Click to see more posts by WeirdharoldA reply(?) To Barbara Kieslinger

This Morning Barbara Kieslinger, head of unit at the Centre for Social Innovation and project manager of the European research project iCamp, posted about her quick experience in Second Life.

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.

February 22nd, 2007 • Weirdharold • Blogs, Education, Second Life, VR, Virtual Life 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. 1 rosie Peart:

    Very nice article Harold. And i think it brings up a very important point, sex is only a very small part of what SL is really about. I dont think that can be stressed enough if people want to try SL and give it a fair chance.

  2. 2 TD Goodliffe:

    I recently started a new avatar and spent some 2-3 hours at Orientation Island and I didn’t even do everything that could be done there. It seems a bit silly that once you leave there you can’t return at least for a probationary amount of time, but I guess it’s to keep any main grid corruption from reaching to Orientation Island.

    One possible solution would be to keep new residents from dragging anything out of their inventory or wearing any HUDs when returning to Orientation Island to complete their training.

    I spent over an hour when playing Dungeons & Dragon Stormreach learning how to outfit my character and weapon, using the chat and spell system and more.

    I know SL is not a game but if they treated it a little more like a game when people first entered they would at least understand what makes SL not a game and that the only quests they’ll do is the learning quests.

    Then again Harold, I talked to another long time SL resident who thinks the whole quest thing is a bad idea and actually likes the fact that there is so much churn with new residents.

  3. 3 Weirdharold:

    I can certainly understand long time residents liking the churn rate being so high, even I long for the first days of my Second Life… there were only about 1500 people online at the same time, and I had little trouble functioning within the world. I also understand that if the churn rate was lower with the lack of scalability which now exists, Second Life would come crashing down amongst Linden Lab’s ears.

    I just feel if Linden Labs is going to be forced and force us to adjust to so many new people, then those new people should have a much better understanding of just what Second Life really is.

  4. 4 Diana Allandale:

    You’ve hit on a topic that I’ve heard several times over the past few weeks. More than one person has mentioned the corporations that are building training centers for their employees (an excellent use of the Second Life platform, IMO). But soon those employees are going to realize there is more to SL than just the company sim and they’re going to go out exploring. As they do…the very problems that are mentioned above will hit them full in the face. In order for their experience to remain positive, some type of training or even a Welcome Wagon…needs to be in place. And yes, a few of us have discussed ways to make this happen and have some ideas cooking! (grin)

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