Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Off-World Social Media Vital to Mainstreaming Second Life®

Second Lifers reading this will no doubt give a collective nod when I say: SL still has a perception problem in the mainstream. It comes with the territory of being the front line in a walled-off and developing platform. We know we are a complex society with our own economy, media, arts, and so on, but it's not realistic to expect people from the outside world to know SL as we do unless we make the effort. In-world, we may compete with one another but in SL's satellite media economy, we are all ambassadors by default.

I've never made bones about the fact that I am an immersionist and for all practical purposes, I am born of, and exist entirely in a virtual environment. It is not only for my own enjoyment of SL but a crucial matter of discipline as I learn ways to promote within our world. With that said,there's no way I can tell the outside world about all of the creative, innovative, and dedicated people within SL without meeting them at the digital shoreline of social media.

In a recent blog post by the London based integrated marketing firm, The Crocodile, the value of bridging worlds is made clear as a bell. Excerpted from the post:
Twitter has helped open up new opportunities in one of 3Dconnexion’s existing markets, Second Life. Thanks to a connection made on Twitter 3Dconnexion has embarked on an ‘in-world’ promotional tour of Second Life communities and events and at no extra cost to the company. The touring exhibition has been designed and built by Jura Shepherd, a publicist and promoter inside Second Life who works with in-world businesses and communities and was keen to work with a recognised real life brand. The event will showcase 3Dconnexion 3D mice to thousands of Second Life residents who will be offered special discounts and invited to enter prize draws.

Of course I'm delighted with the mention but there is a bigger point to be made: Greater marketing minds than mine are also at the digital shoreline because that's where the people are. How we as ambassadors represent ourselves (and SL) there most certainly gets noticed.

It benefits us all when the outside world has a better understanding of how sophisticated SL is internally and off-world social media is an ideal environment to do it in. Social media has a disarming quality about it that fosters conversations. Beyond that, and maybe more importantly, your timeline is a quick and easy for other to see if you are serious, accessible, and if you know what you are talking about. That's not to say it shouldn't be fun because it certainly can be. I'm only suggesting with a gentle nudge that we, as avatars are the ones putting humanity into the statistics and news releases in the SL hype stream.

As far as I'm concerned, Linden Labs can handle sending press releases to real world media outlets. They have the branded authority to speak about the platform and be taken seriously. It's their job. I've tried with minimal success but my guess is that most of what I've sent has been read like it was the ramblings of a crazy person. I'm actually ok with that. Our embassy as representatives of SL is in social media and I'm convinced that we'll meet the mainstream there.