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We have the power to make SL a "big thing" again (really) and tip the ongoing narrative, let's do this! c= let's do our part (for our sake)


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Hey guys, so looking at the overall state of the Metaverse as it is perceived, the Lindens are pretty much the last line of defense that keeps SL - which is the only established non-startup virtual world platform that has a real chance of being what we'd like to call a Metaverse, from turning into some predatory venture. Take a close look at what's currently being touted as the "Metaverse" - Roblox, Fortnite - the former is a VERY predatory platform targeting children to spend money, the latter not even what we'd like to call a Metaverse

It might seem silly to us but the truth is, where it matters the most, the truth doesn't matter. The majority of the people with the money and influence, they listen to signals and numbers, and as far as they're concerned that means the Metaverse is indeed Roblox, Fortnite, or some elusive blockchain venture with little correlation to how we the actual users of virtual worlds use them

Take a look at what happened to IMVU, it's never a good platform for most of us SL users, but then it got acquired by some company faraway out there with little to no care to what it says about its users - the new owner literally said in a public interview that they're eager to find more ways to monetize their userbase. Of course profit is always a part of the equation, but how companies say things says a lot about them, and not to mention they became even more predatory, and felt it's okay to directly nudge on SL in a misleading way as many of you know

So back to my point from before, the Lindens are pretty much the only group of people in a real position of leverage who are able to convince the directors and whatever higher ups up there that no, those are bad, the way we do things here on SL is the right way of doing things and we should continue to do so

But the Lindens can only do so much in term of encouragement or calls to action without being unprofessional, however what they can say or market to the public, depends a lot not only on metrics, but also visible enthusiasm on our part. I'm gonna continue my post in a reply so this doesn't turn into a wall of texts

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We need to be proactive in countering the false narrative out there, Second Life has enough active userbase and concurrent users, that if even only a portion of that is committed to a collective counter-campaign against falsehoods about SL, it would make a lot of difference in how SL is perceived within the tech industry and media

Remember, SL would be on Steamchart's top 10 if it were a game on Steam, that's a serious number. It will also be shown as having double the concurrent users of VRChat, the current "standard" of "Social 3D app". Those are very serious, considerable metrics

Yet pretty much no one knows these, no one's talking about these, it's insane. I keep up with the news and any mention of Second Life by news sites out there, like 9 out of 10 refer to SL in comparison to what they think is the next "big thing" with the position or perception that SL is no longer, or dead in the water - which is not true at all. Not true, false, ignorant

Yet that's how SL is judged, based on false information. But we can do something about it, a lot of things even. Remember, there is no comparable alternative to SL. If SL died or became something that is completely different from what it is now because people think there's nothing to it, it might be a while before something like SL surface again. Your livelihood, memories, enjoyment, whatever it is that keeps you from going away from SL, is at stake

We have to consolidate our efforts here, right now, while we still have the mass and momentum to break through the wall of falsehoods. The Residents together can do a lot more than the Lindens, and the Lindens can do more if the Residents do more. Say what you think can help, share what you've been doing to help promote SL in this thread, invite your friends to and let them know about this thread, feel free to contact me here in the forums or inworld (lucagrabacr Resident) if you feel you'd like to help. I do this with passion, I know even more people who do the same thing with the same interest and I'll make sure we get our acts together as much as possible to preserve and grow this wonderful thing we have here. #SecondLifeIsAlive!

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@lucagrabacr, that is a very passionate and, in my opinion, a much needed call to arms!

You are so right; us users need to be aware of the need to be proactive. All the indications at present are that sitting back, and hoping that all will be well for the future, may not be enough. Outside commercial forces, and media attention, tend to extol sensational snippets punched out by the "competition"while completely ignoring the champion in the background.

Technologically, SL has a lot of hurdles to jump if it is to keep up with modern perceptions of what is needed. Sociologically, however, nothing comes even close. It is time the world was reminded.

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Posted (edited)

I ain't gonna run ads for them.

I do my job, the Lindens theirs.

And if it all ends, 18 years is a real good run for a game.
But personally I think the duct tape will hold the things together for a few more years.
 

 

Edited by Sid Nagy
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49 minutes ago, lucagrabacr said:

the Lindens are pretty much the last line of defense that keeps SL - which is the only established non-startup virtual world platform that has a real chance of being what we'd like to call a Metaverse, from turning into some predatory venture.

Yes. An important point. Linden Lab is good at running this world. It's run like a municipality - they keep the power on, maintain the streets and public services, provide some minimal enforcement, collect property taxes, and otherwise don't bother the residents much. It works.

