Monday, May 21, 2018
By Bixyl Shuftan
On May the Fifth, the campaign for the Confederation of Democratic Simulators election was supposed to begin. But there was a problem. There were five open seats for the Representative Assembly, but only five people announced they were running. It was the same story for the Chancellorship in which there was only one declared candidate. Lilith Ivory announced the news in the community's group.
Usually at this time campaigning starts, but with only 5 RA candidates for 5 seats and only one chancellor candidate there are no real elections necessary.
The members of the 29th RA are:
Lady Kiki Whatever (inekeb)
Chancellor for the 29th term is:
Hannah Marie Bloodtempestwolf (han.held)
Congratulations and thank you for your willingness to serve.
Hannah wondered if perhaps there was simply a lack of interest in politics by the local residents this time, "A lot of people come for the scenery and the quiet, I think, which is both flattering and vexing, especially around election time (smile)."
Hannah stated she would have more to say later on once she's officially in office, " I don't want to step on Rosie (Gray)'s toes, and she's still our Chancellor."
Rosie reminded that she might be stepping down as Chancellor, but not out of CDS politics, "I am until the end of the month, then I am on the Representative Assembly (smile), because I'm one of those people that likes to participate! And I also believe that if you don't participate, then you get what you get, and really can't complain about anything"
When asked to sum up her term, Rosie answered, "This term has been quiet. We've had a fun event each month. We've initiated a new building project that will make a big difference in the Neufreistadt region. And other than that, it has been a day to day administration of people's comings and goings. So not a particularly eventful six months." And what did she anticipate of Hannah as leader? "It will be interesting to see what Han brings to the position of Chancellor," the current leader answered, "as she hasn't done it before. I know she has some different ideas that she'd like to initiate. Of course the Chancellor needs to have the RA ratification on anything that is really different. It will be a learning curve for her, but I'm sure she is up to it!"
And so this round of elections in the CDS this month has become a formality due to the small number of people stepping up for public office. Will the public of the community be satisfied with the work of those getting the position by default, or wish others had also stepped up so the candidates would have to explain their intentions and how they planned to carry them out? Time will tell, and in six months they'll have another chance.
Friday, May 11, 2018
By Bixyl Shuftan
In late December, it was reported that in the past year the number of private sims had gone down by 667 from 16,783 to 16106 in 2017 or a loss of about 4%. While this is lower than the 4.4 percent of 2016, it is still a continuation of the long slow decline Second Life has had in the past several years. This is in spite of that thousands still sign up for an account every day. So why don't they stay? Chic Aeon, when commenting in a post by Hamlet Au in New Worlds, had one suggestion: Second Life wasn't really designed for Millenials.
Chic described how she found the place, and her observation that most of those who were doing things were Generation Xers or Baby Boomers.
... I was drawn to Second Life because it was listed as the world for CREATIVE and TECHIE folks. I am undoubtedly both of those things. The techie attribute has cause plenty of problems over the years; SL is simply NOT easy to learn. Items came in boxes that needed to be unpacked in an area where people could rez things and open them.
Think about that sentence and all you had to learn just to get some free clothes to try on your avatar.
It takes a real interest to stick around and learn all you need to know to navigate these virtual world waters. For many years, my theory has been that the peak of SL's popularity gathered up all those techie and creative folks -- those in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60 and a few beyond; they stayed and became the baseline populous of our world.
While some young folks do come and participate, most all of the people I know -- the creators, land barons, educators etc. -- have a few decades or more under their belts. They were willing to put in the time and effort so that they could enjoy the world on a daily basis. I am certainly one of those folks that make up the 90% of inworld hours. I am here about sixty hours a week, creating, blogging, helping others in the forums, chatting with friends --- pretty much in that order.
Yours truly came in when I was 39. So adding 15 to 10 years means those who were in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s, are now in their 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. While some might have more leisure time after their kids go on to college, others end up getting too sick to get on. And of course heart disease, and other ailments of middle and old age can mean death, and the end of their time in Second Life as well as their real one.
So Second Life has a problem that earlier electronic entertainment products such as the Atari 2600 never faced, a declining number of users not because of them leaving to a better product of the same kind, but that the users are getting older and there are fewer signing up than those dying. It's not that there aren't any in their younger 30s, 20s, and late teens coming in, there are. But the numbers are smaller. Which leaves the question as to "Why?" To Chic Aeon, she felt the idea of an open-end virtual world where it was up to the users to make most of the content just didn't appeal to Millenials, "They want things NOW, not later. They want their fun handed to them, not earned." Personally, I have my doubts as to this theory. Daniel Voyager stated the Teen Grid, when active, had it's own content creators.
