Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Second Life: How Much do Numbers Matter?

Wagner James Au has a nice post up on GigaGames about the number controversy. Wagner takes time to go over all of the critics and asks them about their in-world time.

Wagner James Au:

"For anyone who is not a committed techie, early adopter, hardcore gamer, someone with very specific goals, or entering with an experienced guide, the current Second Life interface is intimidating and obscure, and almost perverse in its learning curve, easily two hours at minimum; much, much more for any real proficiency.

The challenge for Linden Lab now is to create an interface that the average mass market user can enjoyably navigate, and easily find all the worthwhile content besides casinos and nightclubs; if they don’t do that soon, the constantly growing sign-up rate will finally begin to plateau.

All I will point out is that the spectrum of debate is now dominated on side by those who’ve been immersed in this metaverse thing for years— and on the other, by those whose toes, as it turns out, have barely touched the water."

Howard Rheingold recently said something similar in a CNET interview:

"CNET: Have you followed the controversy over the size of the Second Life population? Does it matter? How large does an online community need to be to matter?

Rheingold: I like the Darwinian nature of the blogosphere. There's always someone who can keep you honest. And 10 years ago, I had an online community dot-com, so I know the numbers game is kind of bogus. I read something yesterday that noted that journalists are barking up the wrong tree with the numbers game. Second Life is a playground for early adopters. As far as I am concerned, tens of thousands of people who are actively creating new stuff are more interesting than millions of more passive participants."

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