Cue Clay Shirky. Spiegel‘s cover this week is about Second Life: “The Digital Masked Ball” and the “millions” who meet there. Millions? No, not even a million, worldwide. So consider how many of those are in Germany and this is a cover that covers a damned small trend. Hype is a virus.
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?
The German tabloid Bild is starting an English-language newspaper called AvaStar in Second Life. It will sell for 150 Linden-Dollar (42 cents) and will include ads from real advertisers with real dollars. That’s one way to expand your readership: adding virtual readers. [via Medienlese]
See also stats on Second Life’s growth.
What I need is for someone to create Second Life for Dummies and Old Farts.