The SL8B Opening

aka “don’t blink or you’ll miss it.”

SL8B opening: the crowds are gathering

Today saw the opening of SL8B.Now I’m going to be honest here. The official SL blog post about it did say “Kim Linden will give a short opening address at 11am SLT”.

I just didn’t think “short” was meant literally.

I got there a half-hour before things were due to kick-off. The main stage, at the juncture of four sims, was gathering a nice crowd – 30 within a 60 metre radius of me when I moved towards the centre of things, rising to over 90 shortly before things were due to get underway (ah, the wonders of Firestorm’s radar!).

Lexie Linden

I had a little wander around before things got too laggy, looking for familiar faces. I spied Anne Otoole from a distance and a few names from the SLPC. Lexie Linden was also there from the Lab. The last time I’d seen her was Saturday, during my tour of the sims, when I helped her track down an illusive Linden Squire Bear who had naughtily set himself for sale at L$10, rather than L$0.

As well as Lexie being there, the Lab was ably represented by ummm… by … well… no-one actually.

Now I know the “official” official birthday isn’t until the 23rd – but come on guys!  Show some interest, please! There was a time  – admittedly a goodly while ago now – when SLB openings would be somewhat awash with Lindens and while I don’t want to (again) sound churlish, given this is the start of a week of celebrations, one couldn’t help but find the visible turn-out somewhat underwhelming. I wasn’t alone in feeling this. a comment on Twitter brought this response:

@InaraPey agree and no lindens, what does that tell you. My first SL5B, here at opening stage lindens everywhere.

Anyway, 11:00am SLT approached, and Kim duly arrived, taking her place on the stage. Ears were preened, and air of expectation settled over the main stage and…

…someone asked perhaps the most important question of the opening, “Will this be in Voice?”

Kim Linden preparing for her address

“Yes,” Kim replied, amidst the ensuing hubbub. Cue a scramble to turn-on sound etc, grateful that Kim added, “I haven’t started yet”.

As per usual, Voice took a bit to kick-in on my machine, and when it did, Kim was talking about Winterfest. I’m not sure precisely what she was saying about Winterfest (didn’t we used to call that “Christmas”, once upon a time?), because Firestorm chose that exact moment to blow a raspberry at me and crash.

Typical of my relationship with technology, really.

Now, I swear I wasn’t offline for more than a couple of minutes – three at the most. As soon as the Viewer was gone, I was re-starting it, and while I was refused log-in the first time (“still logging you out of the system”), I tried within about 30 seconds of clearing the message, and I was in.

And by the time I’d arrived back at the main stage, Kim had gone. Open speech over. Done.

Now, I admit, I didn’t exactly expect her to be there for hours; I didn’t honestly expert her to be talking for more than 10 or so minutes. But even allowing for my crash, it all seemed to be over very quickly and, well, dreadfully anti-climatic. Going by the comments and a few IMs I received, I wasn’t alone in feeling I’d just had a “say whut?” moment. Things weren’t helped by a microphone being left on somewhere being left on, treating us to sounds of someone typing, moving stuff around and muttering comments (including, “The speeches will start in a minute. Or whatever”, delivered in a flat, nigh-on bored monotone).

All-in-all, I came away feeling somewhat down. For something designed to kick-off a week of celebrations on Second Life, this was so low-key, I’m not even sure the note was on the piano; it certainly failed to leave me with any sense of anticipation. It’s not fair to point the finger solely at LL, while their presence was lacking, they weren’t responsible for the overall execution of the opening; why not a word for the organisers themselves? Perhaps the fault lay with me – I honestly expected more, given the time and effort that has gone into the overall design and layout of the sims and the care people have clearly put into their exhibits.

Nevertheless and albeit with a pop rather than a bang, SL8B is now officially open, and I hope to see some of you there over the course of the next week.

3 thoughts on “The SL8B Opening

  1. The motto for the 8th year of Second Life is ‘the Lindens have Left the Building.’
    – I think you didn’t see many of them there because there really aren’t many of them left that even have SL accounts…

    They’re just gone. LL’s now seems to manage this ‘MMO’ the same way other MMOs manage it – from a database server somewhere in the IT department and support moderators that only show up as hallow voices in the distance when absolutely needed…


    1. I’m not sure that is a fair assessment overall; while there are precious few Lindens spending the time they should in-world (especially those dealing with elements of the platform *we* have to deal with day-to-day), it doesn’t automatically follow that they don’t have enthusiasm for the platform.

      That said, there need to be a push for greater in-world involvement and the establishment of more in the way of two-way dialogues. Time and again LL are missing the boat here, giving rise to slanted views of them as both a company and as individuals.


  2. My read: SL8B occured at a time of panic when LL staffers were vanishing like fireflies and the ‘shift’ in priorities (read: LL getting out of inworld involvement and ending community initiatives) was becoming crystallized. There will always be great arguments for getting the Lab out of residents’ lives, but, love it or not, a foundational system must obviously exist, and that includes inspirational inworld support. I find it fascinating because the future of virtual worlds necessitates a somewhat invisible (or at least muted) but ACTIVE and INVOLVED management. Stepping back from community is not the way. Better engagement is. The best engagement: be integrally involved and constantly promoting community/residents, but do so in an organic manner. This is no easy solution. It requires finesse and sophistication, responsible leadership and a caring heart. (yes, emotions do exist) Second Life is very unique because it truly is a ‘people business’. Of course, it’s a financial business too , but the finances are directly related to and dependent upon, people. You cannot separate. Sadly,I believe SL8B illustrated a change in mindset that is now becoming more apparent each day. A new caring heart must arise in the center of this enterprise or else it will fizzle like spent passion.


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