I'd peeked at Second Life a year earlier, in mid summer of 2005. At that point it was fascinating but unusable on my laptop. It barely ran on the bigger box in my office and when it did, there didn't seem to be much to do.
"In world?" Ok. I could find the scrap of paper with the avatar name on it. Well. No, actually, I couldn't. No matter. I could make a new one.
In the late fall of 2006, things had changed. The client ran on my new laptop which meant I could run it at home. More importantly, there were people running around doing things. There was art. There was dancing. There was flexi hair.
I was on Second Life for something like 80 hours the first week of December. By the end of December, I'd gotten a premium account and managed to snag a plot of "first land." I was hooked.
Three years later, I'm still here. I've managed to make working on Second Life Technology my day job. I've found an amazing collection of people I am proud to call friends. I've found live music. I've found DJs who spin music from top 40, to obscure soundtracks from Japanese video games. I've met people from all over the world, some in real life as well as Second Life. I've given talks, gone to talks, and found an amazingly complex place.
I spent the spring of 2007 arguing that Second Life was important, and I wanted to work on how it might fit into IBM's future. I said to a senior technical person in my shop. "This isn't what a virtual world is going to look like in 5 to 10 years, but its the best lab we have for understanding what one might look like."
Three years later, I think that statement is still right. Second Life as it is today is not what it will be in five years. It may not be where virtual worlds will end up in five years or ten, but it is still the best place to try and see what that future might look like.
Too all my friends, thank you for three wonderful years. I look forward to sharing the next three, and many more with you. To those who I have yet to meet, I look forward to meeting you somewhere on the grid.
p.s. for anyone who is unclear: That is me in the foreground, in front of me, of 2006. ~Z