Answering my own questions since 2001

My Project Du Jour: GetaFirstLife.com

Hey you, get a first life, eh?

First off, I am not a Second Life hater. Let me say that again: I am not a Second Life hater. I’m on record as saying that there’s something important going on inside the game.

That said, I’ve been bemused by the amount of hype and attention the game…er…virtual world thingee has received over the past three months. The media has been on SL like white on rice. I’ve only written about SL a couple of times on this site, but I’ve probably received five enquiries from sundry Canadian news outlets asking if I played, or knew anybody who played, or knew anybody who was making a six figure income from playing, and so forth.

Clay Shirky has done some excellent (though much-debated) work evaluating the media’s reportage on Second Life, and trying to apply some normalcy to the hype.

Second Life, Same Brand

More pointedly, I’ve been dismayed by the number of companies opening offices in Second Life. It’s my impression that a lot of them aren’t wanted, and I can’t imagine how what they’re doing is actually cost effective. Okay, American Apparel made a big splash because they were first, or seemed to be first, but every company isn’t going to enjoy that media spotlight. Let me quote Tim Bray, who had a SL event as part of a big Sun announcement:

The Second Life thing, well, I don’t know. It was a lot of work to get going and it costs us real money, and then our pavilion can only hold 63 avatars, so the ROI seems questionable.

I think there’s a lot of corporate hubris at work here, with company’s companies wanting to appear hip or cutting edge.

Speaking of companies, I think the worst perpetrators are PR agencies and marketing companies (and, hey, I run one of those). If I’m building a Brave New World, I don’t want PR flaks in my utopia.

Here’s an idea: if you’re corporate, wait until somebody invites you into SL. Wait until somebody says (and this is hard to imagine), “hey, wouldn’t it be great if we had a few PR agencies around, just in case there was a crisis that needed managing?”

Culling the Crowd with Lag

And, let’s be honest, the game isn’t good enough yet. It’s too hard to play. I watched a veteran computer user and occasional console gamer try to attend an event in SL. It took her five minutes just to figure out how to sit down on a bench. And that was with my pathetic help. And then there’s the lag I’ve experienced when playing–it’s so severe that it actually works as a population control technique, redistributing avatars because a certain zone gets too dense.

After all that, I do think something important’s happening in the game. I forget who I’m quoting here, but whoever makes Second Life 2.0–where, say, the gameplay is as intuitive as World of Warcraft–is going to have a license to print money.

And, in the future, if it’s the right thing for a client (or if I can’t convince them against it), I’d consider running an event in SL. I just wish we could cool off on the hype machine a bit. Happily, Gartner thinks Second Life is on the edge of the trough of disillusionment.

Light-Hearted Fun

Hence the light-hearted fun that is GetaFirstLife.com. I think I first heard the phrase yelled by someone inside World of Warcraft, and it stuck with me. It’s in the vein of iCryptex, except this time there are t-shirts.

Thanks very much to Heather, Rob, James and Todd for their excellent work as consulting humourists, and to Kris Krug for the pirate children. I struggled with what should be the correct photo until I remembered this one, and it seemed like the perfect fit.

You can Digg this, if you’re so inclined, and here’s a gooofy Technorati tag: .

UPDATE: Prominent Second Lifer Wagner James Au points me to a couple of posts on Clay Shirky and the hype. An interesting axiom: “The more someone pronounces Second Life over-hyped, the less first-hand experience they tend to have in the world.” On that topic, I’ve tried the game at least twice–possibly three times–but I’ve probably only put in 5 to 7 hours. It just didn’t stick for me.

UPDATE #2: In case anyone is wondering, “de hecho, fornica usando tus genitales” is apparently an accurate translation of “fornicate using your actual genitals”. I know because the site was linked to by a Diggesque site from Spain.

UPDATE #3: Got dugg, but the site didn’t fall over. That’s credit to Laughing Squid, my new hosting company, and the fact that it got dugg in the middle of the night.

UPDATE #4: Speaking of foreign language Diggs, check out the German yigg.de. Mein lieben.

UPDATE #5: I just got what I can only describe as a proceed and permitted letter from Linden Labs in the comments.

UPDATE #6: A few people, on Digg and elsewhere, have wondered why a) it’s only one page and b) why the only clickable links go to stuff that me me money. This was my response on Digg:

It’s true that I could have made a couple more pages. But having done a few of these sites, you’re better to get in and get out quickly–always leave them wanting more, as the saying goes. It’s a one-trick humour pony, and I’m not sure that if I had five pages, that there’d be five pages worth of funny.

As for the links to purchasing stuff, that’s absolutely true. I made icryptex.com last year, and it got a good chunk of traffic, but all I got for that was a bandwidth bill. So, this time around I wanted to make a little money without having a ridiculously monetized (and therefore compromised) site.

UPDATE #7: I’ve never had this many updates on a post.

