Linden Lab seek a “guru”

It seems that Linden Lab is looking for a “Social Media Marketing Guru“. Why, oh why, is it “guru” and not something professional-sounding? I’m pretty sure that whoever gets the position, they won’t find themselves sitting in a Battery Street pod with their name and the word “guru” pinned on the outside; and while terms like this may sound super-cool and west-coast “hip”, they actually come across as a combination of trite, clichéd and outright cringe-worthy.

Or is that just my English sensibilities?

When you get past the hip-speak, the post looks to be a mix of both strategic marketing via social media tools to gather new users, and something of a communications manager responsible for Lab / user (resident) interactions.

The former, I can understand. social networks do have a potential to bring-in users to Second Life, providing it is handled correctly. As I mentioned in Tell me a story… the manner in which LL are currently attempting to leverage Facebook has “fail” written all over it. The entire approach is arse-backwards and as such needs to be redefined.

The latter has me a little worried; we’ve already had Amanda Linden proudly announcing the coming on the new Community Platform – and then promptly pointing at Facebook as “the” way to stay abreast of all the latest news on SL (sure a case of “foot, meet mouth” if ever there was one). Now it seems that we’re going to possibly see a further push of LL-to-resident communications away from their own platform.

I’m not entirely sure that if this is the case, it’s a good idea. Certainly, it is very, very gratifying to be able to Tweet to Linden Lab employees and get a genuine response; it’s genuinely appreciated when someone requests something or raises an issue and sees a positive response, coupled with action from Linden Lab. However, the fact remains that the vast majority of company / user communications should be taking place within the framework of LL’s own platform; the fact that figures show support of the new community platform is declining rapidly among SL users (some are predicting it’ll be as the Dodo within a month, although I personally think the decline will stabilise well before then – but will represent a very low-level of engagement from users) is worrying. However, this should not be interpreted in terms of users all being busy elsewhere. Rather, it is symptomatic of the fact that Linden Lab don’t have the courage or the skill set in-house required to manage a vibrant forum community.

Which is a shame; but it’s no reason to keep pushing communications channels elsewhere.

Returning to the more strategic side of the new position, I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do hope that whoever comes in will take a look at Tell me a story… and will be savvy enough to understand Jonathan Baskin’s piece on “silly social media” and ineffective social media marketing campaigns. Certainly I hope whoever comes in will be allowed the opportunity to spend a lot of time in-world to understand the platform and the rich diversity of activities that go on in Second Life  – and will be able to gather stories from the user base that can more effectively help shape the message to the rest of the world.