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The Missing Link?

August 3, 2010

One of my biggest sins in either life is that I’m pretty much thinking about one thing or another.  Churn, churn, churning about this or that.    There are myriad reason why I do it, of course.  Part of it has to do with how I’m wired, but there is also part of it where I yearn to understand things that aren’t making sense to me.   The good and bad thing about Second Life for someone like me is that there is so much that doesn’t make immediate sense.  While Linden Lab has often been nonsensical in some of its actions in the past couple of years, I couldn’t escape the intuitive sense that there was some huge disconnect occurring but I was having a hard time wrapping it into a pretty package that made sense to me.  Between the fodder from Philip Rosedale’s recent town hall meeting and the SL blogosphere, my brain has been churning overtime and just maybe I’m starting to get an idea of that missing piece that I haven’t been able to put my finger on the past months.  So what is it, Lanna?  What seems to be Second Life’s missing link?  Read on after the jump to find out..

Hold your horses, please.  I’ll get to the missing link stuff in a second.  First, I need to give a little bit of a preface.  Let’s go back a few years to when Second Life was all about the old slogan “Your World. Your Imagination.”  People who got excited about Second Life bought into that idea despite the fact that SL is an open-ended and entirely user-driven experience.  Sure, there was lots of grumbling about ham-fisted efforts made by Linden Lab that fell flat, but there still was a feeling that we were in the midst of something larger than any of us.  Then Mark Kingdon took the helm of the Lab and it felt like the efforts all focused toward selling Second Life more broadly.  This, of course, seems like part of the natural life cycle for a company.  Create a product and then try to get as many people to use it as possible.  The only problem is that it felt like during the past two years, Linden Lab wanted to make SL into something else entirely just so it could be neatly packaged and sold.  Suddenly, M is gone and Philip is back for the time being.  What struck me most about Philip’s comments was that he elevated the conversation from strategy and tactics to vision.  Faster than you can say “Avatars United was a mistake,” we’re back in the world of high-minded concepts like “improving the human condition.”  The contrast was striking and gave me fuel to try to put words around what has felt wrong.

So what is it, you ask?  There is a missing link in Second Life.  No, not some evolutionary freak of nature (although I have seen some avatars that might fit that description), but a link that needs to be explained to the rest of the world.   So, here goes, my pithy take on Second Life’s missing link:

The magic of Second Life and why it has the potential to matter cannot yet be explained succinctly.

For those of us who are regular users of Second Life, there is almost an intuitive feel of why it can matter.  On the larger scheme of things, it appears that at this point in time people either grok Second Life or they don’t.  It is that simple.  And for those who don’t, there really aren’t many good ways to describe it in ways so they can see how it could matter. There are many reasons why I love Second Life, but can I explain what it is and how it advances the human condition?  No.

A number of years ago, I had the good fortune to have a long conversation with a marketing executive of Proctor and Gamble.  In his opinion, part of successful marketing is having a product that has the ability to address a need that a person is unable to articulate.  He used the example of Pampers disposable diapers; that prior to their development, parents could not express the value of a disposable diaper but once P & G created it, they were able to understand their value immediately (and no, I’m not espousing the use of disposable diapers, they are a landfill nightmare but they illustrate his point).

While a disposable diaper is a much more tangible product than Second Life, it is still very challenging to articulate the value of Second Life.  It may simply be that Second Life only has a value to a relatively small segment of the population.  I’m not certain this is true, but I would love to see if there were ways we could elevate SL and virtual worlds to a place of wider understanding of the value.  Grace McDunnough’s  efforts to capture the culture of Second Life were a big step in the right direction.

Here’s my questions to you, dear readers, is it possible to describe the value of a virtual world to the uninitiated?  Does Second Life have a broader purpose that appeals to the masses?  Or does it simply resonate with a smaller niche of society? Can you describe why Second Life matters to the broader population in just a couple of sentences?  Anyone up for the challenge?

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23 comments

  1. Okay, easy.

    Several different reasons:
    1. 3-D simulation where 2-D won’t do.
    2. 3-D simulation as a substitute where the physical world is an obstacle.
    3. A more meaningful online social and communications experience.

    Examples:
    1. I want to visualize carbon nanotubes with a high school chemistry class, and have them be able to interact with it in 3-D space to more intuitively understand it.
    2. This can be “visit a famous landmark that you may never be able to travel to”. It could also be, “You’re wheelchair bound, experience something that you physically are unable in the physical world”.
    3. We already use phones, Skype, Facebook, chat rooms, etc – we don’t question the value of them. Adding 3-D immersion are more rich, engaging, and meaningful.


