Susanna sent me some more questions the media have been asking, so I thought I’d answer them here first before adding them to the FAQ page:
Is this a temporary project, or will you maintain the site indefinitely?
This is not a one-off project, like a website you just produce and then host passively. All indications are that much of the value of having a presence in Second Life comes from having a platform where you can host events — meetings, concerts, films, ceremonies, group tutorials and collaborations… And that the objects you build on your sim (“island”) should facilitate such interactivity, because that’s what draws visitors. If you build those, they will come, to paraphrase a bad movie.
What’s been the reaction to this project from the Swedish/International media and the public?
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Swedish media & marketing watchblog Researcher.se compiled a little list of English-language articles written in the aftermath of the original announcement. Back home in Sweden, the subsequent month has seen an upsurge in curiosity about Second Life, and many more Swedish organizations — for profit, semi-public and educational — are mulling establishing a presence in Second Life.
Critical commentary has revolved around the suspicion that the Swedish Institute doesn’t quite know what it is getting itself into:
- That there are far fewer actual users of Second Life than what the headline number suggests, or
- that Second Life is hype — and certainly not a sufficiently serious or mature medium to be entering, or
- that the Second House of Sweden will most likely be just another sterile corporate-looking edifice commissioned by marketing people who don’t actually “get” Second Life, and that as a result the sim won’t see much organic use by actual residents.
For points 1 and 2, the answer goes something like this: Yes, we were well aware of the debate about active users while we were deciding whether to go ahead with the project (I do read blogs:-). Ironically, once concern we had was that the decision to go ahead with the project amid the hype might make it look like we were taken in by the hype, when in fact we were going in despite the hype, because we felt we really wanted to figure out now how to use virtual worlds as a place to tell people about Sweden. Second Life is the world that right now gives us the biggest bang for our kronor. (More about this in a post from January.)
For point 3, the answer is: Not if we can help it:-)
(There are a couple more questions to answer, in an upcoming post.)