It Has To Be Said: Why does Second Life Need Social Media?

by Jessica Holyoke on 17/02/10 at 8:03 am

Please define your virtual social graph to help the Lab gain ad revenue

by Jessica Holyoke

When the Lindens talk about expanding residents' presence with Social Media, I have to really ask why?  At my closely guarded age, I use Facebook a good deal.  It helps keep me connected with classmates who have moved great distances and we can share pictures of children and activities easily.  It also provides a simple way to update our friends on what we are doing, with the status update.

On Second Life, we can share our lives through our profiles.  We can form groups so we can send out notices to update our friends.  We can chat anytime, anywhere.  If I want to visit someone, I can just teleport to them – so Social Media makes less sense for the user. 

But it makes great sense for the Lab.  Directed advertising is the new advertising. Facebook gives me hourly ads targeted to my carefully guarded age.  It tells me how people are selling things that would go great with my hobbies.   It tells me which products my friends like.

And that is why the Lab is pushing for social media.  It wants that directed  advertising revenue even though it adds nothing to a resident's Second Life.  Which means that the future Second Life 2.0 will be paid for because I might click on some ad that one of my friends likes for the Black Eyed Peas.

6 Responses to “It Has To Be Said: Why does Second Life Need Social Media?”

  1. Senban Babii

    Feb 17th, 2010

    Jessica you just hit the nail on the head. Social media isn’t about adding value to our lives, it’s about companies finding new ways to market their products at us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against advertising on websites. I see it as a necessary evil but one that needs to be kept in its place and not allowed to dominate or slow down a website as much advertising currently does.

    As you quite rightly say, Second Life already has a social networking capability or negates the need for much of what we normally use social media for. Avatars United is simply an extra portal for Linden Lab and no doubt “carefully selected third party companies whose products may interest you” to make money from us. I honestly have no problem with a company seeking revenue streams if done ethically. My personal issue is when those companies dress it up as if they’re doing us a favour and doing something nice for us when in fact they’re simply convincing us to hand over our own data so they can make money from it.

    One thing I would add though. Would we prefer to have advertising on the external social networks (i.e. Avatars United) or internal advertising, perhaps with product placement in-world? And are we talking about in-world business advertising to SL residents or out-world business marketing to meatpeople *via* their avatars?

    I’ve literally just logged out of Avatars United; I check in daily to see what’s developing. So far it’s a pointless place to visit because nothing is going on, right? But in fact, something *is* going on. Right now, Linden Lab is allowing us to build our little network of connections before they start to feed targeted ads into that network. The ads wouldn’t work without those connections so they have to allow a time for them to build up first.

  2. Sidney Smalls

    Feb 17th, 2010

    No, I think you’re very wrong.

    Virtual worlds do a great job of allowing people separated by physical SPACE to communicate. They do little to no job at all of allowing people separated by TIME to communicate. SL is almost completely worthless unless you and your friends are all able to log in at the same time.

    Functionally, Second Life is instant messaging. What you’re saying is that instant messaging is all the communication that’s needed.

    By the way, I found this from a post on Plurk – social media. At least half my SL friends are on there, for precisely the reason I stated. Bringing up Plurk is a lightweight operation that can be done from any computer, or even my phone. Within seconds, I can see a day’s worth of updates from everyone I know, and join conversations with any I care to. There is no equivalent to this in SL.

    That’s not to say that I think Avatars United is the solution. Frankly I think it’s shockingly lame.

  3. Hiro Pendragon

    Feb 17th, 2010

    Seriously? Ads? That’s it?

    Linden Lab wants social media because we’ve been pushing for it for five years. Here’s a list of things that are currently broken or non-existent that are essential social media elements:

    1. Profiles on the web that can be accessed, shared, and edited.
    2. Search on the web. Xstreet was a start, but it’s just for items. There ought to be search of people, groups, and events.
    3. Sharing of groups and events. I’d love to be able to click on the website for a SL event and have it auto-create an event on Facebook that I can share, or auto URL-shorten and tweet it.
    4. What’s the best way to get people in Second Life? Movies and images. Why doesn’t SL have some embedded picture and movie sharing medium attached to profiles? The snapshot -> email postcard feature is great for one-on-one, but what about one-click sharing with a blog, or Facebook, etc?
    5. Embedded HTML. Hopefully viewer 2.0 will solve some of these. But social media goes both ways – we want to send out information from Second Life to other web services, and we want to be able to bring them in to Second Life. Why can’t I do basic things like pull the RSS feed from the Linden Lab blog from in-world? Or “Second Life in the news”? Linden Lab relies on developers and hobbyists making HUDs for every little function, and they just aren’t noob-friendly.
    6. Group system that isn’t tied to Second Life’s laggy inventory management servers, and has a limit on the number of groups.
    7. Groups communications that aren’t 90% reliable, at best.
    8. Identity verification and sharing with other social networks.

    Now, the purchase of Avatars United looks like it is a move to solve at least some of these issues. This is clearly more than “embedded ads”, as this article’s author suggests.

  4. coco

    Feb 17th, 2010

    Why, cause all the bullshit about “knowing” and “trusting” anonymous avatars is crap, and the real rich folks,- advertisers- wont pay to blindly suck up to a furry who in reality is a dog on the net.

    And LL is all about the “money” never any fake “singularity cult”.
    Con men all.


  5. Media, hell. SL needs social diseases, ya’ll.

  6. Kanomi Pikajuna

    Feb 18th, 2010

    Hi my name is jessica I make random comments about nothing :o

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