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  • September 2006
    S M T W T F S
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Second Life: It doesn’t matter if you like it

I’ve been trying to avoid Second Life as much as possible, both in writing about it and getting involved in it. Mostly because of the contention between some of the folks in the PR blogosphere. I have my own thoughts on Second Life and they’re not much to write home about. I haven’t tried it, I’m not planning to for a while, and I’m not sure what the draw is. However, one thing I am doing is paying attention to it. And I’m doubly glad there are communicators out there who are paying attention to it and reporting it so I don’t have to. The fellas at For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report are doing just that.

And they’re getting bashed for it by some folks who I believe have little right to criticize. Students and young PR professionals, still wet behind the ears, are giving these two highly seasoned verterans a hard time? Ridiculous. I see where they’re coming from, but to voice one’s opinion with such arrogance to people who were practicing communication professionals before some of them were born is distasteful. What really kicks me in the pants is FIR is Shel and Neville‘s podcast, they could talk exclusively about edible underwear if they wanted to, it’s their show. Don’t like it, don’t listen. They welcome comments, so make your point and leave it. Don’t harangue them, am I right here?

But like I said, I’m not a huge fan of Second Life, because I personally think it’s pretty stupid. That really doesn’t matter, does it? I think eating fruits and vegetables is stupid, too, but the truth is you can’t avoid it. If you don’t like SL and think it’s a waste of time, that’s okay, so do I. But to blindly ignore or refuse to talk about anything that affects the communication field – that’s a mistake.

I think Second Life is an odd time drain, but there are many, many people who don’t. And that’s what matters. How many people thought the owning a car was stupid? How many people thought reading was stupid? How many people thought the Internet was stupid? FIR Show 170, Shel Holtz says it very well.

For more information, read about Kami’s PR meetup in SL and Lee Hopkins’ rather humorous take on it. Also, Shel points to Text 100’s YouTube Video explaining the connection between SL and PR. The video is a must watch for beginners. It doesn’t make me want to sign up, yet, but at least I have a few answers if a client asks me about it…


10 Responses

  1. I agree with your sentiments here Luke, very well expressed as per usual.

    I haven’t tried out Second Life yet. I’m sure I will eventually, precisely because the guys who really know what they’re on about are advocating it so strongly.

    The Text 100 Second Life video is very interesting – that’s my first look at the virtual realm. I half expected the avatars to all pull out guns and start shooting though… clearly too much x-box time at uni…

    The other aspect of this post that worries me is the insight it gives into your dietary habits Luke. You don’t like fruit and vegies… but you mention edible underwear. I’m trying not too read between the lines…

  2. Edible underwear? That could be an interesting topic for the show.

    All I need is the communication angle… 🙂

  3. Neville,
    As a wise man once said, “you shouldn’t talk with your mouth full.” Maybe that’s your comm angle.

  4. Luke, I see your point – sorta. It’s just a bit odd that you’re entitled to your opinion while criticizing others peoples’. How about I have my opinion (SL and FIR should not mix) and you can have yours (FIR can do whatever they want)?

  5. Chris,
    No, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, as I am mine. But I felt it was brazen to be critical over their bandwidth more than once. The point was made, and that’s fine, but I felt it should have been dropped. My take wasn’t that you (and others) voiced the opinion, it was that it was done with such effrontery. I guess I never made that clear.
    I find it acceptable to soapbox here. This was rant on my blog, not over the show that has taught us so much. That would be biting the hand that feeds you, to be cliche’.
    I’ve been critical before, of IPR, FIR, and others and told them so, I’m not against that. But I make my point and am done with it. I let them decide the value of my comments, like I wrote, it’s their show, we’re just guests.
    SL and FIR should not mix, you write. But it’s their show. So, yes, I believe that they “can do whatever they want.” What makes anyone think otherwise?

  6. While the show does belong to the hosts, they make it pretty clear every now and then that “FIR is a comment-driven show”. I can see that you’d prefer if a person made their point and got on with it, but I don’t think that people like myself and Owen Lystrup have repeated ourselves much at all. We each said our piece, and we’ve moved on. I can’t see why you have a problem with our points being made “with such effrontery”, though.

    Don’t you think that the fact that so many people have more than an opinion on SL, but a passionate one, is a good thing? If it means Shel and Neville have to live with an audience of “SL lovers” and “SL haters” then so be it, as long as the audience feels strongly about the show. It’s like a dramatic TV show or movie – people get passionate and voice their opinions when they care about something like FIR. The funny thing is sometimes what those people hate most about the show is what keeps them coming back! God knows I’ll cringe the next time I hear a SL segment, but that will just make me listen more intently and shake my head when it’s over. That’s more than a David Phillips commentary can get me to do!! (Nothing against David, though)

    But I see your point, which is to make one and be done with it. The beauty of making your point in this space is that it can turn into a conversation. Owen Lystrup and I have had a few chats about SL’s place in PR, as have a number of other people I won’t mention.

  7. Chris,
    Your points about being passionate are well taken. After all, isn’t it that passion that makes social media work? Hell yes. Even better, as you say, it helps drive social media makers. It keeps podcasters podcasting, bloggers blogging, and the conversation going on those blogs and beyond. I even agree with you about SL, it doesn’t do anything for me. But I understand it’s another thing communicators need to be aware of so that when it becomes something mainstream, we can help clients or the c-suite navigate. It may never. But wouldn’t you rather get headlines from FIR than have to pay attention to it yourself? I certainly would.
    “One-trick pony” was one of the eye-brow raising comments, btw. I feel that needs explaining. Perhaps I took it too much to heart.
    I agree to disagree in this case. Thanks for offering your side of the story. Nice to see that the conversation indeed works.

  8. Hiya, I’ve been a secondlife resident for a year or so now and I totally agree some like it and some hate it, Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and such.

    When I’m having discussions with other people about SL, I usually ask them have you tried it? If no what turns you off trying it? IF you’ve tried it what didn’t you like about it?

    The thing most people seem to forget is just because you like/dislike something doesn’t mean everyone else has to do the same.

  9. So I’m WAY late to this party.

    I’m not sure how I missed this conversation, but I think because it was a post about SL I skipped over it. So my apologies, Luke.

    Your argument for SL is much like Shel Holtz. He and I have gone round and round on the issue. I’ll repeat basically what I said to him.

    I hate Second Life. The place creeps me out.

    However, I also recognize that it is gaining some popularity and that there’s tremendous potential in it. Adversely, I don’t think it will be Second Life that fulfills this potential, and I don’t think Second Life is quite as popular as Linden Labs makes it out to be. The numbers are a little shaky.

    I also hate the anonymity about the place. It’s hard to take something seriously when you don’t know who or what you’re interacting with (Strumpette). I can understand the use of being anonymous, but it usually doesn’t sit well in the business world.

    To sum up, my point is this: Second Life is something I interact with because I have to basically. It’s making an impact on our profession and it needs to be watched.

    But it’s not something I like.

    I recognize the potential and leave it at that.

    Thanks to Chris by the way for throwing my name in. Much appreciated.

    The whole discussion about saying something and leaving it be, or having an opinion is a bit surreal. Why not talk about it as much as possible? Lord knows FIR does.

    “Why don’t you marry it?” comes to mind.

    Conversation is important. And with something like Second Life that, as Shel would like to believe, is supposedly going to change the universe, talking about it at great length will help us understand the whole thing.

  10. […] bit of time in Second Life the past few weeks to figure out what all the hub-bub is. My theory is, you can’t complain about it without trying it, and we should all keep an eye on the changing […]

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