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Monday, December 06, 2021


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Luther Weymann

People just want to get stuff done efficiently. Which is easier, a Zoom meeting or logging into a virtual world? Why am I looking at avatars when I could be looking at real people? Always a Zoom meeting. Which is more efficient using web services like banking, paying for your phone, ordering something, or logging into a virtual world to do the same thing? Always the vendor's web service. Which is more sociable, video calling your friends or your mom on your phone or logging into a virtual world and voicing with their avatar? Give me a break! The video call every time. There is a long list of why real-life trumps virtual worlds almost every time. Now, what makes for a fun hobby? Or a fun way to make some money if you have the skillset? Or if you are single and got nothing to do tonight but watch old TV reruns, isn't a virtual world better than that? Of course, it is. I've been almost daily in SL since my first avatar eighteen years this January 2022. Maybe I don't understand what the future holds. It seems to me that most humans understand that to get their life things accomplished, it's easier in real life. And to enjoy their downtime, they can try virtual worlds. So, I don't understand how your sell a virtual world as a got-to-use important service.


As a counterpoint to Luther's comments about efficiency (and sociability), I believe the written conveyance of information is still vastly more efficient than the spoken. If it's an actual meeting of substance, I would 100x rather have it done via text in a virtual world, even an IRC channel, than via voice in Zoom. It's more efficient, it's less stressful, and it's more accessible. When did Indira say the new product deployment was? Isn't that going to conflict with what Rolf is proposing right now? Do I interrupt Rolf and derail the entire meeting for two minutes for no good reason, or just frickin' scroll the chat back thirty lines? Doesn't seem like a difficult choice, to me.

More sociable? Imagine you're in a virtual class in the metaverse and can sit next to your friends, and then walk together to the next class/an arcade/whatever. Imagine sitting at a desk or a table with two or three dozen poses and animations you can select as appropriate, instead of having to feign interest and emotion for the webcam. Imagine (your avatar) always having neat hair and clean clothes to wear. Imagine (your avatar) not having bags under your eyes from working 14-hour days for seven months straight. SL's annual resident-vs-Lindens snowball fight is, I think, next weekend? I'd gladly do something like that as a "teambuilding exercise" once a week at work (employees-vs-management?) instead of the usual IRL social horror shows that people inflict on others, and I say that because it sounds fun, not (just...) because there are many days I'd love to ding my manager in the earhole with an icy sphere.

Iggy 1.0

While Ikosov's points are well taken, I disagree strongly and published a couple of pieces about SL a decade ago, mostly about the failure of Gen Y kids to get interested.

College kids just do not want to be in-world sitting next to "friends" and classmates. Because (at least pre-COVID) they already lived richly social lives in-person, and they did not want or need avatar-based learning. SL takes a LOT of undivided time to enjoy fully, and they live fragmented, hectic lives on mobile devices, not desktops or even laptops (those are for school work).

SL was clumsy and to many, "creepy" because of SL's anonymity and sexual content.

Besides, SL is not just a communications app, or even a particularly good one: it's a world where ordinary users (until Mesh) could build things collaboratively that interact with visitors. That original vision of Philip's was what got a lot of educators stoked.

Unless one builds things, there's nothing for virtual meetings that Zoom and similar cannot do better.

As for Meta? FB is "mombook" for my current students. It's not their thing, and thus, Zukerberg wants to remain hip while mining our data and pushing ads at us. His VR will be more of same. To hell with that; it's nothing like the original promise of SL or, for that matter, the Internet of the 90s.

Benjamin Evans

Good post

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