Barbara spent the 30 or so minutes it takes to register, download, fix up her avatar, and begin exploring Second Life. (Please notice she mentioned nothing about going to orientation island) She also freely admits, “Maybe I did not stay there long enough to establish some social contacts or maybe it is because I am generally not much attracted by games.”
Barbara goes on to state:
What should not have come as a surprise (but somehow still did make me wonder) is the fact that the biggest business is again sex. It sells. Just like in real life and on the Internet. But why would I want to see avatars when I can have the same offers for the same money on dedicated websites involving real people?
Ok, I will not go into further details here. I just think that for me the same applies when it comes to social networking for other reasons, such as work related topics, sports, etc. For sharing my thoughts and establishing relationships over the Internet I would still prefer to get a real image of the person, read his/her weblog and have the chance for a real f2f (face to face) meeting one day.
I think this blog post on barbarak highlights two of the hotly talked about areas of Second Life problems. The first being the lack of retention of visitors to Second Life. The second, one that a rather interesting debate in the comments section of And 2D will help SL database scaling woes … how? highlights, is how the search results in Second Life are warped.
Barbara, apparently a highly intelligent woman, appears to have jumped right into the “game” without even realizing it is not a game. A very common mistake, and why I propose bringing every new avatar into a world where a game is the start of their adventures into Second Life. Let them earn a $1 linden for learning how to put on a shirt and pants or dress. Another for learning different search functions… Then start teaching them how to make a shirt or something and pay them a little more, how to use prims to build and pay them a bit more… anyway… when they leave the “game area” they will leave with a much better understanding on how Second Life functions and maybe the ability to support themselves inside Second Life. I realize this is maybe an over simplified explanation of what I see in my mind, but I hope you get the idea.
My fellow VTOR author TD Goodliffe feels it should be expanded beyond the orientation island to help other areas inside SL and the sandbox scripting/building areas. I think all avatars should be at least exposed to everything available to be done in Second Life before they hit the main grid, and that a “game that rewards” them with lindens and is interesting enough for them to enjoy their “training period” and also furnish a supply of lindens to get them started in world is THE way to go.
I also think that if Linden Lab is not going to make camping chairs less attractive, then we at least need to somehow let new people know how the search listing are so skewed. We need to get a search that is not skewed by traffic that is not really traffic that is interested in anything other than camping chairs.
At the present time searches come up with listing at the top based on the amount of traffic that comes and stays at that location. Because Casino’s and sex areas aren’t really able to draw a large amounts of legitimate traffic and want to be listed high in the searches, they install camping chairs and pay people to sit in them for extended periods of time. Very often these campers are not even at their computers, rather they are using a script to keep Linden Lab from signing them off due to inactivity. This not only uses a proportionality unbalanced share of bandwidth for the area, but also limits the number of productive avatars that can reach that area. Simply to trick their way to high listings in the Search, and “unfairly” make people think their content is something very popular or interesting.
Anyway, Barbara if you follow a link from you site back to here and read this response to your post, Second Life is all about social networking in what ever area people want to come together. Sex is a popular way that people like to come together, (pun intended) but by no means is the most popular. There are so many areas where like minds can mingle; Live music events, building classes, educational classes, marketing, sales, and just making new friends just to name a few. As for meeting face to face…. each year there are the SLCC … er… Second Life Community Convention, which are held in a couple different parts of the world, which allow friends inside Second Life a nice safe way to meet face to face.