Twittering with Rodvik

Yesterday evening, Rodvik Linden – LL’s CEO Rod Humble – popped up on Twitter and chatted with some of us there in what was another of the warm an open conversations that have been a hallmark of his time at LL so far.

I actually came late-in-the-day to the conversation, logging-in to Twitter to catch this from Rodvik, replying to a comment on things SL:

@SecondLie I think we need to put purchasing into Basic first 🙂

Given the Basic mode of the Viewer is something that has been occupying my thoughts of late, I Tweeted in return:

@rodvik how about offering a better “step up”, help-wise from Basic to Advanced? – pointing to my recent post on the subject, and:

@rodvik If you keep adding functionality to the Basic mode, won’t you end up with…the Advanced mode?

I’ve no idea if Rodvik went and read the post in question; but it sparked something of a short discussion on the Basic mode and the Viewer in general in which he responded very positively to all making comments. In particular, he tweaked my curiosity with a reply to my suggestion that perhaps the Viewer should be made more modular:

@InaraPey Maybe yeah. Bagman keeps telling me that would be a good approach.

Bagman Linden is Jeff Petersen, the Lab’s newly-appointed VP of Engineering, and I have to admit, hearing that he’s thinking along similar lines  – and leaving my precious little ego well out of things – does raise my spirits, and it suggests that we just might be seeing a wholly new iteration of the Viewer at some point that may well achieve something Viewer 2 has so far failed to do. Going the modular route just – to me at least – seems the most common-sense approach to take; what isn’t clear is just how much effort it will take…

I also took the opportunity to both congratulate and tease Rodvik on the new Avatar sign-up pages. As reported yesterday, these are a superb step forward, but the lack of overall QA on their compatibility with all browsers really lets them down. Rodvik took the tease in good spirits:

@rodvik. The new sign-up process is very clean; hope the compatibility issues are sorted ASAP; they tend to defeat the hard work put in.

@InaraPey Thanks, yeah should be fixed quickly. Even with those the results have been amazing.

This comment is interesting, as it’s been stated that new user sign-ups are running as high as about 10K a day; although it’s hard to see this reflected in on-going concurrency, which has been dropping. I’d really like to know more as to what has been the effect of the new sign-up pages, and how badly things like new users ending up bewildered and confused by SL once they are here are affecting user retention.

Again, leaving aside any ego-boo I get from chatting with Rod Humble via Twitter, I found the time he took to address questions and suggestions as best he could to be refreshing and open. Of course, there is a temptation to bemoan the fact that while he is chatting on Twitter, the rest of LL seem to be engaged in an obstinate silence on their own Community Platform – but the fact is (and providing it goes beyond purely touchy-feely “niceness”), Twitter does offer an immediacy the CP lacks.

What would be good- and where Linden Lab are most definitely missing a trick – is in not having a Twitter feed or two on their own web pages. I really would recommend a couple of  live feeds from the likes of Rodvik and Pete “Ballyhoo” Linden direct to people’s Dashboards would prove very useful in demonstrating to users that LL are communicating.

So how about it, Rodvik, Pete?

8 thoughts on “Twittering with Rodvik

  1. at the risk of being rather blunt….yes, there is some tweeting going on to a small sampling of people with a small following. That hardly makes for an effective approach.

    When you respond to someone with an @…the only people who see it are those who follow the @. If you’re going to make a statement, and do some community engaging…then the whole community needs to see it. Would certainly wager that the general public needs to see it as well.

    Not all of the second life people follow each other. Everyone is very different in their second life styles. There are circles that follow each other, so if you do not respond directly to a person in each circle, then you are missing an opportunity to engage with the rest of the community.

    A much more productive use of twitter would be to Retweet some bloggers that continually produce positive articles….and importantly, they do so consistently.

    No offense, but your particular spot in the limelight at the moment, is probably attributed to the fact that you rarely challenge in public. That may or may not be a good thing. It depends on whether you are calling the shots correctly or not….and I think that you missed the boat rather largely on this one.

    They’ve done a very poor job on twitter….and should not be patted on the back for it, as it’s rather embarrassing in a social media venue…one in which they should have knowledge, considering the product they offer.


    1. Mikey,

      With respect, you’re missing the point entirely here, as I’ll explain in a moment.

      My own use of “@” at the start of a reply is born of ignorance of Twitter as a late-comer to the game. When it comes to the likes of Rodvik and others focusing their replies, that could be as much down to politeness as trying to narrow the focus as you suggest. However, in this particular instance, what was passing was more of a directed conversation, so the use of “@” was somewhat appropriate.

