Second Life

Second Life provides a virtual world to project your digital presence. It provides a gaming approach to social networking which allows users a more exciting visual experience.

I was stymied significantly by my computer’s lack of grunt. I found the environment difficult to navigate and the avatar almost impossible to reposition because most of my screen was blanked out in pink! Given a better system, I would like to investigate further to fully appreciate this social networking tool. At present, because I haven’t been able to investigate further, I am a little unsure why people are so interested in it. I have read several posts in the INF506 Facebook page detailing the interest and excitement associated with using Second Life, but cannot connect enough to appreciate it.

It clearly shows me that there are a multitude of ‘styles’ in social media tools and each person will be drawn to different features. For example, I find Twitter difficult to use. The extra connections in the conversation interrupt the flow of what I am reading and it causes difficulties for me. On the other hand my husband loves Twitter and would use it over Facebook. I have met people who are addicted to Facebook but see no purpose in a tool such as Delicious or Pinterest. It is important as a TL to appreciate this diversity. Not everyone will connect at the same level. Go slow and be persistent to encourage further connection to a social networking tool that will really change the work environment, but don’t expect everyone to jump on the bandwagon with the same enthusiasm.

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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.