Watching the interview (below) on Metaverse TV with A. J. Kelton (AJ Brooks in SL) on my iPhone while waiting for the office network to come back to life and agreeing with his complaints about the Second Life® platform, particularly how the “first hour” experience sets the stage for engaging first-time users and bringing them back. The technology is so laggy and glitchy and frustrating, I had to stop and wonder why I have been coming back since I was born there in 2006.
When I think about the dedicated educators I have met with every week (when I can make it) at the VWER (Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable), I get the sense that we are a bunch of people who can put up with a lot of frustration with technology, and that might be what keeps education hanging on in VWs, that there are enough people who accept technological glitches as stumbling blocks, but also as learning moments. We just aren’t afraid of the “epic fail” moments.
The big problem for VWs and any other promising technology is that most people are not that into failure. For most visitors to Second Life who never return, the steep learning curve and the disappointment from failed experiences is too much to overcome. Like the one snapshot (above) I was able to take at the VWER special meeting last night at the VWBPE Conference. Took forever to get through the lag to a seat and the voice kept going off and on. Camera movements were almost impossible and even the text chat seemed to lag. I had already been logged out once and knew I’d better get a photo while I could just for a record, and sure enough, I was logged out again. Happens all the time when you are in a rich-content area with a lot of attendees–and that’s a huge problem. If the world is only good when you are there alone, it’s no good at all.
So, AJ, I hear ya, but will I be coming back? Definitely, because a little frustration is not that big of a problem for me.