« RealXtend Running on a Nokia N900 Smartphone | Main | Blogged in Japan: SL Fashion, Bunnies, Strangeness »

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


You're not wrong, but it's not the only fundamental feature that LL have neglected. A social network which caps your IM's? That can't have more than 40 people in a single space at one time? Which lacks proper group and contact management facilities? Which can't reliably handle group chats? It's laughable really.

Linden Lab have historically spent too much time adding shiny-toy features for creators (like me, who stayed) and have neglected to get the basics right for everyone else (who visit but rarely stay).

Ordinal Malaprop

"Let's make SL like Habbo."

Really. I don't have to say any more than that surely.

Dimitrio Lewis

The events calendar is the heart and soul of Second Life and it cannot be overstressed how important, how essential, it is for the retention of new residents. It is one of the most critical features at their disposal.

Every new resident should be firmly encouraged to look through the events list to find at least one social gathering to attend during their first evening inworld, whether that be a music concert or a philosophical discussion.

Only through mingling with others in this manner will the majority of new residents find immediate meaningful value in the virtual world and continue to explore the avenues of opportunity on offer.

It's no secret that many of those who find Second Life are socially withdrawn, which makes it all the more important that they be exposed to a social environment at the earliest opportunity. They are not going to seek out or approach other people to talk to. Giving them a shared social experience where the attention is focused elsewhere allows them to relax and open up in their own time, at their own comfort level, while taking the time to experience part of the magic that Second Life has to offer.

Destination guides are nice if you want to see pretty builds, but they're not the way to build social confidence, or the way to retain new residents. If someone wants to see a pretty picture they can find that elsewhere.

Ciaran Laval

Groups and search are two massive factors that limit social networking in Second Life.

Dimitrio is right about events, people should be browsing events, it's one of the easiest ways to find something to do, but in viewer 2 it's a very poor system and where is the encouragement for a new users to look in events in the first place, it's not in your face enough, the main website can help here by making events more prominent.

Due to the awfulness of new search, they've had to take events out of search all.

Hamlet Au

I don't think a dynamic events calendar will work unless it has this function of also listing the number of people who are there, which should be sorted in terms of popularity. (Landowners trying to game popularity with bots would be de-listed, of course.) That way, people not only know if an event is potentially interesting, but that it's well-attended. That lessens the fear of wandering into a sparse event, an awkward situation especially for a new user. When you're invited to a real life party, do you show up right when it's scheduled to start? Most people come in an hour or two afterward, for this very reason.

Ann Otoole

LL has a chat hotspot section in the dest guide. Sadly those are where you go to receive various insults and to be accosted by the immature 4chan and griefer community of SL since LL does not constantly police them.

I would like to point out that often I only hear of something really cool after is has happened. Here on this blog.

LL doesn't have any entertainment expertise in house. They needed to hire entertainment expertise in 2008 but instead they hired someone from marketing who then hired in more people like him.

If LL is going to fix this then they need to hire at minimum two executives:

1. Security (tzar) Executive to properly manage the feeling of safety with SL. This includes dealing with the people that should not be in SL. Much less infesting welcome areas and info hubs.

2. An entertainment (tzar) executive from the entertainment business to get that side together fast and concentrate on marketing entertainment.

Sadly LL listens to none but the magic mirror on the wall who is the greatest one of all.

Hitomi Tiponi

Just read through the research paper and must say that the data and factors they chose to examine make the paper all but worthless. Still, no doubt they got good marks for all the statistical nonsense they produced.

Toxic Menges

@ordinal that would be my personal hell. Habbo looks good on paper with it's pretty (and craftily compiled) numbers. It's a hive of scum and villainy in reality. I came to SL to escape from my working life hell of Habbo ..

I agree that chat works and needs to be nurtured, but chat is community... it's interaction. More people doesn't mean a richer experience. Some of the best and most immersive experiences I have had in SL have been with a small crowd interacting on an amazing level.

