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There has been a lot of chatter about Second Life and the real number of residents in the virtual world. The issue revolves around the real growth being reported. It is a matter of those who are regular visitors to SL versus those who never make it past signing-up.
I found this article titled “Why Second Life Numbers DO Matter” over at CNN Money. David Kirkpatrick’s article throws readers right into the middle of the debate and provides a glimpse of where the sides stand. UPDATE : here is an article by Clay Shirky over at Corante that I forgot to include yesterday.
I signed-up for Second Life in the summer. I was not a frequent visitor, checking things out here-and-there. Definitely not a regular resident but over time my presence increased as I began to do more.
Now from where I stand, the Second Life story is not about the growth rate. The real importance of Second Life is what is going on inside and how it is a model for the future of the internet and e-commerce. As more individuals and businesses get involved and see the power of the virtual world (i.e. seeing beyond Second Life as the only example) things will blossom in this space. As someone once said, “you ain’t seen nuthin yet”.
I had the good fortune to present a Scotiabank Case Study at CaseCamp Second Life a few weeks back and was blown away at the power of it all. Not just in terms of that one event,but around the vast potential of it all. So haggling about growth numbers will likely continue but, with so much more to focus on in the world of virtual worlds, ultimately the growth debate will be moot.