That's not how game companies see their worlds. They insist on a dictatorship, with them in charge. Most of the other virtual worlds with significant user counts have heavy-handed control by secret police. LL's land system diffuses most of that power in the hands of individual landowners. LL does have Governance, a small staff that responds only to serious problems. There are Governance meetings once a month. They're boring, like city council meetings.

Worth getting out there is why Second Life works as a society.

I have my arguments with LL, but mostly over the aging technology.

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I already work 12 hours a night on my feet the whole time (come join me we are hiring too) and can not fathom doing more work, I'm sorry, I love sl.   but my first life has to change before I can push any one elses ideas and such for free.

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If Linden Labs wants me to promote SL they can either A. Pay me or B. put a significant enough amount of work into dealing with customer and community issues that I feel it's worthwhile getting people into a game that still has an unnecessary learning curve and not enough support for its creative community. Don't get me wrong-I love SL and appreciate all it's done for me but at the same time they're a company owned by a corporation with deep pockets. Why should we do their work for them? If you want SL to take advantage of its potential stand with the creative community and get Linden Labs to quit turning a blind eye to issues that have been plaguing the platform for almost two decades now. 

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But isn’t it on LL to market Second Life? They’ve just never been good at it.

I mean I enjoy it, but to quote my husband “...that game is trash.” They’ve got a lot of fixing and improving to do before it’s even marketable.

I get the sentiment, but it’s really on LL to do better. Otherwise we’re going to continue to have new users that log in and say “now what?” and never return.

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3 hours ago, Janet Voxel said:

Otherwise we’re going to continue to have new users that log in and say “now what?” and never return.

Makes me sad to hear this.  When I first landed in Second Life, I said "now what" too but I then said "well, I have to find out".  And, then I made a plan on how to find out.  I think I just jumped into the inworld search and start looking for things I was interested in real life, as well as attempting to find shops that had styles I liked.  We didn't even have X-Street yet when I started way back when, shopping was all inworld.

But, for me and my machine, the EEP viewer has serious issues and plus I hate EEP.  I'd like it if one could click on the EEP environments and move a slider to change them like in the viewers with the windlights prior to EEP.   I also don't believe too many new users would be interested in EEP.  New users wanna find a date mostly not click around a sun and moon thing hassle.  

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Posted (edited)

What an immediate rush to register instant disapproval of the idea! Not sentiments such as, "I don't think this is a good idea because [insert considered reasons]", but outright "No" responses.

That is interesting. There seems to be a perception that users are being asked to advertise SL commercially. That is not the case, I am sure; that definitely is LL's job. What users can do is to mention SL in their social media activities or their day-to-day (real life) chatter, and get the Second Life name back into public perception with a positive endorsement.

@lucagrabacr was simply asking users to have a think and work out out any possible ways that the misconceptions, that seem to be generally held by the misinformed, can be countered. Is that too much to ask? Is that too much to ask of people who must, in some shape or form, be dedicated to SL because their regular forum presence would at least suggest that they are?

Perhaps there is an element of ashamedness - ashamed at the antiquity, the steep learning curve, the awkwardnesses, the adult content etc? Ashamed to admit to anyone that you deeply immerse yourself in SL, believing that lots of people will probably rate you as some kind of weirdo? Should this be the case, surely you could do something to correct the misconceptions?

I rated @lucagrabacr's post as "a call to arms". It was not, however, a press gang situation, and you are completely free to carry on regardless. 

 

PS:

While typing this, with a lengthy RL break in the middle, some reasons have been emerging. I am very interested to hear them.

Edited by Odaks
Added PS
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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, Odaks said:

Perhaps there is an element of ashamedness - ashamed at the antiquity, the steep learning curve, the awkwardnesses, the adult content etc?

Most of the people in my demographic are married and lead very busy career lives with weekends for family and friends or just lounging around the house.  Plus, most of the people I know are not into computers other than FB to keep in touch with family and friends, and most people I know when they see the things I make for SL say "I could never do that".  And, you know what, they are right, and they are right because they don't have the desire...it's not "their thing".  Most of the people I know read or garden for their hobbies.  Second Life is for people who want to be here and even though we land here not really knowing what the heck to do, we have a desire to figure it out.  I've invited people over the years and it was a waste of both our time.  I also don't want to be teacher to someone in RL for SL.  I simply don't have the time.   But, I have dropped invites over the years to rl people.  I'm not on social media hardly at all and my only friends on FB are my family and a few friends.  But, it's not a bad idea to post pics of what you do on SL to your family and friends IF you or anyone is on social media.

