Back in 2005 Aimee Weber, a famous in-world designer and architect (with a great new book, link below), posted a great piece on her blog about virtual worlds and her grandma at Christmas. It is very much worth a read for anyone out there who still questions the power of a virtual world platform:
This was a great post. And this is a post that clearly illustrates the point I was trying to make in my Scrooge post of a few days ago:
“There should be some meaning to a gift. There should be something of the person that is passed with a gift. The saying that “it’s the thought that counts” grew out of this tradition. Every facet of our lives has been commercialized. The clothes people wear, the cars they drive, where they live, the MP3 player they carry, the type of coffee they drink, the TV’s they watch, and on and on into infinity (or bankruptcy) it goes. Almost no value is assigned to thoughts and feelings today, only in material and now virtual objects.”
The connection Aimee had with her grandmother were the memories of childhood summers spent on the beach. That connection allowed her grandmother to instantly understand the power of what Aimee does for a living (read the story).
As I thought I clearly explained in the Scrooge article, I was asking that virtual gifts that are given have meaning, either in the making or the thought for the giving. I was “scrooging” on the Facebook “limited edition gifts” that masquerade as cheap icons displayed on your FaceBook page. My analogy for them in the blog post were to cell phone ring tones.
The post where I got this link to Aimee’s story was critical of my point of view, and clearly misunderstood what I was expressing in the Scrooge post:
“On the other hand, if you think virtual gifts for virtual friends might just be the biggest rip off, check out the thoughts on this topic on Pacific Rim Exchange. Bah humbug!”
In that blog post, the writer gives a link to some last minute Christmas gift ideas for your virtual friends:
These are very nice and would look great in any virtual residence. These are examples of gifts that carry come meaning and serve some purpose. The person who thinks I was a scrooge on ALL virtual gifts clearly missed my point.
My other main point of the Scrooge blog post was a warning that we should not over commercialize or trivialize our virtual worlds. The day I quit Second Life is the day people start paying real money for virtual ringtones for their virtual phones!