OK ... I admit I have only had a cursory glance at Second Life ... but I have been very interested in the number of agencies etc that have been opening up a virtual office. It is almost like a gold rush ... there is a lot of energy and a lot of scrambling for position -- and it seems to me that the majority are replicating the same real world approaches rather than taking the opportunity of reinventing the fundamentals of what they do.
For example, do a quick search for Second Life over at Flickr and you will find countless side-by-side comparisons of real people next to their avatars. There is obviously a strong desire to create a virtual mini-me ... and agencies are falling into the same trap. Sure it is good to engage and play with new technologies and online experiential environments, but it is also important to grapple with the underlying structures -- and virtual worlds are closer to communities than they are to real world simulations.
Then I found this great quote over at Dino's blog, by Tim Hayward from NMA:
like everything, else they're trying to do it by forcing their existing model into it. Brilliant - now the world's virtual, lets build an 'agency' around a 'creative department' and get some people in to design us a piece of sexy and expensive real estate... I don't want this to sound like a Bill Hicks rant (actually I do) but WAKE UP PEOPLE - this is exactly where you screwed up in the old world.
Watching old-school agencies do stuff like this is like watching your Dad dancing at a wedding. You might have a sneaking respect that the old bugger's still got the gumption to stand up and give it a go - but you really wish he'd sit down before he makes a complete prat of himself.
Check out Tim's full post here. Dead funny. And serious.
UPDATE: Minutes after first posting this, I am reading David Armano's blog ... and there is an announcement about Crayon -- the new mashup agency-type thing about to be launched by Joseph Jaffe, Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz. The aim is to reinvent and learn-on-the-fly, the new practices that are/will be required by communications/marketers in the virtual communities. It will be interesting to see how it all goes.