Electronic Media

Healthcare activities on “Second Life” reported

 Researchers in Canada found a wide array of health-related activity in the 3 dimensional virtual world of Second Life.

Second Life is free for users with basic accounts, and reported more than 16 million registered users worldwide in 2008.

First, the details.

  • 3 separate search strategies were used to identify health-related sites on Second Life.
  • Each site was visited; and user experience, chief purpose, and basic site information, including user traffic data and site size were recorded.

And, the results.

  • There are a range of range of health-related activities on Second Life.
  • A diverse group of users, including organizations, groups, and individuals are represented.
  • For many users, Second Life activities are a part of their Web 2.0 communication strategy.
    • Background on Web 2.0 is here.
  • Among 68 health-related sites…
    • Principle aim
      • Patient education
      • Increase awareness about health issues
    • Second most common type of sites…
      • Support
      • Training
      • Marketing
  • A few sites were designed to conduct research in Second Life or to recruit participants for real-life research.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Users are engaged in a range of health-related activities in Second Life, which are potentially impacting real-life behaviors.

Maybe, but it would be useful to have specifics on the impact any of this has in real life compared to the other activities of this virtual world.

5/26/09 15:36 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.