Monday, February 2, 2015

2015 PEOPLE: Where is everybody? Space makes virtual worlds look empty.

Where is everybody?  
Space makes virtual worlds look empty.  
Updated 11/20/2015
That is a picture of a crowd?  Actually, there are fewer that 20 people there.  If they were in a virtual world, they would probably be spread over hundreds of sims.  The place would look empty.  Hundreds or thousands of sims make for mostly empty space.  

One of the complaints I often  hear about virtual worlds is that there is nobody there.  Not just in Opensim.  In Second Life, even back in the days when it had 70K-80K on line at a time, new people would ask me "Where is everybody?"   That 80,000 is a lot of people.  But spread them over 30K sims and you average fewer than 3 avatars in a sim.  
That is a population density slightly greater than the population density of Texas. But if you fly into Texas, you are not going to look around the airport and ask "Where is everybody?"  Well, maybe you will at Terlingua Ranch Airport.   But not at DFW.  And when you get out on the road, you will be asking "Where are all those wide-open spaces?"
You know why those wide open spaces are empty and people are crowded into cities.  Because that is where the people are.   People go where people are.  
Those of us who have been virtual for a long time have lots of contacts and know how to find people who share our interests.
In fact, we can and do contact our virtual world friends via several outworld social media connections as well as by connections in the virtual worlds we live in.  

But newcomers arrive alone 

There are lots of people in virtual worlds who would like to welcome new people. There are lots of communities that would like to show new people around. Those communities would be glad to teach new people what they need to know to participate in community activities.  And we know that it is participation in communities that keeps most people in virtual worlds.

How could we do it differently?

In Second Life, communities have tried to get some kind of arrangement that would bring newcomers directly into contact with communities of their choice as they arrived.  In the past, there was a community gateway project that provided entry ports for new people.   New people could choose those places on entering Second Life; they would arrive at a place with instructional displays and helpers who were members of the community that fitted their interests.  
If a community were marketing outworld to attract people who were interested in what that community offered in virtual worlds, it could tell them about the community portal and invite them to enter Second Life through that portal.  That way the community could offer specialized onboarding, with introduction to what the community offered, instruction in any special skills needed to benefit from the community and freebies suited to the interests of that community.  Linden Lab cancelled that project (under one of its previous CEO's) before it got well started.   The current CEO has shown some interest in restarting the program.
But we can do it ourselves in the OpenSim community; we don't have a CEO to make decisions for us. 

Get the communities into marketing and onboarding  

  • Communities know where is everybody.
  • and more importantly, when is everybody. 
  • They can set up arrangements to welcome newcomers.
  • If they know when newcomers will come.  
  • Marketing by social media communities


HYPEvents, a Hypergrid event directory. For my HG BeatThis List

News and Notes



Virtual Learning Series Jan/Feb Classes

In Kitely, with Firestorm, use the Firestorm Hop
hop:// Academy/173/129/22
HG: Paste HG address into World map, use TP Academy 

February 5  1:00pm  Introduction to Roleplaying

An introduction to basic roleplaying skills and character creation in virtual worlds.

February 12 1:00pm  Education Roundtable

A roundtable panel on education in virtual worlds. Guest panelists!


Lauren's Place


Newcomer Help in Virtual Worlds



How to handle a Hypergrid address 

From any Hypergrid-enabled grid, paste the address into the address bar of Firestorm and press enter. Or paste it into the world map search bar of any viewer, search, and click Teleport when the destination is found. If it doesn't work, don't give up. Try again in couple of minutes.  Sometimes the first try fails (probably times out).  And try again a few hours later. Some hypergrid destinations are offline part of the day. 


Video-Machinima in virtual worlds

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