Why hype isn’t reason enough to follow (or stay away)

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Good Old Trend

The launch of Sydsvenskan in Second Life is getting a few reactions that I want to address. One of them written in English is by Kristine Lowe (via Media Culpa). I left a comment there but decided that there was more to say. About hype, this awful word that plagues the internet (and everything else).

Second Life has been getting a lot of flack for being the ultimate money (and time) waster in this time and age. The amount of attention this virtual world is getting compared to it’s actual impact is vastly exaggerated, some say.

Admittedly, a lot of both time and money has been wasted in SL. But that fact alone doesn’t say anything about its importance, or the possibilities that it contains. The decisive factor is why one enters these types of projects. If it’s because of the hype, well, then you´re just adding to it. But simply writing off anyone joining Second Life (or any web 2.0-esque movement for that matter) without knowing their intent, is not the right way to go.

Hype often blocks the view of the interesting things that really are going on. Take the Boo.com example – this excellent blog post goes through loads of features that were way ahead of its time. Is this what we remember of Boo.com? The hype shaded the really interesting things that were going on.

The short lesson from this is: hype shouldn’t be your incentive to join anything, and it shouldn’t make you back off either.

Second Life is an epiphany of the new social arenas that are evolving. Starting an office there in order to get a few press releases out is joining the hype. Participating and adding value to an emerging community is not. In my opinion, it’s best to wait a while before calling anyone out to either side.

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