Sunday, April 17, 2011
I can only speculate the impetus behind the creation of Second Life, in part it was the book Snowcrash, as well as created to be an online virtual utopia providing the platform necessary to bring together people from across the globe. Part of this would require the collaboration of these diverse people to develop the content for this virtual world.
I have been in Second Life for almost two and half years now exploring, participating and developing some of my own content as well. During that time I have experienced various levels of satisfaction with the environment. In spite of that, after exploring other virtual worlds, open sims, and participated in other social networks...I have always returned to Second Life. It is the rich social network, the imersive environment and the connections with others that kind of suck you into Second Life. Even though the feeling of “Second Life Euphoria or Utopia” isn’t as strong for me as it once was.
I am not going to predict the demise of Second Life however after reading the above article I can only offer some speculation on what it does well and what it can do better. I think sometimes, as consumers we want the instant solution to problems, once that Second Life experience becomes routine we want to recapture that feeling of Second Life Euphoria that we first experienced in the environment.
If I am not experiencing that I can attribute the change in my feelings regarding Second Life to changes in my real life, a change in job, a few moves and new priorities in my life. All of these have distracted me from Second Life and those I have met in Second Life, even though those who are most important to me are now friends on Facebook.
The observation that Second Life’s demise in imminent is a personal and individual experience I believe. The ideas, thoughts and feedback to improve Second Life should be considered and taken into consideration or discarded if they don’t seem possible or useful. End user input should always be considered in providing directions for making improvements...however in the case of technology in general and Second Life specifically the in put can vary greatly due to the users level of experience and comfort level in the use of technology.
That being said I have some opinions of my own. It seems to me Second Life is at the point where its future could go in one direction or the other. I believe that if they cannot find the answer to the new user’s question upon arriving in Second Life, “What do I do now,” then they will fail to bring that user back to Second Life.
There have been a lot of issues with Second Life through the years. In many ways the users’ real life issues parallels the virtual. These are related to property rights, human social interaction, and frustration with a less than stable technology. It is the technology issues that sometimes provide the greatest frustration ..however this is, I believe, an issue with the infrastructure not keeping pace with the technology, aged equipment of the end user, and lack of experience by the end user and even support at Second Life.
The interaction by users in Second Life, at least initially, seems intensified. For myself and for many Second Life users this seems magnified by the environment and the social networking tools used for communication and perhaps even the sense of presence..sense of presence in a virtual world is what you aim to achieve, it is not a bad thing but it is startling to a new user. Over time this feeling does seem to level off as one adapts to the direct communication of text chat and instant messaging as well as the fact that if you don’t like someone you can mute them or teleport away from them. You also learn how to communicate, if someone says something you don’t like you can ask them to clarify or you can clarify and give further feedback.
In my opinion Second Life lost out when they discontinued the discount for education and education institutions. This could still be remedied if they provided incentives and assistance to individual educators who which to bring their educational programs into Second Life. I feel that their support and communication to new educators who entered Second Life was inconsistent and sloppy. They lost any potential of tapping into these students as growing their base users..if those educators were dissatisfied..who do you think they complained to! Second Life lost any potential market and any other marketing approach has been, at best scattered and without focus. In fact marketing of Second Life has been non existent relying instead on press coverage of individuals, campuses and corporate project in the virtual world. The problem with this is that Second Life does not control the marketing that does occur.
In a nutshell it is interesting to me that Second Life has yet to take advantage of the marketing pipeline that was and still is available to them by having large scale educational institutions in Second Life. I have learned from experience that if you do something right students can be your best channel for marketing … like alumni they speak for your product via word of mouth ..in fact look at the University of Phoenix!
Of course Facebook trounced Second Life as a social networking platform. I would not be surprised if in the future they also swallow up Second LIfe as a virtual world or 3Dimensional environment. And why not? They have the critical mass and the social networking tools in place to connect users. I feel this is a shame, really, as I like the social networking features in Second Life much better.
I read another interesting article on learning in immersive environments by William Ryan and Marin Siegel “Evaluating Interactive Entertainment using Breakdown: Understanding Embodied Learning in Video Games,” found here at this website.
I learned some new terms in my reading of this article one of which was the methodology they used in their research; breakdown analysis a technique for analyzing user interaction sequences which looks at times when users are focused on figuring out how to use the system (a “breakdown”) versus times when users are performing their intended tasks.
Another term they used was domain of experience: basically this is the knowledge, past experience that a user brings to, in this case the game or technology that contributes to user satisfaction.
The authors of the article identify these four domains as Perceiving Environment, Developing Strategy, Taking Action, and Meaning Making. Under each of these domains they identified breakdowns which may impact the users experience in using the technology. These are:
Perceiving environment: Cues and affordance, Cut Scene Transition, Depth, Camera and navigation.
