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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Quick and Slow

This year so far has given me a wonderful treat - New Residents.

Specifically, about 13 thousand of them give or take. The core group of volunteers on Help Island has expended to a regular cardre. Focused, helpful, diverse individuals who are now spending so much time there, that I'm never alone on the Island. The new folks just keep coming, and we're there for them.

The usual things happen. Some of them go poof really quickly. Either SL is not for them, they think, or their hardware system has voted it down. A few are there to cause trouble. More yet stay awhile. Some few stay longer.

The ones that vanish quickly, we'll talk about another time.

Troublemakers? They come and go.

Let's talk about the last two groups. The Quick and the Slow.

Quick wants to soak a basic minimum of information and learn on the hoof. She may or may not partake of the freebies left out. She may or may not want to know about getting things out of boxes. She may not trouble with mere containers. She probably wants to learn to dress, and can fly a little. She spends between 5 and 60 minutes on Help Island, usually and usually (but doesn't always) talk when spoken to. Quick often asks some questions to help her place SL in her mental map, positioning it against other MMOs, so that she has a reference point for how it differs from MMO experiences that she is familiar with. Once she has gone to the mainland, she may call for help, or IM asking for a return to Help Island, in distress.

Sometimes Quick does very well, following a landmark to a useful or attractive place (The Shelter, the Ivory Tower, the NCI, Stillman Bazaar, Grignano) or zapping off to someplace she found in the Find menu. Other times she does rather less well.

Slow likes to talk. She is interested, and keen. The more she finds out about things, the more she wants to know. Slow generally stays at least 5 or 6 hours, and as much as one to two weeks. Slow tries out most or all of the freebies, and taps each volunteer for their special area of expertise, either as business owners, builders, scripters, generalists, animators, artists, avatar sculptors or anything else. Slow is creative and makes things, working quietly in a corner, periodically speaking up to ask questions or to show off the work. Slow has no shortage of resources to draw on. The odds are there's a volunteer nearby who knows the answer if their primary helper does not. In a relatively peaceful environment, packed with helpful human sources of diverse SL knowledge, she generally acquires skills that take others weeks or months to obtain on the sometimes chaotic and always distracting mainland.

Slow's biggest problem on the mainland is being put off by the societal jump. She knows the slang. Looks, sounds and has the skills you'd normally associate with a one year oldbie. What she needs now, is friends. If she can't make some on the mainland fairly quickly, she may toss it all and be gone. She's had fun learning in a friendly environment on Help Island. Without friends on the mainland, half the equation is gone. She needs a niche. A group of like-minded individuals she can get on with, who understand her.

Quick or Slow? We get more of the former than the latter. What can we do to help Quick without bogging her down? She won't stand for it. She wants to dive in, but can't determine the depth. What about Slow? You can't just plug in friendliness and hope for the best. SL doesn't really have a functional dating service let alone an easy means to fall in with a peer group. Like RL, most of our best social contacts are by chance...or missed chance.


  1. While I often hesitate to make generalizations because of what may NOT be true, I find it's useful to be somewhat vague than totally vague. So leaping off of that, your "groupings" I totally smiled at, because I could see it being included as part of a book about Second Life.

    Noone's done this before! The QUICK and the SLOW. What observations. Needless to say, after reading your descriptions, I was like, "I know what that's all about!" It really resonated.

  2. Roenik Newell9:35 PM

    Having spent almost a week on Help Island, I can definitely say I'm of the slow category.

    I'm glad I wrote down all the names of those who helped me while I was there.

    I was also lucky to receive a landmark to the Shelter...now my home base until I decide to purchase land of my own.

    They are my family, and I've learned so much from them. Having a social dynamic of like minded people does help a lot.

    My biggest hurdle upon entering the mainland was a feeling of inadequacy...I wanted to make so many things...had pages written down on what I should be building/scripting/animating.

    I learned to take a step back and relax...and enjoy my time here with friends...and create when the feeling urges me to.

  3. Well I guess I am the quick type. Wow, I might have spent maybe 10 minutes on orientation...then off to where I could find people (as many as possible). But with no other gaming and little computer experience mine was a baptism by fire!

    Thanks for all you do,


  4. Well I guess I am the quick type. Wow, I might have spent maybe 10 minutes on orientation...then off to where I could find people (as many as possible). But with no other gaming and little computer experience mine was a baptism by fire!

    Thanks for all you do,



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