First Life benefits from Second Life

Avatar in Second LifeI was introduced to Second Life  (SL) in 2006 and I have been involved to the extent that I now own land, build structures, have items for sale and interact regularly with other people in the SL environment. A member of the group mobileavenue introduced me to SL and they are watching this space carefully and innovating applications for use in modern business particularly in terms of social networking and virtual interaction.

My interactions with SL are aimed at understanding it and its social complexities. Its an emerging and very interesting space – especially now its post hype  – and it has survived the process. And thats what it is – a space – created by imagination. Strange to say it but this morning I caught myself out shopping in SL ….. and enjoying it.

I needed a piece for a structure I was developing on my property and I found myself searching for a suitable piece – teleporting to shopping malls and browsing as if I had popped down to the local shopping centre. I have dollars to spend and I caught myself browsing other shops – where I found and purchased – wait for it ….. an AC/DC T-shirt for my Avatar.

It made me think how after this time I am accepting the “reality” of this Virtual Reality. I caught myself experiencing some of the same satisfying emotions similar to those if I had purchased in the real world. I wanted to try it on !!!!!  (And no parking problems either….). Now while I stuck to my old favourite AC/DC band  – I saw interesting new designs, some really radical suff and some run of the mill stuff too. The opportunity exists for designers to try without fear of failure – if only the real world was as forgiving.

In the time I’ve been there I think the most impressive things have been the designers creations from houses to clothing and the opportuniy for groups to meet. It is possible for thousands to gather in a ready made theatre and watch a real-life presentation with fully interactive media (slides, movies and sound) as if attending a lecture theatre in a major college. One such venue is Berkman – they have constructed a huge indoor and outdoor arena where you can sit and listen or even partake in presentations. And for fun you can attend real time concerts at other venues. All for the price of broadband.

Sounds scary – doesn’t it? But it’s as simple as going to the Second Life site – downloading the free software and giving it a go. There is a step by step “learn as you do” section at the start and for the browser/viewer its mostly intuitive.  You simply build an Avatar (a model of yourself that can look like a racoon if you like) and walk/fly with the keyboard controls around the space. It has its own currency – the linden dollar – which is exchangeable with US dollars (so you can make real profits) and which is used to purchase almost everything.

Creativity is the new “in” thing for corporates and small business alike. Here we have a safe zone to practice that skill. A great opportunity to explore your own and others imaginations.

Aidan Higgins

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