Edited by FairreLilette
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Posted (edited)

Lately, I've been coming across more and more Second Life content on YouTube. Granted, I think it attracts a very particular audience given that a lot of creators I've seen have backgrounds in The Sims and IMVU, with a tendency to be mostly interested in fashion, interior design, and family roleplay - but it is an audience nonetheless. It seems to me that this audience skews younger than the typical SL user, which could also be good for the longevity of the site. 

To me, this is a venue with a lot of potential. Many of these videos are entertaining and well-edited. Especially amongst YouTubers with established audiences like Carmen King or Felicity, they're introducing huge audiences to SL.

It's difficult however, for creators to advertise SL to new users due to the learning curve. I can't tell you how many times I've seen comments from people watching these videos saying that they really want to try SL but they're having a lot of trouble making their way around. Heck, creators who try SL for the first time are often very honest about the difficulty they're having with the platform to their viewers despite sometimes having extensive experience with virtual worlds and/or video games.

Edited by simplemint
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I'm of two minds about the whole "learning curve" thing.  On the one hand, I know that it takes people a long time to learn the ropes in SL, and that the ropes keep changing shape all the time. It's not easy to figure out the rules here. It can be frustrating.  On the other hand, I could say exactly the same thing about RL. I have been trying to learn the rules in RL for many decades now, and they keep changing every time I think that I understand what's going on.  This is the way life is, no matter whether it's First or Second life. 

I think the appeal of SL for me is that it's not a world that you can figure out overnight.  It's not a world for people who like instant gratification; it appeals to people with a long view, who have the patience to find an interesting path through its chaos, inconsistency, and uncertain evolution.  It has no predetermined purpose or monolithic sense of direction. It's a world for adults.  Like Fairre, I have no thoughts of recruiting new people to SL personally.  I don't mind saying good things about it, though, and I have helped a lot of newbies get their feet under them here in the past 14 years.  If that's what lucagrabacr is asking for, I can keep on doing it.

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12 minutes ago, Odaks said:

Perhaps there is an element of ashamedness - ashamed at the antiquity, the steep learning curve, the awkwardnesses, the adult content etc? Ashamed to admit to anyone that you deeply immerse yourself in SL, believing that lots of people will probably rate you as some kind of weirdo?

That is one of SL's marketing problems. They really need to work on reputation repair. Being banned from Twitch is embarrassing. Being not taken seriously is worse.

3 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

  If that's what lucagrabacr is asking for, I can keep on doing it.

Thanks.

LL people have vaguely mentioned improving the new user experience. That alone would help with the immediate turn-off of new users.

Exercise for Lindens reading this:

  • Go to a new user "safe hub", preferably with a non-Linden account.
  • Stay there for an hour and just listen and watch.

 

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Thanks for the support you guys c= and I understand those who feel they might not necessarily have the time either. If you're one of the people who's into proactive collective action, again, feel free to contact me here or inworld, we've got likeminded people and it's a lot easier to figure out the field if someone who had tread it show you around

I'm gonna show some disagreeable things which came out recently, just to emphasize what kind of entity would swoop in if we don't get our voice heard and known. This is a direct quote from IMVU's new higher up on an interview

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I wouldn't want to be a customer of any business which thinks it's okay, professional or considerate to say something like that in a public setting, but that's what's to come if people don't see the virtues in the Second Life model

What about a very recent business article, which touts Decentraland as the successor of SL, people who want to grow their investment portfolio read these stuff and they or their broker believe it, even if they don't and they just want to do some short term investment it still grows their perceived value - with detriment to Second Life and us the users

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If you want to see just how predatory Roblox is, watch this video of a YouTuber spending thousands of dollars on Roblox (which he made back of course from the video's views), and he's an adult spending his own money so it's fine, but it exposes just how predatory a lot of Roblox's business practice is - that is the Metaverse according to people

 

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It is simply not our place nor our job to market Second Life nor to correct misunderstandings.

If someone asks for information or if the impression they've gotten is correct, then sure - offer a correction.

As for the rest: Congratulations and welcome to the wider world of Marketing, a place where vapid, image-centric types hold far more sway than they ought to and where people are always looking for The Next Big Thing.

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14 minutes ago, lucagrabacr said:

I wouldn't want to be a customer of any business which thinks it's okay, professional or considerate to say something like that in a public setting, but that's what's to come if people don't see the virtues in the Second Life model

No worse than Linden lab in the past and maybe still having (not sure) an 'Executive Director of Monetization'. How is advertising that IMVU are monetizing users any different to Linden Lab advertising having a specific company role for Monetization?