  2. Here’s my crack at an answer: http://www.johncartermcknight.com/blog/?p=831

    tl;dr version:

    Why? We need, viscerally need, community and self-expression.

    Who cares? Today SL, tomorrow the world.


  3. There’s a line in The Matrix that I never understood. It’s when Morpheus and Neo meet and he says, “Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself.” That always sounded stupid because clearly all you have to do is say, “Oh it’s a virtual world that the machines have created that looks and feels real, but isn’t.” Simple. But when I got into Second Life, I understood. Because you couldn’t explain it to anyone else. You could say the words, but unless they saw it for themselves; really experienced it; they’d never truly get it. I think that’s partly what you’re getting at here. Second Life is more than some simple computer program. That part is easy to explain. But “Second Life” is an experience. And you can’t easily sum up an experience. Because that experience is different for each person that is experiencing it. Exactly like the Matrix. You couldn’t explain it because the words fall short. You can describe it, but you can’t explain it.

    I haven’t really followed SL things in what feels like forever. I really don’t know what’s changed and how things have progressed. I feel totally out of the loop. I think SL needs to be thought of in a different manner, though. If there was an attempt to make SL more sellable in traditional terms, then there definitely would be a big disconnect in what SL is versus what SL does. You can try to focus on the does parts easily. But it doesn’t fully describe what SL is, because what SL is is different for everyone. They need to take some cues from Hallmark or Kodak. Sell the experience.

    So to answer your question of “Does Second Life have a broader purpose that appeals to the masses?” I’d say yes. But not yet. Right now it’s still in the pioineer stage. I say that because I see the potential for a “broader purpose” but right now it’s still fairly niche.

    As to why it matters to the broader population. That’s simple. It’s the way of the future. Take Sci-Fi movies. The Matrix, Surrogates, even Inception, if you look at it a little differently. We’re on the cusp of virtual life. Companies can already use SL as a means to house virtual offices. I mean, people make a living inside SL as it is. We can go anywhere when inside. Interact with people all over the globe. And this will only grow. SL has meaning for everyone. Will SL be that future? Who knows. I doubt it, but it’s possible. Linden would have to play their cards right. Focus less on the world and more on the backbone, that sort of thing, but that’s a different topic. SL is important. But, as they say, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. We can tell others how great SL is, but until they drink from the water, they’ll never really know.

    You have no idea how hard it was to type all of this!!!


  4. As matter of fact, I’m about to try that in an email to my rabbi, because I want to show him the synagogue I built in InWorldz.

    http://lalotelling.blogspot.com/2010/08/zen-and-art-of.html

    But… “Just a couple of sentences”? No way.


  5. Thanks for the great comments! First a meta-comment, I’ve long wondered why I’ve had a hard time getting RL friends interested in SL and have pretty much stopped trying. I’ve explained it passionately and in all sorts of different ways, but generally people have looked at me like I’ve got an additional eye in the middle of my forehead. Maybe it is that experience is the only way to understand VWs.

    @Ron: Great points! I’ve wondered for a while about the line of SL being a place to do things that are otherwise prohibitive in RL or simply as a parallel to RL.

    @Kaseido: Loved your post! I couldn’t agree more on the need for community and self-expression. Now the trick is to get more people seeing nongame VWs as a place that can happen.

    @Chase: Do we want the horse to drink the water or take the red pill? 😛 But to your point, words fall woefully short when describing SL and experience matters. (And thanks for hopping through the flaming hoops to type that).

    @Lalo: I hope you’ll post your email and your rabbi’s reaction on your blog! I wrote this post with an obvious SL bent, but probably should have broadened it to be about virtual worlds in general. I’ve been hearing a few people extol the virtues of InWorldz lately; maybe I’ll go have a peek (and I’ll be sure to look at your synagogue).


  6. The unstructured nature of Second Life is both its precious gift, as well as the curtain that keeps the inner jewel hidden from those who only look from afar.

    Nubies enter a game like WoW with a pretty concrete idea of why they’re there, what they want to do and the benefit they expect from the learning curve that will be faced. You don’t have to figure out why you’re there and what to do every time you log in.

    In Second LIfe, until you get the hang of things, there is no such clearcut path. There is no goal to strive for that makes the learning curve tolerable. That’s why 90%+ of people who sign up don’t make it past a few log-ins. So I think that one of the most important challenges for Linden Lab to expand beyond us early adopters, is to answer your question and clearly articulate to the prospective resident why the hell they would want to spend their time and energy within Second Life.

