"...Sony revealed on Wednesday (March 7) that it is indeed launching a 'Second Life'-style service called PlayStation Home that will grant every PS3 owner an avatar and a virtual apartment, which are linked into a virtual world that will be available for free to all system owners when it launches in the fall.
Hopefully it is becoming clearer that we need to pay attention to virtual worlds because they are going to be a part of our collective, professional future. It's up to each of us individually how much of a role it will play in our personal lives, just as we make decisions about books, television, the internet, parties, movies, parties, etc. are, but between Sony's plans, the BBC's forthcoming online children's world, Second Life, There, and other virtual spaces, we're seeing further illustrations of why librarians need to understand how cultures and interactions work in these spaces for our professional lives.
Maybe there isn't something we should be doing in all of these worlds (maybe even probably), but how will we know if we don't explore and find out? I think it's great that there are librarians out there on the forefront, trying things out for those who can't, and reporting back.
This also helps show why the concept of "play" is so important. Even if you don't "get" these virtual worlds and don't care to spend much time in them, it's good to enter them once or twice, just to see what they're like. Exploring future spaces - physical and virtual, outside of our four walls - is important, even at the personal level. And when you try the next iteration in a year or two, you might just be surprised at how far they've developed (or not, which is also good to know).
While it won't be easy for most librarians to play in Sony's "Home" world because of the barriers to entry, you can still experiment in free spaces like Second Life and There to get a taste. In fact, if you start looking around, it's amazing how many new sites, especially those favored by younger users, are avatar-based and how social and transactional interactions occur in them.
Imagine how much better we could have been prepared if we'd paid more attention in 1994-95 to the disruptive internet that was about to hit us. Maybe we wouldn't have spent so much time trying to individually catalog the entire web. Maybe we would have figured out single search box faster. Maybe we would have taught Google literacy from the beginning. Maybe we would have added patron comments to the catalog in the 20th century. Who knows how we might have helped shape today's internet and associated literacies for the better.
"The number of video game consoles in U.S. television households has expanded by 18.5% since the fourth quarter of 2004, according to a new report released today by Nielsen Wireless and Interactive Services, a service of The Nielsen Company. In the fourth quarter of 2006 there were 45.7 million homes with video game consoles, representing 41.1% of all TV households, compared to 39.1% (43 million) in 2005, and 35.2% (38.6 million) the previous year....
Read the full report (PDF).
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