Linden Lab is a business and as such needs their business to make money. Just because they dont say "we have been very good at monetizing our users' (even though they have implied that in the past) doesn't mean they have been and will continue to do so.

14 minutes ago, lucagrabacr said:

What about a very recent business article, which touts Decentraland as the successor of SL, people who want to grow their investment portfolio read these stuff and they or their broker believe it, even if they don't and they just want to do some short term investment it still grows their perceived value - with detriment to Second Life and us the users

Decentraland is an entirely different in that its land is an investment and the person owns the land via NFT. Second Life LL own the land no matter what.

Additionally, it is called advertising and in particular advertising to draw a specific crowd. To put it another way, they are targeting existing Second Life users in an attempt to draw them over to Decentraland by claiming it as the successor.

The main issue is, LL marketing just dont know how to market the same or cant be bothered.

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Back in the early days of SL we did evangelize the platform.

The difference between then and now is vision, or lack thereof. 

How are we supposed to get people excited about an 18 year old platform that's fundamentally in maintenance / profit taking mode, has done very little to advance the user experience or progress the platforms core in years. Technology and expectations have moved on significantly and we're still here with a vintage client server model, stuck in the twilight years of opengl, unable to leverage the last decades worth of explosive CPU and GPU growth, dependent on limit pushing 3rd party avatars and external tools.

But hey, some junk prim freebie with an LSO script from way back when still functions perfectly, just in case anyone was worried.

There are better looking mobile games. We don't even have a mobile option.

I want a modern multi threaded render pipeline. I want automatic on the fly LOD generation. I want global illumination and RTX lighting. I want building in SL to be a viable way to create content. Modern communications and collaboration tools. A mobile client that gives telegram or discord a run for it's money with a full fat metaverse waiting for when I get home. A smart animation system with the kind of situational inverse kinematics hobbyist indie games take for granted. No more region borders ever again. Client side responsive physics. LSO scripts in the trash forever. Sculpts too! A switch from the shared experience to a focused user experience. A new set of system avatars that replaces 3rd party bodies & heads and content creators can target. New users not having buy a socially acceptable avatar at great expense. Tools that let us build narrative interactive experience that scales to multiple users at multiple stages of play. The capability to prototype and build actual games in SL, with all the god-tier capabilities that would require. Instanced content. Bubble universes. Boss fights. 300 people in a club at the same time. Licensed & franchise content. Console ports. Merchandise. Literal Magic.

But most of all I want some vision.

I want LL management to draw a bold line between where we are now and a brave new world that changes and challenges everything, and most importantly empowers us to be a part of that change. Not some crypto ntf hype bubble. Not by making something off on the side for new people who may or may not exist, but for us, the customers they have right now, the good the bad the sexy and the insane. A roadmap. A supercharger. A warchief and a lot of red paint.

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I think it's a good idea for LL to start marketing in social media. How about hiring influencers? They can make people set fire to themselves! That's pretty impressive. Maybe LL can start some guerilla campaigns by spray painting the blue hand logo on the sidewalks of San Francisco. You have to cut the logo out of the bottom of a paper bag and hide your spray can inside the bag. Then you just put the bag on the ground, spritz, spritz, and you have graffiti! Of course, LL will have to put aside a little bail money when a Linden gets caught by the po-po. The glass is half-full! 

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38 minutes ago, Coffee Pancake said:

How are we supposed to get people excited about an 18 year old platform that's fundamentally in maintenance / profit taking mode, has done very little to advance the user experience or progress the platforms core in years.

This to me sums up the problem: it's creaking.

Things that I have been complaining about at Server User Group meetings are now getting worse, not better, and the answers from the Lindens there to my and others inquiries tends to be "It's Hard".

I am seeing very erratic behaviour now for scripted moving items that will one week be perfectly-behaved, and the next week will be failing to start or end a movement. If it were always problematic I would accept that it's something in my code that could be improved, but it's random. One week good, one week diabolical.

Yesterday I experienced TP-crash-to-desktop half a dozen times. What do we say to new users? "Get used to it" ?

So what are we going to trumpet to encourage new users in? Looks good but works erraticly? Don't try TP-ing around on odd-numbered days of the week with a U in the name? If the textures go fuzzy buy a new PC?

Sorry for those who agree with the OP, but I see a case of the Emperor's Clothes here.

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Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, Profaitchikenz Haiku said:

This to me sums up the problem: it's creaking.

