Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble asks how to make new visitors stick

This is interesting.

While surfing through the user-run SLUniverse online forum I found a series of posts by none other than Linden Lab CEO Rod Humble. A lot of us, me included, often complain that the owners of Second Life never pay attention to the users of Second Life, so it was a treat to see Humble not just posting, but talking back and forth about what can be done to make new users opt to stick around in Second Life. Here is a bit of the question he posed:

Actually I do have a question for folks here. Assuming SL improved performance enormously, from region crossings to lag to render times. (big assumption I know but roll with me here) What would you do to insure new users “stuck”?

Right now after performance our biggest issue is not getting new signups or even people to experience SL for a bit, its turning them into long term users.

Any thoughts on what you would do? We have some ideas but before pulling the trigger I would be curious what folks thoughts are here. The more varied the better.

The responses, as you can imagine, were varied and Humble took the time to reply to several. For me personally, the thing that made me “stick” into second life was mainly meeting someone and talking with them. I think the sooner a new resident is able to talk with other residents, the better.

I really do like the fact that Humble does seem to understand that, despite our bitching, most of us love what SL offers and only complain because we want to see it at its best.  In short, Humble gets it:

With SL, I fully recognise LL has a long way to become liked or even trusted, I do get the sense that almost all criticism I read can usually have the line put in front of it “I love this world and I want it to do well, here is how you can do that .”

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Look! I have a Facebook Page! (and you can have on too!)

Once upon a time, it used to be quite simple to have a Facebook page for your avatar, if you wanted one. It was simply a matter of setting up a profile page just as you would for any person. However, somewhere along the way to global domination, Mr. Zuckerberg and his gang decided to get a bit snippy and began weeding out what they deemed “fake” facebook profile pages. We avatars somehow became labelled “undesirable”. Folks in the virtual world are of little interest when you are trying to enslave the entire globe in the real world.

A simple work around is to create a “Facebook Page” instead of a profile. This is the method artists and businesses use to get themselves out there and hoping for your almighty” “like” recommendation. It goes a little something like this:

1. Go to http://facebook.com/pages/create.php and login to a facebook account. If you don’t have one, you will be asked to create one. You’ll probably have to use your RL account to create it. If privacy is an issue, you are safe because no one know that you are the owner of the page your creating.

2.  Select an appropriate topic and category for your avatar or business that you want the page to represent.Considering myself to be multi-talented, I went with the appropriately vague “artist” category.

3. Add as much or as little information as you want. Throw in some pictures and tell everyone how wonderful you are. You really can do a lot with this page. You can add videos and images. You can share articles. If you have a blog, like me, you can connect your blog to your new page so that any posts you public to your blog show up on your Facebook page as well.

I say this is pretty simple, but I need to credit Strawberry Singh for even mentioning that it is possible and showing the way in her blog. If you have never visited her blog, I highly recommend you do. In the meantime, you now have a way to find yourself a home on Facebook with the rest of the minions and while you are there, don’t forget to stop by my page and hit the “like” button!

Dolphin Viewer is making a splash

I wanted to give some praise to a viewer that has recently become my “go to” viewer when logging into Second life. The Dolphin viewer has been a pleasant surprise to me, and quite a few others based on some posts I have been reading.

I know what you are saying.”But Karma, were you not just posting about how the Exodus viewer was ‘making a big splash’? Before that, wasn’t it Kirstin’s viewer?” Well yes. It was. Thanks for noticing. However, Kirstin’s is gone and Exodus development appears to be on hiatus. Fact is, there are a lot of new viewers out there being developed by some really smart people and I like to try them out, so please don’t interrupt me again. Plus it isa great headline. “Big Splash” …”Dolphin”, get it?

Dolphin is V3 based and incorporates some great features into a very sturdy package. My favorite feature is the “machinema toolbar” that takes a lot of great graphic settings and puts them at your fingertips. It is awesome for photography work or filming. The viewer also offers RLV and some great touches to the mapping system. A big selling point on this viewer, and why I tend to always go back to it, is its reliability. As viewer’s go, this thing is a tank. Even with ultra settings, it is hard for me to crash this viewer.

As of this posting, the viewer is considered the second most reliable in Second Life, just behind Firestorm based on crash rate. Combine that with the great graphics and high FPS and you have yourself a winner. There are some other great viewer I will be talking about in the future, but you owe it to yourself to give Dolphin a try.

Try the Dolphin Viewer here

Can SL break the bonds that RL sometimes places on us?

Meet my long time friend, Rick Aurotharius.

In Second Life, Rick is not very hard to miss. He is the ladies man with long flowing hair, chiseled and defined abs, and a keen way of being wicked and flirty, yet sweet anda gentleman at the same time. You can usually find him DJing at some of the better clubs in SL, spinning the latest metal or dance hits, or even rockin’ out some country music. There is almost always at least one attractive young lady nearby when Rick is around.

Rick Aurotharius also has cancer.

It is no secret really. Rick notes right there in his profile that he is a 60 year old guy battling stage 4 rectal cancer. He doesn’t mention that he has been fighting for a long time now, including a long stay in a nursing home. You can bet that while there, one true asset was his computer that let him come in to SL and do what he loves doing. He was kind enough to give me permission to discuss his illness in this posts, because that is the kind of guy he is.

Rick is not alone. I have a good friend in Second Life who is wracked by headaches and constant fatigue and is currently trying with the help of neurologists to find the cause of an ailment that has severely limited what she can do in real life. In Second Life, she has no such limitations.

The use of Second Life as a coping mechanism for real life medical limitations has been an interest of mine that blossomed with a real life experience of mine when, due to some poor behavior in my youth, I landed in a hospital facing not one, but two very invasive surgeries. All went well but the recovery left me severely limited for longer than I expected. Things all of us normally took for granted such as riding a bike, going for a walk or just hanging out in a social setting with friends, suddenly were taken away. In a word, it kind of sucked.Second Life was my way around my restrictions that health had placed on me.

At about that same time, I was given a notecard  from a friend in world. It has circulated a bit, maybe you have even read it yourself. It is an account of someone who meets an interesting man who is fascinated with sailing in Second Life. After initially perceiving a slow response from this person as a lack of interest, the writer of the notem who was using voice, discovered that the man was deaf. A lover of sailing in real life for years, the man now enjoyed sailing in Second Life.

I truly feel that one of the real missed benefits of Second Life is its ability to assist those who are coping with illness or handicap in real life. We hear and read a lot in  the media these days about the dangers of too much logged onto the net, buried in Facebook or texting  and video games. Some of the concern is surely warranted, but I have often wondered, and perhaps one day we will see, if Second Life could not be a tool used by physical therapists or even psychologists in treating real life handicaps.