A true picture

A common assumption among Second Life users is that we know how Second Life is being used by the tens of thousands of users outside of our personal experience, and that Linden Lab does not.

Granted, I don’t think the majority are spending their time in SL re-enacting Busby Berkeley musical numbers, but one of the things to remember is that the people outside of our social and interaction circles are often outside of them because they do things differently to the way we do.

You? Me? We don’t have good data about what people do in SL, what their resources might be, or any of that. Oh, sure we’ve got just oodles of anecdotal evidence, just as Americans did prior to the publication of the Kinsey reports.

Remember how those caused such shock and outrage when they were released, and they showed people what they were like and what they did, as opposed to what everyone was assuming about everyone else based on their assumptions of information outside of their experience? Whew.

Unfortunately, there’s just no data of that sort, to give us a true picture of Second Life usage.

Well, actually, there is some (not much, I believe, but some) but only the Lab actually has it. So, consider this:

There’s actually a non-zero chance (though I consider it a small one) that the Lab knows us – as a community – better than we know ourselves, and that the reason that we don’t think that they do is that you and I are outliers.

Of course, I’d guess that there’s an even greater chance that they’ve got no better idea than we do, but that they think that they know us as well as we think we know us – but the fact remains, that our data – and probably the Lab’s data – is biased, selective and incomplete, for the greater part.

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