UPDATE #8: Thanks to everybody for all the linkage and nice things you’re saying. The best bit is getting mentioned on the BBC’s web site (screenshot for posterity). That rocks. Thanks to Adiana for letting me know about that.

UPDATE #9: Tom from GiveMeaning sends along this article about Second Life and Ponzi schemes.

UPDATE #10: Comments are closed on this post because spammers are bastards.

215 Responses to “My Project Du Jour: GetaFirstLife.com”

  1. web tasarım

    @Pedro

    You want sex? Knock the first female you fancy on the head, dray her to the next cave and have a go at it.

    Right. ;)

    Great blog, thank you preparing..

  2. Pagan Umarov

    I have read the site the Proceed and Permit letter and teh comments with interest.

    I have a First Life. That is for the most part made bearable by reading of and involvement with the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett. I disappear off to the country and meet like-minded people and we have fun. Far too few people over the age of about 10 seem to know how to have fun that does not harm other people. The boring bit of my life was on the rare occastions I had a night in. Now I know about reading and games to keep your brain active. I have 3 hours of that a day on the Tube system in London. So apart from chores, I would end up in front of the TV an ye Gods and Goddesses, how boring is that for the most part. So I retreated to the computer. There I interact with friends and strangers on message boards, forums, MSN etc. This was more interesting… Interacting with people from all over the world. There is a huge group that I talk to on-line that I meet also in the Real World.

    Then I found out about Second Life and I looked and I saw. I have half a dozen Real Life friends who are also in Second Life. I have made new friends in Second Life, mainly through shared interests. And everything in First Life is reflected in Second Life and then you can go further…….

    So, I have an incredibly busy First Life with a very active social element.
    I have a very busy on-screen life communicating with friends from all over. Then I have also managed to develop a Second Life.

    I love the creativity of the landscapes and beautiful places. The fun at the go-kart track, the Dr Who and Stargate and Elf Sims.
    I love the extensive wardrobe I can have. The number of different places I can go and listen to music and dance, oh I love the virtual dancing….. and at the end of my ‘evening’ I can go home to my SL house by TP
    No missed trains, no huge taxi fares, no danger. Go home to my SL house, furnished with all the things I cannot afford in RL, grandfather clock, hot tub, Juke Box, etc.
    Second Life is magic and fun and it fits in fine with my first life.
    I will be happy when it is worked out how to avoid lag and maybe to more carefully mark the ‘mature’ places so I don’t have to go there if I don’t want to.

    But I enjoy both my lives very much, thank you. For the record I am a 55 year old female living just outside London, England and consider myself ‘normal’ and reasonably intelligent.

  3. ehliyet

    a parody of the very popular Second Life. (FYI, I first noticed it her

  4. Awxus

    Tao of Linden being followed in both spirit and action by Ginsu Yoon’s response on behalf of LL. Organizations can learn, It’s simply a different medium for doing and experiencing things that we already do online, and in the general business community as a company with enlightened and well-informed views regarding intellectual property rights, including the fair use doctrine

  5. download

    Organizations can learn, It’s simply a different medium for doing and experiencing things that we already do online, and in the general business community as a company with enlightened and well-informed views regarding intellectual property rights, including the fair use doctrine

  6. Doug

    Nice work.
    My colleagues & I were just discussing MMORPG’s and then SecondLife yesterday at lunch.

    I was considering starting up “ThirdLife Inc.” to specialize in “human retrieval” from virtual worlds. I’m sure there are many loved ones out there requiring such services.

    While not a hater, I’m def not a fan. Virtual worlds ‘could’ very well signal the beginning of the end of the world.
    Every kid in SL or Everquest is a kid not at a playground, on a soccer field, or in a swimming pool. A kid getting fat and lethargic and a serious lack of vitamin D.

    Well at least there’ll be shorter lines at the chairlift in a few years.

    BTW, as a Vancouverite in Tokyo I’ve gotta say nice work on the Japanese translation. But any reason it’s not in Chinese as well (the #2 language population on the web)?

    cheers!
    d.

  7. program

    I will be happy when it is worked out how to avoid lag and maybe to more carefully mark the ‘mature’ places so I don’t have to go there if I don’t want to.

  8. Resim

    Tao of Linden being followed in both spirit and action by Ginsu Yoon’s response on behalf of LL. Organizations can learn, It’s simply a different medium for doing and experiencing things that we already do online, and in the general business community as a company with enlightened and well-informed views regarding intellectual property rights, including the fair use doctrine

  9. jakewalk.de » Blog Archive » Get a first life

    [...] “First life is a 3D analog world […]”, für das es, wenn es nach getafirstlife.com geht, mal wieder nötig ist Werbung zu machen. Denn obwohl der Autor dieser Seite mehrfach darauf besteht, kein ZweitesLeben-Hasser zu sein, ist auch er (genauso wie ich) ziemlich überrascht über den Hype, den es derzeit um ZweitesLeben gibt. Mehr dazu im seinem Blog. [...]

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