Après le déluge
June 15, 2010 3 Comments
Having spent rather too much time over the last few days reading all the web has to offer on the subject of the Linden layoffs, I can report that the consensus view is somewhat downbeat. If blogger opinion is at all authoritative (and what reason is there to distrust the gaggle of ill-informed scribblers who make up the SL chatterati?) the future of the grid is grim indeed.
I am inclined to agree with this viewpoint; M Linden may talk of a carefully planned reorganisation, but I’m sure such restructuring would be best carried out by quiet redeployment and natural wastage, especially if, as M claims, there was no financial pressure driving the cuts. Instead we have had a headline-grabbing massacre which has spooked the very customers who M himself has identified as being key to the Lab’s revenue model. I can’t imagine that many people will be making long-term investments in Second Life until the smoke clears and the future of the platform looks more certain.
I find myself looking upon the prospect of Second Life‘s demise with a certain degree of equanimity though. As I have previously expressed, I believe that much of the attraction of metaversal life lies not in the rather mundane virtuality of the grid itself, but in the intellectual space of the community that has grown up around it. Perhaps that community will disperse if and when the world dies, but the years of Second Life‘s existence may just have been long enough to build a critical mass of text and links that will allow the spirit of SL to outlive its physical manifestation. Like the myths of Ancient Greece or the poems of Rimbaud, the Second Life experience will serve as an inspiration for future exploration of the mysteries of human consciousness.
Though probably not. Our attention spans attenuated by the onslaught of ubiquitous media, we’ll likely be blogging and tweeting about the next new shiny thing within minutes of Linden Lab pulling down the shutters. So it’s probably best to enjoy the ride while we can.