The Great Rod Humble Twitter Metagame

by Pixeleen Mistral on 27/12/10 at 6:42 pm

A furry-led cargo cult on Twitter hopes to entice silent Second Life CEO into community dialog

A new Twitter-based Second Life metagame raises interesting questions about online identity, social media, and just how unprepared Linden Lab leadership was for the curiously-timed December 23rd announcement of Rod Humble as new CEO.

Given the level of investment of time and money by committed players – and tensions between Second Life customers and game gods – it was not surprising that some players attempted to research the new CEO’s background. Unfortunately, after some study it became clear that Mr. Humble does not have a Twitter account, and is not taking interviews at this time.

How will the new CEO engage in a dialog with the customers?

If Rod Humble won’t Tweet, Second Life players will do it for him

The nature of the Internet is to abhor an information vacuum, so an enterprising fur named Bunjie_ stepped in and created RodLinden and RodHumble Twitter accounts in hopes that some roleplay tweets might entice the silent CEO to engage – a sort of online identity cargo cult that hopes to vote Humble onto the island of player dialog.

This sort of confused online identity roleplay is possible when the only limit to account names are self-restraint and imagination, as is the case on Twitter, Facebook, Google’s Gmail, and a host of other online services committed to growth at any cost. Does this point to a business opportunity for those that would secure online identities for corporate chiefs – or a lack of planning by the Lab?

Bunjie_ controls Rod Linden and Rod Humble’s Twitter feeds – for now

While Bunjie_ has promised to freely hand the accounts over to Mr. Humble should the CEO decide to engage the residents via Twitter, delightful irony has already ensued with Soft Linden blocking the RodLinden Twitter account. We can only guess at the level of paranoia inside the Lab – will other Lab staff follow Soft Linden’s lead – or set up alt Twitter accounts for the guilty pleasure of reading residents comments?

More importantly, will Humble play along with the metagamers? On one hand this might buy him some goodwill, but comes at the risk of encouraging vigorous debate outside of Second Life’s controlled corporate forums where the threat of player bans can help keep the dialog under control. But the risk of real discourse might worthwhile if there is any interest in engaging and retaining an increasingly cynical customer base.

The Lab’s press release announcing the January debut of Humble as CEO/game god suggests Humble is interested in social and economic change brought on by online mediated human contact, and quotes the incoming CEO as saying:

"I have a long standing interest in the how the boundaries of society and economics change as communications evolve in new ways. Second Life is unique: it sits at the intersection of virtual worlds, avatars, and human contact. The Residents and developers of Second Life have built something very special, I am honored to join the talented team at Linden Lab to help expand this new frontier"

But some Second Life players wondered if the pre Christmas timing of Humble’s CEO announcement was a rush job intended to draw attention away from other developments – notably revelations that Joe Miller (Joe Linden) had departed the Lab. The idea that the announcement came a bit sooner than the Lab had planned seems possible based on the lack of communications about the Lab’s direction from Humble – and the fact that obvious Twitter accounts were left available to the first taker.

Those with deep investments in the Second Life platform worry about how well the new CEO will engage with the existing customers – what is his vision? how will his avatar look? what is to be the fate of Philip Linden’s infamous LoveMachine? can Second Life succeed by marketing Gorean and LatexGirl roleplay to the Facebook crowd, or is a virtual farming and pet-raising experience a better play? and most important, when will Rod Humble give his real tweet?

50 Responses to “The Great Rod Humble Twitter Metagame”

  1. edna

    Dec 27th, 2010

    “Rod Humble” Good luck finding him. Surely sounds like an alias.

  2. jake

    Dec 28th, 2010

    ” …and the fact that obvious Twitter accounts were left available to the first taker.”

    yeah that could have been an oversight based on disorganization and demoralization at Linden Lab like the author suggests…or..maybe, just maybe, they just never considered the possibility because they, perhaps unwisely, underestimated the inclination of some SL residents to waste their time doing something so pointless. Maybe they were just too busy getting ready to leave the office for the holiday with their families.

  3. Darien Caldwell

    Dec 28th, 2010

    Considering Twitter is for losers, it’s somewhat reassuring to see he doesn’t waste his time with it.

