Second Life’s fuzzy math

Clay Shirky says reporters are stupid when it comes to statistics about Second Life. It won’t come as a surprise to any who reads this blog that I agree. However, I’m not ready to write-off Second Life just because of their hyped numbers. I’d prefer to write them off because their business model and practices remind me of an early AOL or Compuserve when you could only send email to other subscribers of your walled-off service. I’ve learned not to write-off things I don’t understand (I say this as I am sitting next to the 16 year old who is deep into playing a videogame I can neither understand or play), but my forays into Second Life have led me to dread the learning curve of something new — and that’s not usually the way I feel about learning the ways of new forms of online community.