Thursday, October 18, 2012

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Second Life Blog Stats: Almost 2000 SL Blogs, Most on Fashion, Trending Toward Image-Only Posts

SL blogs

I talked about Blogging Second Life last week, a blog about Second Life blogs put together by Evelyn Hartshon and Cajsa Lilliehook, and here's a pretty incredible stat: By Ms. Lilliehook's estimate, there are some 2000 individual blogs devoted to Second Life.

Here's Cajsa drilling down on that estimate: "There are currently 1564 individual bloggers with 340 more blogs to add [to their list]. Some of those blogs have multiple bloggers and so there will be over 1900 bloggers. Some bloggers blog on multiple blogs - as many as 3 or 4. So I think a good guess is 1900 to 2000 blogs. And of course, more keep adding and I am sure I have only a small percentage of the foreign language blogs since reaching out to the foreign language bloggers is complicated." I know for a fact there a lot of Brazilian, Japanese, and Italian language SL blogs, for instance, so that 2000 number may be an estimation on the conservative side.

Most of them, she reports, are about Second Life fashion:

"There are more women's [fashion] blogs than anything else. About 1200." Second most popular category: Freebie blogs (announcements and links for free content giveaways in SL). Third mostpopular, according to Cajsa: Men's fashion. (In the latter category, Iris blogged about many male fashion blogs recently here, and readers shared many more in Comments.)"

"It seems that there are more and more blogs that have pictures with no text -- highlighting new releases, hunts and other events. I assume one of the reasons is the international nature of the SL fashion community and the natural desire to be able to communicate with a larger, English-speaking audience of SL fashion followers."

From Cajsa Lilliehook's perspective, about 10-15% of the total are notable:

"New blogs start all the time, most of them not particularly interesting or unique," as she puts it. "I add them all because the purpose is to document them all - not to winnow. If I were curating the Best of the Blogs - I think there would be about 200 - 300 good ones. That's not to say the rest are all bad, they are simply average. I don't like to call any of them bad blogs, because there is an audience for anything."

Surprisingly (to me), snarky SL fashion blogs are not very common. "The least common SL blog is the anonymous What the Fug type. Which," says Cajsa Lilliehook, "probably says something good about SL."

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Damien Fate

Considering the amount of blogger application notecards received each day this doesn't surprise me XD.

Pussycat Catnap

I have such a hard time taking the whole fashion and models thing in SL seriously. I went through some links there, and found a model training agency...

And all I can think is... it takes training to know how to sit on a poseball?

There's a whole course on runway walking and I'm thinking - a course on... buying an AO?

And the whole series of them call themselves "real" fashion professionals and models... when they're really 3D artists and "video game roleplayers" (well, virtual reality roleplayers. :p)

Pussycat Catnap

I've read one "serious" sounding article about how to judge the other person in an encounter by their fashion. It has the classy person, the seductress, and the sexy dame... and how this can relate to the styles of tactics they will use as a social party...

and I couldn't stop thinking... "what do I think when the other person shows up as a rabbit furry with a paper bag prim for a head?"

Iggy

Pussycat, hell hath no fury like an SL fashionista scorned. You are about to be hunted down by the stiletto mafia.

I scorned them here last year, and I had to recant my heresy. You are clearly made of tougher stuff than I am.

Masami Kuramoto

Fashion, freebies, more fashion.

I guess that answers Hamlet's recent question: Should we talk more about shared creative spaces?

The answer is: No. We should talk about shared expressive spaces. And in terms of expressivity, Patterns and Second Life are pretty much at opposite ends of a spectrum. What could a Patterns blogger possibly write about? "Dear audience, today I built a pyramid. Dear audience, today I built a bridge." With screenshots!

Something tells me that the metaverse is not quite dead yet...

Hamlet Au

Not sure I follow that logic, Masami. 2000 SL blogs are overwhelmingly about fashion. Not 3D builds, not sims, not roleplay communities, not virtual business and in-world economy, not RL applications, not most of the things that we ascribe as unique or essential to what's generally defined as the metaverse. So doesn't that suggest there's not much popular interest in the metaverse per se, even in the SL user community?

