A few hours after pondering/blogging about what sort of news stories would be found in Second Life I found myself in a pub testing the quality of their cider, and what should appear on the TV screen but a story about Second Life! Unfortunately, as with most news stories, it was about the seedier side of life. In this case what was described as a “virtual paedophile ring“.
It is unfortunate that it is always the worst aspects of new technologies that gain the most media attention, and difficult to see what Second Life can do about it. Whilst the news article indicates that people are engaging in some rather sick fantasies, whilst contained within a virtual world are they doing anything illegal? If not it seems hard for Second Life to do anything, it is stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they start to dictate what is and is not acceptable behaviour in Second Life where do they stop? On the other hand, if they do nothing it will seem as though they are condoning the sick practices, and will harm their image amongst the public at large (some of whom will never have heard of Second Life before).
It would be nice to see the Second Life users do something about these groups, turning up on mass and disrupting the groups. Unfortunately the groups would then end up building secure members-only areas. At which point I would like to see Second Lifers and some good hackers turn up to disrupt these places. Successful self-governance of this situation would save Second Life from having to dictate what groups are acceptible, and also save the image of the Second Life user.
Whilst CNN’s setting up an office in Second Life emphasises the interest that the traditional media have in the online world, it makes you wonder what sort of stories they will find, and what sort of effect it will have on the world itself.
Second Life is one of those things I keep an eye on, convinced that there is something to it, but at a loss as to what it actually is. Whilst Tim Guest et al. provide a vision of an exotic world full of strange people freed from the inhibitions of the regular world, I just tend to see groups of people camping on benches as they earn a few Linden dollers. As such a news service would be a useful way of finding out what is going on, without having to trawl through extensive lists of ‘garage sales’ and ‘free giveaways’.
With a lack of wars and deaths to occupy the headlines of a Second Life news bureau, it will be interesting to see the sorts of news stories that get covered. I just hope that we don’t see the rise of the celebrity Second Lifer.
I doubt there are many people who like spam, and personally I am not keen on those people who send it. However it must be said that they are an innovative bunch. Whilst Godin describes one group of spammers methods of dealing with captcha as diabolical, it should also be said that it is rather innovative: the public type in the captcha code in exchange for the promise of a striptease program.
If only the spammers applied themselves to more legal activities.
The best way to learn about the blogosphere is to be involved in the blogosphere, however much that will make you want to pull your hair out and bang your head against a wall. Whilst blogging can be a joy when writing down a few musings and reading a few comments, when those comments turn into a conversation it can be one of the most exasperating moments. It feels as though you are having a conversation at a party where everyone else has had a few drinks, and you are the only sober person. Whilst that is not to say that my opinions are necessarily more lucid than the next person’s, it is merely that they make more sense to me; equally other people’s opinions will feel more rational to them.
Blog conversations can be exasperating due to their unique combination of being asynchronous, public, personal, and providing room for long comments. Whilst other forms of communication may contain some of these factors (e.g., email-asynchronous and chatrooms-public), it is the combination of all these factors that make a blog conversation so potentially exasperating.
As blogs are both asynchronous and allow for the inclusion of long comments, people include long comments. Whilst this may seem a rational response, after all you would be conversing on the same subject for weeks if you limited yourself to one comment at a time and then waited for a response, it creates a debating environment that people try to ‘win’, rather than one where ideas are discussed rationally. Postings are not read rationally and responded to as a whole, in context of the whole conversation, but rather disingenuously with tactics that would make Eric Berne blush. The must-win mentality is only exaggerated by the public nature, whilst the personal nature of the blog to one party makes it very hard to leave a conversation whilst the other continues promoting opinions you disagree with.
Nonetheless there is a time where continued conversation makes no difference, opinions have hardened and an understanding of different perspectives is more distant than it ever was. It is at this point that you have to bite the bullet and walk away, it’s annoying, but if you don’t it becomes a slow walk to the mad house.
I must admit to having an unhealthy interest in web statistics, especially when they relate to my own web site. It is therefore annoying to note that my Technorati authority doesn’t seem to be worth as much as everyone else’s. Whilst their filtering system allows users to filter the results according to whether hits have: any authority, a little authority, some authority, or a lot of authority; my authority seems to account for little, and my results (for the term webometrics anyway) only seem to appear for people not interested in the authority of the posts.
I am a reasonable person, and wouldn’t expect my hard-earned authority of 5 to appear under ‘a lot of authority’, and maybe not even ‘some authority’, but surely under ‘a little authority’! Especially as others are appearing under ‘a little authority’ with an authority of 1.
Web statistics are nothing but trouble.
I was pleased to notice that Shelfari has shot past LibraryThing (according to Alexa anyway). I was always put off LibraryThing because there was a fee if you entered more than 200 books, which doesn’t exactly encourage you to get involved in the community….and its especially annoying as most of the site’s value comes from the members who put in the most effort!
I have taken to supporting web sites rather sports teams in reaction to the sad demise of Norwich City F.C.
…with a picture of my empty sandwich packet.
[It turns out to be the simplest job in the world after giving up on MMS and POP3 and just sending the email from the Hotmail using the regular web interface!]
Whilst not on a par with my personalised qr code t-shirt, it is nevertheless a welcome addition to my blog promoting t-shirts:
The picture quality isn’t great as I MMS-ed it to my Hotmail to save on carrying a usb lead. Unfortunately, despite hours of trying, I have failed to successfully manage to get my T-Mobile N95 to post directly to blogger…although the rumour seems to be that I can manage it through a Yahoo account.