Esoteric immersionism

For us residents, this comes to us naturally. We have read about social networking, and SL is about people — so it’s obvious for us that this is one major use for SL. Grace McDunnough cleverly pinpoints the “killer application” for SL: forging weak ties and maintaining them very active. M Linden might be still a bit confused about the best use for SL might be, but we have to forgive him his newbieness — in a couple of years, he’ll have a clearer picture. Nevertheless, bringing people together (either for meetings and conferences or educational purposes, like M Linden likes to say; or for creative and cultural reasons, like so many others have written about) is one major focus for SL.

But this is not easy to explain to outsiders.

Philip Linden liked to compare Second Life to a “country”. Although this metaphor has been a bit out of fashion (we prefer to call it a “3D social networking platform” these days), there is a good reason for remaining faithful to the “country” concept: when you start logging in to Second Life, you can have three fundamental approaches. You can come in as a closed-mind tourist. And you just see SL as a tourist trap and want quickly to go away. This is what happens to at least 90% of the people: this is a country they have no interest to visit again. The second group becomes a regular tourist: they drop in, now and then, attached to some intriguing aspects of SL that don’t exist elsewhere. But they don’t bond, they don’t get attached; like a short vacation to an exotic country, you get fascinated by the sights and the people, but you don’t wish to live there full time.

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