Developing strategy: task order, task delivery, discerning importance, events triggering, and task frequency.
Taking action: spatial layouts, controller mapping and scaffolding
Meaning making: Map schema, object schema, avatar schema, character role, and schema familiarity
I took a look at some Second Life Blogs yesterday and here is a bit of what I found:
The Alphaville Herald: I liked the article on the top three sites in Second Life. You will have to check this out..in fact I will be writing more on one site they mentioned in the article The Forgotten City a Steampunk Sim in Second Life..looks like a good article for Steampunk Adventures.
Check out Botgirl’s Second Life Diary too. I did spend sometime thinking this blog posting may fall under her Micro Rants...oh well!
Stop blathering on about the future of Second Life. I'm much more correct in my under-informed pretentious speculation than you are. It's natural and beneficial to discuss our collective future through social networks, blogs and other public forums. But it's delusional to believe we absolutely know the one right way to proceed or can predict how the future will unfold.
Daniel Livinstone wrote a thought provoking article on Second Life which is posted on Educause...All I have to say is that it is ironic that Linden Labs which relied greatly upon their users to create content, attract new users, and developers has treated those very same contributors so poorly.
I also checked out Skoolaborate this week. If you are a K-12 educator and you are interested you should check them out as well. From their website they are:
Skoolaborate is a global initiative uses a blend of technologies including, blogs, online learning, wiki's and ‘virtual worlds’ to transform learning. We aim to use these tools to provide engaging collaborative learning experiences for students aged between 13 and 18 years of age.
Ultimately if Second Life is facing a “demise” it is due to their own early successes! They can no longer rest upon that but instead must earn new users..sometimes the hard way .. not the “if we build it they will come,” mantra.
Blog spot wiped out all my links..grrrrr:
Sunday, October 3, 2010
There are a lot of fun Second Life hunts going on right now that provide the participant with the opportunity to get to know Second Life and get some fabulous merchandise for free. Rumor is that as of September 1st there were over 100 hunts going on ..why so many? Well this popular activity is one way of marketing your store and a way for Second Life residents to get free merchandise from their favorite merchants and get acquainted with new ones.
It’s also a way to meet up with new friends and get reacquainted with with old ones. Because most hunts are themed this is a good way to connect with others who have similar interests. So how do you get started on the hunt? Well one way is to find a blog, website or information on the Second Life website to get started.
One of the most popular hunts right now is the Steam Hunt which bills itself as: STEAM: Steampunk Travelers' Event, Adventure & Megahunt. This is the third time for this popular hunt which takes place September 1-30th, 2010. The trick is with this hunt as with any is to find all 135 of the Steampunk-themed gifts which are hidden in the participating vendors parcel or store. The participants generally start the hunt at one point receiving the landmark for the next site when they find the prize. Steam the Hunt maintains a blog with updates and hunt information to keep the participant informed and updated. Steampunk Adventures store is participating in the STEAM hunt as well as the Mushroom hunt. Since starting in this hunt we have seen our traffic increase 3 to 4 times as many visitors prior to the hunts. We hope that hunters are taking this opportunity to landmark our store for a return visit as well as making a note of our participating vendors in order to visit them.
Here are some pictures of me at the launch point in Mieville for the STEAM hunt.
Me with another hunter at the launch site for the Steam hunt
The hunt board at the second site for the Steam hunt:
Information on hunts and other events at Avatar Bizarre a stop on the STEAM hunt:
The MadPea Mushroom Hunt started September 1st and bills itself as: 100 locations, 100 mushrooms, 100 prizes and 100L$ for everyone to complete the hunt - starting on September 1st at the MadPea Circus. There is a website for the MadPea Mushroom Hunt with information on participants, prices, locations and other information.
The MadPea Mushroom Hunt provides much more than just a simple hunt according to the website participants can:
- Write an original story about your adventures as a mushroom hunter. English only, please.
Your style can be anything you wish. Let your mind go wild and your imagination bloom.
There is NO limitation on the length of your piece.
2. COMIC STRIP:
- Create a short story with the aid of photos.
Use the images to tell us your favourite/most horrible encounters during your hunt.
Maximum of 20 image per one comic.
- Create a video about the best parts of your hunt. Show locations. Show people.
Show us the emotions and the feeling of being a mushroom hunter.
Make it fun, make it crazy, challenge your imagination.
NO limitation on the length of the piece.
