Communicating with your users

In the last week we’ve had the announcement of new channels of communication Linden Lab are establishing. The aim of this, according to Amanda Linden is to help Linden Lab “do a better job of listening”.

Some of this announcement was good (User Groups); some of it wasn’t so good, some of it was downright shameful – no encouragement to actually log in to Second Life, no indication that LL would be using tools within and around the platform to communicate, and that rather, we should all toddle off to Facebook to get the latest scoop on what is going on.

The blog was followed by a lengthy comments list, much of which focused on changes to the JIRA which have upset a lot of people. What was surprising here wa that, despite Amanda’s attempts to stress the changes to communications were to (to repeat the quote) help Linden Lab “do a better job of listening”, user comments relating to the JIRA issue were rebuffed by Oz and Yoz Linden in the most peremptory, almost arrogant, manner – which Oz again unfortunately further demonstrated in comments posted in JIRA VWR 24746 – that did much to undermine the launch of this new attitude towards corporate / user communications within the lab.

In responding to the announcement I again questioned why the Lab could not enter into more in-world based meetings – say on a quarterly basis. However, there is an easier solution than that when it comes to fostering communications betwixt Lab and users – as ably demonstrated by the Phoenix team and their fortnightly Office Hours over on Rezzed TV.

During these one-hour slots, Jessica Lyons and members of the Phoenix team provide information on what is going on with their projects, what users can expect – and even field questions sent in ahead of the show, or even during the broadcast.

Now granted, I don’t expect everyone at Linden Lab to suddenly start producing fortnightly machinema updates for us to digest.

But are quarterly updates really that hard? Let’s face it, the technology is there for this to be done – Torley uses it all the time. What’s more, while it may be taking people “out” of Second Life to view such recordings a) They can be broadcast via the SL website; b) they still showcase the capabilities of the platform (Voice! Machinema!); c) where appropriate, they can promote locations within Second Life to the user base. Good grief, they could even be made available for in-world streaming using the much-vaunted (but seldom used?) media-on-a-prim!

The format would take a little time to work out, but it should be too hard, and once set in motion, it would be relatively easy to keep going and would promote the sense of company / user interaction LL appear to be trying to achieve: just make sure dates are published in advance and people have the opportunity to drop-in questions either in advance, or when “on air”.