The whole debacle with Facebook being nasty to people who don’t use their real name has made me think about the use of social media in Second Life and the communication tools Linden Lab has given us.
I think these can be improved and it may also remove the need for us to use Facebook at all.
At the moment most of us use Facebook or other social media to stay in touch with our Second Life contacts and communities because it is just too cumbersome to do this inworld, because it is impossible at that moment to start up the SL viewer or because the Second Life communication tools just aren’t good enough.
I use Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Hippogroups, email, Google+, Plurk, etc, etc.
Sometimes we have to talk to people in SL quickly, just a short message, we just want to look at something, read something, quickly in and out.
That is not how I would describe my SL experience.
Starting up Second Life for me means having to get my SL laptop, turn it on and start up a viewer, SL doesn’t really run on my 5 year old macbook I use for everything else and SLGo takes time and makes me use the official viewer I don’t like.
And of course once your SL viewer starts you have to wait for the world to rez, you may be bombarded by IMs from other people, get reminded of other jobs that need doing, etc.
Imagine the situation; there is a big event in 1920s Berlin and I want to make sure everyone knows about it.
I set an event on the facebook group’s calendar, I set it on the google calendar, I send a note to the group inworld, I send a message to my hippo mailing list, I stick posters all over Berlin, I send a message to group chat and finally I send a message to the region…
And all the time we’re hoping Facebook doesn’t delete our accounts.
Because replacing a Facebook account with a Facebook Page account means you lose a lot of options, including the ones we use most.
Good or bad, Facebook is the easiest and most versatile tool for us and the one we use the most, for serious important stuff but also for quick little chats, for sharing a funny 1920s themed story, event pictures, etc.
We don’t have to tell Linden Lab that, they know, they use Facebook and they have a Second Life page with more than 360.000 ‘likes’.
It would be fantastic if there would be just one place on the internet where we can do all this.
Some people think that Facebook is enough because we already use it, but because most of us use it with a different name than the one we use for our real life, we already have to log in and out when we have to switch accounts.
A while ago Linden Lab gave us mysecondlife, a good idea but not quite enough to replace all the tools I mentioned above.
For starters, I keep getting logged out by the Second Life website, which is a good security measure but not very handy if you want to use a website for social media, it is not uncommon for people to have their Facebook page online permanently.
And as the name suggests, its a very personal page, a place where you share your stories and your pictures.
But we use Social Media much more for community things, for groups activities.
There used to be something called ‘Avatars United‘, it had many of the options we need but was bought by Linden Lab, eventually shut down and incooperated into the Second Life website, but without many of the options the original version had.
What I would love to see is for Linden Lab to improve and expand the mysecondlife experience, give it more options like Facebook offers.
Make it the one stop website for all our Second Life related out-world activity.
Not just have our own page but also a page for every group we have in world, or maybe even let us build pages for groups we create outworld.
A place where we can upload all the events pictures (into separate folders), have a calendar we can use to set up events, invite all the other members of the group, share links, etc.
And who knows, maybe even have it connected to inworld groups.
Let us send messages, notecards and event announcements to groups in-and outworld via the website or the other way around.
This will allow Second Life users to stay more connected with their virtual lives even if they are not able to actually log in or if one day they lose interest in Second Life, they might still keep using the website to stay in touch with friends and who knows, this may one day make them decide to return.
It would be swell if we could abandon Facebook and Google+ and be happy using ‘Second Life Book+’ for that.
Go to the Second Life website that won’t log you off, where you can check each group to see what is going on, set events on the calendar, share pictures, see who else is online and chat with them, regardless if they are in Second Life or just online on the Second Life website, regardless if you are behind your power computer at home or on a bus using your tablet o mobile phone.
Improve the connectability and interaction between virtual reality and reality, make the barrier between Second Life and Real Life smaller.
Have you got any suggestions or ideas?
Please share them in the comments section below.
I know that a few Lindens follow my blog and are interested in hearing your opinions.