Endeavour: Favourite images

I’ve already blogged about the affinity I have for the space shuttle Endeavour and how it came about, and while there are many, many photographs from NASA and others that define the space shuttle era, these are the ones that symbolise, for me, the career of the Endeavour.

Ready to fly: STS-49, Endeavour’s maiden flight (Crew (L-to-r): Mission Specialist (MS) Richard J. Hieb, Pilot Kevin P. Chilton, Commander Daniel C. Brandenstein, MS Thomas D. Akers, MS Pierre J. Thuot, MS Kathryn C. Thornton, and MS Bruce E. Melnick)

STS-61: the First Hubble Servicing Mission, December 1993
The Borealis Australis, STS-59, April 1994
STS-126 night launch, November 2008
On the limb of the world, STS-130, February 2010
Final ascent: STS-134, May 2011

Facebook wipes Second Life

I’m going to go out on something of a limb here. Just why are people getting so worked up about having their “SL Accounts” on Facebook deleted?

Over the last 24 hours, FB have been mass deleting accounts linked to SL avatars (and no doubt other accounts that are “not linked” to “real information”), and people have been shouting about it across blogs, Twitter and Plurk as if it is so kind of outrage.

Well, sorry, it isn’t. I’m not Facebook fan; I wouldn’t even use it – but the Facebook Terms and Conditions of use are clear: only “real life” account information should be used on Facebook accounts. Quote:

“Registration and Account Security

Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way. Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:

  1. You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
  2. You will not create more than one personal profile.

However fond we are of our Avatars, the fact remains that they don’t fall under the classification of “real names and information”; ergo, however much it hurts, creating a Facebook account using avatar information has always been a recipe for disaster. Given this, it’s hard to see how anyone can be outraged when Facebook seek to enforce their rules; it is their playground, after all.

I appreciate this may come across as a cold reaction, especially to those who have invested many hours in developing their Facebook presence, but it is honestly hard to be anything else. Had it been a case of FB suddenly changing their policy and wiping out accounts as a result, it would be a very different matter, one that would call for more sympathy for those affected by the move.

But it is not. As quoted above, the rules are clear. Foolish is the person who gambles against the house odds in matter like this.

However, there is another side to this situation. Leave us not forget that for well over a year now Linden Lab have been actively encouraging people to flip over to Facebook and join things over there. For example, we’ve had:

  • The 2010 Valentine scavenger hunt, the top prize for which could only be won by those registering with Facebook
  • The 2010 advertising campaign that (at the least) required SL users to connect their Avatars with their RL identity on Facebook
  • Wallace Linden’s heavy-handed FB push that marked his one (and only?) attempt to “start a conversation”
  • Amanda’s Linden’s own clumsy juxtaposition of announcing a forthcoming new “community platform” for “better communications” while at the same time telling people that “the” place to find out about SL is….Facebook…

While it might be argued that few / none of these initiatives have required people to sign-up to Facebook using their Avatar details, such arguments entirely miss the point. Facebook and Second Life are – for the vast majority of SL users – simply a bad fit, precisely because of FB’s “no ‘fake’ information policy.

Of course, there are those who don’t mind linking RL and SL identities: those operating a RL business with SL ties; those working in education in RL and SL, those operating non-profits, etc., may have few qualms in linking one to the other – and are excellently placed to use the likes of FB and services such as LindedIn to help promote themselves and their activities.

But for the vast majority of SL users, making FB a bedfellow has not been in our interests. Some at Linden Lab (/me waves to Amanda) have been using a form marketing kung-fu that can only be described as kicking oneself in the head, in that they seem to be of the opinion that pushing SL users to FB will be reciprocated in a flow of FB users to SL. This clearly is flawed in so many ways, it’s not worth rehashing all the reasons why, especially given they’ve been pointed out time and again by so many SL bloggers.

Hopefully, this latest move from Facebook will convince TPTB at the Lab that it really isn’t in their best interests to be so cosy with FB. In the meantime, for those who want an SL-related social network, why not give 2ndhub a try?