Boris Müller

Interface & Interaction Design



Second Lie

Type: Class
Semester: Summer 2007
Institutions: FH Potsdam
Students: Sonja Kislinger, Johannes Landstorfer, Susann Hamann, Larissa Pschetz, Sören Klingsporn
Staff: Mattias Ljungström, Boris Müller

Today, Second Life is pretty much dead. And rightfully so. However, in early 2007, it was a media hype. So in this class, we tried to identify design opportunities that went beyond the design of avatars and buildings. As part of our experiment, we explored Second Life as a group – a bit like tourists.

We started off with the assignment to design social games for Second Life. But the project shifted to a more essential question: how do people actually communicate in Second Life? Our impression was that very little communication happened. Groups and places tended to be very exclusive.

So the students started of to provoke reactions from the inhabitants of Second Life. It was quite fascinating to realise that the best way to provoke a reaction is simply to look different. (People are people - even in SL.) We simply stuck geometric primitives like cubes or pyramids to our virtual body parts. The most successful of these outfits was a pink christmas tree. It was so successful that we were banned from the T-Online-Beach within 30 seconds.

Other experiments also included the creation of large letters. They enabled us to write short words above the head of the avatar. This also proved to be a very efficient way to provoke reactions. My favourite was wearing the word »quit« while attending a dancing hall where avatars were dancing for Linden Dollars.

In short: interesting excursion. Here a few more impressions from our trips: