There are a number of great replies that seem to address this issue. Let me add that with any new technology, there are growing pains. I like to point out when the Model-T Ford rolled off the assembly lines many people complained about the lack of roads, the tires went flat frequently, few gas stations, etc, etc. – but how many people today do you see taking their horse to work. No doubt, SL has its difficulties (crashing, response times, interface issues, learning curve, etc.) but when you look at it as the next generation visualization-interface tool you can see great potential for helping others examine problems/proposals/issues more clearly than before. Social Networking, much like this tool, is changing the way “we think”, “solve problems” and “interact with one another” and SL is a contributor to this activity.
What will really accelerate SL is the merging technologies of a faster network – and graphics cards that will bring visual reality to our computers not to mention much improved interfaces. Crossing from one Virtual World (VW) to another could also be a great step to look forward to.
I had attended a course called “StoryTelling through Multi-media” by Brian Storm at the PDN PhotoPlus Expo this past October in New York City. Brian stated that his 6 man company “speaks” to 132 different countries. Clearly, there is a revolution in communications that is occuring now – and since communications is the basis of most innovation, I would be hard pressed to ignore a tool like SL in this process. If I could draw an analogy, in five years – expect this visual environment and communications tool to be around like the “internet” is around today from five to ten years ago. Mikal