I have participated in a few hunts. I have visited at least 15 stores on the current Steam Hunt, completed The Thrifty Gother hunt, Pot of Gold Hunt, and last spring’s Steam Hunt. On a regular hunt though the question may be asked regarding what you expect to get as prizes.l.this could be anything from furniture, clothing, airships, buildings, to shoes. Here are some examples of things I have gotten:
Fashions from LnL Design in last spring’s Steam Hunt:
A beautiful Victorian gown from Papillon:
A hot tub in the Pot of Gold Hunt:
Another example of the gifts I received on the hunts I have been on. A biplane from the Shiny Shop! and another outfit from The Traveler:
Another fashion shot:
I have received a lot of great things so far on this fall’s STEAM Hunt, photos below:
Tophat: Destiny Designs:
Steampunk Wings from Avatar Bizarre:
Fabulous Steampunk Skybox from Gianfor Peaks (interior):
Exterior of the Steampunk Skybox from Gianfor Peaks:
A fabulous fashion selection from Steam Bound:
Is your interest piqued? Are hunts worthwhile? Well I think so! As I mentioned previously there are over 100 hunts going on right now in Second Life. What are these hunts and what are the themes?
The Back to School Hunt: Which started September 1st-30th. The theme of this hunt is , students , anything and everything about going back to school. There are only 30 stores participating in this hunt.
The Birthday Blitz Hunt, no real theme noted runs from September 1-30th and is sponsored by Sour Pickles Group.
Hunt for (role players) RP! Runs from September 1-30th, information can be found on the Hunt for RP blog. The theme or intent of the hunt is as follows: With the growing number of RP's on Second Life, we have attempted to combine RP needs, shopping, and advertisement into one package.
The details of the Zombie Raid Hunt are noted on a blog. This hunt started August 20th and lasts to October 1st.
Websites with information on Second Life hunts:
The most popular via google search SLHUNTS
‘Second Life 24H
From the events listings at the Second Life Website I found the following:
Twisted Hunt: The Twisted Hunt returns with new prizes and new challenges. The theme for this round is "spooky," so you'll seek and find dark, creepy and scary items across Second Life. Event held through Sept. 30.
For fun, fabulous prizes, and if you are new to Second Life hunts provide the participant with an opportunity to get high quality merchandise, fashion, and to make connections with others. Take advantage of all of these hunts today! (Now that I am done with this article guess what I am going to do!!)
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I am not a techie so I can only assert that this needs to occur in the registration process where not only do I pick a name, a gender, etc., I also complete profile that details my interests, connects me to a community, such as Caledon, role play interests, and perhaps even occupation interests before I even go in world.
This could be done before I even go in world. I complete my profile based upon a series of questions (all optional) such as:
1. Demographics information
2. I wish to connect with others who have an interest in:
History by era
Role play by genre/era/history/etc
3. When I get in world options for joining groups, communities, etc., are all immediately made available to me.
4. I want to learn more about
Building in second life
Coding in Second Life
Other cultures in Second Life
Why do I think this is important? Because over the last two years seeing people come and go those who I have seen go have those who seemingly did not make connections with other in Second Life. Part of the fun of this environment is meeting with and engaging with others who you would never have had that opportunity to otherwise.
While the information on the website is fabulous and getting better everyday..it would simplify things greatly if new users would (voluntarily) complete a profile that would allow them to immediately identify others, in world, who share their interests, this would help with the initial first hours in Second Life. Do this would by no means lock a new resident into a scripted Second Life for the long term, but would help them connect with others who share similar interests.
What are your thoughts..putting the choice of viewer aside how can the new user experience in Second Life be improved?
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I listened to Dexter last night and he was amazing ..wow even better than the first time.
I was chatting with someone before his show started and she told me that he had been following Komuso Tokugawa and that he had a show following Dexter..so I went to his show..let me tell you this guy is a fantastic talent.
You can learn more about this artist and others: http://sonicviz.com/wordpress/2009/04/
Monday, April 20, 2009
Showing up at the Tranquil Cafe..late as usual I lucked out in picking Steely's performance to view tonight. He has it all..this guy can really sing, perfect in every way..but to demonstrate his strength he plays the guitar like no one else.
Steely's profiles states: "I play a variety of covers csny beatles jimi hendrix ben harper james morrision firefall jason mrazu2 ben e king eagles plain white ts sam cooke and do original jams..." and the great thing is that he does them with enough original flair that you don't findyourself focused on the original tune.
Despite some technical problems and other glitches FunkyFreddy Replubic was well worth getting through it all and digging deep..showing at Molaskey's PUb. Ok the guitar this guy can play ..when he digs deep is awesome...
How did I get so lucky as to pick to such outstanding acts? Tip the venue which have the ability to spot great talent.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Today ended the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education..a first for me! I enjoyed it immensely. Now I am just winding down, doing some art, and setting up a few things in Second Life.
After being at the conference the last two days I decided that the best way to get the ball rolling was to start the blog.
If you are a second life so to speak here are my slurls:
For the larger photography/vernacular photography site..still a work in progress
and the other gallery in Coveislands: