No more improvements planned for my.secondlife.com

During the Meet the Lindens conversation held at SL12B on Thursday, June 25th which featured Danger Linden, Senior Director, Product, Virtual Worlds and Troy Linden, Senior Producer, a question was asked about the SL feeds – also referred to as my.secondlife.com – and whether they would continue to be developed or enhanced.

Danger Linden was direct and honest in his reply:

That’s a though one, because I don’t think anyone’s going to like the answer … The short answer is no.

It’s kind-of a mess, and it’s very difficult to maintain; it’s usage rate is on the low side compared to other feature. So, it may not be a popular answer, but no more improvements are planned on that.

My.secondlife.com has had something of a chequered history. Web Profiles first appeared in 2011, growing out of the Lab’s attempt to provide a social media style capability to users with the acquisition of Avatars United in late 2009 / early 2010, and which was shut-down at the end of September 2010. The feed capabilities followed in mid-2011, and the capabilities grew from there.

My original web profile on my.secondlife.com
A part of my original web profile on my.secondlife.com

From the start things were a tad awkward; people’s rezdays lacked the year in which they were born (see WEB-3486  – thank you, Whirly!); profiles were very slow to load when viewed from within the viewer; once loaded, they initially required a fair proportion of screen real estate.

When the feeds were introduced, people weren’t too happy that posting anything to them from within the viewer automatically appended your location, whether you wanted it to or not, promoting concerns about the potential for stalking and similar.

The Lab, however, took the concerns and critiques on-board, and listened to suggestions. Years of birth reappeared; the profile panel was resized; better controls were added for who could see your feed / interact with it; a Twitter-like Follow button was added, as was a direct messaging capability (subsequently removed at the end of 2013 due to abuse). All of which made the feeds far more comfortable for people to use, and people did start using them more frequently as a result.

And even when things did persist in going sideways at times – such as the 2012 issues of the wrong names, posts and images turning up on the wrong feeds, or the feed gremlins dining on snapshots during upload, people still continued to use the feeds, and suggestions for improvements continued to be made.

I've tended to use the feeds for blog post notifications, the odd snapshot upload and the occasional chit-chat
I’ve tended to use the feeds for blog post notifications and snapshot uploads. It’s fun being ability to highlight the things we encounter in SL and sometimes have a little fun with them

Hopefully, “no plans to improve” will be shown to mean just that: no new shiny added to the feeds, and not that general problem solving when thing do hiccup will cease, or that the feeds themselves are liable to suddenly poof in the near future. While it may be a relatively small number of people who regularly use the feeds, they do so with gusto,  finding them a handy means of keeping in contact with friends and contacts.

The snapshots capability is a great means of pointing people to places and events in-world, and in sharing moments. Similarly, the comments capability is extremely handy for having informal discussions in an easy-to-follow format that’s a lot more immediate and convenient than using things like forums or shuffling through Plurk events. Also, and unlike Twitter, feed comments are not limited to 140 characters, something which can make the conversational flow a little diffic …

16 thoughts on “No more improvements planned for my.secondlife.com

  1. It all sounds like one long ill thought tragic missed opportunity. I love the feed and I’m almost tempted to suggest they remove the feature completely and put us out of our misery. The potential the feed and profiles had for expansion into group management and forming a central hub of your SL information, likes, groups, friends, snapshots was so grand that i guess Linden Lab never really thought far enough ahead when acquiring AU.

    It never got used properly by the SL community because for a long while it just simply didn’t work, there was no real promotion of the service either. Perhaps LL were embarrassed by it or simply didn’t devote the right mindset to it.

    My dreams of a SL management app are dashed and I’m disappointed. But perhaps LL can turn their attention to being experts at connecting SL/Sansar content to other services such as Sketchfab, Twitter, YouTube Gaming.

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  2. When I asked that question I knew that MySL was doomed but I was rather hoping that The Lab would sit up and take notice of the service’s popularity and change its mind. An opportunity to operate a social media platform beneficial to users and The Lab is being squandered. The large populations of SL users at Twitter and Plurk are proof of the need for MySL to get a second chance.

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    1. Well, possibly.

      Or the sheer popularity of Twitter and Plurk and FB among users, combined with that proportion of users who may not even bother with social media for their SL, equally means that MySl is doomed to have narrow use, even if the Lab took time and effort away from recruiting to support SL and Sansar development and opted instead to hire-in the very specialists skill and talents required to build the kind of social media capabilities we might expect, and which are attractive enough to lure those who do use Plurk and Twitter and FB away from those platforms and back to using “son of MySL” (or whatever they call it).

