My 1st Rezz Day for InWorldz!

Today marks my 1 year rez day on the InWorldz grid!  Wow, it’s really gone fast.  And while I’m not one to rank favorites – it’s been a superior year.  Certainly different than years since 2006 in SL.  I didn’t learn how to build on IWz, but, I did learn how to feel creative, how to bring my little concepts to reality…lol, how to even have a concept!  My skills improved as I’ve learned to utilize more of the building tools and things happen faster for me.

In SL and IWz, I applied a few of my RL skills with web media to my shops and couldn’t be more pleased with the results.   I’ve stopped comparing the two grids and see them as complimentary locations for each other.  They’re different and I love them both.

I’ve stopped watching the attendance in IWz, and have come to the (happy) conclusion that it may never grow much larger.  There is a core of people who are there exclusively – for the long term…and another group of people that come for a short while, exploring and spending for a bit, but then move on.  Just like SL, eh?

In the past year, I began a blog!  It’s fun to learn more about WordPress…but, there’s just not enough time to write interesting things.  The best result I have with it is for my weekly shop updates.  I update the pages for both shops weekly and it’s grown huge!  I even had to upgrade to a page that holds more image files!  A great sales tool!

With my InWorldz shop, I see a more spiking flow of business.  Sometimes 3-4 days will pass with no shoppers, but then one arrives and seems to buy one of everything, breaking my prior sales records with one visit!  Many times I think things are growing more sluggish there, but at the end of each month – the results are still great!  I guess what really prompted me to write today was this Hypergrid Business article I just found, about IWz economy…  It seems to support the results I’m having.  And…I couldn’t resist passing it around, as I know there are many who wonder if anything is going on here – perhaps still doubting it’s viability.

As always, I’m ready to answer questions about IWz and to help you check it out.  Need a free place to hang your hat or open a little shop while you test the waters?  Or to convert a few dollars?… let me know.

Thanks to the InWorldz Founders and all the interesting and generous people there – who have made my first year so fun and inspiring!

Published in: on October 14, 2011 at 4:53 pm  Comments (8)  

Has Your InWorldz Peaked?

I am loving every moment of my IWz time.  I’ve slowly added to my tier obligations, slowly growing my group, slowly adding inventory…well, it’s not always slow – it lurches up and down 🙂  …but, it’s very ..calculated.

Since I joined in November 2010, there’s been a tremendous excitement in IWz!   The members are patient with the beta aspects…feeling like we’re getting in on the ground floor of a great thing..and that when the physics are added – look out, it’s going to GROW!  But…just how big do we expect it to become?  Average attendance in SL is 40-50,000.   Is that what we expect?  Or something more reasonable, like 1/4 of that?  10,000 users IWz at once?  🙂

It’s grown since I’ve been there.  There were 650 regions when I joined…Now, mid-May 2011, there are 882.  (Edited:  January 21, 2012 there are 884)When I joined, the highest attendance I saw was around 150…that grew to exceed 200 – at peak times.  Yet… I rarely see attendance over 200 any more…and those last 20-30 new regions took forever to appear.

Please know that I am not trying to report negatively about IWz!!!  I adore it there and my little biz continues to exceed my expectations in so many ways!  It’s just that in the past month, I’ve noticed a few changes – and I know I’m not alone.  I think I’m writing now because I want to encourage people to be realistic about what IWz can do for you….and what we can do for IWz.  I don’t think IWz has peaked…but I do think our expectations may have been steered off course.

One of the groups I belong to is Where Can I Find It.  It’s HUGE by IWz standards – over 1000 members – it’s not unusual for there to be 100 avis online at the same time there.  In spite of the fact that I am not an enthusiast of group banter – I find this group to be a single resource for so many things.  In addition to finding things and sharing my own creations…Viewing the activity in this sizeable group makes me feel like I’ve got my finger on the pulse of IWz!  I can see  what others are creating, prices, new businesses and clubs,what is being sought, trends, etc.

Until about a month ago, the Group Notices there were primarily promotions for new creations and upcoming events.   Surely I’m not the only one to notice the shift of Notices going towards land rental and region sales.  Recently, I read a Notice stating that unless a particular shop made enough sales that day, they were going to have to close their doors!  😦

Land is SO much more affordable in IWz, and the abundant prims are irresistible!  If you ever had visions of being a landlord or even land mogul in Second Life… how could you not buy a sim (or 3 or 5 or 10) IWz?  How easy to imagine it would be simple to make ends meet!