    But it was poor planning on LL’s part to fail to secure these accounts before hand, knowing full well how much Griefing SL is known for. Will they ever learn…

  4. Alvi

    Dec 28th, 2010

    @Darien loosers? Really?…..

  5. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Dec 28th, 2010

    go figure, a furfag trying to be funny fails yet again.

    tune in next week for more fail.

  6. Tinsel Silvera

    Dec 28th, 2010

    This is a total /fail. It is nobody’s business whether or not Rod has a twitter account. What a sad and pathetic welcome to Second Life for Rod. Yet another reason for our industry peers to laugh at, scorn and pan us.

  7. had enough

    Dec 28th, 2010

    and people cannot stand the fur fags why? Maybe Rod will ban hammer the fur fags

  8. Yep

    Dec 28th, 2010

    lol I think it is funny.

  9. haz enuff?

    Dec 28th, 2010

    @ had enough
    Why does everyone hate the furfags? Please enlighten us oh wise one. Because they make linden twitter accounts? Because they have animal av ‘s?
    Do tell.

  10. Bubblesort

    Dec 28th, 2010

    I think this seems to be the real Rod Humble, maybe?!/rodvik

    What do you guys think?

  11. Crap Mariner

    Dec 28th, 2010

    Bubblesnort -

    Looks to be real, and I’m sure that Bunjie will gladly hand the fake over if asked for it.

    All in all, a fumbled onboarding, I’m seeing this as yet another example of tempest-in-a-toilet and Wallace Fail.

    Oh well. Time will tell.


  12. General Drama

    Dec 28th, 2010

    Perhaps Humble was too busy getting up to speed, along with the new Corporate Counsel, as to the definitions of : furfag, blingtard, rickroll, yiff, furpile, bawww, e-peen, tekkiwikkinista, technocommie, leninist conspirator, eddie haskeller, word salading, sion chicken, permban, slebrity, JIRA, hacktivist, e-raep, pubbie, ad farmer, megaprim, and many other terms common to the SL community.

  13. AM Oderngrl

    Dec 28th, 2010

    Looks like @rodvik already engaging the community with these tweets to bunjie and all from 28 December:
    @rodvik @RodLinden I think I am going to like this community 8) fyi I do not start until mid January so please do not expect much comms till then.

    @rodvik now, back to my vacation. Have a great New Year everyone!

  14. AM Oderngrl

    Dec 28th, 2010

    Follow the Twitter profile to his website to play three little games he wrote at EA.

    His description of “The Marriage” could as well apply to SL:

    “This part of the document is hard to write. The game was created to be played, to be enjoyed by each person exploring the rules and how it related to their own life. The interested but confused player however has a right to ask “I understand its meant to be about my interpretation and meaning, but I want to know what your interpretation and intended meaning is as well.” Fair enough, but it puts me in a position of either being accused of making something unintelligible without explanation or being so coy that sceptics might assume there was no meaning there at all or even worse examining each element and explaining the creation in such depth we come away with an autopsy report rather than a map to assist exploration. I have tried to walk a middle ground below, but I would urge players to play the game first without reading this part if they can.”

    This is hopeful, a guy who can deal with ambiguity and seems to enjoy it! This might mean very different take on the new resident experience!

  15. had enough

    Dec 29th, 2010

    OK, here’s the deal: Most people hate homosexuals. Furries are a very weird, twisted kind of homosexual. So obviously people have even less tolerance for them than for your average non-furry queer.

  16. General Drama

    Dec 29th, 2010

    A furry trying to latch onto the homosexual train to acceptance is as sick and retarded as a cannibal demanding the same rights as cattle ranchers.

  17. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Dec 29th, 2010

    To put it in short, simple terms as to why people hate furries, furries are those house guests who come in, rearrange your furniture, sell half your stuff that they deem unimportant, and invite their family and friends to stay as well, and get mad at you when you get upset about their behavior.

    Then try to call the cops on you for being in “their” house, all in the timespan of 24 hours.