Masami Kuramoto

Virtual fashion is not about keeping the avatar warm, it's about expressing identity. And unless you look like a fashion model in RL, it's also about roleplay. Virtual fashion is a result of all the things you mentioned: 3D building at a maximum degree of freedom, a shared social space where people meet and see each other's virtual representations, a place where items can be traded. Many, if not most of those fashion bloggers write about things they've seen or bought inworld, not about things they've created from scratch. Mix & match is essential. The metaverse is more about expressing than creating.

Ezra

@Hamlet "Not 3D builds, not sims, not roleplay communities, not virtual business and in-world economy, not RL applications, not most of the things that we ascribe as unique or essential to what's generally defined as the metaverse."

Not gaming either, yet that doesn't stop this blog from regularly pushing Second Life as a game.

If we're going to be loose with definitions of what Second Life is, I don't see the point in criticizing one label over the other.

Hamlet Au

Avatar fashion is a kind of roleplaying game, Ezra. It's actually very popular in a lot of other virtual world games too. Speaking of which:

"Virtual fashion is not about keeping the avatar warm, it's about expressing identity."

Yes, and it's also done in a IMVU, It Girl, Zwinky, Barbie Online, etc. etc. So it's not at all unique to Second Life, and in itself, doesn't seem to have much relationship to how the metaverse was envisioned. I'm guessing that's why the question I asked wasn't answered.

Zod

Why are there are no blogs on SL vehicles or weapons?

Sure, the fashion industry is the most popular but every avatar in SL has at least one weapon or vehicle of some kind and yet there is hardly any mention of them on major mainstream blogs.

It takes a lot of talent and hard work to make a well scripted vehicle or firearm that also looks good. The creators behind these products deserve as much recognition as fashion designers.

My 2 cents.

Ciaran Laval

Fashion blogs are popular because it's easier to showcase your items on a blog than it is in Second Life. I'm talking about pictures here, you can put pictures from different angles, plus fashion creators are artistic in their nature and able to take good photos, use Photoshop well etc.

I'm surprised there are not more blogs showcasing buildings but I think that says more about where the market is, fashion is extremely popular still.

@Zod scripters are often not as artistic as fashion bloggers, so they may be able to produce a good product but they may not be so good at presenting it, via a blog.

Cajsa Lilliehook

While the Blogging Second Life section focused on blogs has about 2000 blogs, that does not include the hundreds of SL store blogs. All the store blogs are listed in the Stores and Creators section of our directories and I am sure there's another 1000 or more.

There almost 70 personal journals, a mix of travel, adventure and technical commentary. What surprises me is how few blogs there are about SL art, architecture and music. I guess one could could count the SL travel blogs as part of the universe of art and architecture if you want to stretch it. There's about 70 travel blogs though even there, a fair number are fashion/travel combination.

Ezra

"Avatar fashion is a kind of roleplaying game, Ezra. It's actually very popular in a lot of other virtual world games too."

See? That's your reasoning and opinion, and you're entitled to it, but how many of those 2,000 blogs are labeled as being about a roleplaying game? Are any wrong if they subscribe to the idea of a metaverse and believing that's what their virtual fashion blogging is for?

Second Life is kind of a lot of things. It's kind of a shared creative space as Linden Lab is now calling it. "Metaverse" is a word with meaning big enough to be inclusive of all the "kind ofs" out there, like your 'kind of a roleplaying game' opinion.

Not sure the point of not liking the label metaverse when its one of few words that accurately accounts for everything possible in Second Life, and in similar software outside of it.

Masami Kuramoto

Hamlet Au wrote:

Yes, and it's also done in a IMVU, It Girl, Zwinky, Barbie Online, etc. etc.

But not in Patterns.

So much for "shared creative spaces". This whole notion that dumbing down the tools will boost our creativity is nonsense. LL's new games are a challenge to pre-school kids, yet you are peddling them like "Second Life done right".

Flo2

"Virtual fashion is not about keeping the avatar warm, it's about expressing identity."
/me smiles in your naivety.
Ahhmm, yes, identity. Or rather aspiring for free promo clothes from the creators, isn't it?

