LL start recommending “connections”

The new web profiles with their social hooks are heading our way and are likely to be here in the next few weeks. In the meantime, LL appear to be upping the Social Game with their latest e-mail to residents. 

If you’ve filled out the INTERESTS section of your web profile, the chances are you’ve received (or will shortly be receiving) an e-mail from LL inviting you to make new friends, and offering you a few suggestions for people you’d like to connect with, like the one shown below.

Clicking on any of the images / names supplied in the advert will take you to the individual’s web profile, where you can look them over and even send them a friendship request.

I’m not sure how well-received this approach to making “connections” is going to be received. Leaving aside the fact that a “connection” and a “friend” are somewhat different concepts, this approach is fraught with basic problems.

On the one hand, those who have been in SL any length of time are going to be loathe to start sending out unsolicited friendship requests without any initial contact (although, of course, this approach doesn’t do anything to prevent a more “traditional” approach to contacting people listed in the e-mail prior to making friendship offers). Thus, there is every possibility such e-mails will be either ignored, or give rise to more people removing themselves from LL’s mailing list.

On the other hand, where this new service is used to start firing-off friendship offers without any prior contact, then it is liable to result in the vast majority of such offers being ignored by the recipients coupled with a rise in their annoyance at receiving such unsolicited requests. Hardly what LL are aiming for.

Thus, as well-meaning as it is, I can’t help feeling this initiative isn’t going to be as successful as LL hope (assuming it is going to being a regular thing). In fact, if LL want people to create networks of contacts using the new social media tools coming to web profiles, there are potentially much better ways of going about it.

One, for example, would be to give people the option to simply follow others in much the same way as Twitter. The would add considerable value to the Feed tool in the new web profiles – particularly if an individual’s Feed tab became a central point from which they could review comments and thoughts not just from Friends or those leaving comments on their profiles, but also from those they have elected to passively follow, without impinging on their virtual lives by repeated offers of Friendship.

It’s going to be interesting to see how these e-mails are received, and indeed, how long they last.

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12 thoughts on “LL start recommending “connections”

  1. Cinder Roxley

    i would hope, that with other e-mail test campaigns they’ve done, this is just a test run to get a feel of how their customers react. that’s what amanda told me the daily deals mails were. if it does become part of the process, i would also hope it isn’t a weekly match.com “here are your new potential connections” e-mail.

    perhaps they’d use it within the first month, or as a retention tool for new customers, instead of we miss you buy linden$! i know there’s a ton of people who leave second life because “nobody’s there” or they simply don’t know where to find people with similar interests.

    i’ve been there. it’s a lonely life, one i’ve considered quitting. so i used third-party sites like avmatch or 2ndhub to find new people to meet. i can’t see it as a bad thing if they mails aren’t coming all the time (and hopefully there’s a way to opt out of your inclusion in these matchmaker lists)

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Point taken on making friends; but there are perhaps better ways of going about this even so. We’re a sensitive lot at the best of times, so I can see “gratuitous” use of ADD FRIEND on the web profiles as leading to problems / disappointment if it becomes a first port of call when such e-mails are received.

      Meeting people is very much a tough nut to crack in SL. One could suggest that better promotion of the Destination Guide (especially in the “new” / “beta” Viewer2 search) might be a preferable option – but then of course, one comes across the issue of either a) finding venues that actually *have* people there to talk to where you’re on; or b) finding yourself alone in a crowd and overcome by shyness.

      As to the e-mails, I’d hope that *if* they become “routine” the frequency won’t be overpowering (and some may even consider one per week “a lot”).

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  2. Innula Zenovka

    I received one, which seems to have matched me up with folks based on a mutual interest in “scripting” or “pie”, though not “RLV” nor “BDSM”.

    I don’t really see why they think people with well-established accounts would need to use this service — I think the youngest account on the email I received was 2 years and odd — and certainly anyone who’s got an active interest in scripting is already going to know plenty of other scripters from the official forum and the various (very active) inworld scripting groups that are our main means of communication with each other.

    I’m certainly not going to contact a perfect stranger and say “Hi, I see we have a mutual interest in scripting. Let’s get together”. It’s not as if I’m short of other scripters to talk to, and my main problem, as a working scripter, is finding enough time to get together with my existing friends, not making new ones.

