13 March 2009

Boomer Woman's Ageless Avatar

Last night, I spoke in Second Life (SL) for the first time. At right is a screenshot of a previous SL event on the virtual campus of Texas Woman's University. I used it for this blog because in world I never age.

Baby boomers are not exactly racing to virtual worlds (AKA immersive environments) but the concept of the ageless avatar just might lure some new members. SL is populated primarily by people over 30 so that means it is doomed, of course. Only 17 million registered users. Does that number sound like a lot to you? Not when you consider that the SL population is about 1/3 of the pre-teen world of Neopets and 1/7 of the teen world of Habbo Hotel. (Nice stats, huh? My source is the KZERO research center in the UK.)

I won't guarantee that SL will be the environment of choice 10 years from now or even 5 years from now. (Not only is its population lower than some other worlds, its rate of growth is slower, too.) But it's a great place to learn about virtual worlds. And a boomer-friendly place to practice for the future. I recommend going to educational sites like NMC (New Media Consortium) for your start. Safe, non-commercial, and very helpful.

© 2009 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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