Hamlet Au

Toxic, Habbo's user numbers are taken from Comscore, a third party site tracking service. Not sure how that's "crafty". For that matter, I'm not sure why Ordinal thinks I'm suggesting Second Life should be like Habbo. With this one specific feature of displaying online users, yes, Habbo has a great solution for getting new users into events and on a retention ramp that Second Life could learn from. But there's dozens of key ways SL differs from Habbo, and should remain so. Ironically, however, 95% of new SL users don't get to enjoy those features (dynamic content creation, IP rights, 3D graphics, in-world economy linked to RL currency, scripting, etc. etc.) because they leave before even knowing those exist.

brinda allen

@ Ann Otoole ....
Well said!

Lem Skall

Why such an obsession with recruiting others into SL? Why are we to care about new users retention?

Why not focus instead about what WE want in SL, for ourselves? Incidentally, I thought for a some time that I would like to see "chat rooms" in SL, places where you could go any time and find a discussion going on some specific range of topics: a room for international politics, a room for religion, a room for movies, and so on. Maybe even something like a Speakers' Corner. Of course, it should be made in such a way so it works, which may not be easy, as some comments are pointing.

But why bring this up in the context of retaining new users instead the context of what we want for ourselves? I think there is something rotten at the root of mentality. I can understand it for someone like Hamlet who wants more readers for his blog, but what does it do for the vast majority of us?

It's not "your world, your imagination" anymore, we are not owners of SL, we are just users. Adapt.

Toxic Menges

Not sure the retention ramp is what you think it is .. uniques are not always uniques with Habbo - that's my point ;)

Toxic Menges

However, I do agree that community needs to be given more credence in SL, and that will allow new users to go on and experience the rich content we have here and they will stay..

Fogwoman Gray

And as a member of a very active community with a several very active chat groups, we are often spread out all over the grid while chatting. Or more often, trying to chat with the ubiquitous "your message cannot be delivered" errors with every posting, with the lag delaying comments to the point of making conversation difficult and misunderstandings commonplace.
And as the previous commenter noted, local chat has a hard avatar limit depending on the locale.
If you want to make SL into a fancy Facebook (or Habbo, or whatever) type social networking site - then retooling in a way that rids us of group limits and broken chat would be a spectacular place to start.
Events are rapidly becoming more trouble than they are worth, since trying to maintain a media stream, or chat, or get scripts to work in the presence of very many other people is hopeless.


Lately, it seems even tp-ing is not as reliable as it once was, and even when it was more reliable, it was never as reliable as it should have been.

I would imagine out of the 95% who leave, LAG has got to be a factor in their decision. I mean, it would almost have to be.

I also notice that campers and bots are still prevelant and that would frustrate some newbies.

Sim crossings are still a study in moppishness and the IM cap has to be resolved.

You know, with all this talk of Habbo and other worlds and reading about how many things they are doing right, it might make some people go try those worlds out and leave SL, or at least, spend a little less time in SL with a few minutes of investigating those other worlds. In fact, I think I may check out Habbo today due to all the press it gets from this site.

Tateru Nino

Comscore's numbers are, alas, not much better than guesswork. I don't believe their methodology is to be trusted.

Arcadia Codesmith

Agreed that the first step is to fix the chat systems that already exist.

But once that's accomplished, an interesting model to study is that of the MMORPG EVE Online. It is, in many respects, a game with a well-deserved reputation for cutthroat attitudes and a steep learning curve. But one thing they've done blissfully right is to, by default, dump every new player into a COMPANY-MODERATED help channel. The Mods actively filter out griefers, but the bulk of help for new players comes from existing players.

New players also have instant access to a "university" channel specific to their faction. It's a default guild for the unguilded. While most players remain there only until they find another group, there are also experienced, hardcore players that remain because they enjoy the ambiance and helping new players make their way in a hostile universe.

A world that does not attract and retain new residents dies a slow and ugly death. Something along the lines of the EVE new player experience might help prevent that.

Ciaran Laval

Hamlet, having the numbers attending an event has a certain appeal yes, but there's much more to it than that, the group system, which should be the biggest source of social networking, is not fit for that purpose, it needs completely revamped, something that has been hinted at.

Matthew Perreault

"a room for international politics, a room for religion..."

I fear that would turn SL into the YouTube comment section, i.e. the inbred underbelly of the internet. There are benefits to filtering out idiots through at least a mild learning curve.

"But one thing they've (EVE) done blissfully right is to, by default, dump every new player into a COMPANY-MODERATED help channel..."

