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Friday, January 28, 2011


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Loraan Fierrens

Actually, I find the way that Linden Lab is doing their Facebook integration to be fairly interesting. I also think it's having some positive effects. One of the groups I'm in (the Kannonji Zen Retreat) has a pretty active presence on Facebook—both in terms of "Likes" and in terms of active postings talking about various things and advertising in-world activities—a presence that points right back to Kannonji's sim. I have also noticed a lot of new users showing up at Kannonji during its hosted events, and I can't help but think that the work on Facebook is helping draw people in. Some of the newcomers have actually told us that it was the Facebook group that they originally found and that brought them in. Now, not all of the newcomers will stay, of course, but some will... but no one will stay if they never come in the first place, and the way Facebook is being used in this case is helping with that problem. In the end, this is about marketing, and to market something to people successfully (even if you're not trying to make money off the deal) you have to go where the people are. Like it or not, the people are on Facebook now.

The irony in this for me personally is that I've just marked my Facebook account for deletion. I am not happy with Facebook's attitude toward its user's privacy preferences. In particular, this latest business with using user profiles in advertisements where there is no opt-out crossed a line for me.

So, I'm conflicted. On the one hand, Facebook offers an excellent opportunity for content creators and groups in Second Life to reach potential new customers and members. On the other hand, I really hate the way that Facebook seems to treat its users like chattel.


Fleecebook is a privacy Trojan Horse stuffed full of sheep. Why are you so desperate to have us all pull the same wool over our eyes? You may have lost any ability to think for yourself, doesn't mean the rest of us have.

Ciaran Laval

Can I just clarify something here, I don't object to those who want to have the widget, having the widget, or those who want to link to Facebook, promote SL on Facebook, or engage with Facebook, having the right to use Facebook, although I personally wish Facebook would go away, I support people's wishes to use that platform.

The issue for me, is similar to Loraan Fierrens reasons for deleting their Facebook account, this should be an opt-in choice for our profiles, the current suggestion is to set your profile to not show in search, that's not much of a choice.

Linden Lab are working towards more granular security settings for profiles, they're doing this it seems, because of people's objections to the Facebook link.

Facebook works quite clearly, on linking information about you, as one user found out when they clicked like on their Second Life profile whilst they believed they weren't signed into Facebook, and then found their Facebook profile showing the like, whether they were careless in assuing they weren't logged into Facebook I don't know, but Facebook works on trails, they're not alone in this of course, but it's something I personally don't want to be part of with Facebook, if others do, I respect that choice, but it should be about choice.

Wizard Gynoid

Frankly, facebook has a piss poor history of respecting the privacy rights of its users. that is my main concern. my avatar has a presence on facebook, despite having been deleted once because I am Fake (your article of 5/11/09 http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2009/05/facebook-ban.html)
having experienced the facebook big brother firsthand i can only conclude that facebook's insistence on a RL identity is driven by their perceived market value of that kind of personal information. to force a link between that RL information and the SL avatar identity violates the spirit of SL's ToS, which values the privacy of the spirit behind the avatar very highly. i would hope that Linden Lab continues to value that privacy above all else. i plan to continue to have a facebook presence, but i do so with my eyes open, and i will not link it to other social networking sites.

smiles large

Linden Lab has been trying to hook up the Cash Cow short of any clear vision of what business model applies to their irrelevant and technologically obsolete product. By doing so, and so they have for now over a year (Marketplace, Viewer 2.0 and Web Profiles), LL has undermined the very potential of the platform... so much the situation is now not recoverable. While it has been true for a while that SL is technologically doomed the potential on the community-building side is remarkable and as such has been exposed. However, while trying to reposition the product and re-build SL as a social-network platform alike Facebook the focus on the specifics of immersive community building has slowly grown diluted. Said process is now in its terminal phase. LL is mostly responsible for it. Crocheting around granular perms is a show of said obsession. End of story.

Nalates Urriah

I am not yet a big Facebook user. Using Facebook beyond putting notes on your wall or chatting is way too obtuse and far too many people misuse labels. For instance, the Second Life Facebook entry is shown as a Service/Product, not a group, with 108k+ LIKES not members. The Official Second Life Group has like 6 members.

