For this week, the class had to take a look at virtual worlds. WoW, There.com, and of course Second Life. Everyone who develops 3D worlds requiring a download should have the chance to do this. Given a group of a dozen highly intelligent, motivated, connected, reasonably tech savvy people -- whose grades could conceivable be impacted by whether they successfully joined these worlds -- want to take a guess how many had smooth, positive interactions with these products?
Make your guess smaller. Now divide it by 2.
A minority of folks were able to get them running and wrote some insightful commentary on them in their reflection papers. Best line ever came from Er1N's "I'm Too Sexy for My Real Life" post about Virtual MTV's Laguna Beach:
The TV and now this virtual environment lie about whatDuring the class discussion, students raised good questions about the challenges of moving into 3D and how different the communities felt to the 2D and text communities of previous weeks. In particular, the change from the partial attention of browsing, IM, and email to the demanads of immersive 3D, although more experienced gamer/virtual worlds folks did point out that you can use SL in a partially attentive way. We also spent a big chunk of class talking about the Microhoo! merger, with some good questions around how Microsoft's culture would interact with Yahoo's.
is like. Lame. I am fake offended. Orange County
Finally -- and ironically given that we were talking about search -- Karen pointed us towards one of the funniest sites I've seen in a while -- Whitehouse.org -- which I can't believe I hadn't seen. Makes you think about just how effective social based search could be.