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For a man who used to be a journalist immersed in the virtual world of Second Life, this entire metaverse is a ride on fun once again.
And therefore Wagner James OWho previously wrote a book about his experiences in Second Life, is now writing a book called Why the Metaverse Matters: From Second Life to the Meta and Beyond, A Guide by the First Embedded Journalist.
Wiley plans to publish the book in early to mid-2023, around the twentieth anniversary of Second Life. Au is in a good position to write this book, but let’s hope for him that the metaverse will still be something very superlative, or maybe even real, by this time. The Metaverse is seen as a world of virtual worlds that are all interconnected, as in novels like Snowfall And the One loan player.
In an interview with GamesBeat, Au said he focuses on the user communities in the metaverse, especially core creators, that make these platforms meaningful. It will explore Second Life’s continuing impact on the evolution of the metaverse and reveal the mystery of Second Life – how it has managed to inspire so many but hasn’t been able to grow beyond its enthusiastic user field.
It will also explore whether or not blockchain is a good fit — especially with a new company co-founded by Neal Stephenson, Lamine1, dedicated to creating the open metaverse.
“I’m going to talk about Second Life’s impact on the current metaverse platforms,” Au said.
For example, the combat and design of Fortnite seem to share a similar DNA with Second Life.
“But why has Second Life, despite its influence, not really reached the mass market? It has succeeded as an enterprise and is still very profitable, and it was at its peak when the metaverse hit the public consciousness,” Au said. “But he hasn’t left the niche. And to me, this is one of the biggest mysteries of Silicon Valley, how a company that did so much advertising between 2006 and 2008 could not come to light.
The book will also focus on the lingering issues the metaverse hasn’t been able to address, around content moderation, toxic users, and (yes) the inevitable virtual sex. It will summarize what it has learned over the past 20 years of reporting and developing Metaverses, with the hope of fully realizing the vision in the next 20 years.
These experiences included covering labor protest on the IBM campus in Second Life; writing about the Second Life protest against the National Front, a French far-right political group; and his discussions with Syrmor, a VRChat journalist embedded on YouTube.
I contacted Au after he started writing his New World Notes blog about the virtual world Second Life in 2003. For two years, under contract with the company, he was a journalist on board. This means that he wrote to Second Life himself as a character, pretending to be an avatar named Hamlet Linden. Inside the world, use his avatar to conduct chat interviews with other characters in the virtual community, encouraging people to create a new world based on how they want to experience their “second life”.
He spent hours inside the world, talking about the development of the New World as a participant in it. Exploring the world, he distilled his blog posts into a book, The Making of a Second Life: Notes from the New World (Collins, 2008).
Now, the concept of the metaverse has got people excited again, starting with the revival of VR in 2016.
“When I first worked at Linden Lab, I noticed that they had a Snow Crash character on their shelf in the office. It’s kind of one of their reference books. There’s a lot of confusion about what metaverses are. And that’s kind of funny to me because companies like Linden Lab, Roblox, and Epic It is directly influenced by the novel. I want to talk about the original type of design and how it applies to these different platforms,” said Au.
Other metaverse books are already in . Books by Kathy Huckle, Dirk Luth, and Tommaso de Bartolo Navigating the Metaverse: A Guide to Limitless Possibilities in the World of Web 3.0. Other books are also coming.
Au hopes to capture human stories, such as one about one of Ukraine’s most important content creators. She was eight months pregnant and her town was occupied by the Russians. So she had to flee and always try to find a stable WiFi connection to be able to download her sexual content.
“What amazes me is how these terrain creators come from all over the world. They take their life experiences with them as they create content in the midst of war. I have come across countless stories like this,” Au said.
Many people, including some with disabilities like the unforgettable character in Snow Crash, rely on online connectivity and have high hopes of living in a metaverse where physical barriers no longer matter. Au said it’s powerful to think you can be who you want to be.
Au will explore whether the blockchain is needed as a building block for the metaverse, and whether the boom-and-bust cycle around Bitcoin and Ethereum will have anything to do with the metaverse boom or turn into a speculative bubble.
“One of my quick points would definitely be about the importance of community and building thriving communities,” he said. “Having done this for 20 years, I see the community and the content creators in the community, but also some kind of social leader becoming known personalities in the virtual world. They shape what happens to the platform and whether it works or not. And so I want to tell their stories. And I want to explain For broader readers, including businesses and corporations, why this is important.
It will also focus on the downsides of the metaverse such as modifying content for sexual or violent extremist content, and how that would be a double-edged sword for user-generated content. It will also take into account the deep skepticism that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg will support the open metaverse.
Au still hopes to interview many of the main characters on the Metaverse.
“I spoke to a woman who turned her Second Life business into a seven-figure company,” he said. “They have been more successful than most companies that have tried to succeed in the virtual world.”
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