The End ISN’T Near!

Millions of users, problems accessing accounts, slow loading times, and unable to see messages. Sound familiar? A lot of people feel that this would be the same issues that plague Second Life and it has been some of the beginning points as to why Second Life, instead of growing is collapsing on itself. Both Mark Wallace and Tony Walsh have both expressed their opinions about the recent contingency plans announced by Linden Labs as an admittance of their issues scaling the platform, a measure they have talked about many times in the past two years.
The problems that I mentioned earlier are not problems that persist on Second Life… they are problems that persist on MySpace – the social networking site that has grown in popularity, and with very little signs of slowing down. If you think MySpace is the only online application that will suffer, it is suggested that the entire Internet would suffer the same fate, in time of a pandemic. My point? While many are calling for the beginning of the end of Second Life, I’m claiming it is the end of the Beginning of Second Life, as it begins to mature. One of the problems that Second Life faces is that the structure that it is built on is not secure at all.
A perfect example is today’s reliance on electricity. We have become so used to having it, relying on it, that when the Northeastern United States went pitch black during the Summer of 2003, many realized how fragile our lives are without the use of electricity. A system that has been around for eons was easily taken out stopping the backbone for many of the things that we rely on.
While there are some alarmists, there’s nothing to be alarmed about. When dealing with Virtual Worlds, and MMO’s, Second Life is going through the same growing pains seen by Anarchy Online, World of Warcraft, and Everquest. All boast huge populations, all still alive (relatively), all still working.
Second Life is not going to die, especially with projects such as Open Second Life. While scalability is an issue that Linden Labs does need to fix, and fairly soon, the buffer between the technology and the lack of it scaling properly is actually quite welcomed. The fact that Second Life still crashes, while people are making full time salaries is a great buffer for projects to develop and fail without much limelight, for new ideas to foster, be mapped out, and then fully developed, and to learn from the mistakes that are made when working with Internet based media, and projects. In the case of MySpace, the social network has become so popular, and so big, it is hard to make a splash, or do something entirely new or creative that is just a “MySpace” thing. Big companies, groups, and other people are well ahead of any one person’s idea, are entirely familiar with its system, and have the man-power to do it. In Second Life, there is still time for individual ideas to foster, gain growth and momentum. A few such projects include a non Linden Lab based search system, an event listing directory that has an RSS feed attached, and provides more information than the currently developed Linden Labs one. Tutorials, Wiki’s, community based projects have still yet to be established, and still need the time that is being provided by Second Life not being the most stable client to flourish.
Granted, I’m not a fan of Second Life being broken, or crashing during an event of mine, or not being able to access my account… but it is not necessarily the beginning of the end. Rather, the end of the beginning. Prepare yourself!

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