Applications and Tools, Art and Exploration, Collaboration, Second Life

Metanomics Commentary: Courage to Create

We just wrapped three episodes of the Metanomics Master Class – and I have to say, it was a really exciting series for me. First, I learned a lot, but it was also encouraging to talk with people who remain as enthusiastic as ever about the potential of virtual worlds (and Second Life).

I’ll have more thoughts in the coming days. In the meantime, I thought I’d post my closing commentary from yesterday’s show:

Last week, Alexander Macris, in talking about games, said that the challenge in creating great immersive games and stories is to remove the distance between the player and the game, to remove the sense that there’s a screen or an interface in the middle.

And I can’t help thinking about this idea of distance.

What makes a user-generated virtual world like Second Life unique is that the distance between creator, creation and consumer can been reduced until it’s barely perceptible.

Even if all you’re doing is ‘creating’ your avatar, by joining a virtual world you too have become a creator. This removal of distance – being brought closer to the acts of creation, the artists rezzing prims, and our own ability to add our own voice is, perhaps, THE defining power of a user-generated virtual world.

We’ve seen in this series that what might look like making 3D objects can actually be much more – yes, we’re rezzing prims, but those prims make up stories, architecture, narrative, experiences and ideas.

I read and hear people say that we need to import more social media into Second Life, that our markets for virtual goods need to be Web-based, or that the benefit of mesh is that we can IMPORT content.

But I like to think the opposite. That the challenge ahead isn’t in what we can bring IN – but in what we can export OUT – whether we can help the rest of the Web remove that distance, that ‘screen’ between creator and consumer and to help us feel less like anonymous consumers of the Web and more like participants in a global collaborative act.

Creativity is a courageous act….because creativity is the act of rezzing our expectations, fears, and hopes for the future.

And our task ahead isn’t to overcome the challenges of the first hour or to make things more Web-based, but to ask ourselves the question: how can we help other people to take what is, in the end, a leap of faith….to help them to access the courage that is the creative act and to join us as we imagine our shared future.


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