Visit my blog. Link to me in LinkedIn. Find me in ASmallWorld. Check my MySpace page. Take a look at my FaceBook entry. Check my gamerscore on Xbox Live. See my Mii. Research me in Wikipedia. Look me up on FriendsReunited. View my photos on Flickr. Play on my team in World of Warcraft. Have sex with me in Second Life (no, on second, third and fourth thoughts, don’t).
So many points of presence. So little time. How does anyone keep even a few of these up to date. How does anyone manage to create all of those online identities? Easy. People invite you; you go where your friends are. You show up late, stay for a drink or three, your friends leave before you and then you’re alone; realising that, you leave too, leaving a few of your footprints on the carpet. Usually leaving the presence behind forever. They say that the churn rate on Second Life is over 60%. That’s probably less than the one post wonder blogs that are out there.
For corporations, having a virtual presence appears to be the new mission statement. Gotta have one. The one-upmanship game has already come into full force with some corporates going out of their way to create their own virtual worlds. Sony is next up to the plate with its “Home” plan.
The problem is that as we wander from world to world, we can’t take anything with us. It’s like taking a ‘plane on a bad day for travelling. All of a sudden, you’re stripped of everything you have and told that you can pick it up when you leave. Like going into an old Western saloon and having the big guy on the door take your guns away. Worse, you have to figure out the protocols, principles, manners and, of course, controls. No wonder people try it and either hate it (can’t figure it all out) or love it (stay forever – the cost of figuring out a new one is just too high).
I’m looking forward to the day when there’ll be teleporters in all of these worlds that will let me move from one to the other with everything that I have translated into whatever is needed in the new world. My Level 61 orc-bashing knight from WoW enters Second Life with a nice big house by the beach with a cool car parked on the drive. My big house on the beach translates to a big gamer score on Xbox which, in turn, gives me a nice pad in Sony Home with some pretty pictures on the wall, maybe a Rembrandt. My blog uploads to MySpace, keeping its theme but fitting right into MySpace. If anyone wants to find me, they can find me right where they are, or call me and I’ll come to them, right away. If this doesn’t happen then people will chase the new new thing, leaving the old new thing behind until it’s just the old old thing. The wasted effort will be enormous – gazillions of hours in building houses, killing dragons, posting profiles – wasted.