Something else I've heard is that younger people want their own place, not the same one older adults are going to. I've heard some players on the Grid with teens say they're not worried about their youngsters logging in, saying they've heard them grumble, "Second Life is for *old* people." The response of many teens and young adults to older adults getting on Facebook was to stop using it and go to other social media such as Snapchat.
So could Linden Lab try to advertise Sansar as "The choice of a new generation," a slogan that helped Pepsi Cola increase sales in the 1980s among young adults then? It could, but so far Sansar's user base remains tiny. If any of the next generation virtual worlds is getting much of a population, it is VR Chat. It could be that while young adults do have a taste for virtual worlds, but many are looking to VR Chat instead of Second Life. So we could have a situation in which Second Life is inhabited mainly by Gen-Xers while VR Chat is the choice of Millenials. While this generational divide might help Linden Lab keep an audience for a few years, an inability to attract younger customers will hurt it in the long term. Such customers would need to be those Millenials who don't fil the stereotype of "Here we are, entertain us." But that shouldn't be a problem.
Sources: Daniel Voyager, New World Notes
Friday, May 4, 2018
By Bixyl Shuftan
Larry Harvey, one of the founders of Burning Man, passed away on Saturday April 28. The cause of death was a massive stroke earlier in the month. He was 70 years old.
Burning Man has significance to Second Life in that in the early days of Linden Lab before the virtual world was developed, a number of the staff attended one of the festivals, and were influenced by it. Linden Lab would also sponsor an inworld version of the festival, "Burning Life," for several years. Eventually, the Lab would end it's sponsorship, and the festival became known as Burn2.
I had a few words with iSkye Silverweb, one of the Burn2 participants. "He had an influence on a lot of things and a lot of people," she told me, "you didn't even have to be part of Burning Man at all to feel his influence." She mentioned the Smithsonian had recently made a Burning Man exhibition., "Larry Harvey had a hand in this."
iSkye would write a tribute on the Burn2 website.
Since the first Burn on Baker Beach in San Francisco, Harvey saw the development of a movement inspired by his vision of a free-spirited world of creativity and collaboration. With each year, increasing numbers of like-minded people were gathering with him on this beach; in 1990 the practice was shut down by San Francisco authorities. Undeterred and with the help of friends, the event reloated to the Black Rock desert in Nevada as Burning Man.
Every year since then, the event grew still larger, and has spawned 85 officiial Burning Man regionals, of which BURN2 is one. The Ten Principles of Burning Man were written down by Larry Harvey in 2004, a crystallisation of a guiding ethos that developed organically within the Burner community.
Thanks to his foresight, Burning Man will continue into the foreseeable future; may we always burn the Man.
When the news first came out about his death, some virtual Burners put out memorials of Larry Harvey on the BURN2 virtual playa; if you have an avatar with Second Life® account, you are welcome to visit, to remember the dreamer and Chief Philosophical Officer of Burning Man, the Man in the Hat. The SLURL to the BURN2 playa is http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Burning%20Man-%20Deep%20Hole/226/83/25
Heading out to Deep Hole in an alt, I would see one tribute in the middle of the sim, a wooden man that someone had set to burn. There would also be tributes to him on the Burning Man website.
If you bring a little soul to the encounter, maybe you'll see something you didn't look for; maybe you'll open your heart a little, and see things you didn't imagine.
Burning Man is an annual art and music festival in the Black Rock Desert about 150 miles northeast of Reno Nevada. Having it's beginnings on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, in 1990 the event was moved to it's present annual location. Over the years, the number of participants has grown from just twenty to almost 70,000. The sheer number of participants led to some rules and changes that a few felt compromised the spirit of the event, and there would be a split with one other founder. A couple people whom were repeat attendees told me while good, the real life Burning Man is not like what it used to be. The event has also attracted some controversy from outside due to public nudity. In 2017, a man died when he ran into the flames. But even with Harvey's death, the event goes on. And no doubt Second Life's Burn2 will too.
Sources: Wikipedia, BBC, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Burn2, Burning Man