Seems this thing isn’t getting much of a welcoming party. Personally, I expected a more business-like approach from Google with some sort of tie in to their other existing structures such as Google Earth, etc. If you could connect with corresponding shops at their corresponding addresses then you might have something closer to real interaction (Not to mention an new idea). Could be interesting I guess.
While I too am not a fan, all this Lively hub-bub inspired me to tell you my one and only virtual world story.
Back when I was at Agency.com there was this push within the strategy group to “learn all we can about social media.” Well, the only way I know how to learn is to “do” so I went home and signed up for second life.
I wasn’t there but five seconds (orientation island) before I noticed this peculiar avatar there all dressed all in black (read: Matrix) running around torching, shoving and generally messing with people. Neat! I hung out for a bit, just watching this guy - so far pretty well fascinated into the first 5 minutes of my SecondLife virginity).
Moments later this guy runs off and starts filling my screen (and everyone else’s) with smoke (and this horrible explosion sound). This goes on for about 10 minutes. I can see on my panel that people are fleeing. One by one. But not me. Nope. I stayed.
Approximately 5 or so minutes later the smoke clears and everyone is gone. Except “TheScorcher_12” or some shit and yours truly. He’s standing there staring at me. So I stare back and say what any other self respecting SecondLifer would: “Whoa. Awesome.” :)
He says, “I like you. Want guns?”
Um, fuck yeah I want guns! So I say “Yes” and the next thing I know he’s filling my drawer full of ammo, bombs, guns, landmines, knives, grenades…I mean seriously. Everything I need to start a war. (Which apparently he already had done.)
One by one I accepted the weaponry offered to me thinking…Jesus what did I get myself into?
“Ok, hop in. Lets blow shit up”
Oh, that’s what. And off we went in his spaceship. Yes, his flying saucer. We floated slowly around the 2ndwebs while “TheScorcher” danced. In his spaceship. In front of me. Floating. In his spaceship. Dancing. Are you getting this? We went to a few Casinos and chased some people out. “Blew up” a few screens and called it a night.
I spent the next day laughing and talking about my experience - and I must admit - there was a curiosity that drove me to go back. Or was it the last 24hrs of incessant emails from “Scorcher”? Anyway, I get home, get comfy and I log back in.
Bam! There he is just like magic. “Are we blowing more shit up tonight, Scorcher?” I asked. “Nah.” he said. “Follow me.” I followed him to what looked like a clearing and a lake that had little pyramids all around it. “Grab one,” he said. So I did and what happened next I will never forget.
This PayPal dialogue box pops up and asks if I’d like to purchase it. (When I first signed up for Second Life I entered in my PayPal info - so it was active on my account). I bought the pyramid - 7 bucks or something. It then splits into little pyramids and Scorch says, “now drop those - everywhere.” This guy hasn’t really steered me wrong so far, right? So, you know, I listened. “Why am I doing this?” I asked. “You’ll see,” he said. I followed him around for a bit, got tired and logged off. I never went back.
What happened? Did you catch it? It was a visual/virtual pyramids scheme. I was one in a chain of many. People who came after I had left, found my pyramids, picked then up (and payed for them) thus sprinkling a little cash to everyone in the chain before them. Till this day, I am still making money in my PayPal account from this scheme he got me into - sometimes as much as a couple of dollars a day. I’m not going to retire on it - but damn. Crazy right?