The Local, a news outlet in Sweden, has an article up today “Sweden to set up Embassy in Second Life“.
Over the past six months there have been many articles in the media that are putting a negative spin on Linden Lab and Second Life because business is not booming in this virtual world (ie: people quitting their day jobs to make their millions online from the comfort of their home computer). Everyone wants to be an instant millionaire, and stories like the Business Week cover about the first millionaire in Second Life don’t help to dispell this myth.
“Second Life allows us to inform people about Sweden and broaden the opportunity for contact with Sweden easily and cheaply,” Wästberg said. – from The Local article
This announcemnt advances the “Second Life as a platform” argument vs. the much touted “Second Life as a personal business”. Sure there will be those who find a way to make money on “virtually” anything anywhere. There are many successful web businesses out there on the Internet, but there are many more sites that are purely informational (you’re reading one now) and entertainment based. I hope other countries follow Sweden’s lead and open embassy’s of their own.
I still do not expect this trend to really take hold until individuals, educational institutions, corporations, and yes even countries, are able to host their own grids that link back to the main SL grid (think portals). When this “next step” is finally taken, I expect to see the SL universe explode into a multiverse of “bubble” worlds where anyone can deliver any information in any format of their choosing from their own corner of the metaverse. And it will be at that point that we will stop referring to virtual avatars as “residents”, and instead become “travelers”.
I’m going to start a Metaverse clock (much like the recently reported Doomsday Clock in the media). I will have to work out the graphic (that’s my home desk clock to the left), but it will be a clock that represents the coming of the Metaverse. This move by Sweden just advanced the clock a minute closer to midnight in the virtual world.