I am putting this post here rather than the new technologies blog because second life is not a new tool, but I thought I might not be the only person who had not yet explored it.
Second life is an online space for interaction. I had not used it until last week when I had to prepare for a class meeting there. I am getting used to online games and this is not as smooth. My avatar did not walk (or run) with anything approaching stylish grace, although she was good at flying. I did not want to invest a lot of time tailoring my avatar and had not realised that the initial choice of avatar was so critical.
It was a useful place for a class meeting as we were all in different locations, but in second life we could be online in the one space. There are other tools for this, like games and so it was interesting to see what I had been missing by not exploring second life before now. From my brief experience you still have to make arrangements to meet people, it is not so populated that you will just bump into someone for a chat. You can both chat and type your messages. You can tell when someone is getting ready to type a message because their hands are going up and down (like typing) and there is a sound of a keyboard. This is helpful as it stops everyon speaking at once. There is another signal for when people are talking. The voice chat is clear as well.
We were there to look at a Stanford University archives project.
It was really interesting to hear one of the archivists talk about how this was going, as well as being able to see some of the digitised archives.
Second life is a series of islands and as there are no boats you have to teleport everywhere you go. You can't readily wander around and just browse except island by island. You can search the map by keywords (which is how I found the Australian libraries site), and then teleport to locations of interest.
I dropped by the Australian Libraries site a couple of times (at different times of day), but did not run into anyone.
I now have my avatar for future meetings, or to check up on anything in second life.