Masami Kuramoto

Flo2 wrote:

Ahhmm, yes, identity. Or rather aspiring for free promo clothes from the creators, isn't it?

You seem to think that's a contradiction, but actually it just proves what I said earlier. If outfits were not important for self-expression, none of those bloggers would "aspire for free promo clothes". They wouldn't blog about clothes at all.

From the very moment you replace your noob gear with something else, your outfit is an expression of your identity. Because you make the choices, and others see what you choose.

Orca Flotta

@ Zod: although I'm at least partly dressed up most of the time I rarely blog about what I wear. In fact I and many others (ok, make that "some" others) are blogging about sailboats (vehicles). We even have a Tumblr site following the RL boatporn archive where we kinda promote our individual blogs: http://slboatporn.tumblr.com/archive.

And I'm blogging about motorcycles as well, and my travels on boats and bikes. And I even throw in my political thoughts from time to time. But many would call it communist propaganda so I don't do it very often ;)
http://orcasl.blogspot.com/

But Ciaran is right: scripters and builders of complicated vehicles often aren't very artistic in nature. Often even the product shots on their vendors are like super bad. Still some of them are having their own store blogs.
And the users of vehicles and weapons aren't so interested in blogging neither. Since vehicles are there to be used, the users rather use than talk about them.

With fashion it's different though; you can't use fashion for anything else but making pretty photos and blogging about.

Most fashion blogs aren't even real blogs anyway: those bloggers don't express themselves, we never hear about their inspiration for this and that look. We never know anything about the blogger's personality (or probably the lack thereof). They just make a pretty photo and if we're lucky they tell us what they are wearing.
A very good exception is Harper Beresford as she's doing a fashion blog that's sometimes so nice and inspiring to read. Often too clever for it's own good:
http://slfashionpassion.wordpress.com/

@ Masami: yes, right! I'd even say that most real SLers won't even think about or having the time to engage in those activities as promoted by the lab. Hunting for crystals and building a bridge just isn't on the list of interests of any grown up person.

Orca Flotta

uh oh, the link to SL boatporn archive works better without the punctum at the end, so here you go:
http://slboatporn.tumblr.com/archive

ZZ Bottom

I do bridges, I do create scripts, I do all those facny things that seems are the main goal on Metaverses!
Do them on Sl as i do them mostly on OSGRID!
And i do trips, i sail, i drive bikes, i race nascar on Sl!
I also do more uncommon things like going to live concerts, art exibitions or exploring!
And it sllok sby the direction of this post, even more strange things like goin g to shop, spend hours creating a pair of boots,. make all my look in a way unique, cause My real me is unique so do most be my avatar identity!
And of course i do most of nobody even said here, the PORNO BLOGS ABOUT SL ARE MUCH MORE THEN ANY OTHER TYPE!
And unless MR is already USA president, i think SEX is not, yet, a forbidden word, is it here Hamlet?


Arcadia Codesmith

I was a model for a virtual fashion show once. I suppose it would be fairly easy, if nothing ever went wrong.

Let me know if there's ever a fashion show where nothing goes wrong. I've never seen one.

Everybody wears something in Second Life. If you stick with the newbie avatar, that's a statement in itself. If you become a virtual nudist, you're still wearing skin and hair. Fashion (good or bad) is universal.

Vehicles and weapons are niche products. You don't need them, and their performance is often degraded, not by the designers (some of whom are BRILLIANT) but by the limitations of the platform.

And while I find architecture personally fulfilling, most people only need one house (although many of us have a half dozen or more in our pocket -- wicked witches beware).

On a broader note, a proliferation of blogs is a sign of an invested community. And an invested community will see you through lean times much better than a bloated but fickle community.

DrFran Babcock

Time to plug my blog: drfranbabcock.wordpress.com which has been around for many years, and focuses on grid-wide events (Burn, RFL, SL Birthdays) as well as journaling my daily life in SL. I love SL, and this blog is my journal. It reminds me of the diversity, creativity, and excitement in SL.

danaf

My blog which I began 6 months ago is mainly about mens fashion; sometimes I highlight SL places as part of it. I dont seek free promo stuffs 'n that just do my own independent thing. I haven't thought too much about why I do it; I love clothes both in SL & RL. It's kinda a creative outlet for me & I enjoy the fun in doing it altho I know my artistic skill is limited and that I am just one among thousands.

