Ok, there were a whole bunch of people who rallied on my last Second Life post. (which was actually my second Second Life post). They brought some points that I didn’t address in my first or second post but Roy Tennant talked about on his Blog. I’ll address them all here or at least write until I get bored with talking about SL more.
The trolling nature of my previous post. Lol u mad bro? Really? Chill Second Lifebrarians. Seriously. But I will say that interestingly enough I wasn’t trying to troll, but rather just write something entertaining. I do want to point out that it was one of my most read blog posts and explains to me why people like the Annoying Librarian* an Dan Kleinman get so amped about their blogs. I just found that interesting as a passing thought.
What My Previous Post was Actually About
Here is why I have the negativity for SL. My SLIS made me partake in SL after spending tens of thousands of my tuition dollars on their “island.” ALA spent way too much money on SL (my dues). There are STILL libraries spending my tax dollars on Second Life. I’m negative because so much of my money has gone to support a failed endeavor. So basically after spending way too much of my money and forcing me to spend way too much time learning the interface I then had a number of experiences that would have been fine with a simple link in an email, tweet, FB, G+ hangout, or even myspace post. Hell… I would have settled for a flyer with a QR code on it! It would have been a lot cheaper.
The valuable “work” that librarians are doing there.
I don’t know. I haven’t seen any stats on that. My own experiences were disappointing. Anyway, I’m guessing those stats are not kept but I would say that they should be. Maybe I’d be surprised but I doubt it. The stats I have seen for second life overall are dismal at best and grossly inflated at worst. You can see them here.
I’d also like to point out that the examples of valuable work being done on SL were actually excellent examples of valuable things being done in SL, but really not library related at all. Some people built a car, some people made fractal art, etc… (that is very cool but this is a library blog) The things that people used as an example of library related work were also very cool, but again could have been accomplished by about a thousand other mediums with zero learning curve and as such could include hundreds (maybe even thousands) more librarians to really achieve something great. Instead, a few librarians encased themselves in a format that is an exclusive group by its learning curve, overly large necessary computing capacity, internet speeds, technical skills, etc… Well, I’m glad you could afford all that to create an exclusive group of librarians who loved SL before (and after) it was cool. But then again… As sjclarkfl pointed out, I’m the hipster.
Linden labs juiced their stats to artificially inflate their numbers to a million active users. This number is world wide and only .002% of the population at their highest estimate of 15 million but the real numbers are actually around 800 thousand when not calculated by linden numbers (who inflated it to one million most recently). Someone made the ridiculous comment that if we’re going by stats then we should close libraries. Clearly this person didn’t see the numbers on libraries or a library’s ebranch. I guarantee that they are above .002% of the population. (hint- its around 60%)
As I said in my previous post, there are people who make their names in convincing other people (and themselves) of innovative library services. These people often talk about the great new things libraries can use. How great this or that new service, program, idea, or QR code is. But once again I’ll say, that part of being innovative is knowing what things need to just be dropped like a bad habit. (drop eBooks, get eReaders).
You know, I’m all about solutions and Craig Anderson presented what I thought was absolutely a much better option. Why not go were users actually are? There are tons of MUVEs with millions more active users than SL. Craig brought up the idea of a Library in WOW. I fully support this. I think that if we got a couple dozen librarians with Librarian Avatars in WOW or other popular MMORPGs running around and answering questions for folks, advocating for libraries, or even placing holds on physical books out and having them sent to their local libraries through Link+ or WorldCat. I think, then we would really have something.
I will admit that I don’t often participate in MUVEs these days but that is only because I have a hugely addictive personality and way back in the day I spent huge amounts of time gaming and participating in virtual worlds and now I just don’t have the time to give in to that as I did in the past.
*I know its Annoyed Librarian but she’s pretty annoying*