SL9B – something permanent like this please, to help retention

I’ve added this to my newbie category because I go into advice on finding communities here. But if you’re a new person, this is probably one to read a week or two after you join.

I’m going to break a personal policy I have. I usually do not like to blog about “the same stuff everyone else is” because then well… its just reading more of the same – and probably from someone (me) with less of an informed track (I’ve got my opinions, but lack the industry sources of many SL bloggers).

But this one I need to get out there and say, on my own blog, and not just as a comment on someone else’s. So its just my feelings on things that went well.

SL9B this year really seems to have been everything right about a community event.

I had Initially planned to boycott in protest of Linden Labs pulling out.

Started going as friends dragged me in.

I had a lot less lag at this one than I’ve ever seen in past. Perhaps due to the high presence of mesh; which tends to run faster than pre-mesh on systems capable of running it. Mesh, once you get it working on your system – is just like that. I know some people have nightmares getting to run. For those who’ve made it past the hurdle, its a refreshing future of a lower lag Second Life.

It was so smooth I was able to go to crowded sims and turn on shadows, play with windlight, and spam the feeds with screenshots.

The events were great, the builds were great – only a few commercial spammers got in under the radar. I’ve not been one for most events of late as they end up being nothing more than merchant spam-fests. This one was dedicated mostly to builds about communities and what folks love about SL. A section carved off for people who do media about SL, news, blogs, video – that was an added bonus. In fact need to start following it looks, was already following

I learned about a LOT of communities that I’d never heard of before. And I mean a -LOT-. Who knew there was so much variety out there? After a few years I’ve come to be jaded in thinking I was alone in a wilderness of BDSM, Vampires, and people who listen to music 3 decades old. 😉

I still need to go back and get notecards for about 57 of them… O.o

And I don’t think there’s enough time for me to do it… /sigh. Maybe I’ll pull out an alt so I can go in stealth mode… and then end up IMing friends and defeating the purpose.

Something like this ought to be around all the time.

If a build like this was up 24/7… if even a micro version of it was the welcome area for people

  • some easy way to discover new communities without getting spammed by merchants or ‘best in hoochie-mamma wear is up on the board, bring all your wish-they-could-be-crack-ho-friends’ events…
  • I think that is what would help with retention in SL.

I spent an hour of Sunday morning chatting with a friend who’s recently passed her first rezzday. She was bemoaning how hard its been of late finding people to meet and places to go. She’s in that critical stage in SL where the things you did as a new resident have lost their magic and you need to find something that really syncs with you or SL will get set aside…

SL9B’s style of builds would be the answer – you can run through there and more than likely find something.

I suspect Linden Labs is sitting there smugly feeling they made the right move in pulling out and making residents pay to host their party. But I’m not sure if this went off better because of that, or despite it. It was rushed – and in a rush sometimes people pull together out of crisis more than they might otherwise do. I suspect this went off well due to folks pulling together and setting aside disputes (for the most part – I’m aware of two builds that had to be pulled), in order to meet a very short notice. Given time, the same chaos might unravel into a mess.

Oddly, there have been more linden sightings this last week than I’ve ever seen before. Not by me, but by many others. All over the place.

Last year’s SL8B – they seemed to avoid all but the keynote speeches. This year they’ve been all over the grid, and some posting journals on the feeds.
– I hope that continues as well.

Its a very good sign.

The more the lindens publicly appear to be engaged, the more faith customers will have in the product.

I read lindens all the time complaining when we say they don’t care – stating that yes they do, and many log in on personal accounts from home every day, or during work on linden accounts, etc, yadda yadda.
But that counts for nothing if we don’t see it.

You can care all you want, if nobody knows, no one has faith in you. Show it. And recently some of them have begun to do so.

As for some kind of build like SL9B, as a permanent thing, what would that look like? Could it be done in a single sim?

Possibly. Maybe. Something to think about.

Could this just comes down to a more effective version of the destination guide? Seeing signs that show communities, and give out a little bit of info, and will take you there.
– Something that effectively filters out the commerce.

Commerce has its place, but that place is not everywhere…

Granted the most effective means would be micro builds… but there are only so many prims to go around. Unless each sign was a rezzer – that rezzed a 100-prim build for a viewer to look at.

Imagine that as an idea. Click through the sign to find your theme of interest, rez a sample, and up pops a scene of something. Perhaps a recreation of a Tiny community, or a stage for a theater community, with a few little prim actors, or a sailboat on water for a sailing community.

– Something visual for people to sink their minds into, gain interest, and go visit the ‘real community.’

