Second Life’s recent and exciting feature (the ability to import COLLADA Mesh objects) is a game changer within the virtual world. It has the potential to replace the basic building tools used to create objects in Second Life. While mesh support is exciting, currently there’s a few limitations to its implementation. While, these limitations don’t seem like large stumbling blocks for most items (such as: buildings, automobiles, props) they are limiting enough that makes me question the newest trend in mesh, Mesh Clothing.
On Friday, the winners to the resident choice awards were announced; congratulations to those who won in their respective categories.
While some controversy surrounded the award (much like EVERY SINGLE Second Life award) its the most effectively ran award available, mainly because Linden Lab was the organizer. Unlike others, Linden Lab was able to make sure every resident knew about it, was able to tap into their large marketing pipes to the Second Life community, had mechanisms to prevent cheating and had an incentive for voting. Winning the Resident Choice Award provides a huge deal of marketing within Second Life and to the outside world. The Resident Choice Awards is no different than the Emmy’s, Oscars, Golden Globes, and Viewer Choice Awards; to an extent they are all popularity contests, not everyone is going to agree on a winner, and there’s always going to be fallout.
Yesterday I provided some thoughts on the decrease of attendance to Second Life events; events are not engaged with their audience and collaborations between artists and locations need to occur more often. Paisley Beebe joined in the conversation with an interesting comment:
The onus in SL is often put squarely on the musician to create a show worth returning to over and over again but, in my theory no amount of bells and whistles can in reality, or virtual reality create a situation where the same audience would WANT to keep comming back to see the same act or variations of it over and over again….In RL we musicians move around…for good reason unless you are, or want to be background music, al la the Piano Man in your local bar…you need to change audiences and spread the love.
There’s some truth in this statement. In the “real world” musicians, DJ’s and event hosts are responsible for the success of an event by how it is executed and a legitimate expectation. Events must be worth attending, even for the simplest reasons.
There are other factors, one of the big ones is the lack of event promotion tools.
Every year a Second Life magazine, website or blog would announce some sort of “Best Of” award. This is usually followed with criticism about the categories, the selection process, and the promotion. A great example was last years Vain Inc. Reader Choice Awards.
This week, Linden Lab takes a stab at the award selection process with their own Resident Choice Awards that has categories for locations, people and things. While some complain about missing categories, I like their selection and the category names! Missing categories (such as a category for both men and women clothing, specific clothing items) are made up by categories like “My favorite depressing place to Be Emo” or “My favorite nom-nom-y Prim Food Artist”. If you consider the amount of promotion Linden Lab is taking with this award (on the blog, website, and through the Message of the Day), the winners are bound to gain just as much recognition from winning the awards. I recommend voting for your favorite Second Life place, person or thing and remember to vote for Nexeus Fatale under “My favorite house-rockin’ DJ” (what, you didn’t think I wasn’t going to try and promote myself!)
I had the opportunity to visit MadPea Productions new game, The Kaaos Effect, which is sponsored by Orange. The concept of the game is interesting, something "wrong" happened with the space time continuum and you need to travel throughout time and solve puzzles to help fix it. Paired with a HUD and Armband, you travel randomly through several time periods, discovering clues and pieces of equipment in order to determine what may have gone wrong.
Being able to connect through Second Life, outside of having to download and run a resource intensive program has been a wish of many SLers. SLim helps alleviate this, for those on the go Sparkle IM seems to fill another niche.
For those who want to keep in touch with SL on your iPhone, Genkii has just released a new app for the iPhone that lets you IM your Second Life or OpenSim friends and contacts (along with some other nice features). It’s an interesting concept, especially the direction that Genkii is going through. The benefit is this app allows for a new means of communication for those who need to stay in touch (if you have an iPhone that is!)
Linden Lab’s upcoming change for Adult Content in Second Life is not particularly shocking or new. Years ago there were rumors of an ‘adult’ grid similar to that of the teen grid. There’s always been a struggle in the handling of adult content within Second Life and has been the target of press coverage and politician’s questions. This change for adult content doesn’t surprise or upset me, nor should it surprise or upset anyone else. I believe it’s a move to align with the rest of the Internet and the rules, laws and regulations that exist for everyone else.
When visiting a beer or alcohol website, your asked for your date of birth; when visiting pornographic or nude sites your are warned as the content and type of website that you are about to visit. These are common rules and guidelines, backed by laws handling adult content online. While Second Life is a virtual world, it still exists in an online space that’s regulated by these rules. Segregating adult, mature, and general content is not only a smart move, but better handled by Linden Lab rather than some rating regulation committee (such as the ERSB). I don’t see this as a horrible policy that changes everything, it’s been a long time coming, but some questions arise. Continue reading
I’m working on the finishing touches to a presentation, introducing Second Life to a class at Columbia University. Some of the students in the course have some really good questions, surrounding the topics of brand identification, and the long term validity of the platform. While I’ve introduced Second Life to groups before, I find myself reinventing the wheel a bit. For others who have introduces Second Life to new groups or friends, what key aspects do you highlight in your presentation or introductions to Second Life? Do you focus on the creative aspects? The social workings? Specific builds and locations?
A study from Northwestern University states social and racial biases are carried into virtual worlds; this isn’t surprising. It’s human nature to stick to the familiar, either by engaging in familiar environments or seeking those with like opinions, thoughts and preferences. This is easily seen by the familiar clothing, buildings, and objects (such as cars) that exist in Second Life. By design virtual worlds do not care for each individual thought, opinions or preferences, they are neutral to human subjectivity. They do have parameters users much abide by, usually these parameters do not penalize you for choosing a specific gender, ethnicity or hair color. Virtual worlds are built by humans, all with different point of views, opinions and thoughts lending for the possibilities of differences concerning the choice of one’s gender, ethnicity or creature.
The representation of ethnicity and avatars does play out in very interesting ways. The same way men create female avatars in virtual worlds, ethnic identity is carried out in very similar but more complex fashion. Like the ability to represent one’s gender in a virtual world, ethnic identification is just as important. Many develop a bond with their virtual avatar as it is a representation of their own identity. In order to delve into the differences of ethnic identity in virtual world, I believe there are four factors to example: accessibility, preference and perception, life experiences, and “the goal.”
I find it interesting that many people who I talk to concerning their project within Second Life don’t have a clear strategy for building and maintaining successful brands, builds and projects. Many seem to go at it until there’s some success paired with a prevalent Angles in the Outfield Theory (“If you build it, they will come”) that exists throughout Second Life, even among large groups and corporations. Having a beautifully built space or a really great idea doesn’t provide any clout unless a message and idea of clearly conveyed. Through my experience in Second Life, I’ve learned some lessons as to what a successful strategy entails, here’s what I’ve found to be several key elements.