I've always thought it was interesting that, while some argue that virtual worlds are future of the internet, SL residents, seeing the limitations of the medium, flock to other social networking sites to build the community they so crave. If you want to be in the know in SL, there are a few places outside of SL to go (and you HAVE to go outside of SL). I have networked with other people in SL via blogs, forums, Twitter, Facebook, Avatars United, and Plurk. It seems that Plurk, though, is where the action is. In Plurk, residents vent their complaints, offer suggestions, support each other during tough times, advertise their creations, get recommendations for just about everything, and create, invent, fan the flames of, and stifle drama.
So, while SL has the virtual world part in it's pocket, it's always lacked the means to assist residents in building community. Now, with the downsizing of the company, and the loss of so many dearly loved members of the Linden family, there is talk of a new direction for SL. A sort of online, Facebook/Farmville, virtual world in a browser type thing. I think SL is missing the big picture here. They already have the virtual world stuff pretty well down, they have a huge user base with creative talent, and they have loyal customers who like things the way they are (they just want the bugs fixed). Linden Lab just needs to get the social networking side of it down. So, why don't they look to where the residents go, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel?
For avatar connectivity, SL residents don't like Facebook, and there are many reasons why. I don't think they like Farmville much, either, although I could be wrong on that. We do like Plurk. In fact, many of us are addicted to Plurk. I'm so addicted, my Plurk karma is 100! And, most of the people I now know in SL, I've met via Plurk. Why do we like Plurk?
We like it because it maintains our privacy and allows us to be avatars. It allows threaded communciation. We like threads. Unlike in chat, where comments and ideas get lost, threaded communication allows us to complete a thought and allows others to respond to that thought. It allows us to freely - at NO COST - share pictures. It allows us to meet new people that we might never run into in SL. It allows us to fan our favorite people, and maybe, just maybe, they'll be interested in our timeline, too. We can see who the friends of our friends are and see if maybe we might have something in common with them. ALL of these features are absent from SL. Even when we have groups (which you can have in Plurk), we have to rely on group chat, which has NONE of those features I just mentioned. Plurk gives you the ability to form your own community, in the way that works for you. And, community is SO important - for so many reasons.
So, rather than focusing on recreating a new browser based virtual world, perhaps SL should focus on bringing the features of social networking sites like Plurk into their already thriving world. That's just my 2¢, but what do I know. I'm just a sociologist. I'll just be over here taking time to smell the roses and talking about fashion. BTW, isn't my outfit fantastically smexy? It's new from A-Bomb. The shoes are color change.
Oh, and I took super duper high resolution pictures today. See - no jagged edges anywhere. I used Ana Lutitia's "AvatarOpt2 whiter" windlight setting, graphics setting on "ultra" with 8x anti-aliasing and 3200x3200 pictures. Guess where I learned about all this stuff? That's right - PLURK, baby!
Dress: A-Bomb - Into the Fire - purple
Shoes: A-Bomb - Chic wedges
Jewelry: Violet Voltaire - Heart Container Set
Skin: Garage - Beatrice skin tone 1 - makeup - 2
Hair: Clawtooth - Lovely Liz - Black beauty
Eyes: House of Ruin - Painted Tonic: Orchis
Bag: Boom - Take it Easy Tote-Sparkling Death
Location: Arcachon II
Poses by Everglow