Second Life

An interesting article Second Life: A Virtual World. Why are Librarians there?, in First Monday, 13(8) by Ilene Frank (4 August, 2008).

It provided many examples of how Second Life could add an extra dimension to educational and library programs. However, I do wonder about the age of this article and some predictions that it made back in 2008.

The Gartner Group (2008) estimated that 80 percent of active Internet users will be using virtual worlds by the end of 2011.

One issue is the computing power necessary for running virtual worlds. Running Second Life and other virtual worlds requires a LAN or broadband connection and a fairly high–end computer with an appropriate graphics card.

I don’t think that 80% of internet users are using virtual worlds now, despite that prediction. The requirements to run such programs are a deterrent. I am not a fan of Second Life, partly because my computer couldn’t cope and I was left with pink screen and difficulty in controlling my avatar due to a delay time. Perhaps the virtual world suits some people more and I am having difficulty appreciating this diversity. I would rather spend the time reading the text and looking at media on Facebook, blogs, websites than spending the time moving my avatar to virtual environments to communicate with other people.

If virtual worlds were to be successfully used in library programs, they would need to convince many people of a need that cannot be successfully administered with another social media tool.

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