Sunday, March 16, 2008
Philip Rosedale Linden Leaving Linden Lab
Apparently, in the world of hot start up companies, the CEO lifts off and leaves after the honeymoon period. As the blogosphere will tell you, Philip Rosedale Linden is no different...he is just following the prescribed path.
The flood of articles range from "OMG! The Sky is Falling! Run Now!!!" to "Yup - this is what happens" to "You'll see...it will be BETTER now."
Seeing as I don't know the future, and I have no way to predict how this will go, I can only read the articles of reputable publications. The problem is...many of them hated Second Life to begin with...so they are doing the whole "told ya so" dance. The Wall Street Journal, for example, says that businesses have scaled back because of "pranksters." Um...maybe they scaled back because they missed the WHOLE point of virtual worlds? Maybe they realized that people wouldn't just pop over to virtual space to read URLs out to web space?? Ack. Don't get me started...
Look. Second Life ain't dead.
Jeremy Kemp, in a great post to the educator listerserve, listed all the reasons why education isn't gonna die any time soon in SL. In fact, it may just pick up...many of us wrote grants that are JUST coming in now...so we have commitments for at least 2 years. In many ways, educators are really suited for this type of change in helm, as we often experience change of administrators in our daily lives. Our colleges have not yet closed, and we change chiefs a LOT.
But, there are more than businesses and educators to worry about here. What about the residents? They do, in fact, make up the rest of the world. Anshe Chung, the amazing woman behind the millions, is not going to pack it in because Philip is stepping down. She will continue to make money because new people will still want their own slice of the land pie.
Additionally, there will always be people in Second Life that make it what it is...a great social space. Prokovy Neva, also a land holder, is the King of Drama in SL. His blog is, whether you love him or hate him, one of the best out there. He coined phrases like "fettered inner core" or "FIC" to refer to the people who, evidently, attend SL Views or get special preferential treatment by Linden Lab employees (note to self...I attended SL Views, and I don't get special treatment...in fact, I am fairly confident I am not even on the radar to receive even a free tee shirt). Anywho. Prok has invested a lot into his SL work (as a writer, as a gossip hack, as a land owner), so I don't see him leaving either.
Will things change? Well...sure. The changing of the guard always means...um...change. But, it may be BETTER. Maybe someone will come in and say "fix the damn lag." I am not sure it is possible with the bajillions of UUIDs floating in the space, but, hey, you never know.
So, am I jumping ship? Will Literature Alive! step down?
Not a chance.
For starters, my best friends in the entire world live in virtual space. While I can certainly IM Eloise Pasteur in GChat, I would not be able to build Dante's Paradiso with her there. or go to the Job exhibit at Sea Turtle Island. Daliah Carter and I would not be able to go Lucky Chair hopping in real life. I would never have met any of the people that I hold near and dear...Brainwave, PipSqueak, Hiro, Horace, Lorelei, Intellagirl, LauraMaria, Adrian, Bryan, Jeremy, Butch, CDB, Larry, Fleet, HappyHolly, Marius, Crash, Gus, and the list goes on and on and on....
And... students and I could certainly NOT have a watermelon massacre in real life.
Secondly, students LEARN better in virtual worlds. The students building Spoon River hate me and Second Life right about now (their projects being due in less than 26 hours). But, if I call them in 10 years, the chances that they remember something about Spoon River will be significantly higher than if I just gave them some paper to write.
Finally, there is much to be done. Now that we have all figured out that we shouldn't just build what exists in real life (one article called it "a boring place to be"), there is much to do! I am STILL looking for a full sim to place Dante's Inferno (and Purgatorio and Paradiso). Walden Farm is just being built! The World of Wartime Journalism Project will take place this summer...and there is rumor that there might even be a home for the Underground Railroad/Tribute to African American authors build. Eloise, Daliah, and I are VERY busy - no matter WHO takes the helm at LL.
Second Life has never been about the employees at LL. Second Life has always been about us...the content creators. Whether we are educators building that interactive Testes...or land owners like Anshe...or writers like Prok....WE, the collective, have made the place great. Since WE haven't resigned, we have nothing to worry about!