Monday, June 11, 2007

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Tateru's Monday Reality Mix

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Tateru Nino's weekly look at recent real world incursions into Second Life

After months of spotty attendance, a major real-world corporation has finally managed to attract enough Residents to rocket into the Top 20 most popular sites in Second Life. The secret of their success?

Camping chairs.

That's right, T-Online, the largest ISP in Germany, is paying people breadcrumbs to have their avatars sit, dance and sunbake while the users turn their attention onto something-- you know-- interesting (like occasional nudity). Does a crowd of virtual bodies matter, if nobody cares who you are?

If camping chairs aren't your thing, after the fold there's the Chichen-Itza, a digital art exhibition, 1-800 Flowers, Bershka - a teen fashion brand on the adult grid, a new book, and more!

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T-Mobile-- PG, but occasionally-if-unintentionally clothing-optional

Camping chairs dispense Linden Dollars in exchange for non-interactive occupation of a site. Visiting T-Online, I saw avatars stumbling or standing about, sometimes flirting or panhandling, while waiting like vultures to pounce on the next open camping chair if someone should log out or leave. You know the scene.

There are two islands. T Online Beach, which is primarily a camping installation, and T Online Island, which is the main office with some lesser camping setups nearby. Both sims are PG with rules barring sexual behavior and weapons. The beach is pleasantly built, open and attractive with marine life offshore, and a limited social scene seems to have developed with at least some friendly chatter, among the camping zombies. There were a number of seating and social facilities around the island that don't pay the user, but they seemed to be largely unused.

I initially strolled around taking in the scene, and was accosted by two panhandlers begging for Linden Dollars. A (non German-speaking) island security officer sent them away but declined to answer any questions about the island and his role in it. Having gotten a big bag of no-comment from the man, he referred me to the corporate island adjacent to the beach, and to seek out staff there, though he declined to name any names. I visited several times and only once encountered a security officer in attendance.

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The corporate side of the build is attractive and interesting, if a little prim-heavy. The carpets are excellent work, quite different to the usual fare, eye-catching and appealing. Upstairs there is a photo gallery where it seems that anyone can drop a 1:1 aspect ratio image for display. Dozens have been put in, and dozens more spaces are free. At least that's the theory. In practice, this seems to be limited to the T-Online staff.

As for the staff, they have yet to be in evidence. The corporate island contains several buildings, mostly modern offices, but the real crowd draw is the camping chairs in the southeast corner of the island, which are, as you might expect, always full.

During several trips to the island, I asked 22 of the visitors present about T Online over a period of time. Nine did not answer. Six did not know who T Online was. Four thought that the island was operated by T-Mobile (a different arm of Deutsche Telekom).  Three knew about T-Online, but were located in the southern hemisphere, well out of T-Online's service area. Granted, this is hardly a comprehensive poll.

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If T-Online is promoting their services - I don't see it. If they're promoting their brand, I think they've missed the mark, but heck, the comparative pittance that it costs to feed the camping chairs isn't going to break the budget either.

Mixed Reality Happenings

Chichen_itza

 


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Got a mixed reality tip for Tateru?  E-mail her at [email protected].  And visit her blog.

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Plot Tracer

Wot - nothing abou the massive demo on SL against G8 over the period of a week - and also the Cre-8 garden on Isla Montevideo? slurl:

secondlife://Isla%20Montevideo/41/185/32

Patrick

There is nothing more disconcerting than hearing occasional chatter among camping zombies.
They need to have a balloon or something float down from the ceiling and end up squarely in front of the camper's face that says "T-online." Better yet, before they cash out, they would be required to put the X in the right bracket ("You are being paid by [ ] T-Mobile; [ ] T-online; [X] T-backs").
It's a strange universe that the best carpeting is provided by a mobile carrier...

MSGiro Grosso

I'm just surprised that a corporation would stoop to that level. Is that all their marketing braintrust could come up with...or their agency for that matter? I feel like it's the equivalent of Disney throwing their hands in the air one day and saying "Screw it! We're doing porn because it's easy, cheap and makes money." There are many more interesting and useful ways to engage the community and get them involved with your brand. You just gotta put your back into it and do some heavy lifting. I expect too much integrity from these corps I guess.

Nexii Malthus

I am surprised that a Teen Fashion brand would try to open a sim in the Adult Grid instead of , logically, the Teen Grid.

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According to Maya chronicles(the Book of Chilam Balam), Hunac Ceel, ruler of Mayapan, conquered Chichen Itza in the 13th century. Hunac Ceel supposedly prophesied his own rise to power. According to custom at the time, individuals thrown into the Cenote Sagrado were believed to have the power of prophecy if they survived. During one such ceremony, the chronicles state, there were no survivors, so Hunac Ceel leaped into the Cenote Sagrado, and when removed, prophesied his own ascension.
While there is some archaeological evidence that indicates Chichén Itzá was at one time looted and sacked, there appears to be greater evidence that it could not have been by Mayapan, at least not when Chichén Itzá was an active urban center. Archaeological data now indicates that Chichen Itza fell by around AD 1000, some two centuries before the rise of Mayapan.

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While there is some archaeological evidence that indicates Chichén Itzá was at one time looted and sacked, there appears to be greater evidence that it could not have been by Mayapan, at least not when Chichén Itzá was an active urban center. Archaeological data now indicates that Chichen Itza fell by around AD 1000, some two centuries before the rise of Mayapan.

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