We have moved!

(pardon our dust)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mixed interests - balancing acts in Second Life coverage

One of the tricky things about reporting on Second Life is the issue of what stuff to cover. Hey, how tricky can it be? You just write about what people are interested in, right?

Yeah, you'd think so.

What people are interested in, though, isn't necessarily what you might think people are interested in.

If a user or organization is doing something super-awesome in-world, the odds are that the Second Life readers will mostly pass it over. Human interest stories and similar all get minimal attention. Okay, except for the occasional 'Why the hell are you even covering this stuff anyway?'

Hirings/departures at Linden Lab? Now that generates some interest. Other Linden Lab doings and policy changes even more so, and speculations about which way the Lab is going to jump next are right up there.

Top of the heap - the really grabby stuff? New release candidates.


I know, right?

My essential hypothesis sort of works like this... Viewers and stuff about Linden Lab and their staff-lineup and policies affects everyone in Second Life, directly or indirectly. Stuff that people are doing in-world though will axiomatically only have appeal to a subset of people.

Live music, and audio/voice events for example - that only appeals to a portion of the people I know. Likewise not everyone I know is a gamer, or necessarily interested in recreational activities. Not everyone is keen on shopping or networking.

Different interests, different foci, and that subdivides the community right there.

But if you stand anywhere in Second Life long enough, a discussion will start up about the Lab, or some particular Linden, or about some new policy or some enforcement action in-world (gone right or wrong). Talking about Linden Lab seems to be the favourite pastime of the majority of Second Life users, and there's an astonishing amount of misinformation going around.

Just yesterday I walked into an argument where a bunch of people believed that all non-G-rated content was being banished from the grid next week. Earlier that morning, someone was telling me how Linden Lab was merging Teen Second Life with adult Second Life today. Simple misunderstandings and misinterpretations run through communities like wildfire and feed on themselves. Sometimes people just spread tales to laugh at how far they will go.

Still, the Lab and its doings remain among the most popular talking points with users in-world, and that's something that's hard to ignore.


  1. It could be that you're also just thinking about work too much? Just thinking out loud here tateru, but you may be attending inworld events with the mindset of a top-notch SL media journalist. You may be going to one too many of those "educational sessions inworld"

    Let me ask, out of curiosity; when was the last time you logged into SL, and left the work, the journalism, and the analysis behind? Do you ever just go hopping from random event to random event, without caring about the analysis or if the event is a success, or what it's doing for the greater good of SL.

    I have a feeling if you can break off from the intelligence seminars, educational talks, and the usual crowd that hangs at those events, you may start to find small (but real), fun, creative events, with casual people that aren't interested in discussing the latest release candidate and don't have a strong motivation in trying to hob-knob with the SL elite.

    When you come into SL, and just do a long free-flowing exploration, No goals in mind, work is completely dropped, just hopping from one place or event to the next, ...that's what most SLers are experiencing, rather than discussions about LL and seminars about how to push SL to the boundaries and beyond.

  2. Actually, that random hopping is what I do the most of. With an increasing reliance on voice/audio I hardly ever go to in-world seminars, press-conferences and suchlike anymore. I stay where the text is, because I have to.

    My time inworld is mostly spent random-hopping and looking at cool and nifty things :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.