I have the great pleasure to be involved with two exciting activities in Second Life: my pre-fab home business, Minnesota Modern, and The Lost Continent, a live music venue.
Last month I thought it would be a great idea to submit both places to the Second Life destination guide. Being featured in the guide would give us a chance to attract new live music fans to the club, and perhaps new talent, too. Maybe some new customers to buy my homes. New people to meet, some lively fun to shake up the post-holiday routine – no down side to any of that!
It was Saturday, January 8, and I logged in early and idly checked my visitor counter at Minnesota Modern. I had had the occasional visitor, maybe 2 on a good day. On this day, the counter had recorded hundreds of visitors in just a few hours. The radar showed a dozen avatars in the Minnesota Modern meadow, and dozens more over at the club. What the heck?! A quick look at the destination guide revealed the reason: both places were listed on the destination guide! Even better, The Lost Continent was listed in the #1 spot, at the top of the page! We hit the big time! I was giddy with excitement.
I quickly TP’d over to the club, and was met by a swarm of people. There were over 40 people there, and looking at the radar I could see their average age was precisely zero days old. One or two SL veterans were enjoying a dance to the streaming music, but everyone else was walking randomly around with that siff-legged duck walk that shouts “I am a noob!” I greeted everyone, and was greeted by the dancing couples, who seemed confused about what was going on. The noobs swarmed around me like bees. They requested friendship, offered to teleport me to the place I already was, and changed clothes forgetting to put on their pants. They edited appearance, practicing getting very tall, fat, skinny and pointy-headed. They walked off the edge of the club, falling 600 m to the residences below. One guy offered sex to a girl, in local chat. Several people called out for conversation in Portugese and Spanish. Thankfully we don’t allow flying, rezzing or voice at the club – I can’t imagine that scene.
I tweeted our happy news. We’re famous! The club’s owner Drusilla Clapsaddle quickly appeared and gave me the real news. We’re in trouble! With live music booked for the next day, we had to find a way to control the chaos. At the same time, we didn’t want to be rude, or discourage new residents, or the established SL residents who were visiting us for the first time.
Merry Gynoid quickly came online to help. Merry is an experienced mentor, and soon had activated his translator and was leading people through the mechanics of using the dance balls. We all spent hours there that day, answering questions, reminding people of the music schedule, trying to be good hosts to our visitors. Slowly it began to dawn on me that all this was for naught. These people weren’t here because they were interested in us, the venue or live music. The were here because they saw a button and clicked on it.
We made it through that weekend, although it was stressful for some, annoying for others, and tiring for us all. Now, three weeks later, both places are farther down the destination guide listings, and most of the noobs have gone off to visit the poor sod who is now listed as #1.
Although not the golden goose in terms of home sales or new live music fans, good things did come out out of the experience. We still get a good stream of visitors in both places. Most visitors now come because they want to see what we have to offer, not because they clicked the top button. We met some nice people, and made some new friends. We feel that our hard work building both businesses has been validated to a certain extent, chosen as good examples of things to see and do in Second Life. There is also a whiff of renewed energy, a feeling that it is possible to keep things exciting and fresh, and to grow without losing the things we’ve long cherished.
And, we gained experience. In my next post, I’ll share some of the things we learned.