The SLENZ Update – No 92, May 29, 2009


The splatter effect of virtual bulldust …


courtesy Suzie Austin

When the  bulldust hits the fan, somebody or something inevitably gets splattered. Almost forever.

No, Dilbert, journalists, bloggers and others of that ilk often don’t get it right, whether its about adultery in Second Life (20/20,  it is not ubiquitous) or the tabloid press obsession with movie stars and other celebrities, especially if they lapse for a moment into normalcy.

This was brought to mind today by Gary Hayes (pictured right) in his blog, PeronalizedMedia, who has been moved again to give a full rundown on the so-called  “griefing, bombing, nuclear attack” on the ABC Island in Second Life two years ago which NEVER happened, but sparked warnings of terrorism and Al Quaeda in virtual worlds as well as questions in the Australian Parliament.

It was nothing but a technical glitch which was restored after two hours but still the bulldust keeps rippling around the world.
His account is worthwhile reading just to comprehend  how well rumours, untruths and inuendoes grow in the fertile  landcape  provided by bulldust, and to reflect on butterfly wings in the Amazon jungle being the start of a typhoon in the China Sea, or something like that.garyhayes

It’s also worthwhile reflecting on the fact that much of what is written/spoken about controversial news is 90 percent rubbish – especially if its about  virtual world –  and that  virtual world’s, because they are so subjective with their beauty or otherwise in the eye of the beholder,  are probably more difficult to report than most other facets of human endeavour.

That said, there’s a lesson in this for all of us. Don’t believe the hype about virtual worlds, but also don’t believe the bad press.

By the way Gary, an inveterate blogger and machinima-creator, is currently the Director the Australian Laboratory for Advanced Media Production run through AFTRS (Australian Film TV and Radio School) and based in Sydney.

On virtual world issues he has few parallels. His organisation, LAMP, is probably Australia’s premier emerging media R&D and production labs. His teams actually create prototypes, develop  presentations and evolve the business, technical and creative aspects of their property leading to pilots and user testing with a unique mix of seminars, workshops, immersive rapid prototyping residentials and industry focused product development.

Through AFTRS he also runs workshops in multi user virtual environments (MUVE) for cinematographers, designers, script writers and directors exploring the potential of shared social online virtual spaces for collaborative production, creativity and education.

Finally I wonder how many more sex-starved  Kiwi “newbies” are going to be causing chaos on New Zealand’s inefficient Broadband system now that they’ve seen 20/20’s version of “Love the Second Life way” on Channel 2. Thankfully they wont stay too long before getting bored.