Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Something wicked good this way comes, and it is happening today

Posted by Bettina Tizzy

All those survey numbers and spreadsheets are beginning to register what most Residents of the bustling city that is our Second Life® already know firsthand: Virtual worlds for more than games are popping with potential for the serious stuff… business, education, science, and the arts. The naysayers are still out there, Twittering about how they don’t even have enough time for their first life, etc., etc., but they are off-world. They aren’t here to witness how this 3D world is getting stickier than molasses.

While the Real World is staggering in a recession economy, this virtual world is humming merrily to the tune of $120M in user-to-user transactions during the 1st Quarter of 2009, up 65% from the same quarter last year. Moreover, according to a recent in-world business study, 20% of Second Life’s businesses earn all their income in Second Life, with approximately 2,000 full time businesses in operation.

At the very heart of this bubbling stew is an organization called Metanomics that explores the serious uses of virtual worlds in the company of tout le monde: the executives, educators and artists that are making it all happen. It’s a virtual talk show. It’s a forum for hundreds of conversations going on simultaneously at a dizzying rate of speed, both in voice and in text chat. In fact, I defy you to attend any of these sessions without perceiving… without recognizing that something really important is going on: potential and yes, even success.

The new set and studio for Metanomics - Photo by Keystone Bouchard

Something wicked good this way comes today, and it’s big. For as long as I can recall (and I rezzed in January of 2007), the leadership of Linden Lab, the company that owns and operates the platform of Second Life - and governs it, too – has gone into hiding whenever the Residents of the world they created convene. But changes are afoot, and the citizens have been in agreement lately… dare I say it? Linden Lab is starting to step out. The Lindens are actually becoming involved with, and becoming a part of the Second Life community.

Oh, they still infuriate us with unsurprising regularity over one thing or another, but I can’t begin to tell you how welcome their participation is. The more we communicate, the better things get… and stickier… and more fun. And successful.

So it is with mild astonishment that I find myself typing the following words: Today, May 6th at 1:00pm SLT, a real first… M Linden (aka Mark Kingdon, CEO of Linden Lab), will join host Beyers Sellers (aka Robert Bloomfield) for the kick-off of Metanomics' new season at its sparkling new studio and set created by acclaimed award winner and architect Keystone Bouchard (much more on that structure soon).

Something wicked good this way comes, indeed.

Teleport to it directly from here.


Dusan Writer said...


Thanks Bettina - what a wonderful article. You know what an inspiration you are to me, of course. I'm really excited and hopeful that M will talk about content creators! Creativity! And that which is not possible made possible.

We can talk all we want about enterprise and education and all of that but if we keep ending with images of board rooms and PowerPoint slides then the power of virtual worlds will never be realized.

At the recent 3DTLC conference I heard a lot of dull talk about "ROI" and "save on meeting costs" and saw a lot of dull prims (yeah, tables and chairs and slides oh my!)....but only heard a few people use words like "whimsy" and...tellingly, an educator from Sun who was asked "what is the biggest advantage of virtual worlds" and replied....wait for it....


We hoped we could make some very small contribution with some of the changes to Metanomics to reminding people that talk within and about virtual worlds can take place in a space that starts to challenge our notions of the mundane and reminds us that NPIRL is THE critical ingredient to truly taking advantage of this technology - we need community, creativity, MAGIC!!!!

And yes - it's nice to see the Lab out and about. And I'll be tuning in anxiously to hear what M has to say and will hope for some nice yummy content creation surprises if we're lucky....or at the very least a sense of where his heart is, which I believe (having talked with him a little bit) DOES include a little whimsy and a lot of awe at the simple act of rezzing a prim.