Life 2.0, a movie about Second Life

It’s been years since I have written about Second Life, the virtual reality platform which captured everyone’s attention back in 2006-2007. Lately Second Life has come up again in conversations with colleagues when we talk about the popularity of the 8-bit version of alternative reality games where you build things such as Minecraft. Second Life was also the topic of a conversation I had recently which mentioned the fate of Michael Donelly, the Coca-Cola CMO who was famously ridiculed for his over-exuberance for Second Life as a marketing platform. How soon we forget our earlier trespass.

You’re about to be reminded of Second Life once again as documentary filmmaker Jason Spingarn-Koff is about to premier a new documentary about Second Life in Brooklyn on May 20th.

As you can see from the trailer, Second Life is just part of the film which explores the larger question of our addiction to alternative realities. We all are experiencing how electronics are both pulling our families apart and together at the same time. With the click of a mouse we can all be talking with relatives on the other side of the world via Skype. But, these same tools pull us apart as each of us excuse ourselves after dinner and wander off in to a corner of the house to settle down for a session with our glass display of choice (iPad, phone, desktop, laptop or TV). These are important societal shifts and I look forward to the debate that such a film will raise. The Village Voice calls Life 2.0,

At once a disturbing vision of escape, a cautious portrait of liberation, and an exploration of authenticity and artificiality

Linden Labs, the company behind Second Life, is alive and well but a very different company. A glance at the recent press about the company shows that it’s focused more on using it’s software for training and their Press Release archive reveals they have a new CEO from Electronic Arts and are coming off two-year restructuring process. We shall see if people come back, after watching Life 2.0, for another look-n-see.

Wagner James Au on why old school marketing doesn’t work in Second Life

James has been covering Second Life since the beginning. If you ever have a chance to have him walk you through the virtual world an point out its hot spots, do not pass it up.

Today he writes in GigaOM about a recent research report which found a large majority of residents are disappointed with real world marketing company’s approach to marketing in Second Life. This comes against a backdrop of large companies beginning to question their commitment to marketing themselves via this channel when the prospect of any ROI is so remote.

To play in Second Life, corporations must first come to a humbling realization: in the context of the fantastic, their brands as they exist in the real world are boring, banal, and unimaginative.

Car companies are trying to compete with college kids who turn a virtual automotive showroom into a 24/7 hiphop dance party, and create lovingly designed muscle cars that fly, and auction off for $2000 in real dollars at charity auctions. (click thru to read this complete with links)

Yes, I think the car companies need to rethink this entirely – the product design people should be in here, not the marketing department.

Reuters opens up bureau in Second Life

The 200 year old news service which transmitted its first dispatches via homing pigeons has opened up a news bureau in the virtual world of Linden Labs’ Second Life.

Adam Pasick, who goes by “Adam Reuters” in Second Life is the wire services sole correspondent, editor, and bureau chief.

Being a financial news service, reporting is focused on news of economic interest with stories and interviews of some of the characters and entities that keep the Linden economy humming.

The Reuters Second Life News Center also keeps track of the Linden Dollar vs US Dollar exchange rate and total USD spend in Second Life over the previous 24 hours ($436,291 as of 9:00pm yesterday!)

Reuters has also built an in-world Atrium (Second Life s/w required) which you can visit and Adam has posted his hours on the site so you can visit with him and pass on your scoop.

Markets are, to a certain extent, a shared hallucination. It only makes sense for Reuters to follow this story to its logical extreme and explore the edge of value creation into the virtual economy. The lead story on the site today, US Congress launches probe into virtual economies, is the strongest indication yet that what is virtual today will be real (and taxable) tomorrow.