Archive for March, 2009

Usually, by the time a fad or emerging technology goes mainstream it’s the sign that it’s no longer a fad, emerging, or cool. We have seen Twitter rise as an astronomical success … despite all the Fail Whales and identi.ca’s. Twitter will be around for a while. It’s not dying. It may just be that it will become less useful if the users continue down the same track. It will, eventually, become way to noisy for the major voices (Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble, Guy Kawasaki, etc.) to follow everyone that follows them. It’s just untenable. Despite all the tools that allow you to group your friends and maintain conversations, Twitter wasn’t built well enough to truly show the evolution of a conversation … certainly not as well as FriendFeed.

One other ironic thing is the way that traditional media has grasped onto this ‘2.0’ technology. As we can see from this compilation, there are hundreds of reporters on Twitter. If only they were this fervent about blogs when they were in their infancy … maybe we wouldn’t be saying goodbye to our local news and hello to hyperlocal news.

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In boardrooms across the country, screenshots of twitter still evoke chuckles every once in a while. I still play the word association game when it seems appropriate (What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say “Twitter?”). While I still hear the words noisy, chaos and waste of time, it does not elicit anywhere near the reaction that Second Life does.

Over the weekend CNBC covered, in great detail, the business of Second Life and the growth it has allegedly seen since September (a 30% increase in user transactions). While many people have their doubts about the ‘world,’ the business model, and the statistics, what is astounding is the resurgence and apparent need Second Life has cultivated due to the economic conditions (who do I owe a nickel to for saying that phrase?). Trying to think of an analogy for this situation is somewhat futile, but fun nonetheless. It’s kind of like going back to Friendster because the lines are shorter … no, It’s kind of like going back to MySpace because the new TOC at Facebook impinge on your social liberties. No. It’s like going back to the BBSs because you can only afford to use the web over your 14.4 baud modem. Maybe.

Regardless, I think this resurgence in Second Life is more of a last gasp than a Second Wind. Second Life is doomed (and has always been doomed for the mainstram) to fail because it fosters fantasy and caters to people trying to obfuscate from their real persona. Social Media is succeeding because it allows people to connect, engage, participate and affect. While Second Life does meet these curt criterion, Social Media, generally, exists to build the brand and network of real people. And though you can’t argue with the business being done on Second Life and the fortunes being spent there, you can still make fun of it (if you wish). After all, the internet is serious business.

Yes, we will see a short uptick in the use of Second Life for Corporate Events, Trade Shows and other business uses. But I don’t think anyone that’s not a Furry is Long on Second Life.

UPDATE: Reuters closes bureau in Second Life today!

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