Be Interesting – Second Life’s new searchable interests and why the recent email contact program to put avatars in touch with like minded avatars is such a good thing.

Earlier this week Linden Lab emailed a lot of us a list of peeps we might like to get in contact with. Other avatars in Second Life that have filled in at least one identical interest to us.

No idea if any other filtering method was used – age, privacy, etc. But it does seem to have gone out to everyone in Second Life who had Interests listed in their profile.

Overall I think this is potentially one of the best moves ever made by LLs for bringing people together. But it needs refinement.

  • First, Interests need to be matchable for similar entries. On the forums and in the feedback poll I noted that it won’t know that ‘Reggae’ and ‘Reggae Lover’ are related… but it should.
  • Second, once it does that, it need to cut these matches down to only people with 3+ interests in similarity.
  • Third, it needs to not make a match for any interest that appears on more than 40% of all profiles. “Exploring” is Second Life talk for “Likes long walks on the beach” – something everyone says, most who say it don’t actually agree with it, but we all think we have to say it… and the people most likely to actually agree with it claim not to because its said too often.

    (Sadly ‘Neko‘ is in the same camp, and that’s my community, but yeah… needs to be ignored by all forms of SL search because its so overused it has as much meaning in SL as faceplanting on your spacebar.)

  • Fourth: The system should focus on making the IM button prominent, and suggest that people ‘get in touch with someone new.’ Make it about starting conversations.
  • Fifth: The list should be on our web and viewer (sidebar) dashboards. In the viewer, put it under the button for profiles in the sidebar – a LOT of empty space down there for which this is ideal.

Worked out properly this could be a VERY useful feature for making SL more of a community. One of the most common complaints against Second Life by both new and old users alike is the difficulty of finding other people to enjoy the experience together with. I view this as a very positive step towards making that much less of a concern.

I’ve been saying since the first time I logged into Second Life in 2006, that the interests needed to be a feature that could be used to network with others. Five years on, and we’re finally seeing something there. Its been almost half a year since interests themselves were searchable. But the system was implemented with very limited functionality. It was a start however, and not perhaps a good half of all old residents, and much more among newer residents have interests filled in to some capacity.

Though there’s very little consistency of what to put in there… Under the present system, single word common terms are going to be much more effective than anything else.

A few among the ‘don’t talk to me’ crowd online are panicking right now over this email. I am completely baffled by this reaction. I am not capable of understanding their concern here, and I’m very much a privacy freak.

BUT if you fill out something which has as its sole purpose of making you searchable on the basis of what you fill in, then you should not be surprised when you get searched, nor should you be unwelcome to it.

If you don’t desire to be searched and contacted through this, the solution is simple – don’t use it. Don’t be ‘interesting’. Leave them blank, and you’re off the list. Or if you can’t remember what you like, so need a personal list nobody looks at – use the privacy settings or put special characters into it so it fails to return a match.

Simple as that.

If you fill it out, you are -ASKING- people to use it. So they will.

And for those of us who, like so many in Second Life, complain about how hard it is to find others – this is a major blessing. It makes the process so, so, so much easier.

Thumbs up to Linden Labs on this one. Job well started; now finish it and make it better. 🙂

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Priscilla Sim
    Jul 28, 2011 @ 07:04:05

    after adding interests, I tried to remove it by clicking X, it didn’t have any button for me to save changes. However, after surfing to other pages such as privacy, notifications etc… the interests appear unsaved. this happens no matter edit is done on SL Viewer or Site.


    • Pussycat Catnap
      Jul 28, 2011 @ 12:48:09

      I’m actually having a similar problem since the new profile interface rolled out this week.

      Now, I’ve found a specific 8 of my interests that cannot be deleted – and I’m not certain if its those interests (what they are) or my profile.

      If anyone wants to become mildly interested in ‘Slam Poetry’ and then decide to find it less interesting, let me know of the results. That was the first one that I discovered would not go away. It goes away when I hit ‘X’, but then when I visit the page again later, its back. So yesterday I deleted my entire list, and when I looked, 8 of them were still there. So I deleted those 8, and then looked, and they’d popped back in when I left edit mode…

      Thinking I need to submit a ticket or something.


  2. Trackback: Linden Lab has the best social tool and doesn’t know it? | Fiery Red

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