  18. Tux

    Dec 29th, 2010

    My dislike of furries comes from the time of voice activation. I soon discovered they all sound the same, whiny little junior bald fannies waiting for their balls to drop. More emo than a suicide group therapy session. Acceptance is hard for normal people because the conversations almost always involve how they was beaten or picked on or raped or whatever else they can complain about their insignificant little lives.

    Plus they cough up hairballs mid-sentence!

  19. haz enuff?

    Dec 29th, 2010

    @Atom How do you come to that comparison? Did you ever have a furry houseguest who ‘s done that?

    @ Had enough I dont know where you live but homosexuals are very well accepted here in the western countries. A few US states excepted of course not everyone living in civilized countries are civilized. They cant get married in many places yet either but progress is being made.
    What is puzzling me is the furries are homosexuals idea. How do you come to that conclusion?
    Do you have intimate experience with the largest part of the furries around the world? Or is there a survey someone did mapping out sexual preferences of every furry around?
    Should be an interresting read. Link it please.

  20. had enough

    Dec 29th, 2010

    Now do not mistake people having to keep their thoughts to themselves as acceptance. What has changed now? nothing other than,should people express their dislike towards homosexuals, then they can be kicked out of school , fired from their jobs,or even banned from Second Life.
    Silence is not acceptance.

  21. lolol

    Dec 29th, 2010

    Furries want to force everyone to accept, if not embrace their fetish. And get all emo when nobody wants to grow hair all over their bodies and have sexo with them. So yeah, kind of annoying. Of course, the fact that it’s like beastiality but without any actual people kind of helps to bolster the bad reputation.

  22. Senban Babii

    Dec 29th, 2010

    @had enough

    “Now do not mistake people having to keep their thoughts to themselves as acceptance. What has changed now? nothing other than,should people express their dislike towards homosexuals, then they can be kicked out of school , fired from their jobs,or even banned from Second Life.
    Silence is not acceptance.”

    Who exactly is this “everybody” you’re speaking on behalf of here? Could you provide links to valid sources of research to back up these claims? Or is this just your opinion that you’re trying to validate as normal by claiming “everybody does it”?

    Just curious.

  23. Pappy Enoch

    Dec 30th, 2010

    @lolol, maybe I mite go furry, then. I been a-tryin’ sum’fin fierce to cornvert everyboddy in the fake world o’ Second Life into Hillbillies.

    I reckon I done made me about six who done come over to the good life. But my plan were bigger an’ I hoped to corrupt a heap of folks, so’s me an’ Iris Ofeelya could be hillbilly King an’ Queen, and she could write her up a blob on hillbilly fashion (burlap-sack dresses, overalls, union-suits, and whatnot).

    I were a-hopin’ for a army to take over the fake world an’ run her rite! Oh boo hoo lonely ol’ me. I are gittin’ all hillbilly-emo and needs to feel better: time to drink and then shoot sum’fin.

  24. Darien Caldwell

    Dec 30th, 2010

    Considering there’s a new California law going into effect Saturday that will make Bunjie’s actions a crime, he may want to turn the account over sooner than later.

  25. The Anti Herald

    Dec 30th, 2010

    Nice going – the Herald is once again party to cybercrime. I think I’ll report Bunjie to Linden Lab. They’ll have fun with him. Then I’ll point them at the Herald. They’ll have fun with the Herald too.

    YAY Herald, it’s own worst enemy!

  26. Yep

    Dec 30th, 2010

    It is a misdemeanor,so unless it happens inside california, their laws have no teeth in other states or countries.
    As for Linden lab, what are they going to do or have the ability to do to people outside the grid? Nothing.
    LOL you remind me of this fox that was shooting me with snowballs in this combat sim. Being I was in a combat sim I laughed and threw one back. The furry got all emo when I hit him. I guess it is only funny if he was the one throwing all the snow balls.

  27. Pappy Enoch

    Dec 31st, 2010

    @Yep, hellfire and hailstones, boy. If’n a fox lays into you in a COMBAT sim, git him wif Ol’ Painless: dubble-ought shot in a scattergun.

    Or what them army-boys calls a man-portable chain gun, one. I packs ‘em both.

