More thoughts on expanding Second Life® to the metaverse…

I feel in my bones that 2005 will be a turning point for Second Life®, at least for myself, since I’m pretty “new” in SL – after something like eight months, who look much more like eight years, several things have changed for myself.

First, it looks like, google-wise, my SL pseudonym is more “famous” than my RL self, which is weird, since my RL email address has been on the spammers’ lists since 1995, I think. But weirdly enough, the tiny tiny community of Second Life® seems to attract much more attention than anything else in the Internet. I wonder how that can be. It’s certainly an uncanny thought. Then again, I guess that you get much more hits by searching for “Marylin Monroe” (2,820,000) than for her real name, “Norma Jeane Mortenson” (only 3,210)…

Weirdness apart, this only shows that slowly the cogs and wheels beneath Second Life are spinning. Perhaps for the first time in my professional life, I’m watching “common people” embracing a brave new technology even faster than mobile phones or the Internet. If the trend catches, I must take off my virtual hat to Philip Linden, who brags about having over a million users around 2007 or so. So many people have laughed about this prediction. Well, SL grows geometrically (about 4000 new users every month), not exponentially, but, as Philip very well said, exponential growth will happen when more people have broadband and better computers, which may well happen in two years.

As an example, my country contributes to about 0.2% of the whole Internet population, but only towards 0.1% of the SL population. However, directly through my own efforts (or rather, the work I’m involved with in RL using SL as a collaborative platform), I can safely assume that we will have 25 times as many residents in my country in about one year. So, if the same happens all over SL – individual teams of residents bringing massively new residents to SL due to their own RL projects using SL – hmm, 25 times 30,000, that should be three quarters of a million users. Maybe Philip is not so wrong with his estimates after all!

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