It's like a curse or a black hole, and it's where some 90 percent of new users go to die-- the poor "first hour experience" for new SL users remains the most vexing impediment to the world's growth, which has stalled in terms of active Residents for nearly a year. Within sixty minutes of creating an avatar name and entering SL's Orientation Island, most people become too bored, frustrated, or confused to continue. Improving that initial entry period is a stated top priority for the Linden's newly appointed CEO, Mark Kingdon, and even frustrated users have taken to proposing radical solutions. Dusan Writer is offering a $3000 of his own money for someone, anyone, to help fix it; Grace McDunnough makes a compelling case that a staff of AI-driven bots should be created to help assist new users during orientation.
I wonder, however, if all this is looking at the problem backwards. Forget figuring out why 90% of those who came, left. Instead, isn't it more important to run a resilience study, and locate the commonalities between the 10% who stayed, and build on that? So I put the question to readers: if you're an active Resident, what happened in your first hour in Second Life that kept you here?