While Facebook has close to a billion users I am not at all sure it is some great way to expose a product. If one does not know to look for SL on Facebook, I’m not sure how they would find it. However, buying an ad on Facebook provides great exposure.

Having a presence on Facebook and linking to your product or service is a good idea. Having it as an offline message center is handy. But, I am not sure that presence gets one more exposure.

Is it possible to find out how many people are coming from Facebook to SL? I think it is much more obvious that people using SL and Facebook hook up in SL related groups. I suspect the SL to Facebook links will get more SL residents to Facebook than Facebook users to SL.

I agree SL has to try this out. I do believe SL has to have social networking. But, they may have gained more by focusing on improving SL’s group chat faster. Then add more group features common to Facebook and other social networks to improve SL. While getting SL groups working well and more socially networked they could have been adding Facebook compatibility.

As it is now, being a Facebook user doesn’t seem to provide much help inside SL. Going out to Facebook to learn about it has got me spending more time away from SL. Backyard Monsters is great fun. I don’t see that my non-SL RL friends are getting any more exposure to SL.

I don’t see Facebook as being something that will provide all that big a boost to SL.

Until the Lab figures out how to put the fun of SL into an understandable format people can understand and reduce the learning curve and pain of download-setup, SL isn’t going to appeal to the masses. After all millions have seen SL and not stayed. Why anyone thinks showing the same thing to 800+ million Facebook users will produce different results, has never been explained.

CronoCloud Creeggan

Hamlet, you said yourself that you:

"consult for a MMO company that uses Facebook Connect as a streamlined account creation method."

so perhaps you are not un-biased in this matter. In a way you indirectly derive financial benefit from Facebook. That "crosses an ethical line" in my book and I wish you had divulged that information sooner so I could discount anything you said in regards to faceoook even earlier.

I must also say, that it's 108K "Likes", that is NOT the same as members. And just because someone "Likes" something, that doesn't mean they are actively using Facebook for interacting with other SL residents.

Personally, instead of focusing on Facebook, why not focus on the in-world tools themselves. One of the reasons some started using out-of-world networking is because of the group limit and the problems with group chat and notices. If those were to be improved...there would be less need to use tools outside of SL.

Besides, Facebook is all about "real identities" and SL isn't. The two don't really mix all that well in that way. Wouldn't it be better for Linden Lab to implement group message boards or something instead of using Facebook.

There are also other websites that are much better at "Sharing" than Facebook is. If I want to share SL pictures, flickr is a much better choice than Facebook, likewise Youtube for video.


I'm not gonna say it...I'm not, I'm not. I've had my rant for the month. Even though facebook killed my grandma and is making my dog's hair fall out, I'm still not commenting.

Bobbi Fett

Facebook left my husband bleeding and dying in a dark alley and sold me into slavery. Just sayin. Be careful out there.

Kimberly Rufer-Bach

Data mining and targeted ads are typical ways of paying for "free" online services. You pay by giving them your personal information to sell to the highest bidder and by staring at the ads and, presumably, purchasing advertised items.

So adding targeted banner ads and data mining tools to a service for which someone pays nontrivial monthly and annual fees is double dipping. Those who have been paying fees instead of getting a free ride are in essence paying more now, but not getting anything additional in exchange, and without the option to opt out or even warning that it would occur so that mitigating actions could be taken.

If they'd suddenly and without warning bumped up the charges for tier, the Gold Solution Provider program fee, premium membership, or exchange or marketplace fees no one would be surprised when customers complained, so it shouldn't be a surprise that people complain when rates are raised in an alternative way.

This is a much larger and more complex issue than not liking Facebook, either literally or by clicking the little button. Otherwise companies that develop browsers (such as Microsoft and Google) wouldn't work to offer tools to block data mining, and the US government wouldn't work on regulations to afford ways for consumers to block it.

This is such a huge, precedent-filled minefield in the industry and really deserves to be discussed head-on, rather than trivialized with comments that run roughly like, "If you're so worried about people knowing you're a Furry BDSM knitter, delete that filthy knitting reference from your profile, what's the problem, you hysteric?"


