If you caught the first and second part of this series of posts, then you already have a pretty good idea of what your options are when it comes to tying a social network into your Second Life self. What you may still lack is an idea of the best way to use these networks. That's particularly true when it comes to Plurk, which is so popular among SL users that they allow you to select "Second Life" as your location. Outside of Second Life however you'd be hard pressed to find people who know what Plurk is, nevermind how to make the best use of it. And that's where part 3 comes in...
Reader Ever Afterr phrased the Plurk dilemma well in her comment:
If all you want to do is link to SL things and be linked to SL things, go to Reddit. If all you want to do is have conversations and discussions about SL things, take your pick of the traditional forums. Photography? Flickr. But if you want to engage with a little bit of everything, or if you're a blogger specifically, Plurk is probably the best choice. While it's true that Plurk has been adopted with particular ferocity by the SL fashion community, they're far from the only folks around -- not to mention that most of them do still have interests outside of fashion. We're all people and we all have diverse interests, right? As for the cliques and drama, every time you get a large enough group of people together such things are bound to emerge. Plurk is no exception, but in my opinion the advantages it offers far outweigh the disadvantages.
As I mentioned in the first post in this series, Plurk hovers somewhere between the broadcasting of Twitter and the engagement of a forum. It makes having an open conversation easy, but still concise and current. That's the most important thing to remember about Plurk: It's about the conversations. It's about interacting and participating. It's about sharing yourself and your content and responding to what others share in equal measure.
The best way to start out with Plurk is to make an account and do a little digging until you find a few of your friends and favorite content creators. Maybe that content is avatar fashion, maybe it's snapshots or machinima, maybe it's blog posts. Whatever it is, Plurk is a good way to see what they're up to and interact with them a bit here and there. Don't come out of nowhere liking and replurking and responding to every single breath they take of course, but just... Relax a bit and talk to folks.
The next thing to remember is not to make your Plurk presence too one-sided. If all you do is engage, and maybe post "Goodnight!" and "Good morning!" every day, you're going to come off a little weird. Maybe even creepy. On the other hand, if all you do is post links to your own work and gush about your life, you're going to have a hard time making any new connections. You'll just seem self-absorbed, and that's not appealing on any social network.
Final tip? Diversify. I know as I've been discussing all these social networks, I've treated each one more of less separate from the others, but most people using their SL personas on social media seem to do so spanning more than a few sites. Don't feel like you need to be active on Plurk and Reddit and Google+ non-stop, but don't be afraid to try different networks on for size and see what clicks with you. Maybe Plurk's reputation has steered you away from the perfect network for your... or maybe the warnings were all spot on. Only you can really figure that out for yourself.Tweet
Janine Hawkins (@bleatingheart on Twitter, Iris Ophelia in Second Life) has been writing about virtual worlds and video games for nearly a decade, and has had her work featured on Paste, Kotaku, Jezebel and The Mary Sue.