From an article in Network World:
“The inspiration for the platform was the realization that the current social world is too static, according to Wang.
With Lively she wants users to be able to interact using words, 3D graphics and gestures. The furniture users pick for their room should give visitors an idea of who they are, and it is more poignant to receive an animated hug than seeing the text “[[hug]]” displayed on the screen, according to Wang.”
The full article, Google adds third dimension to online social relationships, can be read here.