In my last post I talked about the non-stop excitement of having two places listed in the Second Life Destination Guide Showcase. In this post, some practical advice for anyone else who wants to go down that road.
Firstly, is it worth it? I think yes. Your business, event or community will still be listed in the Destination Guide even after it falls off the current listings in the Showcase. People do have to look for the Destination Guide, and then search through it for places that interest them, so you are likely to get a more targeted audience and fewer casual thrill-seekers as time goes on. This is a source of free advertising, and although I can’t say how effective it is, it doesn’t hurt to have it.
Assuming you have decided to go ahead and submit your place to the Guide, here’s my advice:
1. Prepare yourself to be a Welcome Area. The photo below shows the Welcome Area in the Korea region. See that big sign that says “click here?” That links directly to the Showcase. Everything all those people are doing in the Welcome Area, they will be doing in your place after they do what they are told and click the sign.
Hosting hundreds of new residents will not impact some places at all. If there’s nothing for visitors to disrupt at your place, you can just look the other way and let the chaos happen. On the other hand, if you need to keep order, then read on.
2. Use the official SL viewer. You’re going to meet a lot of new people, and they will have a lot of questions for you, many of which will require you to walk them through a few steps. Its much easier to do this if you’re using the same viewer as they are, and new residents will be using the official viewer.
3. Practice using your translator. People will want to talk to you! They are enthusiastic about this SL thing they have decided to try, and they really want to figure it out and do fun things. Its a great opportunity to talk to people about why you love Second Life and what you do here. They haven’t self-sorted into places where only their language is spoken, so you will meet people from all over the world. Talk to them in their language using your translator. And, since you are both using the same viewer, you can walk them through turning on their translator also.
4. Noobie-proof your area. New residents click everything. They try to take, move, open or use anything and everything. They have no money, so they can’t buy anything, but whatever is free they will take, open, drop the contents, and leave the box on the floor. They will hit your “applause” sign 100 times in a row, call up all your dance balls, and stand on the tables. Remove anything that isn’t vital to your business or event. Yes, that means all the quirky things you and your friends love. You can put them back next week, but for now they will be confusing to new residents and annoying to everyone else. Your sim will be heavily lagged by all the visitors, so you don’t need the extra stuff.
5. Turn off rezzing, scripts, flying, object entry, voice and whatever else you absolutely don’t need. Less opportunity for chaos.
6. Consider giving all new arrivals a note card. You may want to include basic information such as what your place is (i.e. “The Lost Contintent is a live music venue. Musicians play for us in real life and stream their music into the club. Please be respectful to the musicians while they are playing by staying off the stage.”) You can also include rules of conduct (“This is a PG sim. Nudity and swearing are not allowed,”) and helpful how-to’s (“Click the notice board for a schedule,” “Right click and sit on the green balls to dance.”)
Signs may be useful to give this information, but with all the visitors there may be quite a bit of lag, and signs may not rezz.
Also, a notecard and landmark in inventory may encourage visitors to come back later, when they have money and actually want the product or experience you are offering.
7. If you have an announcer or greeter, program it to call out helpful instructions and etiquette reminders.
8. Use transparent prims to screen off areas you don’t want people to enter. Use a transparent prim in front of a stage to keep people off, or in front of an art work or display if you don’t want people sitting on it.
9. Use transparent prims to keep people from leaving your area. The Lost Continent is 600 m in the air, with a residential sim below. We had a few problems with people walking off the edge of the club and “exploring” the private houses below. A few transparent prims along the edge of the club would have helped this issue.
10. If things get too crazy, you can block access by “people who have not given payment to Linden Labs.” That whole first day we were getting about 5 people arriving every 15 seconds. Checking this box stopped the flow until we could get a grip.
11. Keep your finger on the eject button. Anyone who used weapons (e.g. made annoying machine gun sounds,) or attached a submarine to himself was gone. They would often come right back, in which case they were gone again, and banned from the sim. There were too many people in the area to reason with obnoxious individuals. Thankfully we had very few problems of this sort.
12. Be prepared to keep a close eye on things for at least two weeks. I had some people decide to move into one of my pre-fab show houses. While I was flattered that they like it so much they wanted to live there, I really didn’t think they and all their friends needed to spend hours sitting on the couches and flirting in local chat. I spend a lot of time on my sim, so I was able to encourage them to move the party elsewhere.
Got any more suggestions? Leave ’em in the comments!