Going social: increasing the relevancy of web Profiles?

According to Frederick Linden, we’re about to see a series of “cool social tools” and a web Profile tools released over summer (and possibly beyond) that will enhance “social networking” capabilities within Second Life.

Precisely what is coming down the line is unclear – Frederick was somewhat vague in the meeting where these tools were mentioned. However it would appear that we can expect:

  • The ability to manage Friends lists directly from web profiles (found at my.secondlife.com/first.last)
  • An ability to issue in-world, location-based status updates” from Second Life to your web profile
  • The development of a “Profile API” that will enable the functionality of web Profiles to be more easily extended in the future
  • Other undefined “cool tools”.

The first three items are particularly intriguing, and may potentially add a lot of benefits to using web-based profiles. The “location-based status updates” is somewhat eye-catching, as it comes close to describing a Twitter-like feed capability from in-world to people’s Profile pages – assuming I’m understanding Frederick’s broad hints correctly. Given that many of the SL-to-Twitter HUDs that are available have been broken as a result of changes to the server-side of Twitter, the provision of such an update capability might be seen by LL as a means of providing a reasonable alternative – although most people who use Twitter (like me) will probably want a more direct means of updating followers and friends as to what they are doing in-world.

The ability to manage Friends could be seen a boon as well – while it is nice to see your friends listed on your Dashboard, the fact that there is next to nothing you can do with the information (other than see where those who allow you Map might be in-world) tends to negate any real value in having the list visible.

However, given there is already an Action button on web Profiles, were the new API and Friends management tools to allow you to say, pay a Friend directly from your web Profile or IM them, then the value of web Profiles dramatically increases and would help them overshadow the static list presented in the Dashboard.

In fact, looking at the rough outline supplied by Frederick, one cannot help but wonder if we might not be seeing the first steps towards doing away with the Dashboard completely (which has become increasingly irrelevant since the launch of the Lithium-based Community Platform) and replacing it with our web Profile pages. Providing feeds to things like the Grid Status pages and to Events can be supplied the web Profiles, then the Dashboard becomes somewhat redundant.

Certainly, we’ve recently seen LL move positively to address privacy concerns surrounding web Profiles, actions which have clearly been intended to allay fears and increase the popularity of web Profiles. As such, making them more central to our SL lives would seem to be a direction LL would wish to move, and this would further marginalise the value of the Dashboard.

It’s going to be interesting to see what precisely emerges from Frederick’s broad hints in the coming months – and just how far things go in the other direction (an API can, after all, open up web Profiles for others to use…and possibly mine…). As such, this could well be the topic to watch between now and the end of the year.

6 thoughts on “Going social: increasing the relevancy of web Profiles?

    1. Very probably…unless of course, they use the new “location status update” tool to complain! 🙂

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  1. I’m not sure about that “many of the SL-to-Twitter HUDs that are available have been broken as a result of changes to the server-side of SL” – as far as I know, it was Twitter’s move to oAuth that broke the existing SL-to-Twitter HUDs. Anyway.

    Before leaving Linden Lab, Babbage made us gift of this LSL library:
    https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Twitter_OAuth_Library

    I’m not aware of any other working Twitter HUD on the market, so even if I’m a crappy scripter, I recently took Babbage’s demo and modified it. We now have a SL-to-Twitter HUD which already sort of works – except that the first message you send will be lost like a tear in rain, and you may be asked for authorization a bit too often.

    https://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Talk:Twitter_OAuth_Library
    here are the scripts you can use to create your own HUD – they are meant to be free, like the Babbage’s code they’re based upon.

    If you’re too lazy to build your HUD but you’re willing to test it, ask me in-world for free copies.

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    1. You’re right on the breakage…it was the Twitter side; now corrected in the text; I actually knew this at the time of writing (from the SLTweets HUD), so no idea why it ended-up the other way around here!

      Thanks for the feedback on Babbage’s hand-out!

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  2. Are web profiles supposed to be PG? If they are, I can foresee no end of trouble in store if people start putting stuff in their “in-world, location-based status updates” like “being molested by a tentacle monster at Sensual Stoneworks and loving every minute of it.”

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    1. *chuckles*

      You raise a very good point, and on e I hadn’t considered! Given I’m just speculating, who knows what it might entail. That said, it *is* about time LL moved away from their 1950’s attitude towards language and censorship, which doubtless has the majority of teens engaged in SL piss wetting their underpants they’re laughing so hard…

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