Second Life=Reality

Writing about a post on gapingvoid which asks "How well does open source currently meet the needs of shareholders and CEOs", Seth Giddon remarks:

Almost no new idea meets the needs of shareholders and CEOs. That's because most of all they need predictability and apparent freedom from risk. This is why public companies are almost always on the road to disaster. They flee from change in order to do what they think is meeting the needs of those constituents. They fight changes in laws, policies, technologies and markets because their CEO (especially) wants a nice even flight pattern while he racks up big time options.

Simple example: blogging. Blogging doesn't seem to fit into the command and control mindset of media companies. It doesn't seem to have obvious ad-driven or traffic-driven payoffs. It represents a threat (or at least volatility) to the stock price. So they ignore them. Until, of course, a blog has a greater circulation than the company's magazine.

Maybe one of the reasons -- apart from the technical aspects -- that Second Life is the corporations' favourite is that it offers this predictability (unlike blogs). As the German journalist Mario Sixtus points out, here the real world is indeed repeating itself: put up billboards, open up a shop or an embassy, show ads on huge screens, have sales parties: Just the way it used to be in times of old mass media; no need to learn new rules of communication. Also: The more money you have, the more attention you get because it alllows you to drum the loudest (or buy the biggest island or have the largest penis). What's also interesting is the worldview behind this form of marketing. Just like 80 years ago it tries to appeal to the irrational forces within human beings; maybe that's one of the reasons why there's so much sex in Second Life. But within the new mediasphere of blogs this approach doesn't work – because it's about exchange, conversation and respect - at least in its ideal state.