SLCC: Social Life and Communities – highlights

Speaker

  • Mark Viale (Viale Linden), Integrated Marketing Team Manager
  • E-mail: community@lindenlab.com

General

To provide an update on community strategy and community tools, and examine the social experience within Second Life – where it is today and where it could go.

  • LL having a change in its community philosophy; LL used to push a lot of events and activities – newsletters, “kiss a Linden”, etc., but now want to focus on bringing the community forward & work with sustainable communities in-world
  • LL want this to be “organic”, so LL will be “Going out there and finding stuff that exists and then bringing it forward” in terms of promotion. Cited examples:
    • Event: Relay for Life
    • Product: Meeroos
    • Community: The Zen retreat within Second Life
    • Activity: Month of Machinima
  • LL want to work to promote “organic communities” by working with in-world groups and residents and harness what people have and promote it through the channels they have available (e.g. Destination Guide and the new Viewer 2 log-in screen)
  • Community Resources Portal: presents a series of resources people can use to help their community “come forward”
SL wiki: Community Resource Portal – http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Community_Resources_Portal
  • The portal provides a range of links to further information within the wiki (such as how to suggest a location for inclusion in the Destination Guide) and links to social media resources that can both be used for promotional purposes and for getting on LL’s radar:
    • SL Facebook wall: used by LL as a means by which LL can identify movements that are happening within SL which they can then promote
    • YouTube channel: subscribers can suggest videos that can be added to the channel, promoting both machinima and the events / destinations to which they relate
    • Twitter: those on Twitter can follow @SecondLife & get followed back; LL actively monitor Twitter for news and information
    • Flickr: users can join the SL Flickr group which is used to source the “picture of the day” on the In-world section of the official blog
  • Community Gateways have not “gone away”, but have been folded into the “new resident resources” within the Destination Guide
  • LL operate an Affiliate Programme for communities to bring people in to Second Life and get paid for doing so this is enabled through:
  • User Groups offer the opportunity for users to bring matters to LL and discuss a range of topics and provide feedback – venues and dates for UG meetings in the User Groups link of the Portal’s Second Life Resources

Social Profiles

  • Social Profiles seen as a means for users to keep abreast of all that is happening (via information appearing on their feed) and to inform others (by posting to their feed)
  • Can be used to promote places / tell people where you are and what you’re doing through the “Add your location” icon in the Feed Share Something box
  • LL see the Social Profiles as enabling users to express who they really are because there is no tie to real world links. This is also viewed as a powerful tool over the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+
  • LL looking at means of enabling a “follow” function so users can follow one another, rather than having to Friend one another / have feeds totally public in order to make / receive comments
  • The feed will become “more robust” allowing greater potential flexibility of use
  • LL looking at ways of introducing the ability to create “groups” or “circles” within the feed capability so people can focus on information they want
  • LL look on SL as the only social platform “out there” with unlimited self-expression (within the ToS!), and see the additional of the feeds, etc., as a means of complementing people’s ability to express themselves howsoever they choose

Q&A Session

  • LL “thinking about” ways of making Friends list more granular (so business contacts can be grouped aside from social contacts, etc)
  • Suggested that the “love” option in the feed could be used in a yelp.com manner to help recommend places in-world, although admitted this needs to be “figured out” to prevent gaming
  • LL not going to promote communities “willy-nilly”: LL will seek to get behind communities that are sustainable (e.g. ACS / Relay For Life), i.e. can function without support from LL, so initial effort needs to come from those behind the community
  • New log-in screen may be personalised in the future, so that a new user would have more help & resources (e.g. newcomer-friendly island to check-out)
  • Reporting back to owners of communities / venues / events on things like click-throughs from Destination Guide, etc., may be looked at

 

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3 thoughts on “SLCC: Social Life and Communities – highlights

  1. What a disaster. Despite all of the claims, viale linden and the ‘new community focus’ have done exactly the opposite to their expectations. A sad day for Second Life when community has effectively been destroyed by seriously inept policy and implementation. This is what happens you put unqualified people in positions where they are needed to interact with the public. SL is a people-driven environment. People first. Positive leadership and communication are very important. Viale and his agenda have been malicious, dangerous and have accelerated a risky environment in SL.

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    1. We’re a long way out from SLCC-2011, and we’re faced with a senior management within LL who are not looking for the kind of engagement we want for some time now (at least the beginning of 2012); just as the board hasn’t been wanting the kind of engagement we demand since around mid-2008. In that respect, nothing really has changed; the company has just become more forthright in its approach during 2012.

      And having said that, the above shouldn’t be taken to mean I condone everything that the has done, community and/or communications-wise. I don’t. I’m simply stating the above as a matter of fact.

      It’s easy to point to the person in front of you and blame them for what you perceive as a mishandling of issues when they are in fact in a position of having to carry out actions as part of a wider policy. For my part, I can only say that throughout me dealings with Viale during his time at LL, I found him to be polite, straightforward and honest. Sure, he towed the company line – but that’s not a sin. It’s generally a requirement of being an employee. Certainly, I miss his insights and our frequent discussions.

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