I remember, in the good old days of the Metanomics show in Second Life, that we discussed a study about what happens when people have to leave a virtual world. You get a virtual diaspora, groups of people settling in new virtual worlds, and eventually you get tensions between those groups and people who already ‘live’ there.
Second Life is not closing down or forcing huge groups out, but there is this other phenomenon that people get tired after a few years. They look for something else and lose interest, or at least they reduce the time spent in Second Life. However, for many of those ‘old’ residents, Second Life changed their lives in some way, and they feel a need to meet up with their old friends and former fellow-residents.
That’s what happens on Facebook, where veterans launched the group Second Lifers for Life. People compile lists of names, remember those who passed away, discuss what they’re doing these days. Maybe it’s not really like a diaspora but more like former classmates meeting again. There is even a little bit of drama, with people complaining about the initiative and telling others they should look at the future, not the past. But then again, maybe it’s by meeting again that new projects will be born.
Interesting how some folks get “tired” of a world unlimited in its creative possibilities, a world that is continuously mind-boggling in the sense that folks make awesome things and yes: a LOT of them are a lot better than what was done in the hype days. The creative forces that are marveling at the tools that Linden churns out [xp tools, ALM model, etc] and use them = I am in awe of them and the monthly video show is not nearly enough to cover this bustling life. I simply do not understand how you get tired of it: it is like saying “I am tired of this pencil and this piece of paper!” 🙂 Come on the show Roland and help those of us [in the audience of the show] who are pushing the envelope every day understand what this means!
I’d love to explain it, but next week will be difficult so I posted a longer answer on this site: https://www.mixedrealities.com/2014/11/12/how-one-gets-tired-of-virtual-worlds/
I was a community manager at Second Life, where one of my jobs was to welcome folks from other virtual worlds that were shutting down. Google’s Lively for example, had a group of really nice folks who had met and become good friends in that virtual space, and decided to give SL a shot. Having spent time in Lively myself I felt a kind of kinship and was able to provide a meeting space where they could build and re-live their past experience together before exploring their new world.
The thing that struck me as the most interesting part of the experience (apart from their fierce kinship, that is) was the fact that their neighbors in Second Life were going out of their way to “show off” their VW of choice. One neighbor built giant Space Invaders right on their border, which the Livelyzens had fun shooting at. Friendly neighbors started hanging out with the Lively castaways, teaching them to build and script…it was very heartening 🙂
In many similar environments, I’ve encountered a kind of camaraderie between people who have a true affinity for VW spaces.