Yet I ask, is it wise to buy more land than you need?  Why not add a sim when the others get full?  It may be cheaper in IWz, but the supply and demand may not be the same.  So much similarity between the worlds…but on a smaller scale.

It’s not just IWz that hopes to see growth…the other open sims, AviNation, OSgrid, 3rdRock, etc… they are hoping to lure users from SL too.  I’ve read a ton of mud-slinging between the supporters/users of these groups – each claiming to be the best!  From what I’ve been able to read, IWz is leading the way there…I’ve tried some of them too – obviously I’m enjoying IWz the most.

Amongst all the alternative grids, there’s a rampant bashing of Second Life.  🙂 It’s easy to hear horror tales, issues with Lindens, land, account issues, stalkers… my SL has had issues too.   Many people have “sworn off” SL – claiming they will never return.  Yet, I don’t think bashing the other grids is healthy for any of the grids.

I can understand having a preference, even giving up your old grid for a new one.   But, there will always be many grids for people to consider.  We’re still on the edge of virtual gaming…won’t there always be variations and offshoots?

I’ve begun to think of them as all related.  I have friends in one world.. I have friends in the other.  I have shops in one…shops in the other.  I buy clothes in one – and the other.  The goals are the same for me.   It was MY attitude that was different in each world…but now – they’ve really melded together.

Has anyone else heard/read about a future with grids that are connected?  One avi that can TP between grids, taking their Inventory with them…?  As a merchant, I shudder at the thought of my items being whisked somewhere without my consent…yet, maybe the real answer isn’t about ME knowing about ALL the grids…but rather, a bigger picture.  Making content that is universal, for all grids.

I use two texture websites that sell their textures via email – and you pay according to the level of permission you want.  Just SL – SL & all other virtual grids – SL, all grids AND full creative use, anywhere.  This makes perfect sense to me, and works beautifully for my dual virtual lives!

I could imagine an online shop, like SLMarketplace, that supported all the grids.  Items would be exchanged in the same manner we export/import linksets now…via XML files.

LOL…is that too far fetched?  I don’t really think so….imagine…we could all experience all the grids – with such ease!

Meanwhile, I’m feeling bad for the folks that overextended themselves IWz.  Having money worries is obviously bad…and a different type of bad feeling comes when you have to pull your tenderly created prims or say goodbye to that wonderful landscape you labored over.

Just like SL, the alternate grids have risks.  Protect yourself!  Be prepared for change!  Don’t risk more than you can really afford.  Personally, I acquire land or shop rental space only if I know I can have fun maintaining it all by myself.  Yes, I aspire to earn enough to pay my rent – but, in my heart and mind….the whole virtual package is about having fun.  It’s a hobby!!   I’d like to think that if my renters left and I never sold another object…I’d still be having fun and my expenses would still be worthwhile.

My IWz is still more beautiful than anything in my SL.

Members of InWorldz… I caution us to not sound desperate!  I’m a big advocate of advertising and promoting our works… but, really… excessive and repetitive advertising isn’t going to fix anything.  If there’s currently a lull with InWorldz growth – hammering the existing members with repetitive ads is frankly …annoying..and sad.  I make a bi-weekly group Notice in the Where Can I Find It group.  My Notice provides the url link to my blog – and via this WordPress blog, I can track how many readers I attract.  The results are ALWAYS worthwhile.  (My Transaction page also proves it!)  However, of those thousand members, only a small portion of them are NEW members – the majority are the same core group.  To keep the repeat reader interested, the information needs to be fresh!!  Even your old items can be spotlighted in a new way, fresh description, new photos, suggestions for new uses, etc.  (what a great way to improve & optimize our advertising marketing skills!)  For Pete’s sake, double check your spelling and grammar while you’re at it!!

If we want IWz to grow – we must continue to make a great impression on the new users.  This is something IWz already has a great reputation for!!  EVERY article and interview I’ve seen has praised IWz for the warm welcome and helpful attitude.  The Mentors are fabulous at helping people get started!  The Founders are awesome at helping with account and land issues.  There is a great sense of community there.

I’m a little worried that IWz members could lose some of this.  Now, more than ever, we need to stay upbeat and positive!  By no means am I suggesting you should stay longer than you want…just that, if we are there – and if we want it to keep growing – we’ve got to continue to show that warm and positive feeling.    The attitude of IWz is one of its strongest selling points!