Requiring membership in a company or guild or some such upon entry seems to me the antithesis of SL. Many of us are loners, and like exploring on our own schedule & steam. Nonetheless, live help chat would certainly be welcome.

I agree very much with those here who are wary of LL's apparent goal of quantity over quality. Let the unwashed masses pollute other virtual worlds, and let those who crave something more complex and fulfilling find their way to SL. I know that makes me elitist, but there it is.

Arcadia Codesmith

"I know that makes me elitist, but there it is."

I think most of us here have experience the eye-rolling sensation of being awash in a sea of stupidity.

But if you insulate yourself from the unwashed masses in an ivory tower, you lose one of the more valuable skills an intellectual elitist can cultivate, namely, the ability to manipulate stupid people to do things for you.

(My tongue is planted firmly in my cheek. Mostly.)

Jura Shepherd

I'm against "dumbing down" SL to drive growth but I still think there's a lot of "our" kind of people who would be interested in SL that currently aren't.

There kinds of conversations, particularly here on NWN, tend to be Linden Lab or platform centric. I can understand that people don't feel the need to grow SL on the behalf of LL (even resent the notion) but I also think it's a bit short-sided to only think of growth in that way.

Beyond any commercial aspirations of LL or even residents, new people means new ideas, creation and innovations. SL the world has gone a bit beyond SL the product. We all have huge amounts of time and energy invested in it. I'd like for our artist to be seen, our musicians to be heard, and so on. We've built a pretty cool society here and even though it may not be for everyone, more can be done to bring other like-minded people in.

Lem Skall

"A world that does not attract and retain new residents dies a slow and ugly death."

Yup, and we'll have to find another way to kill time. OMG, the end is near!

"We all have huge amounts of time and energy invested in it."

No, not ALL of us. And like any other investment, if it's a bad one you just have to let it go, you don't bring more people into a pyramid scheme.

This is really the root of the problem, that people feel that they are invested in it and they can't let go of that investment. For some people it is true but those are very few. For the vast majority of people it is a false view that they got in on the ground floor and that it will give them some advantage if SL ever turns mainstream. If your huge investment in SL is emotional, then you just need help. Seriously, it means you are addicted.

Anya Ristow

I spent two years building just such a system for SL but never released it because by the time I was done it was so difficult to find places to include that it just wasn't worth the time. That, and there's no way for a resident to earn money to run the darned thing. This is something LL has to do because only LL (1) earns a living wage so they can afford the time for these kinds of projects and (2) can make something like this part of the browser or the SL website, where people will actually find it.

There is no shortage of destinations in SL, but if you spend time at each one you recognize that almost all, even the busy ones, are not social spaces. The biggest trick to this project is the ranking criteria that determines which ones show up "on top". In SL, with so much fake traffic, it can not be based on traffic alone. There are human-ranked criteria that must be used, and that's too time-consuming for an unpaid resident to do. Visiting each location repeatedly to keep its social and physical rankings current and also maintain the location database is just too much work.

But it's something LL could do. I think one full-time person could do it. Two full-timers could do a really good job of it. And it'd get LL staff in-world (though undercover), which can't be bad, either.

Anya Ristow

Oops, "part of the browser" should have been "part of the viewer".


I believe you miss one of the main reasons, people come to SL is to be entertained. Linden Labs does a poor job of promoting and aiding role play sims and other games that are inside second life. If all new residents wanted was a place to chat, they would use a platform that is more popular already.

Second life is an open platform and can create role play sims that cannot exist in other games. Free form, unlike a set role play like Wow. Residents have created them for second life but no one knows they exist. The overhead is horrible since these type of sims do not make $$. Its no fun being social in a store.

There is little to do inside second life except shop, that is not something that will retain users for a long time.

Hamlet Au

"Linden Labs does a poor job of promoting and aiding role play sims and other games that are inside second life"

I agree, and I think having an "Online now" meter would be a huge boon for roleplay/game sites. That way, gamers would know where the action is happening when they log in. That's how most multiplayer game servers work, there's a lobby which lists available games *and* the number of players in them. There's a lot of great gaming sites in Second Life, but most of them are empty or sparsely populated at any given moment. No point in promoting those, because gamers are just going to go there, look around, shrug, and log off.