    I don’t think there is one answer to that question. Some people are there because they can construct an identity free of their human baggage (no offense.) Others are there to extend their RL work or avocation into the digital such as educators, business people and non-pseudonymous artists. There are RP gamers, shopaholics, fashionistas, music lovers, transhumanists, etc. So I’m still leaning towards an idea I’ve posted about a few times before to not try to be all things to all people, but instead to come up with a clear path for specific interests.

    Man, this is turning into a blog-length post so I’ll stop here.


  7. @Botgirl:

    I largely agree with you, but:

    “There is no goal to strive for that makes the learning curve tolerable. That’s why 90%+ of people who sign up don’t make it past a few log-ins. ”

    I think the learning curve of WoW being tolerable is much more due to the fact that they gradually introduce features to the user, rather than dumping them all at once. And the graphics are really nice. Both of these techniques can be applied to Second Life if Linden Lab put their mind to it.

    “… one of the most important challenges for Linden Lab … is to … clearly articulate to the prospective resident why the hell they would want to spend their time and energy within Second Life.”

    Two things with this thought.
    1. One of the problems is the use of the word “Resident”. I agree we want users to be sticky, and return, but I think there’s a strong argument that an ideal Metaverse can be a place you visit, not live. I don’t *live* on Twitter or Facebook or eBay – and it’s not because of the “placeness” that a virtual world has that they don’t. It’s because there are plenty of things I want to go do and then log off. In virtual worlds, they might include:
    – a speaking event
    – checking out a new, cool attraction
    – hanging out with a friend for the length of a conversation.

    2. I have articulated the idea of adding “here’s what’s cool to do” to orientation long before Linden Lab hired my old company to help work on orientation. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about specifics of my work that’s not public, but I can point at the current orientation and say, “clearly along the way, the user does *not* get a sense of different styles / activities”. I recently visited Caledon’s Oxbridge orientation, and one of the very good things it does is intersperse ideas of what’s to be done, and it very clearly has the themeing of Caledon integrated.

    What would be a Second Life theme? I imagine a meta-theme where multiple themes can be showcased in one area.

    “[don’t] try to be all things to all people, but instead to come up with a clear path for specific interests.”

    I agree this is the ideal solution. Finding out peoples’ interest *early* and routing them to these is good. But, then again, if we look at technology adoption, it generally comes from the workplace. Most adults learned email, web, etc from work, not from home or school. That’s now changing as schools teach it from young ages, but that was as a response to these technologies already being integrated into workplaces.

    But I’d like to see more catering to different themes. Bringing back the RegAPI would help in this department, as well.


  8. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Botgirl Questi, John Carter McKnight and Kristine Kristan, Harper Beresford. Harper Beresford said: shares http://tinyurl.com/2b64qh8 (The Missing Link) from my cousin, Lanna 😉 http://plurk.com/p/6qt3ku […]


  9. @Ron

    Good points!

    I think one way to handle the learning curve would be a “basic” UI option for the Second LIfe client that hides everything but the most essential features.

    I don’t particularly like the term “resident” myself. 🙂 But I wonder whether there’s much of market for “casual” premium users. Although the learning curve is one factor, I find that when I cut back my time inworld to a few times a month, it’s a lot harder to attain the level of immersion I enjoyed when I was spending time there every day.

    On the idea of matching interests to orientation, one way would be to just have unique landing pads and starter information depending upon which banner ad you responded to. For instance, if it’s one promoting a Linden Home, there should be a clear and direct chain of steps to take someone from sign-up to at least a rental.


  10. @Botgirl & Ron – You both bring up some excellent points about how to retain new users. But what of the broader challenge of finding language that helps people begin to understand a value of a virtual world before they ever set a pixel foot on Orientation Island?


  11. @Charlanna:

    You’re talking changing the media and public’s perception of virtual world through controlling language? If so, yeah, I’m active with that. Things like “user / visitor” instead of “resident / player”. “Virtual space vs physical space” instead of “VW vs RL” or “SL vs RL”. I’ve been telling Linden Lab since 2006 that “Second Life” is detrimental in that it screams out concepts like escapism and alternate-reality.

    Also, some basic education on the web pre-login for a new user is important. For many people, the concept of what an avatar is may still be really new.


  12. My dear navel-gazer:

    Having read your blog and the comments, I wanted to make a comment and hopefully nudge the train of thought off the old lines.