Pussycat Catnap

"The answer is: No. We should talk about shared expressive spaces"

- That's actually very spot on. SL is all about self-expression. Its a lot more about expression than creation.

Just look at the fashionista roleplay community.

My "lolwut" with the fashion RPers is just that they take themselves too seriously - but as a roleplay, I get it, and understand that it is very much about expressing inner fantasies.

(I just don't think they're on the same space as the RL models on my magazines. One is play - and digital artistry to support that play, the other is a real profession, and an often exploitative 3rd-world manufacturing in slave labor industry to support that profession, and its consumers.)

Pussycat Catnap

"Why are there are no blogs on SL vehicles or weapons?"

I've seen them. The weapon ones though are usually marketing blogs with a lot of technical mumbo jumbo about scripting thrown in.
/swoosh

The vehicles ones also, but there used to be a more vibrant vehicle and exploring blog scene for SL.

Then the greenlanes got wiped out.
- And that was a slap across the face to vehicle fans... You might think putting in prim roads would be great for them, but it seems to have instead killed them as a community.

- It also destroyed to the point of owning roadside land. Now that roads are actually built on the roads... no one wants to use them, so having a roadside lot just means protected view into some fugly prims (unless you get lucky - about half the mole roads are ugly, and the other have are amazing works of beauty. The disparity is baffling). Back in the greenlanes era - roadside lot meant random traffic from SL explorers.

But roads make it look "explored" - less psychological motive to feel you're finding something.

And in SL... roads make it harder to drive on. Plain green land - much nicer.

So gone are the vehicles and driving blogs.


Pussycat Catnap

Imagine what would happen to the SL sailing community if the moles went out and rezzed PRIM WATER on top of every single piece of linden owned water in SL.

- That's what happened to the vehicle community when greenlanes got wiped.

Would you even care if half of it was drawn better than default water? Especially if the other half looked like crayon-art?

It is a perfect example of LLs doing a massive project to improve SL for a community, without first consulting that community to find out what they really want. Leaving -both sides- angry at each other.

/omgstillbitteraboutoldnews

Pussycat Catnap

(And if you think the idea of the moles rezzing prim water is silly... My wonderful boathouse south of Blake Sea, that had an open ocean view with 2 sims to my east to sail through, and a dozen up on a multi-wide path to blake sea...

Now there's some carny island blocking my view of the ocean... with some mole project on it.

/shakespaw

I got your vehicle blog right here buster... If I wrote it, I'd lose sight of my ability to be rational pretty quickly... Been there, don't want to go back. :p

Ajax Manatiso

When I first joined SL I picked the chainmail shirt because I didn't know what SL was and I wanted to be ready in case of dragons. A week later, sitting at the bar of a club, another patron asked me - "Are you on a quest? I said, "Yes. Yes I am."

SL is a quest for whatever you are looking for whether it is fashion or a farm of breedable fuzzworms, or even if you don't know what it is you are looking for.

Iggy

Agreed on the LL rezzed roads. They lagged driving badly and then one adds the difficulty in crossing sims. SL is less a world now, as a result, than it was in 2007 when I first began my road trips. So my blog stopped its monthly road-trip feature.

Iris Ophelia

@Orca Flotta Yikes. First of all, if you want to try to tell me that vehicles don't count as self-expression in almost the exact same way that fashion does, I'd like to introduce you to a few middle-aged men with painfully expensive and shiny sports cars. More to the point, in SL they're just as ornamental and useless as any fashion items. I mean, why drive when you can fly? Why boat when I can put on a mermaid tail and a jetpack and be Astroboy-Meets-Ariel at hundreds of miles per hour?

And second... I just can't let this go: "Hunting for crystals and building a bridge just isn't on the list of interests of any grown up person." You must know that there are SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD who would say the EXACT SAME THING about your love of virtual boating. They would dismissively say 'Uh, why don't you just go on a real boat instead of a pretend one, ha ha ha'. People find a lot of different things entertaining for their own subjective reasons. Maybe Patterns isn't for you, maybe you don't get it, but you don't have to. It doesn't have to be for you or even for me, but we don't get to make big objective calls about what 'grown up people' should enjoy. I know we both probably know how that feels: It feels shitty, and it's not a judgement that anyone involved in SL really has any business making.

