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Second Life is Staying Alive

The virtual universe didn’t die from becoming unpopular in the mainstream, quite the opposite, in fact.

Avatars hanging out during a live radio show in Second Life. Photo by HyacintheLuynes via Wikimedia Commons

It’s probably been a long time since many people out in the real world thought about the virtual universe of Second Life. Developed in 2003 by Linden Lab, Second Life is a comprehensive, open-ended digital version of reality, tinged with the promise of making the impossible possible—from flying, to morphing into strange beasts, to owning your own utopian nation. Inspired by the Metaverse in Neil Stephenson’s 1992 seminal sci-fi hit Snow Crash, people had high hopes that Second Life would change the world. From 2006 to 2009, optimism about this new space reached a fever pitch, with dedicated reporters, travel guides, and hundreds of businesses clamoring to get in on the excitement of a whole new universe within our own. Researchers flooded into this alternate world as well, examining all the ways one could use Second Life to, say, help Asperger’s patients develop their social skills in a specially tailored, therapeutic safe space.

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A New Media Artist’s 365 Days of Adventure in Second Life

The brave soul plans to spend a year living in and exploring its outer limits, creating a very long, very conceptual piece of performance art.

A young man sets off into the (digital) wilderness

Portland-based GIF and new media artist Michael Green first came to prominence/infamy when he tried to sell an animated GIF version of Jeff Koon’s famous Balloon Dog on ebay for $5800. Although “Balloon Dog Deflated” eventually sold for a fraction of that price ($202.50) the project raised a lot of interesting questions about the value and monetization of digital art, and the rampant commercialization of the physical art world.

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Pew Report: More Seniors Use Facebook; No One Uses Second Life

There's nothing shocking about the new Pew Internet and American Life Project report, but the information speaks volumes about the way we live in...


There's nothing shocking about the new Pew Internet and American Life Project report, but the information speaks volumes about the way we live in 2010. Two trends of note are the increased presence of seniors online and the decline of blogs among young people. Here are some of the main ideas:

While the youngest generations are still significantly more likely to use social network sites, the fastest growth has come from internet users 74 and older: social network site usage for this oldest cohort has quadrupled since 2008, from 4% to 16%.

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