    First, I think that virtuality and virtual life are familiar to many people living in this technological world–they are just not the virtuality we think of–the virtuality of say, an operation done through laproscopy and cameras or the virtuality of looking at the inside of a brain through an MRI or even the virtuality of simulating warfare in order to train soldiers before they go to Afghanistan.

    People are more than able to face a 3D world and their own disembodiment. So I don’t think it’s being 3D that is a huge problem.

    What they are not able to always face, however, is their own agency in such a world or perhaps they don’t have the desire to have agency. We’re generations of people brought up with televisions and advertisements–mass media that has always given us the story. Here we MAKE the story… and the objects …and our bodies. Unless you’re accustomed to .. well.. dressing up your dolly and playing in a dollhouse you made yourself, you may not find SL comfortable or relevant. (And yes, it can be argued you can participate in others’ narratives but frankly, they are generally very personal and not compelling.)

    Imagine a person coming home from work, tired, possibly stressed out from the myriad choices and concerns that face them every day. Perhaps they may want to sit back and be done to rather than do. They may not welcome the business of fashioning their own world in such a complex way. Perhaps they just want to explore or shoot some things or chat with friends or issue a 140 character statement (and there is ample opportunity to do that in many platforms without such a steep learning curve). And the exploring and shooting in SL is comparatively dull. And satisfying chat requires a lot of effort to find in SL.

    It’s with this in mind that I have come to consider SL more and more as a hobbyist thing. Just like not everyone wants to camp out and do a Civil War reenactment in itchy and stinky wool clothes every weekend, not everyone wants to devote the considerable time and effort to learning a complex platform for a very elusive payoff.

    That being said (and have you gotten this far?), I would also consider it a rich and satisfying community and culture created on a very complex platform for those who ARE willing to experience its special delights. In fact, it is a very clear case study for Clay Shirky’s idea of using our “cognitive surplus,” which is pretty exciting and compelling to those of our tastes.

    So while we are not EVERYONE, we could be a large and impressive group, we Second Life users and lovers, with adequate population for the sustainability of SL if we shake the old ideas of “people are not ready for virtuality” or “we have to please everyone.”


  13. Harper ~

    What a lovely way of expressing, and amplifying, the basic principle I’ve been trying to get across: Virtual worlds (not just SL) are a niche market, there’s nothing at all wrong with them remaining a niche market, and the sooner the “mainstream” advocates realize that (hello, Hamlet!), the better.


  14. @Harper:

    I disagree with a variety of your points:

    “Unless you’re accustomed to .. well.. dressing up your dolly and playing in a dollhouse you made yourself, you may not find SL comfortable or relevant.”

    There’s two problems with this statement:

    1. People dress themselves. They already are familiar with this activity.

    2. Why is your assumption that “dressing up and playing in a dollhouse” is all there is to do in a virtual world? Your logic is circular. First you say that Second Life’s too complex for people who want to relax, and then you posit that anything in Second Life is essentially a complex task.

    “(And yes, it can be argued you can participate in others’ narratives but frankly, they are generally very personal and not compelling.)”

    Didn’t you JUST get finished saying about how we grew up on TV? That’s entirely *about* other peoples’ narratives. As are books, and the celebrities we follow, and video games. And the more personal, the more genuine these narratives are, the more they tend to pull us into them.

    “They may not welcome the business of fashioning their own world in such a complex way.”

    You assert that everyone logging into virtual worlds is required to do complex world-building. I don’t think this is true at all. There’s plenty of casual and passive activities. If you don’t want to wrangle prims, role-play in communities, program, etc, it’s no more world-building than our physical world with its relationships with other people and things.

    “And the exploring and shooting in SL is comparatively dull.”

    I don’t know what Second Life you’re logging into, but exploring in Second Life is *never, ever* dull for me. Shooting? Sure, but that’s so little of a percentage of what goes on in virtual worlds.

    “And satisfying chat requires a lot of effort to find in SL.”

    About as much effort as it takes to find anywhere. Your dilemma here is not unique. If I want to find satisfying chat, whether it’s Twitter or Faceparty or a local pub, that’s called making friends with intelligent people. No difference.

    “not everyone wants to devote the considerable time and effort to learning a complex platform for a very elusive payoff.”

    Again, this “elusive payoff” you’ve defined as complex world-building, so you’re really just trying to beg the question. You can’t say, “People don’t want to spend time because it’s complex, and it’s complex because … people don’t want to spend time.” which is how I read your comments.

