This is cobbled together from some posts I’ve been leaving on Hamlet Au’s blog.
You might think that as a spiritual person, active about my faith in SL, who often comments about ‘that stuff’… that I’d be on the bandwagon against the new ads.
Especially as those ads are basically “the sexy white people” routine again…
But I’m not so willing to fight this one.
Let me use a bit of over the top silly exaggeration to make a point.
Imagine its 2009 and you’re a corporate user looking to use Second Life for business meetings, showcasing your real life business achievements, selling product, branding, etc…
Problem is… the place is full of so-called furries and XXXers and RPers and educationals and “commie-liberal-hippie-artist-scum”. All those people you don’t want in your store scaring your customers. The weirdos you picked on in 6th grade.
So you call up your mate from school, M. Linden, and ask him to take an accounting of things and correct all this. You’ve got money to dump, and he just needs to clean up the place. Get rid of the geeks and losers.
So he tries.
And we all know the result. SL goes into a tailspin, policies get odd, prices go up, venues close, and then business realizes it doesn’t even want the product anyway. In fact; the whole call M. Linden got seems to have been dreamed up in his head: business was never really on board anyway. They were the customer Linden Lab wanted, the freaks were the customers Linden Lab got.
Even SL’s founder is on record calling his users ‘disabled freaks’. He used more polite language, but basically back then he called us all ‘the crazy cat lady down the block and the old guy telling you to get off of his lawn.’
Now its 2014 and Linden Labs is looking at marketing again so they look at what people ACTUALLY USE SL FOR…
XXX-this and XXX-that, with a bit of Borat sexy time thrown in for good measure and a few furries and goreans. PLus some dating and dancing places for those ‘so-called online dating freaks’.
The rest of us? We’re a bit like those 2009 business users (OK, I’m a furry half of the time… this is just a silly parable after all).
Now everyone’s all up and trying to call E. Linden and ask him what for… Asking him to clean up the place so your respectable art and live music and charity work doesn’t have to sit next to the gorean-furry-luvulongtime-escort-interracial-child-xxx operation…
At the same time we’ve been demanding for years that they recognize who’s using SL, and market to them.
Now they are.
And we don’t like it.
Pick your poison folks.
Because its right there in Hamlet Au’s blog… look at who the top sims are (note how similar this 2011 link is to the 2014 one – this stuff is pretty static in theme).
If anything, LLs needs to get MORE explicit in these ads. It might chase us “regular respectable folks” away… but at least then they’d be appealing to their actual users for a change:
Those ‘noobs’ on the xxx sims…
Now, I don’t mean to imply that the XXX and ‘fantasy self’ crowd drove away the business crowds.
Rather I am trying to show that we’ve already seen what happens when Linden Lab tries to market not to the customers it has, but the ones it wishes it had.
Now… they are marketing to the actual people that show up at the door… and folks don’t like it, because most of the Second Life users are NOT from the same crowd that composes the Second Life commentators.
Commentators, critics, and bloggers want them to market to people who are here for “something greater”… But the very data we love to talk about and promote shows that we are not the viable audience for Second Life…
And that like it or not… maybe they actually are marketing to the right crowd now… at least from a ‘capitalist bottom line’ POV…
I hope my opinion here is not seen as mocking the ‘freaky’ people that end up in Second Life – as that is not my intent. I’m stating it like that above to be over the top, and to hopefully show a little of ‘this is how what gets said gets read’.
Plenty of people seek acceptance online from a world that rejects them offline. I know for a fact this is why many minorities ‘hide as white’ in platforms like Second Life. I’ve always been a fighter so that notion never appealed to me.
I actually am mostly fit and healthy for my age, and still seem to have my looks – despite the scraps I’ve been through.
So given a choice between a kick in the face for speaking up, or having a group hug by playing nice… I’ve always chosen the kick… I’ve got a dentist appointment soon because that is NOT an analogy for me…
I try to remember that about others too. That everyone needs a place to feel accepted and to explore – though I do fail at it sometimes because I tend to fight back and can end up misdirected.
Too often people are scorned merely for what they are, rather than who/how they are – I say that all the time about race, but it also very much applies to gender, physical ability, fitness, attractiveness, social class, and other ways people are unjustly biased against.
Second Life is a fantasy world that lets people find their own ways of skipping past that bias. Its also just a place to have some fun in – and each side of the fence here needs to get over its bias of the other because to the world outside of SL, we’re all 10x freakier than any of us might actually be.
It is a bitter pill to swallow when the fantasy the majority here seek is not the one oneself is seeking – but better to recognize that it is still doing good for people in letting them find their fantasy.
People who do not like that Linden Lab is now advertising to its actual users can consider the alternative… going the way of Blue Mars or Cloud Party – vanishing.