Yayy Kimberly!
That is an interesting idea though, maybe they could serve ads to all the free anonymous accounts and leave the paying customers alone.

brinda allen

NO WAY! NO HOW! Not even in my next lifetime! Think about this...Zuckerburg can't even keep his own account secure.

Senban Babii

My issue with connecting SL to FB is actually a cultural one more than anything.

FB is all about throwing up your personal details for the world to see in a many-to-one-funnelling attention seekfest.

Now, new residents recruited through this route will come into SL and expect much of the same. They will naturally see it as an extension of their current experience. So that will mean that inworld we'll see ever greater demands for and forced exposure of our meatlife details.

Turning SL into a 3D chatroom is a major mistake. The real way forward is something I've actually been against for years and I'm surprised I've actually had this change of opinion. The real way forward is to increasingly emulate gaming over social networking. Consider the EVE Online model for instance.

As for the whole FB thing, my SL-related email isn't the same one as my FB one so there's no connection. Just never click "like" on anything. FB only works if you feed it clicks. Don't feed it and it will go away.

Senban Babii

Oh I'll just add one point to my above post. I work for a rather large university and I get to talk about stuff like this to both staff and students. And although this is anecdotal and should not be considered as evidence, I am increasingly hearing daily that people are deleting their FB pages not because the tools are difficult to use or whatever but that they are increasingly uncomfortable with sharing ever more personal detail and having no control over that detail.

The social networking bubble is bursting. It seemed like fun at first but now people are really starting to see it for what it is. As I say, I'm hearing this from increasing numbers of people on the ground every single day. For the Lab to nail its colors to the mast of social networking is a serious error. They made a similar error with Avatars United, remember?


you can even have a revolution WITHOUT facebook or twitter!! who KNEW!

Ann Otoole InSL

It is a tool.Use it. Or don't. SL doesn't fit in facebook so if LL tries to 2.5d SL then it is over anyway. And who cares if your account on FB was made with bogus rl info and you used a throwaway cell phone for registering? Zuckerberg can't see who is at the keyboard. The more bogus accounts on FB the less Zuckerberg's gambit is worth.

Hamlet Au

"so perhaps you are not un-biased in this matter. In a way you indirectly derive financial benefit from Facebook. That "crosses an ethical line" in my book and I wish you had divulged that information sooner so I could discount anything you said in regards to faceoook even earlier."

CCC, I've advocated Second Life integrating with Facebook for years:


But I don't understand the assertion that I have a financial interest in Facebook. By that logic, I also have a financial interest in Google, because I use YouTube and AdSense and Google Docs and search for my work. Not to mention Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Linden Lab, etc. etc. etc. The New York Times uses Facebook integration on its site quite a bit, but doesn't feel obligated to disclose that fact every time they publish an article about Facebook. If I do have a bias, it's that I've seen Facebook Connect *work* as way of increasing user retention and acquisition.

Ziki Questi

There has been already extensive discussion on Twitter and other sites about this.

My perspective is that there is no attempt at "integration" (to use your term, Hamlet). But Facebook has a massive and active user base, and is a way for LL to build awareness of Second Life without costing it a dime, so one can hardly fault the Lab for promoting SL on Facebook. It's a way to 1) engage the current SL user base (one hears about SL happenings through the SL Facebook page) and 2) reach out to new constituencies.

I also don't share the perspective that LL is asking people to create avatar accounts on Facebook. There isn't a "Ziki Questi" Facebook account and never will be, but my human is active on Facebook, and "likes" Second Life there. Presumably my human friends have noticed this, and hopefully one or more might be interested enough (because of my own interest and endorsement) to take a look at Second Life. What's the harm in that? It's a *free* way for LL to advertise SL, and we all want the user base to grow.

Arcadia Codesmith

I'm neutral about Facebook interoperability as an option. I'm opposed to making it a development priority. Frankly, there are much more important issues.

Sepp Schimmer

But, but, but... Facebook have a policy of deleting accounts that are not "real persons"! It feels like walking on thin ice building and maintaining social relations there.

Morgan Leigh

I think there will be a lot of user resistance to integrating FB with SL. Many people go to a lot of trouble to separate their first and second lives, and FB forbids 'fake' account names.

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