It’s odd. I’ve talked to a number of people lately who will gladly spend hours a day on irc, IM, email, games, web forums, or other electronic means of social communication…but when you mention Second Life or virtual worlds, they respond as if you have an STD and are rubbing up against them. Is this the same phenomenon as people who wouldn’t be caught dead on myspace or livejournal, but yet keep a personal homepage with party pictures, funny links, and links to family friends? Does not being on trendy service somehow make the exact same functional thing ok? ;)
To be fair, the same limited imaginations that react like that are also the cause of the reaction in SL itself: Most people build boring things…so why join? The challenge is to see past the trappings of shallow thinking into the fascinating opportunities in extending metaphores of thought that SL provides.
My god…given no rules…why would you build yet another beach house? Lay down on your floor on a towel and close your eyes…put some headphones on. That would feel more like it. There are some brilliantly interesting uses for this medium. Recreating the world around us with incredibly detailed specificity shows some outstanding craftmanship, but misses the point.
And, still, to really get out the root cause, what can you expect in a culture where your options are programmed into you through years of maintstream media indoctination all designed to make you do the same thing as everyone else.