    RE: Clay Shirky – really? you mention him as a use for Second Life, which he’s railed against and written off?

    All in all, your ideas point to “zomg why cant sl be lik the gud ole dayz!” which I’ve heard far too often. Second Life as a developers’ community alone doesn’t work, it doesn’t scale, and there’s no motivation for companies to support it. How do I know that? Because it’s the same model that has been kicked around for 20 years. These niche, walled-garden worlds get a tiny, core, yet loyal following.

    The key point you made that I agree with is this sentiment:
    “not everyone wants to devote the considerable time and effort to learning”

    But not in the way you presented it – as if the whole concept of an interactive virtual world was complex. No, the user interface itself. It’s too complex. If it were easier, much more people would use it.


  15. @ Ron

    I guess we have to agree to disagree. I don’t agree with you. And I think it has nothing to do with the interface. I think it has to do with the desire to have to learn the whole business of SL. Just like not everyone is dying to learn Photoshop.

    And my post said nothing about “the good old days.” Not sure where you read that. I love my SL. Do I have to think everyone has to? Nope. And I would be naive to think otherwise.


  16. @Harper

    You disagree with me because “I think it has to do with the desire to have to learn the whole business of SL. Just like not everyone is dying to learn Photoshop.”

    But you’re just restating what you’ve already said without addressing my counter-arguments. I don’t see where SL – or any other immersive virtual world – forces you to learn Photoshop to participate. Facebook doesn’t make you learn its application programming language. Twitter doesn’t make you learn it’s API and write your own apps. Why is Second Life any different? What about the thousands of users who log on, buy clothes, chat with friends, and log off? I believe you’re simply ignoring the overwhelming majority of users, who buy pre-fabs and don’t mess with content creation.

    “And my post said nothing about “the good old days.” Not sure where you read that.”

    Because your idea of Second Life is that it needs to be a creative medium. That is a very “good ole days” approach – “Wasn’t Second Life better when it was just us people playing with prims and such?” – etc.


  17. Ultimately what I’m thinking from this dialogue is that trying to describe Second Life and nongame virtual worlds to people based on what they might value and in ways they can achieve deeper understanding is a tough undertaking indeed. Let’s start with the current user base; if we were to have focus groups with a cross section of users, we would likely get very different explanations of why they use SL. Perhaps we should start thinking of valuing of virtual worlds as a series of concentric circles that begin with highly valuing to marginally valuing. But a one size fits all argument seems unlikely at the time being. All that said, there are likely broad frames we could use that aren’t unlike what John shared in his post. Concepts like community that resonate with people more broadly and could be a start.

    One thing I’ve learned in my first life work is that you communicate the message you want people to hear. Look at politicians, in interview after interview, they answer the questions they want to answer, not the questions they were asked. We’re the subset who thinks more deeply about virtual worlds, maybe we can spend more time finding ways to talk about it with others.

    And yes, I think we can all agree, there is complexity to the SL viewer which might warrant another post from me. 😀


  18. @Charlanna:

    I’m right there with you in steering the dialog and the language used. Might I make a suggestion for start? Stop calling it “first life” as if it’s a separate place from “second life”. It also implies that Second Life is the only viable virtual world. “physical world” or “physical space” and “virtual world” or “online immersive space” may not be perfect, but they’re definitely much closer to the message we want to send.


  19. SL is all about dreams. doing/being in sl what you can not or will not in RL. That applies to fantasies as well as simulations of RL. it even applies to educators and artists. SL is at it’s best when it does what can not be done in RL. and LL is in the business of facilitating dreams, even though the geeks among us like to tech-talk about the platform.

    OH, and we can get really testy when we feel that our dreams are threatened!


  20. What a fascinating discussion, from everyone! I particularly latched on to some things Ron said (about the learning curve, and about the question of Second Life as a place to live or a place to visit, and about the calling it “virtual space” instead of a “virtual world” or “virtual life”) and what Harper said (like the “dressing up a dolly” comment).

    About the dolly thing, Ron, I didn’t take Harper to be talking literally about getting dressed up: I think she was talking about the issue of someone being willing to establish an avatar in Second Life who has something of a separate existence from its creator. You don’t have to do that in Twitter or Facebook or elsewhere. But in Second Life, even if you’re trying to create an avi as close as possible to your own appearance, it won’t look quite like you. Then you have to be willing to operate this surrogate in a virtual space. If people felt more like it was *themselves* peeking into a virtual space instead of having to create a separate self to live there, I think Second Life might be a much easier place to be comfortable diving into (which is why I was so interested in your resident vs. visitor comment!).