Things that I have been complaining about at Server User Group meetings are now getting worse, not better, and the answers from the Lindens there to my and others inquiries tends to be "It's Hard".

I am seeing very erratic behaviour now for scripted moving items that will one week be perfectly-behaved, and the next week will be failing to start or end a movement. If it were always problematic I would accept that it's something in my code that could be improved, but it's random. One week good, one week diabolical.

Yesterday I experienced TP-crash-to-desktop half a dozen times. What do we say to new users? "Get used to it" ?

So what are we going to trumpet to encourage new users in? Looks good but works erraticly? Don't try TP-ing around on odd-numbered days of the week with a U in the name? If the textures go fuzzy buy a new PC?

Sorry for those who agree with the OP, but I see a case of the Emperor's Clothes here.

Hey, it's quite a good point and I do see a pattern of people wondering what we could possibly be saying about SL that differentiates it in a positive way compared to other platforms out there, so I'd point some out here;

  • While the render engine is older, it still offers its users the ability to have a more detailed avatar and scenes compared to competing Social 3D Apps out there (IMVU, VRChat, and other VR-centric ones which require their users to stay within poly limit which are lower compared to SL's) although this is a quickly diminishing advantage, of course
  • SL is the only open-world Social 3D virtual world, the only other ones are Somnium Space and Decentraland, which haven't got a lot of things figured out for themselves to be what we'd call a Metaverse
  • SL has a matured ecosystem and various communities, even cultures very specific to SL
  • Gravitas - while other ventures are mostly startups with little to no non-technical achievements, SL has plenty to point out
  • SL is still the best way for non-media content creators of all kind to make money with its matured and varied market

Of course these are only some examples. I do want to emphasize technical advantages or disadvantages don't matter that much, perception matter much more, if we can harness what we do have to their fullest and get more people and hype that way, LL would have more capital in their disposal to further upgrade or even make a true 2nd Second Life. Another thing is that if we are successful, they might be able to have more leverage to push SL in a direction that won't turn SL into something like one of the platforms I mentioned 

Edit: who knows, maybe if they have enough money and hype behind them they can afford to get the R&D necessary to make SL much more technically sophisticated, or even have VR, or revolutionize the engine altogether. The point is if we just say SL doesn't have X or Y, it won't really give LL that much more capability to develop that X or Y because they can only subdivide the resources they have based on our input, but if we can help adding more to that pool of resources or the perception that it's worth investing in those things with our voices, then that would help better. There's simply no alternative to the SL model and our best bet is SL

Edited by lucagrabacr
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Posted (edited)

We have people in the hundreds of thousands invested and believing in the concept that is what SL is right now, for one reason or another that's why they stay. With enough words of mouth carrying a unifying vision and promise of what SL can become, to expand on that initial concept, we can ignite all those buried and passive embers of hope

Edited by lucagrabacr
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LL just increased our fees again, still charge a massively inflated amount for server space, and switched to a server system that saves them even more time than they already save by claiming everything is a user to user dispute that they don't get involved in.

Maybe they should use some of their ridiculous profit margins and free time to update the platform and brag about it. If you want me to do it, I want at least 20 USD an hour.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, lucagrabacr said:

 I do want to emphasize technical advantages or disadvantages don't matter that much, perception matter much more, if we can harness what we do have to their fullest and get more people and hype that way, LL would have more capital in their disposal to further upgrade or even make a true 2nd Second Life. Another thing is that if we are successful, they might be able to have more leverage to push SL in a direction that won't turn SL into something like one of the platforms I mentioned 

Linden Lab did have capital at their disposal. They had millions of dollars at their disposal for reinvestment into Second Life. Instead of putting that capital into SL and developing it over the past 18 years they squandered it.

  • They bought Desura - it failed so they sold it
  • They bought Blocksworld - was never updated after 2017 because of Sansar and closed upsetting many people
  • They made Sansar - it failed, they lost money. 
  • They made Creatorverse - it failed they lost money
  • They made Patterns - it failed they lost money

After every time they sold a product above to another company their press releases always stated it is good for everyone them selling off those products because they would concentrate on SL more. It has never happened and they have used the money to reinvest into other ventures always. The latest being Tillia.

Your devotion is admirable but as Coffee Pancake has said we have all tried in the past to make SL popular by spreading the word enthusiastically, but those efforts saw no real change in vision or improvement and wasteful spending not even in SL meaning it is so outdated it just cant be made up to par to current standards. It is also a case for many of 'once bitten, twice shy'.

Edited by Drayke Newall
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