    Depends on how little I wants the chunks to be when I are done.

    I’d say “Emo that, you fuzzy-butt rascal!”

    Happy New Year, ya’ll. I plans on bein’ more drunk than usual from now till 2011, so I will only post under Prok’s name and it’ll sound just about rite.

  28. General Drama

    Dec 31st, 2010

    Looks like some butthurt politicians and silicon valley executives pushed through a law ostensibly about “cyberimpersonation” when in fact it is about silencing free speech. Not surprising in a state that is bought and paid for by special interests.

  29. lol

    Dec 31st, 2010


    I’ve met people like that at Rauch and i go,why you hanging out in a combat region if you don’t want to be fragged,fragbait? Ur a fragbait noobie,lolololo

  30. Darien Caldwell

    Dec 31st, 2010

    “Looks like some butthurt politicians and silicon valley executives pushed through a law ostensibly about “cyberimpersonation” when in fact it is about silencing free speech.”

    Free Speech doesn’t give anyone the right to impersonate someone else and damage their name and reputation. I think it’s a pretty good law, and I’m all about Free Speech.

  31. @Pappy

    Dec 31st, 2010

    Pappy Neva o’ Proky Enoch

    Silly Hilly-Billy!


  32. Nelson Jenkins

    Dec 31st, 2010

    @ General Drama

    Are you being stupid, or did someone steal your name and post that to make you look stupid?

  33. At0m0 Beerbaum

    Dec 31st, 2010

    @ haz

    Furry detected. I was not referring to having a house guest, but likening a furry’s typical behavior to that of a bad house guest.

    Every single time I’ve seen a furry join a community of any kind, they immediately try to force everyone to change everything for them, because it doesnt suit their fetish right, when people tell them to fuck off, they scream that they’re being persecuted, and dig up friends (or sockpuppets) to come into a community and start “defending” their “friend” by spamming furry porn and making their situation even worse.

    Yes, flagrantly offending people and doing things wins them over.

    then furries wonder why they’re hated.

  34. Roffel

    Dec 31st, 2010

    So sofar we got “offensive houseguests ‘ “emo kids on voice” and “weird kind of homosexuals and everybody hates homosexuals”…

    all this defined by the choice of avatar in an online game?

    So if any straight person, who’s level headed, has a positive look on life and is generally a nice person, puts on a furry av, they suddenly change sexual orientation and such? From wearing a different AV?

    You poeple do realize how retarded that sounds, rite?

  35. Marx Dudek

    Dec 31st, 2010


    @Darien: Actually, it does – provided that there is clear intent that it is a parody.

  36. W

    Dec 31st, 2010

    It’s funny when people bitch about display names because they can be used to impersonate and then those same whiny people go and impersonate LINDEN LAB STAFF then try to justify it.

    Linden lab CEOs don’t have to have twitter accounts if they don’t want to. Last I checked, Twitter wasn’t part of SL, nor was it the only method of internet communication. Get over it losers.

  37. W

    Dec 31st, 2010

    As for furries, do most of you really give that much of a shit? Some people have an interest in anthro animals, that’s all furry means, not everyone has the same interests as you. Shit like this happens just as easily with non-furries.

  38. Tarheel McCoy

    Dec 31st, 2010

    Actually Marx, you’re making a big assumption, and that is that Linden Lab will not squash you like a bug even if you’re right. So what if Hustler Magazine won over Jerry Falwell? Are you Hustler Magazine with a multi-million-dollar legal fund and your own in-house legal team? Because that’s what it takes to win against an opponent the size of Linden Lab.

    If you’re some asswipe college kid stealing somebody’s identity and crossing your fingers and hoping that’ll be enough, clue up, bro. It won’t be.

  39. Tarheel McCoy

    Dec 31st, 2010

    @Marx, you’re missing an important detail. The reason Hustler won over Jerry Falwell is not only that they had the law on their side, but that they had a battery of lawyers on staff and a multimillion dollar legal slush fund to draw from. Because that’s what it takes to win against an opponent with the resources Falwell had.

