When Second Life first came along, I tried it out like a number of people did. I created my avatar, Mr. Thomas Roy, and slapped the barest semblance of out-of-fashion clothing on an avatar younger than I and exceedingly more good looking. Now decked out as a dashing, handsome young man — everything I was not in real life — I took to the skies to investigate this new world.
Well, that’s what I want you to think. I actually spent most of my first foray extracting my avatar from the bottom of various pools and oceans of water, which I seemed preternaturally unable to avoid. But eventually I got the hang of navigating this fresh face among the roads, trails, buildings, and skies of Second Life.
Call me old-fashioned, it just never really became an experience I enjoyed or that provided something that no other interaction could (e.g., email, instant messaging, chat rooms, etc.).
So within six months of ALA establishing its island presence in Second Life, I had abandoned my poor unsuspecting avatar beside the road on Information Island. I sure hope the Second Life road crew came by soon thereafter and scooped up the corpse, or else the smell would have soon emptied the place. But I was beyond caring. Second Life could carry on without me.
I suppose that is what ALA eventually figured out — some small portion of its membership finds Second Life compelling, but likely not a large enough cohort to be worth the cost in either time or money.
But for those of you in that cohort to whom Second Life is second nature, all is not lost. There will be a discussion about where things go from here at ALA Midwinter. If you’re not going to Midwinter, as far as I can tell you’re out of luck. The meeting isn’t happening in Second Life, but in Real Life, in Dallas. If this trend is any indication, you’d best get used to interacting with the rest of us in meat space, as I think this Second Life thing has about as much life left as hapless Thomas Roy.