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Again, I agree. In my case the shared interests are “Building in SL” and “Exploring SL” – very broad categories in and of themselves, and as you say, I’m unlikely to go calling up people based on either, so the service is lost on me.

      As to the age of the accounts you’ve been matched to – that again reveals a problem in getting the service accepted, should it continue. It is very likely that the only people who have gone through their new profiles and filled them out will be established users – and they’ve done so (no doubt as you have (and I did) – out of curiosity. Newer users are going to be more concerned with exploring their new world and seeing what they can find over delving into web forms and filling them out to the required degree. Given that the interests are drawn from a pre-defined list of options, those that *do* complete the INTERESTS section of their Profile early-on are probably going to do so from as much a “oh, that sounds interesting” response as much as anything else.

      It would be nice to give feedback on “services” like this is one centralised place. If only LL would use their new “communications platform” more constructively & provide an *obvious* and *notable* location within it where feedback can be given & we know it will at least be read / considered, even if not acted upon…

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  3. Pussycat Catnap

    I rather like this new feature.

    It would be nice if this became a weekly or bi-weekly item. Or perhaps a part of the dashboard, or in the unused space below the profile button of the sideboard.

    But it should refine itself to people with 3+ interests in common.

    However people have such scattered interests right now and its not able to handle wildcards or similar words – meaning a very narrow list comes back.
    (“Reggae” and “Reggae Music” and “I love Reggae” have nothing in common in the present system…)

    So they need to make interests work with similar words and not just exact matches before it can be really useful.

    It could then add a button to IM the people, if it became a sidebar feature.

    OPT-out is trivial, don’t be interesting. 🙂 If you’ve got no interests, the thing has nothing to work with. If you do – why do you have them unless you -WANT- people contacting you about them?

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    1. Inara Pey Post author

      I agree – the system is too narrow, if you want to use it, and based on pre-selected “interests”.

      It’s a fair point on don’t want contact = don’t have interests; however, because someone puts up interests *doesn’t* necessarily mean they want unsolicited offers of Friendship, which is what the system at present tends to promote. Contact, yes – in terms of polite enquiries, etc. Logging-in (even weekly) and finding “another” 2,3 or 4 Friendship offers, or finding them popping-up in e-mails as a result of being forwarded while off-line is liable to get some people worked up.

      as it stands, your solution to opt-out by “not having interests” is somewhat simplistic and misses a couple of points. There are other reasons for sharing interest – such as an aide memoire for acquaintances, or for people to look up *while talking to you in-world*.

      As such, there should be a more mature means of opting-out, such as privacy options being adhered to: if I have my Interests set to “Friends” (as I do), then the system shouldn’t parse my details and include them in an e-mail.

      Similarly, if I don’t *want* to receive these e-mails, I should be supplied with the means of opting-out from them in particular, rather than simply opting-out of receiving e-mails from Linden Lab as a whole (as is currently the case).

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      1. Pussycat Catnap

        I don’t see why it promotes unsolicited friendings. It puts people in contact based on a data field that has the pure purpose of putting people in contact.

        How people use that to make contact is then up to them. It doesn’t come with a friend or IM button. Just a profile link.

        So if you don’t want to be contacted, don’t list yourself. Its kind of peculiar to list oneself and then complain that one is listed. 🙂

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        1. Seth

          Actually the Add Friend button is on each and every profile linked to by the ads so people following the links could be tempted to click on them blind as Inara suggests in the writeup.

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        2. Pussycat Catnap

          IMing is on profiles to.

          If you don’t want people offering friendship, remove your profile from search.

          This has nothing to do with the interests thing. That people can see your profile and have options for it once they see it is about the profile.

          If you don’t want to be found by the big-bad-stranger-danger – hide.

          Its just too much of a stretch to blame that on this.

          You can avoid them seeing your profile through your interests by not having interests. You can avoid them seeing your profile by removing it from search.

          But hold yourself out to the public and the public will contact you.

          If you look on the privacy settings – you can hide yourself. So if you’re afraid of those nasty unknown people, hide.

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  4. Pingback: Linden Lab has the best social tool and doesn’t know it? | Fiery Red

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