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Monday, November 06, 2006

New Media: Big Brother to Launch First Reality Show in Second Life

As if the show itself wasn't bad enough, Big Brother is now gearing up to launch a new contest within the virtual world. According to the Second Life/Big Brother website, the game will work as follows: a group of Second Life residents will be selected to live in a transparent house on the Big Brother Island, pledging to spend a minimum of 8 hours per day in the house with your fellow contestants. The contest is slated to go from Dec 1st to Dec 31st. The winner, ie the last person left after eliminations weed out the other contestants, wins their own tropical island in Second Life. The entrance of Big Brother marks the debut of reality TV within SL, undoubtedly to be followed by others. The show will operate much like its real-world counterpart, with contestants being subjected to various tasks and viewers being able to vote on their favorites/most hated and consequently leading to the elimination of all but one. But, its definitely taking advantage of being an interactive, virtual environment: residents who are viewers of the show can interact with one another, listen to DJs spinning the latest tracks, dance and more or less enjoy a night out (in-world).

Kind of a mind trip for me, a reality show based within an entirely user-created virtual reality. As much as I really dislike reality TV, I can't help but wonder how this will fare in SL. Given the interactive nature of SL, the show is shaping to have a much different take on the idea of reality shows. It's not some 1 hour program that comes on once a week that you can sit and zone off too, then cast your vote by text message, all the while never truly interacting with many aspects of the show. The Second Life version involves active participation, particularly in regards to other viewers of the show, and could possibly help to create a sense of community among residents who may have never met one another without their shared interest in the show. It's an event, and one that (virtually speaking) is going on in the world you live in, not some remote island/studio/etc in TV Land.

1 comment:

paul said...

Interesting that they've opted to use the Second Life platform. Virtual Laguna Beach seeks to establish a stand-along community.