    My own two cents: the three things that keep people out of Second Life are
    1. Not feeling comfortable operating through an avatar
    2. The learning curve
    3. It’s so ridiculously hard sometimes to find fun and interesting people to be with, regardless of what your definition of fun and interesting is.

    Ron, you’re right that it’s like making friends anywhere, but Second Life has so many potential advantages in that area that the task should be much easier there–and it isn’t! That’s why I spent a truckload of time creating a system for finding like-minded people in Second Life even when they weren’t in the same place or on at the same time as you–even though I had to give up when I found out that I would have to come up with another truckload of time, which I just didn’t have, to publicize and popularize the system (even though it was free).

    There are my two cents! This subject practically makes me want to blog again. Ron and Harper, if you’re willing, friend me in-world! I’d love to have the chance to talk more with both of you. 🙂

    ^^^\ Kate Amdahl /^^^


  21. Oh, and I have this opinion too: since all three of the obstacles I’m talking about are ones that can be addressed by good technology and organization, I suspect that sooner or later some company or variety of companies will break through all three and introduce an age where everyone’s comfortable diving into and out of virtual spaces. Imagine Second Life if it worked more smoothly, were so easy to use that anyone could just jump right in, offered instant and lifelike avatar creation from pictures of you (as well as the existing ability to create an avatar from nothing), and made it really easy to find other people you liked. What would stop it from becoming crazy popular?

    If anyone is interested in hiring me to mastermind this, I can be bought. 🙂

    ^^^\ Kate /^^^


  22. @Kate:

    I largely agree with your thoughts. I don’t quite about the dolly, but you make a good point that it isn’t easy to make an avatar look like you; the tools are out there, but why hasn’t LL purchased these companies / licensed these tools and integrated them with the client, or created a framework for them to be better integrated into the client?

    RE: Your obstacles to new users:
    “1. Not feeling comfortable operating through an avatar
    2. The learning curve
    3. It’s so ridiculously hard sometimes to find fun and interesting people to be with, regardless of what your definition of fun and interesting is.”

    Agree on all three. So the follow-up questions are:
    1. Does this automatically fade with time? If not, what about the experience are people not comfortable, and how do we mitigate it? If it does fade, how do we speed up that process?
    2. Naturally, how do we make the interface better? (I agree with Botgirl with a lot of her thoughts on this.)
    3. God. Better search. Can I has? *eyeroll*


  23. It’s challenging to encapsulate all that SL is in a simple definition. But if someone were holding a gun to my head, I’d say, please don’t shoot me, then sum up SL as an immersive social networking environment built on a game engine that must be experienced to understand what it is.

    People who are used to being spoon fed all their social media and gaming experiences in neat little complete no-brainer packages may find SL requires more time and effort — creatively and intellectually — to learn the UI, find one’s way around, learn how to build and so on — than they are willing to invest.

    However…. this means those folks who do discover SL and make the effort to learn the UI, explore sims, discover communities, create content, make friends, etc., add to the overall quality of SL.

    And personally, I’d rather have quality over quantity.

    SL isn’t for facebook wimps who spam each other with stupid shit. It’s first and foremost a visually based immersive environment inhabited by people who seek a richer and more engaging socially interactive experience that provides a platform for creating all content to share or sell if they so choose.

    If LL has lofty ideals of becoming the facebook of VR worlds, I think they’re delusional. Before they can even consider making any grandiose leaps to repackage SL, they will first have to:
    — stabilize SL operability and performance by addressing all the issues in the Jira that have been languishing for weeks, months and years
    — improve the overall environment with better servers and infrastructure that can handle more av’s on a sim, increase number of prims per sim, allow prim scaling up to 256m, provide better building tools and 3D modeling capabilities, improve inventory features and backup capabilities for all items in your inventory regardless of perms and and upgrade a myriad of other things that would vastly improve SL (instead of trotting out features like display names as if this is a major game changer upgrade)
    — come up with a far better alternative to the darth vader 2.0 viewer,
    — start investing into the community that has paid their salaries for several years by lowering costs on sims, providing sims for artists/builders to create content
    — and basically, act like they give a damn about SL and the residents.

    There’s nothing wrong with being a niche market — if facebook has over a billion subscribers, having even 1/1000th of that market is a million people with change rattling around in their pockets and that’s a pretty good niche unless Phil Rosedale wants to become more rich in which case, SL will turn into a bitch that everyone will eventually ditch…

    😀



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