Commentary

The Second Life Audience

Companies seem to be getting worried about their investments in SL.

Who is the audience for second life?

1. People who are really good at building 3D graphics.
2. People who have no life and create one in SL.
3. People who are looking for a cool, hip way to communicate and teach from across the country.

And what do all these categories have in common: they are creators. How do you market to creators? What would they even buy when they can build everything they need?

Second Life is more like a billboard and people only 'look' at the company. The companies need to keep creating in SL and always be updating their islands and have new more interactive areas for people to look at them. The islands are not money makers, but advertising dollars. This is the new frontier for advertising. The 'function' of Second Life for business needs to be defined.

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3 comments about "The Second Life Audience".
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  1. Adam Broitman, July 23, 2007 at 9:12 a.m.

    Besty

    I would love for you to join the conversation over at my blog. You seem to GET IT !
    http://amediacirc.us/2007/07/22/accusations-of-lemming-like-activity-becoming-lemming-like-2/

  2. Michael Durwin, July 23, 2007 at 10:43 a.m.

    Actually it's not just for creators. You also mentioned communicating and teaching. Second Life is an excellent way to create an engaging educational environment. Imagine teens and young adults, who spend a great deal of their time playing video games, learning in the same environment that they are already comfortable with. Rather than watching a video or seeing pictures and diagrams of the Moon's rotation around the earth, to be able to actually move around it, between them, zoom in, make your own. Harvard is one of many universities taking advantage of this space. Currently they are using Second Life to run moot court and are embarking on creating a presence for their business school. My company has been approached by several colleges and universities about helpping them get into Second Life. It is a great tool for distant learning as well as highly immersive learning.
    As a communications tool it is equally interesting. IBM has been holding think tanks and company meetings, bands have done performances to promote their new CDs, political candidates, not just in the U.S. but also in Europe (where most Second Lifers are logging in from), are using Second Life as a platform to interact with voters and voters are using it to express their views on candidates.
    I totally agree that Second Life is not a place to sell products. For the most part users build more interesting things than companies in Second Life. What companies can use Second Life for is communication and building brand awareness through events and contests.
    Second Life is much like the early Internet. Before Amazon made ecommerce legitimate, the web was a means of advertising, information sharing and communicating. Much like the early web, companies are using creative stratagies from a different channel that don't work. I recall clearly print designers creating web sites and ads that, while it may have looked good on paper, did not make for a quality web campaign. Second Life and other upcoming virtual worlds are no more a web site than a billboard was a web site back in the early 90s.
    So, while Fortune Magazine is talking about all of the companies that are retreating from Second Life, the lesson they should take is that engaging with users in a virtual world is not a bad business plan. Treating a virtual user like a real consumer though is highly flawed. Real consumers don't have alligator heads, they don't fly, they didn't build their own floating castle by hand!

  3. Sean Mulholland, July 24, 2007 at 1:46 p.m.

    Second Life is way overhyped. It's like videoconferencing. It's so cool and a central part of so many movies, it just *has* to work in real life!

    Problem is we've had videoconferencing in one form or another for 60 years. It still hasn't taken off.

    Second Life and the whole metaverse utopia is another one of these ideas. It *seems* so cool it just has to actually be cool...right?

    What people fail to realize is that in film and TV use technologies like metaverses and videoconferencing as story elements. They allow us to visualize and make entertaining what would otherwise be excessively boring moments on screen. It makes flat, 2D worlds 'lifelike' and compelling for an audience.

    Real hacking is mind-numbingly boring. Movie hacking is 'The Matrix' and 3D metaverses. That's the only reason these things are so strong in our collective consciousness.

    Doesn't work so well in real life though.

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