Rewarded for Cat Pictures (and Whatnot)

 All Things D interviews Rod Humble, CEO of Linden Labs, home of the online virtual world Second Life. I have tried out Second Life a number of times over the years, but never stuck with it, for a multitude of reasons: my connection was too slow, my processor too weak, or I realized that true immersion in the game would require a level of time and energy investment I simply could not spare. 

But Humble had one point about what makes his company’s game-world so unique, and what it might bode for the future: 

Game makers are always trying to stay one step ahead of content creation, so you get these bigger and bigger budgets, trying to make more and more polished content. Second Life and YouTube are both rewarding their users for what they create. I believe there will be a day when you’ll log in to your social network and see, “Oh, I got five bucks because I posted my silly cat picture.” What I’m trying to do is position our company to take advantage of that and facilitate people being rewarded for the time they put in.

Now, the last time I remember anyone trying anything like that was with early-aughts browser plugins and homepages like “iWon” that encouraged you to click on ads in order to build up a virtual gambling currency which would be applied to drawings for prizes. But the idea that the content I put up on Facebook, Twitter, or Zod help me, on my blog, might actually generate real, actual, usable money? Now where have I heard this idea before? 

Nah, I’m just being cute. I know where. Jaron Lanier:

The thing that I’m thinking about is the Ted Nelson [early Internet pioneer] approach … where people buy and sell each other information, and can live off of what they do with their hearts and minds as the machines get good enough to do what they would have done with their hands.

I did a whole post about that. Anyway, I think maybe Humble and Lanier should talk.

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