I promised I would stop ranting about Second Life and I will. Putting People First (the experientia blog) have a balanced post called Second Thoughts on Second Life.

Not only does it provide some good links to hype as well as critiques, they basically lay down what it is good for and that is… trying stuff out. It’s a good point, well-made by putting aside the usual hypes and moans. Basically it’s a giant prototyping environment. That’s okay, I’m all for people playing with new things just not telling me how well-dressed the Emperor is when he’s naked.

I still don’t buy many of the arguments about why its an interesting environment to prototype in. I remain pretty unconvinced about the importance of virtual environments in the future of the web and communications. It feels to me the same as the kind of arguments people made about video telephony, yet we all would rather send billions of tiny text messages to each other instead. I think I’d find it hard to navigate and chat in a virtual world with just my thumb whilst on a bus, for example.

It’s rather like those efforts at 3D operating systems that Scoble was hyping. 3D is great, for some things, but making everything 3D doesn’t automatically make it great, just as adding ‘interactivity’ didn’t make lots of things great in the 90s. However, I think it’s important to go through the process of trying things out and seeing just how many don’t work and the handful that do.

But hey, you’ve got to love Jaron Lanier for saying “I still believe all the ridiculous stuff I said so long ago”.

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