That’s what we need, and we need something like at almost every infohub and welcome center in SL…

SL9B shows that we can showcase the diverse communities in SL in an appealing way – the trick is to figure out how to do this all the time.

When the wide-eyed innocence of Second Life came to an end (for me)

This is probably going to read as bitter or sad, or something similar, to a lot of people. It not meant to be either of those. Its about when the magic fades and something else sets in.

The party’s beginning today for a certain event. The SL 9th birthday. Everyone else’s blog is covering that I imagine. But I’m not. Not exactly.

Only in that its part of my inspiration for what I will cover.

This year’s SLxB is really a Second Life Resident’s Birthday. Perhaps we should have even considered hosting this one on Open Sim. Its the year the Lindens unofficially but publicly gave up on their world. They didn’t bother with SlxB this year – they left us to fend for ourselves over it.

The kids have been kicked out of the house. The innocence anyone might have professed to have over Linden Lab and their devotion to Second Life should now be thoroughly shattered.

So when did you lose your innocence over what Second Life could be? When did you go from ‘wide eyed exploration of some amazing new world’ to a more skeptical or nuanced ‘logging in to a platform?’

I’ll try to answer that for myself.

This began as a comment to this blog, but I thought better of it and decided to make it my own article.

Ciaran Laval stated:

“I can still recall going to Club Crobar and meeting people, I never look for a club when I login now, where did it all go wrong?”

I can relate to this and a lot more. There are things I really enjoy about SL, but some of the magic is gone.

For me, run-ins with some very nasty folks started making me feel unwelcome. Whereas before I would gladly go about wide-eyed and ready to greet everyone with friendly abandon. Now when go out there, a part of me wonders if at least one person in the area resents my showing up – and I tend to wait before saying anything or participating.

I’d started participating in more and more discussions about real-life issues and identity-politics (race, religion, political allegiance, and such). In so doing revealing my stance and status as a liberal minority with strong views on some subjects. I revealed a bit too much about certain irrational fears (my ‘fearful reaction’ to tall white men for example) – that caused some offense.

Its been almost a year since I left behind the community where I had such a nasty run-in, but the wounds still run deep – and seems to have forever changed my view from a ‘welcome place to explore and meet people’ over to ‘a place full of cliques and sub-communities, some of which will not like me for what I am, some of which will not care or welcome me – and uncertainty over which is which.’ Debates and arguments occur (and I’ve been more combative since that time) here and there – some a reminder, some just discussion.

But that one moment in time was the transition from innocence over what SL was for me.

Its a transition in SL much like the transition from innocence in real life.

We all go through a moment in our youth that takes us from wide eyed wonder to critical thinker. For some its a memorable event, for others just a flow of life that happens gradually ‘somewhere’. For me, its something I can trace.

I lost that youthful innocence in real life when my white stepfather began beating me up as a pre-teen. Things could have gone worse, but that’s where they went – anger management issues, not ‘something else’. I moved away from there about 2 years after. The father figure became the figure of fear; and I started to look at the world around me with hyper-critical eyes.

Likewise in SL, the magic can rub off with time and imperceptibility, or in some sudden experience.
– Drama seems to hit most people eventually, and I think when it does, that can rub off a lot of the magic. Its a reason why a lot of them quit; and I know some of those I had trouble with hoped they would achieve that with me.

Once you pass that point though – you have to sit down and start thinking about your time in Second Life. And once you’re thinking about it rather than just feeling it, its no longer something magical and wide-eyed to experience.

You start using that critical eye. A critic is never innocent.

Gone are the days of running around Second Life as an energetic ‘neko’ exploring inner dreams by roleplaying as a cat, greeting everyone, emoting purrs, curled up poses, and assorted playfulness. In come the days of being the ‘inner cat’ that stands off to the side and growls under breadth, tossing in a little hiss now and then for good measure. Well – not really. Because that kind of RP still exists in an innocent stage with SL. Sure in a ‘RP sim’ where one plays a character you might see that on a more critical jaded resident – but leave the sim and they shrug off the ‘magic’ like an actor changing out of costume.

I still feel my ‘neko self’ – but its not wide eyed and full of wonder anymore. I don’t let it lose with abandon.

The magic is gone, the innocence has passed. That is probably the point where most people who will quit SL, do so. I didn’t move on, I’m still here in SL, much to the chagrin of those who’d rather be done with my ilk. Still here, but with a much more nuanced view of things.

Perhaps sometimes “too nuanced” – as in, a bit more paranoid about what people are up to than I should be.

I’ve learned recently that I can still meet lots of very nice folks in SL. But its not so easy as it once was, and forging bonds with them is not so quick as it once was.

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