Saturday, January 4, 2014

Asking for Assistance in Second Life

 

You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.

John Bunyan

 

          Having just had my look back on 2013 in Second Life (SL) I now want to look ahead into 2014 and…
          I have a request of my readers.  (Ah hah!  I’ll bet you thought that you could just cruise along while I did all the heavy lifting, huh?) 
          As many of you know by now, I travel across the Grid inworld a lot and don’t stay very long in one place.  Being a transient I don’t stay connected very well with many of my friends and the people I meet along the way.  I oftentimes don’t return to sims I’ve blogged about and remember fondly.  (I don’t get thrown out of everyplace.) 
          Recently, as I’ve been working on the story plan for this year (Yes, believe it or not, there is some method to this madness.)  I’ve found once again that sims have gone away and friends are no longer around.  (We won’t go into Significant Other’s assertion that this may have something to do with my writing.) 
          In my recent story about social media inworld I blogged about the use of these tools to extend the boundaries of SL out into the Metaverse and Real Life (RL).
          Here’s my request: 

          Let’s use social media to extend our conversation beyond the confines of SL in order to have a more robust community and build stronger ties.

          Why should we do this?
          First, as I wander about inworld I meet many people.  I find it difficult to stay in touch if I’m not inworld.  My meanderings are all over so I’m not always plugged into what’s happening in SL.  Then, not everyone is inworld all the time. (Nor, am I suggesting that they should be.  Significant Other is worried about this last one.  A lot!) 
          Next, what happens if SL goes away?  Linden Lab has made no commitment of indefinite support that I’m aware of and seem to be engaged in a maintenance only model.  I ask my famous question, when was the last time anyone met a Linden inworld? 
          Finally, I’m curious to see if this can be done.  Is SL a technological and social dead end?  (I, for one, am tired of RL friends who say SL is for those with No Life in Real Life (RL).)  How committed are all of us to this wonderful thing we call Second Life? 
          Sims are closing.  The number of residents who are online has been static if not slowly declining for years.  Books used to be written about SL.  If you haven’t already, go and read Wagner James Au’s great book, The Making of Second Life.  It talks of that time before the Golden Age.  I’d like to see him or someone else write the next book about SL and I don’t want it to be its obituary either. 
          How do we do this? 
          We take advantage of social media tools like Twitter, Facebook (FB) (avatars and SL businesses can have FB pages), and Goodreads (used effectively by Zoe Foodiboo with the 1920’s Berlin Book Club). 
          These tools will permit us to organize around or to take advantage of new or existing inworld groups for either book or film discussions, technology (mesh is a great topic these days), or for social functions.  The message can be gotten out to a larger audience. 
          Now, here’s the catch.  This won’t happen if we just sign up and wait for something to happen.  We have to listen, engage, and contribute.  Many of us are already doing this all in different ways.  Frau Jo Yardley builds Weimar Berlin.  Perryn Peterson scours the world looking for festivals while consolidating SL businesses needing homes.  Wagner Au blogs.  Tera Trenchcoat, my Research Assistant, helps me with the drudge research behind my stories.  (If any of my stories are drudge it’s my fault.)  There are many others who each in his or her own way contribute to the experience that is SL.  Even the avi who just sits in a bar somewhere on the Grid and asks someone how things are going helps.  Can all of us together take SL to the next level? 
          My ask gets specific at this point.
          How many of you in the week will set up a Twitter account in the next week, send a tweet, and follow others and me?  Then begin to engage in the conversation?
          How many of you will set up a Facebook page for either yourself or your business or group?  Or, like other people’s pages? 
          How many of you will join groups inworld and ask how you can contribute?
          Anyone who needs help with any of this, please reach out to me.  I’m even willing to do training classes inworld for small groups. 
          Some of you may be asking a good question right about now.  “OK, we got it.  We do this.  What do we expect to get out of this?”
          It’s a fair question.  Here’s my reply:
          We revive our community as existing residents become more active because they can interact more effectively and easily.  We break the tether to the PC.  We may begin to attract back those who left out of boredom.  The old criticism, still valid in my opinion, of SL was, alright I’m in with a lot of effort what do I do next?  We may begin to attract new residents. 
          Further, the community can show Linden Lab that SL is viable, sustainable, and worth further investment. 
          Most importantly, our community begins to exist beyond SL’s servers.  Like the RL astronomers always tell us, once we break away from Earth and move out among the stars, mankind will live forever and be dependent on a small speck of dust somewhere in the Milky Way galaxy. 
          Likewise, while SL may last a long time, once the dependency on it is removed, the Community will live forever. 
          Who’s with me?        
My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.
           As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.    

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

8 comments:

Loki said...

Many Second Life users are already taking advantage of other social media simply because Second Life is actually really poor at communication that isn't avatar to avatar. The steampunk community I'm part of had to come up with a solution for recording stories, events and group activity since SL's built in social tools were and still are lacking. I use twitter, many use pluck, some even use Facebook and google+ with their risky 'Real Name' policies. Debates about SL its future and impact are common if you follow the right twitter peoples. Living SL is a great source for good SL related Bloggers. Even SL's relatively new but ultimately broken SLProfile Feeds can spark up good debates such as Drax's recent Minecraft VS SL thread https://my.secondlife.com/draxfiles/posts/52c854662d10bd0770007272.

There is lots being debated, but it's not clear where its being said. It might be that SL users conversation is maybe too fragmented.

Tymmerie Thorne said...

We already do this: Plurk.com. There is a large and vibrant SL community there.

webspelunker said...

Loki,

Thanks for reading and commenting! I agree that the SL users conversation is maybe too fragmented.

I hope this thread may weave some of these discussions together.

Appreciate the reference!

TC

web

webspelunker said...

Tymmerie,

TYVM for the information! I haven't checked out Plurk yet myself but I will.

TC

web

Honour McMillan said...

Well apart from the whole Facebook thing, which I don't do - I think I can say I manage the rest. Although I find maintaining an active presence on social networks requires more time than I seem to have. :)

Inworld, I'm a great believer in Community and work actively to get involved and involve others in events.

It's my passion - along with exploring. :)

Come join us in the LEA Volunteers if you'd like - or join a mentoring group or any other type of active Community.

I applaud your thoughts and the belief that people should "get involved" somewhere, anywhere. :)

webspelunker said...

Honor,

Many thanks for your thoughts and helping out!

I agree that social networks can take additional time away from already overburdened RL and SL schedules.

I hope that we may be able to take advantage of content that already exists and efforts already being made to leverage these investments to a wider audience.

Thanks for the offer to join LEA Volunteers, I'll come by (and try to bring a few friends!)

TC

web

May O. Mingzi said...

Well, you know where I stand on building communities! I focus first on trying to make my sim, Beau Belle, an interesting and friendly place where people want to spend time -- my sim is a community. Related to that, I manage our sim's blog and calendar. From a wider perspective, I attend events on other people's sims regularly, am active on Facebook and Twitter, and comment on blog posts ... like this one. (Ha ha.)

webspelunker said...

May,

Thanks for reading and sharing! Yes, you are very active in both SL and RL forums. Keep up the great work!

I always enjoy my visits to Beau Belle!

TC

web