Second Life in real life…


OK, so who’s had a go in Second Life? I’m in, but haven’t spent that much time there yet. My avatar name is Jonn Petrov, if you want to look me up.

Second Life may be a sort of social networking / instant messaging hybrid, but it’s wrapped in a complex 3D graphical interface that makes it harder to use than, say, Facebook. You have to learn how to walk, talk – and fly. You have to stumble around and bump into things, and hope your clothes don’t fall off with an errant mouse click.

For those of you who are feeling your way in the metaverse, this video should be horribly familiar. What if real life was like Second Life..?

About Author

Jon Reed is an author, screenwriter, publisher and social media consultant. He is the author of Get Up to Speed With Online Marketing (2e, Pearson Business, 2013) and the the founder of social media consultancy Reed Media, which offers social media management, training and consultancy. Jon started Publishing Talk in 2007 following a 10-year career in publishing, including as publishing director for McGraw-Hill. More...


  1. Great video — very funny! I’m on Second LIfe, but I’m still feeling my way around, too. Mostly, I fly around naked. I do know other people who are experts, and all I can say is beware — no one is what they seem to be. For example, I know a heavy-set guy in real life who is a beautiful woman in Second Life. My readers (I write YA) don’t seem to be that much into it yet. They are big on Facebook and MySpace.

    As a writer, I see all sorts of potential for the future, but that future still seems far away.

  2. I’m on SL and I’m Jilly Kidd on there and often bumping into Jon. I’m an author and work in publishing and I think of it as one of the websites and communications tools I use – and that all of these methods work together so it’s not separate but rather it’s a type of website that offers extras. I’ve found it incredibly useful to build up an area for writers and publishers because it’s so easy to use voice for open mics, workshops, book launches etc. I’ve also been able to use it to get into online broadcasting and people help you use the technology so quickly. I had been meaning to learn how to do that for years but on SL people can help in a day. To me it is just a website, a chatroom, a way of communicating around the world like Skype. The advantage is that 3D virtual reality makes it easier for this to feel as if we are in the same room, to be silent sometimes when chatting and not feel uncomfortable. The disadvantage is that people can be tricked into the psychological illusion that it’s another world, separate from the rest of the internet and the outside world. If you manage not to be sucked in, and use it as an addition to Skype, email, websites, real events etc, then it’s a fantastic communications tool.

  3. Oh and we will help out anyone who needs a bit of assistance getting used to Second Life, even if it’s just to move around and find places of interest (I’m Jilly Kidd on SL and can be contacted on And I could help you with tips on the best ways to use SL, whether as an individual or as a business/organisation. At the moment the main problem for publishers going on to SL is that they might not take on the right person to manage their SL presence. It’s like the early days of the Internet – they hire someone with tech knowledge to ‘build’ their area then don’t realise they need to change over to a manager with community building and promotional skills to create a high level of awareness of their presence and to bring traffic to their venue, or promote it in notices, broadcasting and the many methods available on 3D Internet. In fact you need to watch out for some ‘managers’ and ‘agents’ who supposedly manage and promote your presence, if you’re a publisher or author, but really find it in their interest to isolate you on one sim in case you go to another venue and find a manager or agent offering a better service. They tend not to promote events in case other organisers come and offer you a better service too, so they don’t raise awareness of your company or book launch. Hiring the wrong managers and marketing agents has been one of the main causes of businesses and individuals mistakenly feeling SL doesn’t work.

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