Virtual numbers

At Valleywag, Clay Shirky invades Second Life as the dastardly census taker to take the creators of the hype about it — and the reporters who swallow it whole — to task for trying to give us all the impression that the virtual world is bigger than it is. Personally, I’m relieved. It was beginning to appear that everybody in the real world was moving to the virtual one…. except me. I tried hard but just couldn’t get into the thing or figure it out. Turns out, Clay says, they count me as a resident even though I moved out long ago. The question he asks: When will reporters catch up with the facts?

  • Andy Freeman

    > When will reporters catch up with the facts?

    Why would they even try?

    A reporter’s job is to string together sentences so someone will look at the story long enough to see the ads around it.

  • Choire

    Really, Andy? And what about reporters like Clay Shirky?

  • Andy Freeman

    What about them?

    Surely you’re not going to claim that they’re the norm? If they were, Shirky wouldn’t have a story….

    Moreover, as Jarvis repeatedly points out, “reporters” as a class are still in a “bloggers aren’t journalists” mode. If Shirky isn’t a reporter, his connection to facts tells us nothing about reporters’ relationship to same.

    You don’t get to say bloggers are reporters when it makes reporters look good and not when it doesn’t.

  • Paw

    This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to measuring anything empirically in the online world. Unique users, advertising impressions, whatever it may be – unless a set of standard definitions is created and overseen/audited by a third party measurment service (and adhered to by ALL legitimate online businesses), this sort of monkey business will continue. And BTW, isn’t this a Sarbanes Oxley issue – the overstating of the volume of a business in order to make the asset appear more robust than it truly is?

    Don’t count on the MSM to help figure any of this out – they don’t even know where to begin asking the right questions.

  • I.F. Stoner

    >>> When will reporters catch up with the facts?

    Given that Reuters is the official news agency there, not bloody likely.

  • Ming666

    in the second life citation in wikipedia they reference the notion of “signed up” vs. actually using/living. based upon the “reporting” or “hype”, i have downloaded the client and tried to experience my “second life”. i can only say that as a retired catholic, it struck me as what purgatory must be like.

  • Christian

    Moreover, as Jarvis repeatedly points out, “reporters” as a class are still in a “bloggers aren’t journalists” mode.

    An increasingly silly assertion.

    A recurring theme here is the injustice of slagging all bloggers for the inelegance and inaccuracy of a few.

    I notice no similar compunctions in regards to “reporters as a class,” or “the MSM,” or what have you.

  • One thing missing from the tale is Wired magazine’s “tour guide,” which I’m sure touted some of the numbers.
    Another missing thing is the 25th letter of the alphabet – WHY don’t folks who sign up use it? And I recall a posting to a breathless BizWeek piece on SL online, where a lady expressed her frustration about how every time they upgraded the program, she had to upgrade her video card.
    I have a 14-month-old computer and it doesn’t meet the minimum SL requirements for a video card (integrated graphics). I’ll get a card, as will many to hit the mainstream middle ground for Vista. But I’m sure that’s a big reason why there are more sign-ups than users – they don’t set a minimum requirement (or even a fee!) to sign up, and folks don’t check out the system requirements first.
    I’m no gamer or I’d be going for the latest overclocked liquid-cooled thingamabobs. But Iwould like to dive into this virtual world, and they’ve simply set the bar too high.

  • Andy Freeman

    The claim of uniformity comes from MSM – I’m just accepting it.