"Listen with an open mind, but don't try to remember this stuff. There's no quiz at the end." Jack Kornfield

Friday, April 8, 2011

Immersion, Imagination, Intimacy...Those don't describe "Social Media"

******************************Where we come from**************************
Some comment exchanges between soror Nishi, myself, and a few of my residents have gotten me to thinking. In these last few months we have seen a dramatic push on the part of The Benevolent Monarchy to drive the Secondlife customers in the direction of social media, specifically FailBook.
Now keep in mind that when I came to Secondlife in  mid 2007 I had no idea what the term social media really meant, and if I had been asked at that time if Secondlife was social media I'm not sure how I would or could have answered that question.

Here's my take on that today.
Secondlife is a social platform, but it's not "social media".
Social media is as intimate as my casual contact with my neighbors, or the clerk at the local grocery store. While I could call those contacts "friends"... they aren't necessarily intimate friends. The very definition of intimate precludes casual.

I suspect most of us have found nooblets whose first questions are commonly those of......
Where is everybody?
Wow, why do people here seem to be so very unfriendly?
What is there to do here?
How do you play this *game*?
It takes some time to develop intimate friendships in Secondlife... my guess is that most new accounts don't last long enough to develop those kinds of intimacies, and experience tells me that in order to remain in Secondlife beyond that initial *Wow!* moment requires imagination, immersion, and intimacy.

I've heard people say that one of the things they like about Failbook is that it's commonly a "quick fix", they can just log on, look at a few pictures, read a few lines... and bail. It requires zero immersion or intimacy.
What FailBook does offer is and audience of 500 million plus.
That's 500 million pairs of eyes, eyes that see ads... eyes that see who "likes" Secondlife.
Will those eyes end up trying Secondlife? Likely. But we don't have a shortage of people trying Secondlife.
We have a shortage of people remaining in Secondlife.
The reported retention rate of those remaining in Secondlife past say those first weeks is under 15%.
I don't have a solution for retention that I think would work for everyone, but I doubt attempting to appeal to the social media crowd is the answer.
You know... just perhaps Secondlife is a little too "geeky" for the mainstream.
If it is... please, don't dumb it down. Remember those golden days, "Your world, your Imagination"?
Not everyone has the imagination I see as necessary to make their Secondlife experience to be the experience those of us that love Secondlife have.

And so it goes
I love you all, brinda


  1. I agree. I feel "geeky" when talking to people about viewer problems or talking to Phoenix devs about my own viewer issues. Most people can't handle those, they get so frustrated. The people I see in help chats, they are loyal SL residents so they're "geeky" themselves.

    The people I know on Failbook...most of them aren't "geeky".

  2. In the late 80s and mid-90s, I had three Instant Messenger apps open, several IRC channels, a couple browser instances and multiple email accounts...

    After awhile, I realized the chit-chat nature of the social IMs and some of the IRC channels really kept me from focusing on actual conversations which did foster intimacy and friendship beyond the "Oh, I know you, *social chatter/weather/job/friends/etc*" level... so I started shutting them down or "going invisible" when I wished to actually TALK to someone, not just chit-chat.

    In AL (atomic life), I spend some time alone, some time with close friends talking, and some time going to social places (clubs, downtown, stores, gathering places). When I am at those places, I don't have a million inputs (I turn off my phone) to distract me from focusing on the people/conversations I really wish to have.