      A lot of re-tweeting of articles goes on already, as you and I both know from the amount of retweets our blog articles get. As to “positive” I’m not sure what you’re getting at: a healthy critique of LL is as valuable and being simply positive on all fronts – although I suspect you’re referring to the highly negative “sky is falling” mentality that drives many blog posts and which (I agree) isn’t overly constructive.

      However, this is somewhat by-the-by. What Ciaran and I are referring to is not the Tweeting and retweeting within Twitter -we’re talking about making relevant LL Twitter feeds visible to the SL user community at large via providing a feed within the SL website (say, for example, on people’s Dashboards).

      This is worthwhile for a number of reasons:

      • There is much being said by Pete Linden and others exclusively on Twitter that has worthwhile news value and should be directed both outward (to generate interest among non-users) and inward towards the user base to encourage interest and to inform
      • There are dates / times / locations for User Group meetings that are only appearing (from what I’ve seen) in Tweets, rather than on the events pages or somewhere on the official website as a “live” reminder / indicator that will help get more people involved and attending

      • While LL are putting considerable effort into fixing things and enhancing things, the lack of communication within their own environment can be construed as a complete lack of interest in the users or the platform. A feed that shows things are happening, that encourages people to follow links, etc., would really help to overcome such perceptions.

      So the point Ciaran and I are making is about getting a better visibility among the users of SL – not about reaching those of us already engaged in Twitter.

      As to my “place in the spotlight” – you again miss the point and demonstrate a lack of awareness of this blog; I’ve challenged LL repeatedly over the last four years I’ve been blogging. I also have no major ego invested in the things that I write; I call matters as I see them as someone who has been active in the community for in excess of four years continuously, and was around for a period of time prior to that. If I’ve “missed the boat” at all, it is in not engaging through Twitter sooner.


  2. I do not see much Retweeting of second life articles from a second life spokesperson. It’s very, very rare. I check every day. There are amazing things going on, and they miss most of them.

    In order to make a live feed effective as you’ve suggested….seems like first step would be to get the “effective” part mastered from square one. They are hardly making use of the twitter accounts they already have, and doubt that seeing the same three tweets for a solid week on a feed is going to be earth-shattering in informing the community.

    I personally don’t think that a “directed” conversation is the right route. Particularly from the top dog. You address everyone or you address no one. Otherwise, you’ve alienated groups of individuals who have important opinions, important projects, and important issues.

    No offense, but being new on twitter….I don’t think you grasp the power of that retweet and the power of that engagement. To imply that it is ok now – no, it really isn’t. They are missing huge numbers on promotions. Some times hard to make clear until you experience it in some higher numbers, yourself. They are way late to the game on those numbers.

    As far as visibility to other SL users….most of those people just want to have fun in SL. Some don’t even know what a Linden is (outside of the currency tag)….and they don’t want to be engaged in all the workings of Linden Lab. They just want to play and escape.

    Those who want to participate hard core pretty much made their way to twitter or facebook. Those are the people promoting. It can be negative, or it can positive…or a little of both. LL is not communicating effectively with the majority of those people. Particularly the ones who have rather large following.

    User Groups are a complete joke. Have read the transcripts. Very much the same concept as tossing tweets out at random to a very small group.


    1. It comes down to discipline, which is lacking, admittedly. hopefully the incoming “guru” will help resolve that. A past track record is not indicative of a continued future direction given enough impetus; and the impetus seems to be there in some areas – it’s a case of outworking the process within LL. At the end of the day, these things have to start somewhere, and regardless of what has happened in the past, there seems to be a quiet but sure-footed shake-up going on at Battery Street in many areas.

      I’m the first to point out that in terms of communications, LL are pretty poor. However, that is why I’d rather cajole, encourage, critique, and suggest: if enough of us do so – and many of us are all speaking with the pretty much the same voice, if not the same words on the matter of engagement – ears will listen. To be blunt myself for a moment, your own on-going negativity on LL being able to grow beyond past ineffectual use of the mediums at their disposal tends to undermine you stand against people repeatedly being…negative.

      As to the power of retweeting, I understand it fully. It’s a concept grasped without recourse to time spent using. The mastery is not constant retweets but in identifying what can stimulate discussion and feedback; many are weak in that area.

      I do agree with you that directed conversation isn’t the answer – but again, that’s never been my contention; rather I pointed out that in the instances of the conversation last night, Rodvik was replying to comments directed at him – i.e. he was, frankly, being interpersonal in his responses. That’s not something to lambast him for – it was appropriate to those circumstances.

      Had he initiated a discussion and they started to steer it in a specific direction, then that would have been wholly different.

      As to visibility – yes, many do just want to have fun; but to issue a blanket statement that those will are willing to engage “are” engaged is bordering on patronising. People’s moods and view change; because they were unwilling to engage yesterday does not mean they will be unwilling to engage tomorrow. Then there are those relatively new to SL and who have gained a passion for it and wish to be more engaged – a blanket statement such as yours does them something of a disservice as well.

