December 13, 2006
The Second Trap
Clay Shirky on the Second Life overhype. I'm pretty partial to what he terms as "virtual reality is conceptually simple" argument. A large part of that hype I think comes not just from the simplicity, but by how easily it is for traditional marketing people to map their "real world" tactics to Second Life. To develop a web marketing campaign requires understanding of just how the web actually works. Second Life however is close enough to the real world that is very easy to just map traditional marketing tactics over. It's basically a big old baited trap for marketing people who are looking to get involved in the web, but don't quite get how it works...
Perhaps more than anything the mistake is in thinking that the value of internet is about what shows up on the computer screen. In fact the value of internet is in how it functions as massive relational database, and whatever shows up on the screen at any give time is thinest of thins skins to a couple datapoints.
What ultimately is funniest to me about Second Life though, is how closely it mirrors the cyberspace that William Gibson painted in Neuromancer when he coined that term. I was raised on that vision of the future the same way an earlier generation was promised jet packs and video phones. And when that vision actually became a technological reality, all I can do is shrug and turn back to the real future unfolding in completely unexpected directions.Posted by Abe at December 13, 2006 01:19 AM