Good post by Moll on how the Internet has and hasn’t changed our lives. She’s particularly bang-on about Second Life. The odd thing about Second Life is how much effort has been put in to reproducing real life, but worse in every respect. Moving through physical space (but through the cumbersome mediation of a keyboard); judgments based on physical appearance (and, as Moll points out, usually the physical appearance of the banally human; to produce anything more imaginative, you have to work around the built-in “avatar” system); money (but only necessitated by the most immediately and transparently artificial scarcity).
One of the advantages of the Internet that Moll points out is that you no longer need to go shopping, something which Second Life has re-introduced, with all the “spending time wandering around trying to find what you want” that that entails; to the extent that people have now re-re-introduced Internet shopping, so you can go on the Internet to buy stuff for Second Life. That about sums up Second Life, I think; it’s a way of avoiding the Internet, the Internet for people who don’t get the Internet. It’s depressing that people are proposing Second Life as some kind of new stage of the Internet, when really it’s a gigantic step backwards: the virtual world of the Internet, with its at least implicit utopianism, sidestepped in favor of a bafflingly unnecessary realism.