It kinda crushes my theory, though. He points out that there’s a class system, that you need to look a certain way to be ‘accepted’ – which I’m absolutely sure you do. But here’s my thing with Second Life. I honestly don’t feel like being social, I just wanna cruise and enjoy some of the wonderful things SL offers – like conferences, films, art and other performances. My theory is that I can easily enjoy Second Life as a – well – medium by being a casual random citizen (not comfortable using the word player when it comes to this place). A lot of this theory has to do with the superb invention of Slurls (a link you put on your website so that SL’ers can read what you’re reporting – click on the link and automatically be transported to the place you’re writing about).