Since SXSW, I have spent a decent chunk of time trying to grok Second Life. If it weren't for Eric, I am not sure I would have spent the time I have so far and therefore wouldn't have come to the understanding that I now have.
When I first signed up for Second Life my initial reactions were as follows:
1. The registration was way too long and detailed.
2. They want my cell phone number? What are you kidding? Why would I want to give you that?
3. It's a downloadable? No, I don't trust downloadable's anymore. Is Wild Tangent hidden in there like AIM or any of the other scary things that people like to payload in their software these days.
4. This is so UNBELIEVABLY laggy.
I was underwhelmed until I caught up with Eric at SXSW. After hearing him go on at length about how cool it was I was committed to giving it another try. I also sat in on the Linden Labs panel at SXSW that was interesting but very un-attended from my perspective given the current hype quotient.
After SXSW Eric gave me some guidance, showed me his island, etc. and I began to have the Aha moments that I was missing. I quickly found myself very excited by the potential of what is contained within the platform and structure of Second Life. I think I was/am most impressed by the blending of reality and virtual world. I found myself watching video clips of things that I could easily see on the web but had never bothered to but because it was in Second Life I was glued to it. You could quickly see the inter-relation of RSS, podcasting, videoblogging etc.
Simply put, I am blown away by Second Life. It is an amazing framework for the blending of cyber and real that was contained within Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. It is the Metaverse. There is an amazing kernel of something profound and powerful that clearly has big impact potential. I am not sure that a wandering user will just happen in and get in the groove without the mentorship of a more seasoned user like Eric. But if someone is willing to take the time and come up to speed, it is something that you become a disciple of. I found myself talking excitedly about it to some of the super geeks who work with me/hang out with us.
The down side is that it is a time sink, which is something that I don't have much of currently. Back in my high school days of Dungeon Masterdom, I would have dropped everything and would have become a Second Life addict. Alas that is not in the cards for me. Maybe one of these nights when everyone else is asleep I can start to put the pieces in place to begin building my underwater house. Maybe. I signed up for a year so there will certainly be at the minimum some very fascinated lurking for months to come. It will be interesting to watch it unfold.