    Do you think Bunjie has a million dollar slush fund and a battery of lawyers ready to go to prove his case? Or is he just a jackass in a dorm room crossing his fingers and hoping he doesn’t get smashed flat and had his life ruined over an attempted theft of a corporate identity?

  40. Jumpman Lane

    Dec 31st, 2010

    we down with The Bungz!

  41. Tarheel McCoy

    Dec 31st, 2010

    ‘Course you are. So long as it’s not your life getting neck stomped as Linden Lab merely shifts its weight from one foot to the other, what the fuck do you care?

  42. Yep

    Jan 1st, 2011

    “It’s funny when people bitch about display names because they can be used to impersonate and then those same whiny people go and impersonate LINDEN LAB STAFF then try to justify it.”

    LOL maybe who ever was giving LL a taste of their own medicine.

    Happy new year Tiger :P

  43. had enough

    Jan 1st, 2011

    @ W

    you almost sound like a linden. if you are why don’t you close this page and get your ass back to work fixing things that are broken in Second Life.

  44. W

    Jan 1st, 2011

    Your ad-hominem attacks don’t change the fact that LL CEOs are not obligated to have twitter accounts.

    cry some moar

  45. General Drama

    Jan 1st, 2011

    Yeah, looks like the Linden fanbois have ramped up their astroturf patrol.

  46. Emperor Norton hears a who?

    Jan 4th, 2011

    Hitler used Twitter.

    Just saying.

  47. Suggestion:

    Jan 5th, 2011

    Twitter messages are called tweets. I suggest that from now on, people who make tweets are referred to as twats.

    As in the following sentence:

    “The Twat made a Tweet on Twitter”

    Has a nice ring to it, doesnt it?

  48. Wayfinder

    Jan 12th, 2011

    From what I understand Rod actually does have a Twitter account– it was just under and unknown and unexpected name.

    Which was a disappointment to me, because I considered the concept that he didn’t have a Twitter account to be evidence that he actually has some working brain cells and might turn out to be a competent corporate manager. ; )

    Any guy that realizes you can’t manage a company properly while wasting time on 148 character twits is okay in my book. :D

  49. Wayfinder

    Jan 12th, 2011

    Oops, did I say “twits” instead of “tweets”. My bad. Freudian slip. ; )

  50. Bunjie

    Feb 5th, 2011

    Thanks for the article and all the feedback good & bad, I think we can draw this article to a close now with an epic stamp of #fail.

    Although he did come to twitter when not officially CEO and tweeted I still believe it was a failed exercise, and demonstrates clearly how much more corporately focused he is like M Linden was but more out of social tune, based on the fact hes hand picking people for contact (FIC).

    I’ve deleted the accounts @RodLinden & @RodHumble He didn’t come to get them and didn’t want them apparently.

    (Even when he did say ‘via DM tweet’ he would come and see me when he had his team setup in the next few weeks) so what ever. now he can’t ever have them as they are none recoverable as per twitters TOS.

    Personally I don’t think we need a CEO who walks on water to avoid walking on broken egg shells, we the people…., we the furries…. expect more talking than a pre hand picked meet and greet which is the equivalent of an active FIC Propaganda list and the 5 tweets he expects us to accept as the best way for us to be directed to what he has to say.

    I find him pretty boring and I’ll bet he lasts just over a year before people realize they’re being bullshitted to again, after all Philip did say people are sheep…. anyway I find nothing worthy of parody unless its the silence.

    I find him unresponsive in a overall social capacity that would make him remotely human hes a fucking puppet sat at the side of a Linden handler just like I thought, regardless of what he says hes just here to bump up the share value and put clean name in the chair, (Which he didn’t even tease us about on twitter on his first day)

    Perhaps someone with more social media sense would have used twitter to tease his followers (Customers) with short quotes like “Just arrived at the office, sitting in Philips chair & looking over your notecards” I think we can all agree that even though ‘being short’ would have boosted the morale of his customers ‘sheep’.

    So I’m not going to waste a year being faux-retweet linden like other real lindens used to be just to give people some illusion of having access to stream him issues, when hes not even monitoring it or not even giving a shit other than the occasional propaganda posting.

    I have nothing else to say about it….

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