      Right now, it is not obvious where people *can* engage; and this is where LL are making something of a pig’s ear of things. The new CP is hardly inclusive; blog updates are stale; what interaction their is goes on outside of Second Life and the SL website. These issues need to be addressed – and providing greater visibility of those channels of communication – however currently limited – is a start. It’s not the only step to take; but it is one of the first.

      In closing, I would say that I find your comment about LL listening “particularly with those who have a rather large following” completely wide of the mark.

      What on earth does the size of a following have to do with putting forward a valid suggestion / argument / point-of-view? One thousand followers no more legitimises a person’s words than a following of 10 or 100. It may increase an individual’s sense of entitlement to be heard, sure – but that is an entirely different matter; one that crosses into the realm of ego, rather than validity of viewpoint, does it not?


  3. As far as negativity…pointing something out that is blaringly clear…is not necessarily being negative. Offering a different observation than yours…is not necessarily being negative. I did not “lambast” anyone. Simply pointed out facts.

    I did not issue a “blanket” statement….I used the term “hard core” to narrow down the participants, and I used the phrase “pretty much”….hardly a blanket statement, and hardly “patronizing” and certainly not a disservice.

    I regret posting an opinion on your blog, based on those tags. I was very careful in my wording. Based on your response with some rather harsh tags…doubt that there is any room for discussion. If you feel that expressing an opinion, and pointing out some facts….is patronizing to some, and a disservice…by all means remove all of my comments as soon as possible.

    The number of followers that you have, and whether or not those people pass your blog posts along has to do with whether or not people will “hear” your blog posts and thoughts….not whether or not they have value.

    That’s in general, but it appears that you have a direct line to headquarters, so doesn’t apply to you. Congratulations on that.

    But the deal is….you do not represent this particular virtual world user. Rarely do I post on someone’s blog, but was infuriated that LL was getting an APlus score on tweeting and engagement. Pardon. That has nothing to do with “negativity”….it is fact. Will not post to your blog again, and feel free to remove this entire discussion.


    1. Discussion is good; your statements were very broad-based however, and standing back reading your view on LL’s “failure” or coming “to late” to the game with Twitter does read as a negative attitude. Sorry, but that’s simply how it reads.

      I don’t have a “direct line” to anyone; I just find it curious that you view LL should focus communications on those with a large following – for the reasons stated; there is a risk that some will view this as a sign that they have a greater entitlement to hear and be heard by LL. This was not a jab at you, rather an observation that ego can so easily get in the way of things. My apologies if this came across as otherwise, the reply was posted very late and on reflection, I could have made it somewhat more unambiguous in this particular regard.

      I fully agree that LL need to broaden their communication skills, however and start using the various mediums at their disposal more efficiently. To me this doesn’t necessarily mean targeting specific bloggers, Tweeter or whoever based on numbers of followers: it mean using the mediums at their disposal to ensure the widest audience is reached – and while these two points may appear to be the same, they are in fact somewhat divergent for several reasons.

      How many on Twitter, for example follow you, me, Rodvik, and two or three dozen other Tweeters / bloggers? Focusing based on followers is not necessarily amplifying the message so much as repeating it to the same ears several times over.

      I won’t be removing the discussion; it will remain here for people to view – not because I believe I’m right or wrong. The fact is, you’ve posted and whether we agree or not, that is appreciated. If I’ve caused offence in my replies, I apologise.

      At the end of the day, your comments remain as valid as mine, and it is up to others to read inform themselves – and comment if they wish. Censure of any views doesn’t really help matters.


  4. Ok timeout!

    Mal Burns (@malburns) is probably the best example of retweeting for the greater good, he retweets posts warts and all at a rather impressive rate of knots.

    LL are unlikely to retweet to that level. There is something to be said for showing tweets on the forum or dashboard from LL and I’d like to see more tweeting from LL, they have really slowed down on blog updates.

    I think we can all agree that we’d like to see better communications from Linden Lab, I’ve enjoyed Rodvik’s tweets, and not just because I can get him to mention Aston Villa! I’d like to see more from SL Ballyhoo.


    1. Pete Linden is missing more than a few tricks. I’ve twice started yet another blog post on communication dealing with the PR and outreach issues, each time using some very valid examples. Both times I’ve held off out of frustration.

      The long silence, as Tateru has noted, is not doing LL any favours – not when it means that residents themselves are breaking the news and leading the way, be it through blogs, Tweets or attempting to create CP-based dialogues.

      Visibly of communications is very much an issue as well – anything that broadens the visibility of things when they do communicate, given that many in SL aren’t active in Twitter – has to be a good thing.


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