I can’t really make predictions on virtual worlds or Second Life for 2011, I am not expert. Sure I spend some time in there, have tried selling stuff, done some education related activities and gone to some events and held a few. Second Life seems to provide a perfect virtual environment for those sorts of things.
So while I am not going to make some predictions I am going to say that I hope a few things happen that will allow us, end users, to capitalize on the potential of Second Life. One would be that I hope that Linden Labs recognizes the potential of the SL platform for Social Networking. The opportunity here is huge. Showing users how to build community, use groups, and improving on the text and voice chat will be huge improvements for Second Life. The first time or two that you, as a resident of Second Life meets someone from Russia or China you maybe hooked..that is the power of networking in Second Life!
Second Life has a tremendous resource in their users who offer classes on all of the above and more. I have suggested before and I will suggest again that if I could immediately build my network based upon my profile, that I complete before going in to Second Life, and immediately start networking after joining would greatly improve the user experience from the start. So if, for example my profile indicates that I am an educator with an interest in writing and Steampunk I am immediately connected with those groups and communities would hold great potential for improvement.
In my opinion Second Life is events driven. It is probably events that first draw users into Second Life. If you are an educator it was probably a conference, a class, or exploring the potential of Second Life for education. Right now it is, in my opinion very difficult to search events for something that relates to your interest, or as one person complains you go to an event and there is no one there.
On any given day you will find events such as discussions on various topics from religion, to politics, to relationships, science or education. You will also find live music with performers in pop, country, folk, and new age. Many of these performers are seasoned real life artists who are wanting off the real life road but still want to perform and with Second Life they can right from the comfort of their home.
Would it make sense for Second Life to enhance how they assist residents in promoting and putting on events, in my opinion it would. The future of Second Life depends upon people in world activity doing things, not just showing up and hanging out..heck we can just as easily do that in front of our televisions and with a lot less lag.
Second Life provides a great platform for role play. I mention that and have in the past as being a key benefit for Second Life in education, creative writing, and experience history. I visited some role play sims one of which is described as: “Friendly medieval fantasy roleplay community open to all levels of roleplay experience. Focus on story development
Medieval Role play Medieval RPG Fantasy roleplay Medieval Market Medieval Fantasy Market Shops for Rent Cottage Rentals Cottages for rent.” http://world.secondlife.com/place/fd941958-bad8-8bc8-8875-9c9f5808e8b0
One of the cool things I came across when I visited Dubhan is the Herb Hunt noted below (what a great way to learn about herbs..): \
Throughout the lands of Dubhan grow wild herbs that can be used in a variety of different ways. Be forewarned that you may have to venture in dangerous parts of Dubhan if you wish to find all of them.
The role play on Dubhan is as follows:
The realm of Dubhan dates back to before man knew of time and space. The large island sits far off the coast of Ireland and has been protected by an ancient elven spell which hides it from sight. Only those with knowledge of it's exact location are able to find it's shores.
For years Dubhan remained untouched by outsiders and only it's native races (Elves, Fae, and Satyrs) could claim it as home, but war broke out among the races, causing the magic barrier to weaken and reveal the island to a group of human knights who were sailing in search of a place to hide away an ancient relic. These knights hid their relic deep within the land, hoping that the natural magic would keep it hidden from those who would seek to use it for evil.
After 20 years, The Elven Wars finally ended. The Light Elves were able to defeat their darker cousins, with the help of the other native races, but the lands had been ravaged and all had surmounted great losses. Most of the them receeded back into their woods and mountains, remaining in hiding. ….There is more check out the Dubhan sim in Second Life to learn more. A few pictures below:
The Alexandria Egyptian Empire Role Play Sim:
The Machinima tutorial area which I thought was great!
Wulin, a Chinese Martial Arts Role Play sim:
Renaissance Island Role Play Sim:
Linden Labs cut many employees in 2010, but what about adding employees who can help build up the potential of Second Life in social networking, developing events, role play, and education? The potential is there I believe and if I were to do my 2011 predictions for Second Life it would be more a wish list and it would look like that!