Second Degree Life?

OK firstly I’ll post this predictable piece of humour, as posted many times in all of the places on the Net I go, in a nudge-nudge-wink-wink sort of style.

Now I’ll tear it to pieces.

You know it’s funny how people are quite happy to do really nerdy things nowadays invented by geeks, but when you talk about 3D world or online gaming the old stereotypes come out?

For example, instant messaging came from Multi User Dungeons (MUDs) and Telnet/mainframe client messaging, 3D games like GTA and The Sims from MUDs and adventure/God games like Populous and LIFE, txting is just a form of short email – and remember how people hated that and thought it so g33ky and so useful the likes of Bill Gates ignored it initially, and Playstation – playing computer games when I was a kid was an unmentionable amongst some people, they’d take the piss…

Thing is branding came in and made certain thinks ‘cool’ with a heavy pricetag and the tech equivalent of putting an adult cover on a Harry Potter book, and everyone went ‘ahh that’s OK then’ – but there’s no real difference between spotty kids playing Daley Thompson Decathlon or Grand Theft Auto nowadays – weird how one is more acceptable now.

Ditto the Internet – I remember getting so much shit from other people for being interested in it early on, as soon as the millionaires happened, well suddenly their attitude changes and everyone wanted to muscle in (thinking 98-2000 in the web industry where you couldn’t move for fly-by-night temps wanting you to train them).

This hasn’t happened yet with virtual reality & cyberspace (I did my degree dissertation on it in 1995; hence why I was initially sceptical about Second Life as I’ve seen this before) but at some point it will – it’ll become less World of Warcraft and more Myspace and Youtube. Then everyone will want a slice of the pie…including the ones that called us geeks and made sites like the one above.

Really it’s branding that tells a set of people that something is less nerdy, and the technology becomes fashionable. The technology itself doesn’t really change that much, although it might get easier to use, or explained better, the essential core technology stays the same.

Like with podcasting Second Life is not really at the Grandma/grandpa level (Youtube is, podcasting has skirted along that) but it is another social network like it’s Web 2.0 trumpeted cohorts…and I’ve seen and met people who have very good reasons to try out a virtual life (I’ve seen people who are disabled, trans/trying out different sexualities and identities, just curious or the terminally bored) I can see it or another version of it catching on, but probably with some wanky branding and Microsoft or Apple making it ‘easier’.

People are essential sheep, if they are told this is cool with the expensive MTV graphics, glossy logo/video, sleek launch and some vapid pop star, they’ll think it’s cool. If something doesn’t have that, then people assume it’s geeky/crap/not good, and/or the users are same.

Why? I work in the industry that puts that gloss on contentless crap and it’s amazing how peoplee are dazzled by the gloss or hype…but can’t see the content. If that makes me ‘geeky’ then so be it; but you’ll be doing something like Second Life when it comes to your Nintendo Whys and your PS(plus)Fours…

Of course all of us are geeks with no life right? Or mongs monging on a mongboard as someone else so memorably put it…

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