Well this is it. My kick in the pants to all you Griddies
In recent weeks everything has gelled together for me to finally write down in a post. My experiences here have steadily worsened over time. Some of it has to do with my RL but that’s not for discussion here. For me Second Life was a fun, relaxing place to visit. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. Looking past the viewer into the SL blogosphere and related activities I just have to sigh.
This isn’t meant to tear down SL or everyone in it. There are certain aspects of this virtual world that just plain suck. A big part of it has to do with you people out there. Oh hell, I should just itemize this. Prose gets in the way of a list of litanies.
1) Friends list. Let’s face it, it’s treated no better than inventory. You add people to your collection and you may on occasion try one on. Looking and thinking about the friends on my list it seems that most of them friended me because they thought I was cool or neat. The funky lil’ ebony avatar who takes pics and spins songs. Just where are you people when I want to interact with you?
2) Zombies and Zoners. We’re a grid of fancied up bots. So many people are AFK or multi-tasking. You’re logged in but you aren’t there to answer your IMs or read chat. Personally my limit is 6. If 6 in a row fail to respond I just give up. When you do start a conversation it’s like pulling teeth at times. I’ve had conversations lasting an hour that comprised of 6-8 sentences (or sentence fragments).
3) No interactions beyond IMs. Why bother with the 3D interface at all? There are some people I haven’t seen in a year because I can only get to them via IMs. A “can I drop by” or “care to come visit” is declined more often than not. I understand if you’re truly busy with stuff like building and “meetings” but come on folks, what is the real problem?
The SL media:
Just a quick disclaimer. I am a member of this group and I guilty of some of this stuff too so don’t sit back there and tut-tut me. This is addressed to the bloggers, podcasters, TV, and web journalists:
1) What the hell is wrong with you? For God’s sake will you all wake up? SL is a pretend world but so many of you take it for the real thing. How many of you are willing to share to the whole world what you say or do here. Let’s be honest here. Even your console gaming friends are going to laugh and razz you for taking this all too seriously. It’s one thing to get immersed but to then turn around and write “serious” articles about it? So when did you leave reality behind for faux fame? Next thing that will happen is your RL friends asking you if you see pink elephants or wanting to know if the dog is telling you to kill people. If you feel you’re in a new world with it’s own culture and it’s own set of unique laws then let me toss you a paper towel as you’re engaging in mental masturbation. There’s nothing new under the fake sun of SL. We bring all the drama and bullshit of RL in here with us. .
2) A couple of recent events spurred me to write this blog post. Here’s what happened to Gorgeous Yongho and Prokofy Neva. How narrow minded and thin skinned are we in SL? There are a select few in the SL media who pretty much tells it as it is. Often seen as blunt, anti-social, and killjoys these people are really a blessing. But because they are “real” they get pilloried by the dream walkers. They are excoriated, shunned and banned. (I myself have been banned simply because I am a blogger and may tell people what I really know!)
Some further thoughts on Prokofy. Criticism of Prokofy exposes the worst of the SL media. The dreamers hate to be be shaken or prodded from their slumber. Prok is a poker, a shaker, and a rattler. He’ll* tell you what he really thinks and justify it in great detail. People hate the fact he uses so many words. That’s just his style. Words are the source code of our daily life so go learn some code you slackers! I certainly won’t apologize for his brusqueness and strong language he uses at times. You don’t like it, don’t read it. I’ve grown up and worked with a lot of gruff people and I don’t take it too personally when they use harsh words or make pointed comments directed at me when we disagree. But I guess if you are milk-toast or a “dreamer” it’s going to bother you. Banning Prokofy because he criticized a blog posting of a part time performer is pretty inane. Go tell that to your mom and dad, your boss, your best friends. Your RL counterparts are going to roll their eyes at you and think you’re an idiot. Seriously, try it. I doubt they’ll ban you from their house or place of business though.
* Yes I know Prok is a she in RL but I know it really bothers these supposedly open minded people that a she uses a male avatar.
3) The Alphaville Herald or Shopping Cart Disco? Seriously? If you’re job hunting I’d bury any clue that you are affiliated with those sites.
4) TV divas / Musicians . You may be a has-been or wanna-be in RL but you’re not going to find fame in the virtual world. A few hundred or few thousand fans in SL is no great accomplishment in the big scheme of things. There simply isn’t the fan base or well of money to propel you anywhere. A dozen or so groupies and a couple thousand in your group or subscribomatic may cover your tier but it won’t make you rich in RL. At best SL is a nice place to practice but if you’re going to excel and succeed then RL is still the only way you’ll make it.
5) Griefers and contrarians. Woodbury , PNGs & their ilk: Boy are you guys REALLY PATHETIC. You claim we take this too seriously but then you create more drama. You’re hypocrites. What sane, well adjusted adult would do the crap you do? Wake up from your dream a**holes and get a life too.
Our own version of British Petroleum. Monolithic, feckless and clueless. I’m probably beating a dead horse here but it plays a part in my entropic slide here in SL.
1) Because we are a collection of dreamers here in SL they can pull a lot of crap on us. We are NOT residents. We are CUSTOMERS. Are we getting our money’s worth from SL? Don’t say “governance”, we deserve CUSTOMER SERVICE.
2) Grid stability is not priority 1. Concurrency has reached a tableau now and still the grid buckles and breaks. Still LL has not beefed up the backbone or redundancy. If an earthquake took out San Francisco destroying the servers and killing and maiming a majority of the LL employees would SL survive? I doubt it.
3) If you’re not a big customer paying thousands in tier you’re a nobody. It’s really no different than most large companies. Google can easily lock you out or delete your Gmail account and because it’s free you have no rights. Heck, it seems you can’t even talk to a real person at Google anyways. But SL isn’t that big and it’s active your base is nothing like Google’s or even World of Warcraft. The recent events surrounding Ina Centaur and Lanie Recreant are maddening.
4) Even if you’re a land baron or uber successful business person in SL, Linden Labs can and will screw you with stupid, arbitrary changes in policy and code. Script crippling server updates, The Homestead debacle,borked up search, excessive tinkering with the viewer, etc… all of these can do major damage to established business models. While some change has to occur a lot of it seems pointless and ill advised. What are you guys smoking out there. Just where exactly are you taking this platform?
So, am I walking away from SL on my way to Blue Mars? No. Just offer me some caffeine as I wake up and place SL in it’s proper perspective. I’ll still be around for my close friends, the ones who answer my IMs and have time for me. I’ll still make friends and encourage the newbies but I’ll be sure to remind them to remain grounded in RL. Before I end this post I also want to apologize to the metal maiden in the tree. We parted in such an awful, semi public way. In my slow awakening these past few months I was pretty dark and melancholy and I’m afraid it wore on you and pushed you away. I’m pretty sure it soured more than a few people on me but I’m feeling better now.
P.S. Comments are turned off, Why? This post is pretty incendiary and I don’t care to wade through comments no better than what you find on your Youtube video.