Pathfinder

@Masami

"We should talk about shared *expressive* spaces."

Wow, that's brilliant! Sums it up perfectly.

Zod

"More to the point, in SL they're just as ornamental and useless as any fashion items."

Come on. You know and I know that's not true.

Yeah there are a lot of them out there that have limited functionality and intended for collectors to show off to their friends but many vehicles and weapons are scripted to work with other combat meters. They were designed for a purpose other than as a fashion accessory.

How it is scripted will affect the performance on things like rate of fire, reload time, accuracy, etc. All those together, along with your skill, will determine how well you do in like say, a WW2 RP sim. A freebie weapon will have fewer features and poor quality textures compared to the paid versions.

Planes are a really good example in the difference scripting makes. Some use the free magic carpet script while the high-end stuff use custom scripts that have sophisticated vehicles physics for realism. The good ones look really nice but have low lag and are good sim crossers. Ask any pilot and they will tell you.

You guys are right about programmers and builders not being the best at making promo photos. We need a weapon and vehicle enthusiast version of Iris Ophelia on new world notes to showcase the work of some of the best the grid has to offer to give these creators a helping hand with some badly needed exposure.

Orca Flotta

Iris took offense:
@Orca Flotta Yikes. First of all, if you want to try to tell me that vehicles don't count as self-expression in almost the exact same way that fashion does, I'd like to introduce you to a few middle-aged men with painfully expensive and shiny sports cars. More to the point, in SL they're just as ornamental and useless as any fashion items.
----------

No, I didn't want to tell you that vehicles don't count a sself-expression. Of course they do, but in a much smaller way than clothes. Of course there are those poor mid-life crisis guys who need their shiny toys to play it big in SL and impress the girls. Poor sods are always so disappointed if I refuse to be a f@ckable guest on their newest luxury yacht and instead rez my own better one and wave them a goodbye.

And of course i have my favourite boats and bikes from my favourite bulders because I prefer their scripting and their building abilities. That's how I express myself by only using realistically looking boats and bikes which are modelled after RL existing ones. But I rarely, almost never, purchase them for the reason of expressing myself (showing of). No, I buy them because I need them for the races and cruises. I like to express myself with what I do, not with what I have.


About the Linden games, which I called building bridges and hunting for crystals since I couldn't remember the names Patterns and Realms, I really do think that a vast majority of SLers are not interested in them. Not at all. Here's why (lol):

- If we wanted to play games we would play games. But we are in SL, not in some game, so that point is kinda self-explanatory.

- The reasons why one engages in a virtual world are vastly different from the reasons why one plays games.

- Most avies I know are in RL between 40 - 70 y/o (the average age of SL residents so I hear), they are just not interested in gaming in the first place. We just have other interests, which go far beyond gameplay. We're in SL to do virtual world stuff. Gaming might be a part of it, as a hobby for our avies, but usually we find more wholesome activities to engage in.

- If anybody would actually dismissively ask me "Uh, why don't you just go on a real boat instead of a pretend one, ha ha ha'", I counter that question with just a dismissive laugh by myself and tell them that I spent more time on more RL oceans and RL sailing races than they could even imagine. Guess what, I once was young too, and a very active and passionate sailorgirl. Spent almost my whole childhood and adolescence on boats. I'm not doing it anymore because RL life took me on a different path and I just can't do it now. Time, costs, location, interests, health, marriage, all that has changed since I sailed last in RL.
Anyway I still have not one but two motorcycles which I use almost daily, so they couldn't even ask me the same question in regard of biking.

Orca Flotta

I just can't let this one go:
"You must know that there are SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD who would say the EXACT SAME THING about your love of virtual boating."

Yes, soooo many people.
Old wisdom says that people in general, particularly when appearing in masses are a stupid bunch. And their comment about my vitual boating would just prove my point. Since it's a stupid half-thought comment. These people you speak about, I take it they are the new computer kids, around 20 y/o college geeks who don't know shit about life. The "generation gamer" as they are known in my circles.

