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Renowned German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ has written an article about Second Life, Ebbe Altberg and I’m proud to say, our 1920s Berlin Project also got mentioned.

I really like this magazine, as a little girl growing up with half my family being German I spend quite a few bored hours trying to find something to do and often ended up reading my dad’s ‘Der Spiegel’ because I finished my Mickey Mouse or Yps, a fantastic spy themed magazine with free toys every week, don’t get me started on how much I loved that magazine.
But I’m getting distracted by nostalgia, typical.

Anyway, ‘Der Spiegel’ is about politics and news, and uses lots of difficult words, so for me as a little girl, I generally had no idea what I was reading, especially as my German wasn’t very good.
But they also had a lot of stories about History that I of course loved.

It is great that this well known magazine writes about Second Life, reaching a huge (generally serious) audience in a country where a LOT of Second Life users come from.
I wonder why SL is so popular in Germany, someone should look into that.

The article writes about the beginning of Second Life, the hype, the “fall” and its future.

As usual Ebbe Altberg does a splendid job of defending our virtual world and explaining that it is so much more than the media, including the ‘Der Spiegel’ reporters, seem to think.

They put too much emphasis on how (they think) Second Life failed.

But it is great to read about Ebbe’s visit to Berlin, where he drops in now and then for a schnaps with the locals.

He is still a foreigner in his own empire.
“I only know a fraction, there is so much to discover”, Altberg swoons. Reluctantly he steers his avatar Ebbe Linden across the Alexander Platz in Berlin. It is the year 1929, economic crisis – the laws of of space and time have never applied  in “Second Life”.

Crippled beggars, wounded in the battles of the First World War, sit in corners; on the walls are posters that call for strikes and revolution.

Ebbe Linden runs towards the Brandenburg Gate and turns left to enter the Hotel Adlon, where every Sunday avatars meet up for swing dancing.
The little history island in “Second Life” is run with loving care by Jo Yardley, a style consultant from Amsterdam, who has a different name in real life.
Almost always this historic Berlin lies abandoned, which is perhaps partially due to the fact that Frau Yardley runs a tight ship.
Each visitor must first obtain historically accurate clothing: “The hem of the skirt was not above the knee, except around the year 1929.”

At the entrance of her world within the world one can purchase dresses, dress shirts, flat caps and suspenders – and with each virtual garment sale Linden Lab earns a percentage.”Oh dear, how embarrassing, I have my jeans on. This is not historically accurate,” says Altberg. “I hope Frau Yardley won’t catch me and throws me out.”

It is flattering to read this and I had to laugh when Ebbe mentioned being kicked out for wearing jeans.
Don’t tell the Lindens, but they are the only ones who we allow in while ignoring the dress code, although we do of course try and talk them into putting on something suitable.

However, it is also a bit frustrating to read that Berlin too is ‘abandoned’, because it really isn’t.
Our traffic is pretty decent, especially if you consider what kind of sim it is, a historical roleplaying sim with a strict dress code.
Yet we have a vibrant community and there are almost always some people running around the city.
Of course, never enough to give you the feel of a real city and yes, there are moments in the day when we’re all in bed.
But I wouldn’t call it deserted.
Outsiders have to realise that the users of Second Life come from all over the world,  there are moments in the day when most Berlin visitors are either in bed or at work.
So it is a bit sad when a journalist visits at such a time and not during our daily happy hour at 2pm (11pm in Germany) or one of our many weekly events when there is usually a bunch of us having a dance, drink and chat.
One more thing we have to remind journalists of when they come to SL.
Or, inform us in advance when they are coming, so we can organise an event a little earlier and a few people can show up and let them witness our community come alive.

Good thing they missed our weekly nudist hour at the bath house though…
Imagine the PR…
Then again, Germans love nudism 😉

In the interview Ebbe acknowledges that the tier is too high and that they want to change this in the future.

He also shares that his current career is the result of a ski accident.
Several years ago he fell and broke a few vertebrae, this ended his sports career and he become a manager.

Ebbe then mentions Second Life 2.0, the yet unnamed new version of SL;

We are working on a massive update that will be more important than anything ever before,”says Altberg. “So far, many surfaces are rather abstract, in the future figures, buildings and landscapes will be photorealistic.”

Ebbe makes clear that this radical change is not without risk.

“The next generation of Second Life ‘ will of course not be fully backwards compatible, although the user can definitely migrate their avatars,their money and their contacts, we have  yet not decided whether each resident also can transfer their land or estate.”

The journalist thinks that Second Life will become like Pompeii, abandoned when we all run t SL 2.0.
With a last lonely tenant hiding in the ruins of 1920s Berlin.
I must say I kind of like that image although I don’t expect this to happen for a few more years and of course as soon as Berlin becomes too empty to pay the bills, I will shut it down.

A shame they didn’t put a little bit more emphasis on the positive sides of Second Life, how it is still a multi million dollar business, how many people make a living out of it, the art, the

You can read the complete article (in German) by following this link, unfortunately you need a subscription to read it.

Thanks to Drax for translating it.
Thanks to my dad for sending it to me.

der spiegel