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My Second Life

? Amazon: More Cell Power |


| eBay Takes the Express Train ?

April 20, 2006

My Second Life

Rob Hof

I ran across the online virtual world Second Life at least a year and a half ago, when I heard that Omidyar Network, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam's investing group, had put money into it. I had never been a gamer, recognizing a potential addiction from miles away and not having time to indulge it. But Second Life was harder for me to ignore because, unlike more traditional online games such as EverQuest and World of Warcraft, it was so open-ended: The people in it create nearly everything in this virtual world, something that played nicely into The Power of Us cover story BusinessWeek ran last year.

After poking around for a few months and discovering a real economy sprouting up inside it, I knew there was a lot more to write about. So I spent several months inside Second Life, resulting in a cover story that's running this week.

Writing a story on such an unusual topic (at least for a business magazine) means that I had to take a lot of baby steps through the technology and the culture of these online worlds. As a result, I suspect the millions of people who already are intimately familiar with online games--and who take a second (or third or fourth) online life for granted--might want to know more.

So here, I wanted to call out the many excellent Web sites and blogs dedicated the virtual worlds, in particular Second Life. Although space didn't allow me to acknowledge many of them in print, they offer incredible insights into the business and culture of online worlds that were invaluable in helping me write my story. ...

Here's an all-too-incomplete list of sites to check out:

* New World Notes, an essential blog written by embedded Second Life journalist Wagner James Au.

* The Second Life Herald, a lively blog self-described as "Always Fairly Unbalanced."

* The Metaverse Messenger, "Katt Kongo"'s in-world newspaper chock full of informative stories.

* Terra Nova, a group blog by many of the online gaming community's best minds.

* Virtual Worlds Review, Betsy Book's well-written guide.

I also owe a great debt to several writers who have pioneered coverage of what are now very real places to millions of people: Julian Dibbell, author of My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World, about his experiences in the classic text-based world LambdaMOO, and also author of the upcoming book Play Money; Edward Castronova, author of the essential book on online games, Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games; and CNET writer Daniel Terdiman, who seems to cover every significant issue inside Second Life.

And if you happen to find yourself wandering around Second Life, text a "hi" to my avatar, Rob Cranes. (That's him there in the photo on his plot of land.) He's a little shy, but he'd love to hear from you.

05:16 PM

Power of Us, Social Media, games, gaming, virtual worlds

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? My So-Called Second Life from Micro Persuasion

Rob Hof writes in a BusinessWeek cover story, entitled My Virtual Life, that thousands of people have imaginary lives on gaming sites like Second Life and big advertisers are taking notice. Technorati Tags: Games, Gaming, Second Life [Read More]

Tracked on April 20, 2006 10:37 PM

? ON VIRTUAL WORLDS GOING MAINSTREAM from *michael parekh on IT*

VIRTUAL VISIONS Well, living in Virtual Worlds has made the cover of Business Week, in a story titled My Virtual Life. The article's author Rob Hof, spent weeks as an Avatar in one of the leading virtual online services, Second Life (SL). Rob blogs abo... [Read More]

Tracked on April 21, 2006 06:36 PM

? The Second Life from Duane's Blog

I??e never played Second Life and I don?? plan to play any MMO as I??l get addicted and I knew this from the day I say my first MMO. Rob Hof knew this when he wrote his exsert piece for his cover story featured in BussnessWeek.

MMO... [Read More]

Tracked on May 8, 2006 03:33 PM

Thanks for the article, Rob. We have a site called, Great Day Games, an online games site for women, and I am continually intruiged by the fact that our virtual currency (called "Treats" on Great Day Games) is so widely sought after and hoarded -even when we're offering real world prizes in return. -- John

Posted by: Great Day Games at April 21, 2006 11:17 AM

I've let some thoughts about

"Business Opportunites in Second life"


Posted by: Jeremiah Owyang at April 21, 2006 05:01 PM

For another helpful story about online games and kids, check out this ...

Posted by: c-mo at April 22, 2006 10:43 PM

Thanks for the props. Your readers might be interested in some of these business-related stories from my blog featuring some of the characters in your article:


Fizik Baskerville:

Kermitt Quirk:

Posted by: Wagner James Au at April 24, 2006 06:23 PM

Thanks for the props.

Posted by: admin at January 6, 2007 05:02 PM

^___ the link is to a video i made about second life, it is an introduction to what SL is and its really funny and hope you all enjoy it.

Posted by: NerdcoreRising at April 4, 2007 01:17 PM

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