Yes, I get Patterns, and maybe I'd even enjoy it if I were looking for a little activity while riding the bus to uni. That's all good and fine but wtf has it to do with SL??? I guess you can't even play Patterns in-world, isn't it?

Orca Flotta

Masami was clever:

And in terms of expressivity, Patterns and Second Life are pretty much at opposite ends of a spectrum.
------------------

Zacly! Patterns isn't an addition to SL, even less so than Realms was. It's a totally different thing, counterproductive at best. And that's why I wrote my opinion that "real" SLers are not interested in Patterns. We all already have our reasons for being in SL, the oldbies even more so than the newbies. We had those reasons long before LL came up with Realms and now Patterns. We simply don't need it. It's useless in regard of SL.

Quite the opposite: as long as SL is hampered by lag and glitches, as long as LL can't provide us with a functioning platform, I simply, don't have any tolerance for them wasting precious work hours on developing little games.

Nexii Malthus

@Orca, as a 22y/o, I find your comment utterly rude and ageist.

The same comment is also often found from older people as well just as often, if not more. (as younger people are always more at ease with computer technology to begin with)

Stupidity has no age nor identity.

---

Anyways, I'd really like to see more vehicle blogs, as well as weapons and other advanced interactive content.

Especially speaking as one who tries to contribute a ton to this area via quality opensource libraries and scripts.

Orca Flotta

@Orca, as a 22y/o, I find your comment utterly rude and ageist.
----------------
It wasn't meant to be rude (in the USA you have a different and very soft view on rude anyway; and I tend to wilfully ignore that mindset) but I meant to offend! I could easily say that the opinions expressed by many young folks here are ageist as well. Because they are only catering for the younglings; an age group of obviously not much impact or importance on SL. Still they are trying to dumb down SL and making it fit their own lower standards. See how they are all crying out for easier to grasp viewers, lower graphics, iPad usability, moar games?
BTW, when I was 22 I was still years away from getting my first PC. And internet, OMG, I wouldn't even know what that is.

----------------
The same comment is also often found from older people as well just as often, if not more. (as younger people are always more at ease with computer technology to begin with)
----------------
Maybe. But we more settled people have the money to buy better hardware so we're not whining about SL problems with our cheapo setups ;) And we are not stupid enough to waste our time with games ... in a virtual world fer fecks sake.

----------------
Stupidity has no age nor identity.
----------------
True, but stupidity multiplies. And it's loud. So the more you younglings are shouting the more attention you get. Particularly from the lab, since their employees aren't any older than you. So you'll win the battle eventually anyway. SL is already on the best way to become just another video game and we oldbies (old in SL) are leaving in disgust.

Arcadia Codesmith

I am a person of advancing years, I've enjoyed Second Life since shortly after launch, and I have been a life-long, passionate computer gamer since my siblings and I found our first Pong console under the tree.

Stereotypes: more trouble than they're worth.

virtualchristine

Hi Hamlet! Virtualchristine here, happy old lady metaverse explorer and blogger!I have no interest whatsoever in shopping or fashion, and I write that way. The small, but very definite success of my little blog over the past couple of years at virtualchristine.com, tells me that people are very interested in the metaverse, in the IDEA of the metaverse.Our metaverse. But Second Life is commercial, and therefore geared at status and profit. And so are it's blogs. It is what it is, as my father would say. Now OpenSim.......

ZZ Bottom

Virtual Christine is a amazing blog and one that all Sl users should read to see that there is more then SL around!

virtualchristine

Oh ZZ, that is so kind of you!Thank you so very much my dear! I just wanted to say I agree with you 100% that most SL folk have no idea what OpenSim is about, has to offer ,or even how to get there!! If not knowing how to start is a problem, just go to the top of my blog, and read the page titled" How to get on OpenSim in Six Ridiculously Easy Steps". In about 5 minutes, you can be on an exciting,dynamic OpenSim Grid ! Come on everyone,don't waste one more bit of precious time complaining about Linden Lab!!! Come spead your wings in the Free Metaverse!!!Come join us on the frontier!!

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