After five years of its release, I am always shocked when I have to describe Second Life to another person. I assumed with its massive coverage of mainstream media (who are quick to jump on any salacious scandalous material), many dedicated blogs and websites, and even a clear definition on the website, describing and defining Second Life would be an unnecessary chore. However, I’m wrong. When presented with the question “What is Second Life” I find myself juggling between three different components in trying to describe the platform as a whole: the technology, its capabilities and the purpose. The platform is very organic; I don’t believe a single definition focused on one aspect serves as a complete definition. Somewhere between these three areas is a clearer, understandable definition of Second Life.
Although I consider the introduction of Linden Lab’s Homestead product a resolution to the Openspace Sim controversy, the reactions around the community seem to be split. Some people (including CodeBastard) disagree with my thoughts (and have slapped me), the consensus throughout the community is the introduction of the new product and changes is a reasonable compromise between the community wishes and Linden Labs needs. Two days before the announcement of Homesteads, hosts Dousa Dragonash and Dietrich Finesmith of Metaverse.tv MBC invited BNT CEO Intlibber Brautigan and I for a round table discussion of the Openspace issues.
While some of the topics raised here are irrelevant, there are some that remain very relevant and I feel hold true and will continue to remain relevant to the future as hardware specifications and limits are completely defined.
Privately, among friends and during an interview this week I’ve noted that the controversy surrounding Openspace Sim raised the need of a new product; something that was not a full sim, but not an Openspace sim. Moments ago, M Linden has announced a resolution to the Openspace Sim controversy, Homesteads. This is a really good move for Linden Lab and community. This new product bridges the gap between Openspaces and full fledged sims. A win-win, for those those who wanted to keep cheaper sim land, Linden Lab wanting to maintain their grid stability initatives. This announcement also displays Linden Lab’s continued ability to recognizing, listening and adjusting their policies based on feedback. Continue reading
A few months ago I explored several ways of promoting yourself in Second Life through tools that rely primarily on website RSS syndication. These methods are great in the long term however getting the word out about your website, an event, sending press releases or interesting news requires a different method. The three best ways to promote these ideas are through Second Life media outlets, blogs, and advertising through the Second Life classifieds, forms and banners.
News and Media Outlets
There are several media services centered around Second Life and its various cross sections. The top Second Life outlets are Massively, SLNN, The Metaverse Messenger and The Metaverse Journal, all which provide means of communication for submitting your news. While these news outlets are great ways to get the word out, they seem to cover only certain segments of the large Second Life pie.
Massively and SLNN seem to cover large stories such as changes in Linden Lab policies, major companies entering Second Life and major events. The Metaverse Messenger seems more resident friendly covering a broad range of stories from Linden Lab policy changes to residents of the week. While broad it comes out every week and in a PDF format, which may be great for print but not for the web. The Metaverse Journal seems to be the cross section of the two, appearing in a web friendly format with RSS feeds and coverage of a very large cross section of Second Life.
Each of these outlet provide ways to submit a story, but use the guideline above to expect if your story is appropriate and will see the light of day. If you are a large company doing something interesting, Massively and SLNN are possibly your first choices in submitting news. Releases, and more resident focused items are better sent to the Messenger and Journal.
I consider blogs as a part of the Second Life media, the distinction not being their platform but news reporting. SL Blogs tend to steer towards specific topics others take in a board range of subjects, the benefit is they respond quicker to submitted news. The negative are blogs can be very opinionated and are happy with that distinction.
If you have a website, blogs can be a great resource; links from popular blogs to your website help in getting noticed from the blogs readers and search engines. Finding popular blogs can be accomplished by going through The World of SL websites or searching for popular avatars through Google.
For those who are selling virtual products and wish to publicize them, bloggers are the best resource to have, submitting copy reviews to blog authors will help expedite a future posting of your item.
A good post for anyone seeking promotion in Second Life should read Hamlet Au’s Top Ten Tips for the Second Life Blogger Who Wants More Traffic.
Classifieds, Forums and Banner Advertisements
Advertising in Second Life occurs through many avenues. Several blogs have advertising mechanisms that help. There are integrated tools for promotion in Second Life, one being the Second Life classifieds section which is syndicated through within Second Life and on the website. Posting a classified is performed through your profile and cost as little as $L 50. The top price for a classified is based on the market. While a top paid advertisement helps in being noticed and determines positioning, any classified with good keywords will benefit from those performing searches. Another popular advertising avenue are Second Life forms such as the Second Life Classifieds Forms, or SL Universe’s SLShopper and Classifides form Section.
Traditional website banner advertisements help and are offered through popular Second Life sites such as ProfilesLive (formerly Second Life Profiles) and XStreet SL. Sites like XStreet SL and OnRez also provide optional listing placement and decoration as a form of advertisement. Your items are placed ahead of others or included in specific keyword searches, techniques that can boost sales for particular products.
Linden Lab announced several changes to Openspace sims in Second Life causing a bit of an uproar in the Second Life community. Unlike many people I think that these changes are for the best. The changes in the new policy can help land owners, and recreate larger mainland communities. Before I delve into my thoughts of these changes, lets revisit what exactly is a Openspace sim.
