Strawberry Singh suggested that we should share our thoughts about second life with you. Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule. I hope you are comfortable talking at our office here in Brocade.
Since you are still new to Second Life, I would like to take this opportunity to explain my perspective of why most people who are in SL for more than a look around stay.
Whether we see SL as therapy, fantasy, business or entertainment; we are almost universally fulfilling in a virtual sense what we can’t or won’t in RL. The graphic artist who sits under-appreciated in cubical all week gets to express themselves and perhaps make some money. The frustrated business person who will never make it beyond lower management can prove themselves as a land baron or marketing executive. The socially challenged often find that they blossom in SL. Those who long, from a stuffy apartment, for a home of their own can build castles, or live on a tropical island. Yes, for some it is about the sex they would rather be having in RL. I could go on and on – – .
There has been much made of the new user experience and how SL is hard to learn. More to the point, people need more information about what Second Life is! Much more needs to be done with advertising and publicity to overcome the tawdry reputation we have gotten due to Linden Lab’s lazy PR. You need to be asking who stays in SL, not for a day or two but for months; these are the people who keep the SL economy going, and who are most likely to move beyond the most basic accounts. It is a hard nut to crack, I know. A positive attitude and PR promoting the best aspects of SL will go a long way.
Thank you for coming Ebbe, you are a very good listener.
“Some of the best lessons are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom of the future.”Dale Turner
The past week or so has seen an accumulation of milestones.
WordPress informs me I have now been blogging for 3 years. It hardly seems possible! I spent some time rereading my old posts (and adding tags). There are none I regret writing although I wish I had not titled one “Free Sex Bed”, it still gets a lot of hits, probably not by people interested in Second Life. “There is need for a “Lite” Second Life Viewer” gets the most hits. It is probably misinformed in it’s technical details, yet the number of people looking at it validates it’s basic intent.
Firestorm Viewer has also reached it’s 3rd anniversary! The journey from Emerald to Phoenix to Firestorm was not always smooth sailing, but the viewer has always been very popular and usually has been the most used viewer in SL. What we have today is an outstanding example of the high end of what is possible. The support offered by the team via their wiki, in group chat, and in in-world classes is an example of what the Lindens “should” be doing.
On a very sad note, Nalates posts that Nomine is closing. Many of you may not remember, but in the 2005-2006 time frame there was a lot of positive publicity in both the print and digital press featuring Munchflower Zaius (Nomine) as an example of someone making a RL living in SL (see here and here). This early publicity was instrumental in attracting my attention to Second Life. If you get a chance, visit Nomine while you still can, Munch’s work is still among the best around. We wish her the very best possible in her life’s journey.
In addition to all of that, both Sandy and I celebrate RL birthdays this week. No, I am not telling 🙂
“We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing our own skin.” Andre Berthiaume
I discovered an interesting site today where you can monitor the advertising about Second Life showing up at web pages.
Check out http://www.moat.com/search/results?q=second+life
It appears that Zombies and Vampires still predominate with a very few interesting exceptions.
For years we have been telling the Lindens that we can do a better job of many things than they can. Is it possible they are listening?
We complained endlessly about the cheesy vampire ads and the poor quality home page pictures. Have you looked at the default Second Life Homepage lately? — WOW! Resident made illustrations with a music theme. A vast improvement, and the creators are credited in the pictures!!! Hopefully this is a first step in allowing the residents to illustrate an assortment of themes on the public facing face of Second Life. (Note: when going to the SL homepage you may be directed to the login page, I had to use a different browser.)
Linden Lab announced that they would not be hosting a Second Life 9th Birthday event. Instead they will promote events run by the residents via the Destination Guide and through various social media. As Tateru points out, this is a return to the way SL3B was run. It will be up to us to come up with the leadership and initiative to make it successful. Truthfully I have been disappointed in the last couple of birthday events; too much self promotion, too little imagination. There were of course exceptions, but they were hardly worth the lag involved in finding and appreciating them.
“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” Napoleon Bonaparte
I have never trusted Marketplace, it is just too easy for the Lindens to mess it up. When they inevitably do, it is real money merchants and customers are loosing.
I use Marketplace primarily as a product catalog, for that it is very good! There is an increasing trend toward merchants relying exclusively on Marketplace without an in-world store; in those instances I have to want something badly, or it must be very cheap for me to buy it.
What I wish they would do within marketplace is have the ability to send me a Landmark for an in world store. A Slurl is useless if I am not logged in. Forwarding landmarks would allow me to shop from another machine, at another time. I could even shop from a smart phone and have Landmarks waiting for me when I got home.
Some day they will force us to give up our magic boxes, I will delay for as long as possible. I am even less inclined to use Marketplace for shopping at the moment.
“Human nature has a tendency to admire complexity but reward simplicity.”
Ben Huh, CEO, Cheezburger Network
Things have been going along smoothly in Second Life of late, or it seems so to me. There has been activity from Linden Lab, just not much unexpected or inexplicable. Let me illustrate:
- The new Destination Islands: obviously a work in progress. Even LL is not foolish enough to think dumping newbies in world randomly is good for retention. Time will tell.
- Premium Wilderness: – – – yawn – – – The Moles do good work but by it’s very nature the DPW implements what “the boss” says. A fine example of what happens without the personal, emotional investment of resident builds. We can hope that some Lindens got their hands dirty and learned some building skills in the process here.
- Pathfinding and the other tools LL developed for Linden Realms (created to demo and test those tools): These are working their way through the shakeout process toward full implementation, it will probably be next year before they really impact SL.
- Mesh: I am seeing more and more mesh builds for sale but this will not reach it’s full potential until the parametric deformer is fully adapted and we can have mesh clothing that fits properly.
- Direct Delivery: Rolled out to the grid in a stripped down basic form. Even so it is buggy! If anyone is surprised by that you need to check your meds.
- New Phoenix/Firestorm update: The highlight of my month; very efficient, TONs of features, lots of ways to customize your user interface. Be prepared to spend some time setting it up to your liking, this is not plug-and-play!
So you see, for me this has been an interlude of sitting back and watching the passing parade, trying not to be drawn into the drama and overreaction of the moment.
“– – – all’s well with the world.”
It is mentioned again and again; Linden Lab’s advertising / advertising graphics are terrible. In the comments to Serendipidy Haven’s post (reblogged below) it is mentioned more or less in passing several times.
I decided to take a look for myself. First I sent an email to the LL PR department, no reply after over a week – not really unexpected. Next I went trolling around the internet using Philip’s description of SL residents as a guide. I must have scanned a couple thousand blogs, not a single advertisement for Second Life! In fact the only place I find SL banner and side bar ads is at SL related blogs and LL’s own site!
I know that in today’s world of targeted advertising it can be difficult to know what advertising you will see. I did see a few ads for on line games (Thirst of Night and The Godfather), so someone is targeting me.
I have to conclude that if Linden Lab is advertising Second Life at all it is very minimally, and to some target other than who they believe will become SL residents.
They say there are a lot of people signing up every day, and not staying. Other than bots and alts I assume most of these people found Second Life by chance.
That leaves word of mouth, residents telling their RL friends about SL. There are several groups of residents working on various welcoming projects and LL seems to have come around and is being somewhat more helpful to them.
What Linden Lab could do to help us get the word out in RL is give us some tools to work with, nothing fancy, just the same licensed use of the Eye-In-Hand logo most companies do with their logos. Caps, Sweatshirts, Mugs, Stickers, even the jacket Philip wears in the picture below! With a little help, we, the residents could be an advertising powerhouse and the newbies would know what to expect and have a helping hand getting started.