      The Lab isn’t in the business of running a social media platform; they’re in the business of building immersive, creative spaces. so perhaps the better solution would be for them to find a partner already in the social media web space who can provision the kind of social media adjunct to Sl (and perhaps Sansar) down the road?

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  3. Usage rate may be low, because of people like me, who finally gave up on trying to post pics, etc….at times, it is totally useless. Started my Flickr account instead.

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  4. As long as it works, like now and LL does not plan to shut it down.
    I use mostly Flickr direct upload feature but always used MySl as well (sometimes i have the 2 snapshot floaters open at same time) and, it is much faster to take a snapshot to it then to Flickr (time that it takes to upload and be ready to take another shot):
    Still while most users keep using the old profiles style, Slfeed is almost ignored.
    Maybe the lack of its success is more due to still allowing v1 interface features to exist then else! Maybe, no, for sure.

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  5. That’s bad news, instead the fix the problems. or much better write a new system. The let people behind with a crippled piece. And worse there’s no replacement.

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    1. In fairness, the Lab didn’t say “no replacement”. They said, “no plans to improve”. The first doesn’t necessarily automatically follow-on from the second.

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  6. Usage rate is low? Hm, basically it is a similar tool than Facebook. Facebook is very very popular. Why is the SL feed not popular? Maybe because it is very well hidden as a sub tab of the official viewers profiles? Most 3rd party viewer hide it even better or do not have it at all. Or is it because the inworld browser crashes every few minutes? Or maybe because posting pictures etc. often does not work. Or maybe because all posts that are a few days old just disappear?
    Our community will be divided between SL and Sansar soon. So I have no explaination why the Lindens don’t see the potential of the feed to unite both worlds and give people the ability to stay in touch accross grids.

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  7. I mean there’s no replacement when SLfeed is closed before something new is made.
    And if people get split between SL and SanSar something similair like SLfeed only get more important.

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    1. Again, as noted in the article – the comment was, “no plans to improve”. That doesn’t necessarily mean “we’re closing the feeds” or “we’re not going to maintain them”. No absolute statement was made on closing the feeds.

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  8. It’s handy, but discouraging.
    I find it handier and more streamlined to have an internal social media, as you don’t have to open an external browser, nor you need to be on Facebook or G+.
    Nevertheless the internal browser is slower than the external ones. Opening web profiles is slow as well and sometimes it still fails entirely. Loading snapshots used to fail too often. No wonder that TPVs load legacy profiles by default, but this discourages its use even more.
    I agree that perhaps the best solution for LL would be to find a social media partner. Even if they don’t plan to improve MySL, the internal browser component still needs improvement.

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  9. I actually think they should slowly kill the feeds. Better tools exist that could be linked into. They have never sufficiently moderated the feeds… (they’ve never really been good at moderating or managing any of their community issues or enforcing their own policies) – so the place has always been a source of undue drama.

    Snapshots today are better sent direct to flickr with the button built into the viewer to do exactly that. Images on Flickr get more exposure. And the commentary on the feeds… is better kept to inworld to keep the SL inworld community alive, or taken to fully third party sources that will sufficiently moderate according to their own policies.

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    1. Oh… I also really don’t think the feeds are that popular. As LLs noted – it is underused. I think it is popular with a certain clique, a certain small set of communities… while being nearly unknown to the rest of SL’s users.

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  10. Thanks for your summary. It amuses me how ‘no plans to improve’ translates to ‘will be removed’ by at least one person who was present at this event. As long as they maintain the occasional hiccups that occur (due ostensibly to something else they ‘fixed’), I am satisfied with the current state. I guess no one asked Danger what ‘other feature’ he had in mind with his comment.

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  11. Thanks for blogging about it. I had also asked the question from the audience, and it pains me to see how my.secondlife.com is totally neglected. Every developer of web services or databases must be shocked about the poor technical quality of the system – changing time stamps, disppearing references, changing owners, minute long processing times, excessive upload times for small amounts of data (with a 60 second timeout), complete denial of service for days, on one occasion months. These issues only give you a vague idea how bad the implementation must be.
    Yes it’s a lost opportunity to foster a community.

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