Wednesday, December 01, 2010

#SL Social Change

I was busy trying to promote the New Babbage RP mystery Game this weekend when i realised something im sure many of you already have thought of. But if you haven't then please enjoy todays rant.

I posted an introduction to the Black Heart RP along with the video inviting people to come into SL and try it out. The replies on one forum were interesting yet utterly typical.

You know, I joined Second Life specificially because I heard there was a sizable Steampunk community.  I wandered around New Babbage for a about a week and didn't run into a single other person. 
I cast my net wider and encountered only people who wanted me to visit their websites and drive their hits up whilst installing spyware on my machine and a guys who wanted to try out sex pose balls with my female avatar. They didn't care that I was actually male, they just wanted to see their toon boink my toon.

Putting a side the fact that he chose a female avatar,(sounded like he fullfilled the typical SL sterotype pretty well) it highlighted a really HUGE hole in Second Life.

A few weeks ago i ranted about how i thought Pretty shadows, Mesh and display names were pointless compared to a much needed update to SL's social communication structure.

There are many very hardworking devoted creative communities in SL who command vast collections of pricey SIMS. One such community is New Babbage, 1 of a group of Steampunk communities in SL, and at the moment its buzzing with activity from many exciting RP's and autumn events... or is it?

All of the information that gets handed around within the Babbage community comes from its external social website, its there that people learn about future/past events, what people thought about things, and what people have done or plan to do. So is New Babbage the Second Life town Buzzing, or is it the Newbabbage website thats actually buzzing?

Second Life itself has no really effective way to keep it's residents actively engaged with each other about what they do there. I keep hearing that LL are working on it, with the tech they salvaged from Avatars united's corpse but as i foresaw the ripping down of Avatar United, my unhealthy pessimism worries about any Social networking features LL might install. My gut tells me LL will focus any new Social Networking features at Newbs while established SL communities who have built all the kool stuff will be reluctant to leave their external social websites to use an SL integrated gubbins.

It's just interesting when we describe SL as a thriving community when in many cases the community is thriving from outside SL and not seen by outsiders who come into SL looking for them.


[UPDATE] After looking around LL's new advertising section i stumbled on a part focused on Avatars United. A quick google gave me Cold Spliteller's blog post wondering the same as me, Is the picture thumb nail evidence of the new layouts for Second Life social networking. 

I'm interested to see how a revamped avatars united will integrate with the inworld experience if at all. It might just be an outworld web based social network with no interaction with its 3D virtual world counterpart(basically sl branded avatars united) , that would be disappointing.


Tepic said...

Interesting if that is a common experience for people exploring sl, as it is not how i see it. Over the past week, i have met a large number of new AVs in New Babbage, mostly come to try the Black Heart mystery, and interacting with myself and others. To be honest, i am astonished at how many people there are in NB just now!
I think the combination of a good, active web site is crucial to the continuing development and enjoyment of the in-world community. Other sims, without this set-up, seem far less active and developed. It would be in lls interests to take this model and develop it in-world - not sure if they can actually do it though!
Oh.... having great fun in NB just now, thanks Loki!

Galactic Baroque said...

There is some luck involved here, because if your personal computer time falls in off-peak hours, you will find Babbage consistantly empty. British prime time is the best for the Black Heart game, American prime time is the best for hanging out in the pubs. People tend to find a community right away and get excited about it if they happen to hit it right, or else they will wander aimlessly for weeks looking for something if they don't, and eventually be disillusioned by "mainland culture."

Damien Draegonne said...

I understand the comments of the gentleman you are talking about, and read the rest of that thread. But he struck me very much as a WoW fan who expects SL to deliver the same gamer-oriented experience. It is not.

I joined SL about a year ago and it has been a terrific experience, this despite the fact that my time zone is in Japan and I often am wandering about alone. But what I love about SL, passionately, is that it is user created. Trust me, there are people who very much appreciate the work people like you do in SL. I am not a "steampunk" per se (in SL I am a Time Lord with extreme steampunk leanings), but I love the steampunk communities and so far am enjoying the Black Heart immensely (and blogging about it in character--fear not, I will reveal no secrets). SL to me is a wonderful place because it can be just about anything you want it too, a definite advantage over MMORPGs.

Damien Draegonne said...
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