Personally, I feel voice is killing community in Second Life. There seems to be a split in a community when you introduce voice, those that hate it and don't want to use it for whatever reason, and those that can't seem to function without it. One or the other leaves and never comes back. Again, my personal opinion. I prefer to listen to music and use text chat.

@ Ann O'Toole, well said. You are spot on. I have approached some internet radio stations about having a presence in Second Life, every single one has never heard of Second Life. Martini in the Morning broadcast in world as does idance radio and they have flourishing communities because of it. It took me about 10 minutes to email their contacts, LL can't do this?

Mecha Innis

When voice was coming to SL I was one of the first persons to order a Plantronics headset directly from the SL website. Since then, I have rarely ever used it and it is now gathering dust.

The use of voice introduces the real world into SL - education level, emotions, nationality and race.

The main reason why I have stayed with SL and why most of the people I know stay with SL is to have your own virtual space to build the stuff you want.

I also enjoy some community aspects as well, where there is no voice chat and people share music.

SL will never be the ideal place for social networking, meeting people, chatting or gaming. There are other better platforms for these activities.

What SL is the best at is providing a platform for you to create your own virtual space and to share this with others. This is how SL should be marketed to attract new users.

Marketing SL with a focus on chat and social networking is a recipe for failure.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Making a Metaverse That Matters Wagner James Au ad
Please buy my book!
Thumb Wagner James Au Metaverse book
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
Wagner James Au Patreon
Equimake 3D virtual world web real time creation
Bad-Unicorn SL builds holdables HUD
Dutchie Evergreen Slideshow 2024
AWE USA discount code
Juicybomb_EEP ad
My book on Goodreads!
Wagner James Au AAE Speakers Metaverse
Request me as a speaker!
Making of Second Life 20th anniversary Wagner James Au Thumb
PC for SL
Recommended PC for SL
Macbook Second Life
Recommended Mac for SL

Classic New World Notes stories:

Woman With Parkinson's Reports Significant Physical Recovery After Using Second Life - Academics Researching (2013)

We're Not Ready For An Era Where People Prefer Virtual Experiences To Real Ones -- But That Era Seems To Be Here (2012)

Sander's Villa: The Man Who Gave His Father A Second Life (2011)

What Rebecca Learned By Being A Second Life Man (2010)

Charles Bristol's Metaverse Blues: 87 Year Old Bluesman Becomes Avatar-Based Musician In Second Life (2009)

Linden Limit Libertarianism: Metaverse community management illustrates the problems with laissez faire governance (2008)

The Husband That Eshi Made: Metaverse artist, grieving for her dead husband, recreates him as an avatar (2008)

Labor Union Protesters Converge On IBM's Metaverse Campus: Leaders Claim Success, 1850 Total Attendees (Including Giant Banana & Talking Triangle) (2007)

All About My Avatar: The story behind amazing strange avatars (2007)

Fighting the Front: When fascists open an HQ in Second Life, chaos and exploding pigs ensue (2007)

Copying a Controversy: Copyright concerns come to the Metaverse via... the CopyBot! (2006)

The Penguin & the Zookeeper: Just another unlikely friendship formed in The Metaverse (2006)

"—And He Rezzed a Crooked House—": Mathematician makes a tesseract in the Metaverse — watch the videos! (2006)

Guarding Darfur: Virtual super heroes rally to protect a real world activist site (2006)

The Skin You're In: How virtual world avatar options expose real world racism (2006)

Making Love: When virtual sex gets real (2005)

Watching the Detectives: How to honeytrap a cheater in the Metaverse (2005)

The Freeform Identity of Eboni Khan: First-hand account of the Black user experience in virtual worlds (2005)

Man on Man and Woman on Woman: Just another gender-bending avatar love story, with a twist (2005)

The Nine Souls of Wilde Cunningham: A collective of severely disabled people share the same avatar (2004)

Falling for Eddie: Two shy artists divided by an ocean literally create a new life for each other (2004)

War of the Jessie Wall: Battle over virtual borders -- and real war in Iraq (2003)

Home for the Homeless: Creating a virtual mansion despite the most challenging circumstances (2003)

Newstex_Author_Badge-Color 240px
JuicyBomb_NWN5 SL blog
Ava Delaney SL Blog
my site ... ... ...