Are We Real?

There is of course the whole philosophical question on whether our avatars are real -- that's not what this post is about. I've just come from the RFL Clothing Fair which was fairly calm. This brought up the question of why, something I had been thinking about in broader terms lately.

Here's the story. A few days ago, Saturday I think, I had what I believed was a great idea. I thought I start hitting some of the green dot hot spots on the map. I knew I would find some clubs, but I was hoping to find some unreported lucky chair watches. There are only so many ways to find the great chairs and boards and one can't be a member of every single group there is. So off I went. Luckily I didn't get myself into any trouble (wink), but I did discover something that surprised me.

Bots are still very much alive and well in SL (R). About a third of the places I TPed to were actually bot farms -- frozen newbie avatars standing in line to be counted. I saw a picture of this on the feed last week, but honestly I didn't read the article and I doubt I would have believed it without my explorations. The other places were all clubs of one kind or another. Not a lucky chair watch to be found. So much for that.

But this brings up the question of "real" people. How many of our pretty steady for awhile now people in world figures are actually bots? I thought they had disappeared for the most part with the new search feature. Naive me. Camping as we knew it is certainly not prevalent. But has all that camping (which at least has SOMEONE behind the avatars) simply been replaced by bots? And how does that impact the retailers?

Yes, the economy is a factor, certainly -- but it seems it isn't the only factor. If we have fewer "real" people that want to shop and less disposable income to shop with? Things may be fairly calm for awhile.