Iris Ophelia on New World Notes asked “Who Are the Hottest Male Avatars in Second Life“. Usually this is a topic that revoles around the women in Second Life; contents, pageant, and calendars featuring the “hottest” women of Second Life are all too frequent in Second Life. It’s nice to see the men get a fair shake in the action. There seems to have been some 100 entries and the first round to determine whom the top 10 are is underway. My recommendation is to vote often for your favorite male avatars.
On Thursday, September 25, 2008, I saw Second Skin at a screening at The Calhoun School in New York City and was quite impressed. Second Skin is an honest and real look into the lives individuals whom are actively engaged in MMORPG’s, i.e. ‘Gamers’. The film, however, is not an all inclusive look of those in virtual spaces focusing heavily on gamers especially those involved with World of Warcraft, and Everquest. There are brief mentions of non-MMOG platforms such as Second Life, but not the core of the film. In reality Second Skin is a starting point in the discussion of MMOG’s by exploring the many aspects of gamers and their involvement in these worlds.
After missing the first Second Skin screening in New York City (and all previous screenings), I was delighted to find out there’s another screening this week! The next Second Skin screening in NYC happens on September 25th, 2008 through the Calhoun School, in the Mary Lea Johnson Performing Arts Center, 433 West End Ave. at 81st St. You can sign up for tickets through the Calhoun School ($10 for general admission/$5 for students).
I’m really excited to be attending this screening and shortly afterwards will have a full review of the film (I’ll try not to be too biased.)
“Wow” really explains my feelings after an SLCC. Planning for this year’s SLCC has been one of the most difficult things I’ve done, however worth every moment and turned out to be a success. It’s hard for me to say what the convention means and the sort of experience that is shared, I have come away with one thought and that SLCC is very important. Possibly more than I thought of previously. In conversations with several first timers, they express the same joy and excitement I have in organizing the convention. They are excited, eager to participate in discussions, and reconnect with others after spending so much time, working, discussing, and interacting together online, a feeling that also resonates with organizers, volunteers and SLCC veterans.
This year’s Second Life Community Convention was great! I wanted to recap the convention but I could not keep enough notes to detail everything that went on. There are many highlights that play throughout my mind, names of people whom cards I have scattered in my luggage (which needs to get unpacked), pictures that need to be Flickred and posted that would cause this post to run several pages. I would inadvertently forget a name, an experience and the post will come crashing down. The one I will note is that I did finally get some rest (for those of you whom worried!); throughout this weekend, I think I have operated on roughly 8 hours sleep. This was due to many late evenings participating in discussions and events with others, enjoying the company only to have to wake up near 7 to work on the convention is something that I’ve gotten accustomed to with the SLCC. It shocked me that I could perform on two hours of sleep but that in of itself is horribly destructive (read: children do not do this at home!)
There are many interesting highlights and developments concerning SLCC 2008, many things that will change in the upcoming year, and many things that will be better and grow. This experience shows me there is a need to connect with each other and that must continue to happen because it is rich, rewarding and educational. In conversation it was mentioned that the SLCC is a “user” convention and wondered about the benefits of having such a thing. While he was correct, the SLCC is created by Second Life residents (or users) whom volunteer time to organize, plan and develop a plethora of content, the user is much more diverse than any other platform. There are many discussions, sights and items placed on display for the first time at the SLCC’s. I remember after San Francisco (2006) I expressed concern among other organizers that SLCC’s would become an uncontrollable trade-show environment where launches would dominate and would not properly represent the community. What I forgot and continually reminded is Second Life and its “users” are not all made from the same mold. Residents are entrepreneurs, educators, artists, musicians, and in all honesty unlike those of many other software platforms available. This develops a rich connection between “users”, the introduction of new releases and the structure of Second Life; the SLCC becomes many conventions in one. The magic is once a year it happens in one space at once.
SLCC is important and I always enjoy my time there and come away with many interesting memories, connections and thoughts. It’s a rich bond that connects people virtually, reality, and as a whole making it a worthwhile experience.
I can’t wait to see everyone again next year!
Sex and video games is a very loaded subject. Sex and MMO’s is even more loaded. It seems when the topic of sex arises, the media gets into a frenzy, parents begin uprisings, and everyone begins to treat it as some sort of taboo thing. We all seem to forget that most people have had sex, even more have seen the act in one form or another. The reason sex is so difficult to discuss (while at the same time one of the most discussed subjects) is due to its nature of being a highly intimate act that creates and revolves around very important moments in our lives. With that said, the conversations that are had on the subject are not always the most compelling ones. There are very few intelligent, mature conversations about sex in the video game and MMO market arenas that do not revolve around legislative nature, or revolve around some sort of scandal. Most media cover the topic much in the same way Britney Spears is followed by the paparazzi. Then there’s items like this on YouTube, this presentation by Daniel Floyd does a great job in starting the conversation and making comparisons between sex and video games to film. Some very valid points are made, such as the way sex is used in video games. While it does seem unrealistic, immature and derogatory at times, it does sell.