Saturday, September 6, 2014

More about Social Media in Second Life


Google+ is the gym of social networking: We all join, but nobody actually uses it.




          I start this week’s story with an announcement.

          (Significant Other looks apprehensive.)

          Going forward I’ll no longer use Facebook for my blog posts.

          (Significant Other rolls eyes, shrugs, and leaves me to my ramblings.)

          Why?  You may ask.  (Even if you don’t ask I’m going to tell you.)

          I grew tired of wondering if I was within the rules for being there.  When web initially joined Facebook, after a review of the guidelines, I felt that it was appropriate for him to be there.  After all, how many people with pen names were already enrolled?  (Answer, a lot!)

web exists solely as a virtual avatar in the Metaverse.  That’s it.  He does not have a driver’s license, a passport, or a Social Security number.  He wanders the highways and byways of Second Life (SL) and has aspirations someday to visit Inworldz and go chase orcs in World of Warcraft.  When he retires, he may run a little gold farming operation there.

          My point in telling you this is that you’ll never meet him standing next to you in Starbucks or being interviewed on cable TV. 

          So when Facebook asked for a “real” name, I pulled the plug on web in Facebook.  Yes, I know.  It sounds heartless.  But, remember this.  If I do this right web will be running around long after I’m gone. (Significant Other returns venting displeasure about talk of my demise.)  There is no other “real” identity for web.

          The brand is web not me.  Changing a name would only confuse everyone and violate the one condition that Significant Other gave me when I began this little adventure of mine three years ago.

          That was I keep SL and Real Life (RL) separate.  Significant Other didn’t want SL showing up at the front door one evening.  (Nothing against anyone inworld but Significant Other has enough issues dealing with my RL friends and I’d rather not push my luck.)

          So, Facebook and I (web) part company.

          It’s their loss. 

          Like many I’m not sure why Facebook has this policy.  Pseudonyms and anonymous writers have a long and storied history in literature and journalism.  There are simple and safe ways to associate a “real” person with an avatar and still protect the privacy of the former.  Still, Facebook makes the rules and it’s their bat and ball.

          I won’t rail against this or start petitions or anything like that.  I have better things to do with my precious time.  I wish Facebook well and would be happy to return if they ever change their policies.

          web moves on!

          (BTW just to show there’s no hard feelings, Mark Zuckerberg is welcome as a guest blogger here anytime!  What?  He did Saturday Night Live!  Why not here?)

          Remember SL is web’s home.  Social media is only how his travels get out to the readers who follow him.  (Which BTW have been increasing steadily as of late.  Either my two loyal readers have been really busy lately or a lot more of you are reading.  Whichever it is, many thanks!)

          So, where do we go from here?

          A while back, I began exploring social media as a fallback for the eventual demise of SL. 

          That work is standing me in good stead now as I use it to find other ways to connect with the virtual world communities out there.

          Presently, there are four applications which I’m either using or reviewing to keep web engaged with his following and to expand it.

          First, I’ve ramped up quickly on Google+.

          Google+ recently dropped its prohibition against avatars.  While I’d like to credit Google for its openmindedness.  I suspect it had more to do with the fact that so many people had avatar email accounts that when Google tried to leverage their email base to grow Google+ they couldn’t escape the avatar issue.  In the end, I think the idea was if you can’t beat ‘em then join ‘em.

          Folks in Google+ are not as intimidated by avatars friending or following them as they are in Facebook.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what you’re thinking to yourself, some of my best friends are avatars!  But, would you let your sister date one?)

           The Google+ interface has a good feel to it and many prefer it to Facebook’s.  I also like the circle concept in Google+ as well.  It offers more potential for organizing friends and activities.

          Another social network which I’ve begun to use is the Avatar Social Network (ASN) which oddly enough I learned about in Facebook.  ASN is dedicated to being a social network similar to Facebook for residents of all virtual worlds.

          I’ve met the founder of ASN and hope to be able to report back with an interview from him shortly.  ASN makes a point of accepting all and being as helpful as possible.  I can personally speak to the great service of their Help Center.

          My third social tool is Twitter which has been a great way for me to reach out to more virtual residents and stay on top of what’s happening in the Metaverse. One limitation right now is that I can’t automatically post my tweets to Google+, but I’m looking for a workaround.

          Finally, I recently came across a tool called HipChat.  This tool permits seeing one’s friends on line and chatting with them.  Google+’s Hangout feature doesn’t let you know who’s on unless you already have a chat open.  (Or, at least that’s the way it seems to me right now!)

          This is just a quick summary of some of the social media apps I plan on using to maintain and grow my SL network.  I’d to point that all these tools are either free or offer robust free options.

          If you’re wondering how you can help, there are a few things you can do.

          First, I’d be grateful if you’re already members of the communities I’ve just mentioned if you’d connect with me and encourage your friends to do so.  (Hey, ain’t my stories good enough?)  If you’re not a member of these groups consider joining.

          Next, I could use some help in testing and setting up some of these tools.  It’s kinda hard to test a chat function by yourself!  Truthfully, a half dozen or so volunteers would be appreciated.  (We’ll form our own circle!)

          And, when you do either connect or join then comment, contribute, and participate!  There’s a reason it’s called “social” media.  I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of old friends who either out there before me or came along shortly afterwards.

          That’s it for now! 

          But, there’ll be more to come!

          I do want thank all those who reached out to me after I dropped off of Facebook and expressed concern for my welfare.  I’m deeply touched by all your messages.  I’m fine!  (Significant Other sees to that!)

          And, not to worry, I’ll still be blogging!

          Also, this unexpected and unplanned migration has disrupted my editorial calendar a bit.  I apologize to those whom I was going to follow up with this week.  I’ll be back shortly.

          Anyone who is wondering what to do or needs help with their own personal migration can feel free to reach out to me for help.  If I can’t help then I’ll find someone who can!

          Open roads and safe fires!

          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.   

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

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

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



May O. Mingzi said...

Ah, I was wondering what had happened to you; you always reposted everything about Beau Belle's upcoming events. I will have to keep an eye on you through your other channels, then.

webspelunker said...


Yes, I'm now active on Google+ (Thanks for the add!), working with the Avatar Social network (ASN), and investigating chat tools like HipChat and Skype! Be happy to repost you through these!

Hope all is well!

See you soon!



May O. Mingzi said...

Yep, I'm on Twitter (@MayOMingzi), ASN and Google+ as well, plus Hearthaven Photography and Beau Belle Village have their separate Facebook pages (and Beau Belle has a blog on ning). And everything forwards to my e-mail. Good thing I don't set my phone to beep whenever I get a new message; I'd go nuts!