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Second Life doesn’t need to link to social media; it IS social media

Reprinted here from a discussion from Linked-In on whether Second Life should/can connect with Facebook.

“From the beginning of my involvement with Second Life I have said that Linden Lab had a “build it and they will come” idea that was mystical and naive because it didn’t take into account anything for people to do once they came or to understand why they would want to return or stay. Just looking at nice builds is mighty boring.

Linden Lab now seems hot to connect Second Life to Facebook and I have to laugh because they have failed to understand the ways that SL IS a social media. If they did so they would have priorized increasing SL groups before now, perhaps creating two sorts of groups, 1 for land management/perms and another type that is only for social events, arts, community communications. We know SL dating is a big thing, whether it is just to have a date to go SL dancing/clubbing or a way to meet someone as a potential RL spouse. Why did Linden Lab not think of an SL version of OK Cupid. I bet there are a few avatars that would drop a few Lindens to discover their virtual matches and/or SL businesses that would pay to advertise on such a guaranteed popular site.

I was invited to a meeting with some Linden marketing people more than a year ago as part of a group of music venue owners. The questions that we were met with betrayed an abysmal ignorance of the music business in general and more surprisingly the music business in SL. Live music is a huge draw. I send out about 2,000 notices to avatars inviting them inworld to attend events through my own list and group, and up to 8,000 more through other relevant groups. I twitter and facebook about events I host, all free publicity for SL. Linden Lab seemed to assume that we were making money on our venues. The fact is that we were all struggling to break even and our motivations for running music series was quite idealistic, personal, or linked to other external motivations. These days I see venue after venue closing, musicians drifting away from SL. My series continues although with slightly reduced audience and levels of support from the audience. The biggest hit for my series was the cuts to educational and non-profit subsidies. A lot of the audience members for classical and jazz performances were in SL as teachers, students or non-profit volunteers. The spin-offs of the reduced participation by that sector are only now being felt and will be felt more so in September.

What could LL have done to encourage us?

I’ve had several thoughts on this. First public quad sims for music events that different arts promoters could apply to use for large draw events. Submit a proposal X weeks in advance and get the sim for a few days. Start a Linden Arts Foundation making a competitive arts granting process available with meaningful levels of funding that would make an actual arts project possible in SL $10,000 to $25,000 would be my guess at the range needed to allow people to actually give up some of their RL income and invest time and effort in an SL arts initiative. Additionally to help existing series access support through other foundations. To do this, Linden staffers would actually have to be informed about SL arts practice. It has been infuriating to many of us over time when we see someone listed as the “best” whatever, when in fact they are far from the “best” but have recently bought a sim and made a big self-promotional noise. I remember a venue being listed as the “best classical venue in SL” when they had never hosted a classical event at anytime. Just as artists gravitate to cities that support the arts and those artists enrich tourism and the life of the cities, so artists will gravitate to the virtual worlds that support them.


  • Emma Geraln
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I agree with much if what you say. I even posted in the forums about separating land and marketing. SL is indeed social media and as such I do think linking to other social media outlets has it's value. To my mind getting new people in and getting them to stay is the number one long term priority and good old fashioned fun and entertainment is a big part if it.

    I was at a live music event last night, the lag was horrendous
    Freezing, viewer going blank and flickering etc… But the singer was talented and the company was great so I stayed.

  • Anonymous
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    Second Life is not social media. It's nothing more than a glorified chatroom.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    That's an odd thing to say or feel. I've never been able to build in a chatroom, attend arts events, listen to live music, attend lectures, be part of international organizing for peace and social justice causes, or attend spiritual gatherings. Anyone using SL simply as a chatroom sure lacks imagination.

  • Kate Miranda
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Emma, I don't know how long you have been in SL or what viewer you are using, so forgive me if I tell you things you already know. When you are in a crowded sim there are things you can do to reduce lag. If you have a mystitool or meter on, try taking it off for starters. Then reduce your draw-distance down. Go into graphic preferences and if you are in high, try going to mid or low for the duration of the event. Reducing bandwidth demand to draw and redraw distant scenes enables you to free up the space to draw all those avatars, as does not demanding the re-drawing of all the shadows and extra details. Turning off or lower number of particles in a club with particle effects also lowers your lag. I like Phoenix Viewer because all the sliders for these features are very accessible and those of us that attend events are helped when we are able to tweak settings easily on the fly.

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