Are we staying true to the feelings and motivations that inspired us originally?

Just like in RL – during this tough economy, NOW MORE THAN EVER it is wise to invest in your product and continue (even expand) your advertising & promotional efforts.  I know it’s hard to justify spending more when you’re earning less…but, it’s a proven advertising strategy in RL. (assuming you plan to stick with it for awhile!)   Also, land barons beware… There’s a trap when you lower your rental prices too much…when the economy revives, it’s very difficult to raise your rents to your original price point.

2 readers of my blog roll have expressed confusion that some of my posts are about SL – others IWz.  But..they’re not confused anymore!  It’s been a great way to let my SL readers see how cool IWz is.  Expose the various grids to each other!  Do you have any way to share your IWz with folks in other worlds?     My virtual time is rather diligently divided between SL and IWz – and while that’s not the best approach for everyone – I ask you to consider keeping your virtual doors open to all the worlds! ….open in both directions!

Honestly…I like the smallness of IWz.  If it never grows another region, I’ll enjoy the creative opportunity it provides for me.  It sparked a flame of creativity that has changed so many things for me in RL, SL, IWz!!

My wish is that all the InWorldz members enjoy their time there as much as I do!  I encourage you to think about the things that brought you there originally.  To recall the amazing things that Second Life has inspired and taught us, regarding virtual worlds.  To think long and hard about your virtual goals and if the worlds you’re in can make them come true.  Lastly, in the words of John F. Simmedy, to “Ask not what your grid can do for you, but what you can do for your grid.”

Inworldz vs SecondLife

Time!  There just isn’t enough of it!  I’m fortunate to have ample time for virtual living – but there’s still not enough when you’re trying to have two of them (and a full time RL job too).

In spite of my (sigh) corrupt SL account situation, I’m juggling viewers and have spent quite a bit of time giving SL Astoria a much needed face-lift!

Sneaking a Peek

I’d been so exclusive with InWorldz since November, it seemed weird to really sit down, dust off my inventory (a HUGE chore still in progress), slip into some REALLY great SL hair and shoes 🙂 and see what I could do here.  Weird to look at the drab unchangeable terrain textures and weird to think of facing the social scene of SL.  My months in IWz have been filled with incredibly happy avis that love to go on and on about how much better IWz is than SL.

Since all my time was being spent IWz, seems I must agree with them all!  There is something special there.  More relaxed.  Calmer.  Stress free.  Nicer pace.  Friendlier avis.  Fresh Start. These are all things I’ve heard repeatedly IWz, when it’s compared to SL.

My plans for SL Astoria’s face-lift are coming in to place in my mind nicely.  After years of showing off my coveted antique collection….I’ve decided to showcase my own creations.  My IWz time has lured me to a different vintage feel..similar, but a bit more old world.  You’ve seen the bronze lanterns and rustic details in my photos from there…  I’ve begun recreating many of the IWz things in SL.

It seemed it would be easy enough – as there’s a very cool Import/Export feature for your own creations.  I’ll just “tp” them trans-grid!  That works..but not really so great.  (contact me in either world for more details about the process) And many of my builds feature some awesome textures and sculpt maps that I’ve purchased.  This means getting permission for using in both worlds…or buying it in both worlds (mostly i opt for buying).  …before we all nod off with the dull details of the Import/Export business… let’s just conclude that I find it easier to start them from scratch.

This takes much more time than anticipated!  🙂

What a great surprise to find some awesome build supplies in my SL Inventory.  Textures, maps, animations… things I’ve never used even!  I’ve barely scratched the surface of my Inventory…there’s some fun tools in there…just waiting to make something new!

Building in SL is just as fun as building IWz!  And the people?

Why do all the IWz fans say what they do?  Or are the people actually different IWz?  IWz certainly attracts a certain user – typically one who likes to create, appreciates the affordable and generous prim allotment – somebody who needs space – and doesn’t need a lot of external amusement (hundreds of clubs and events, and thousands of people, at any hour of the day).

But honestly, I think people are the same anywhere!  Just like RL.  Perhaps IWz feels better because we’ve removed ourself (escaped?) from our old SL friends, who’ve grown boring, needy, drama riddled, pains in our asses…?  (No, I’m not talking about anyone I know…just sayin’…)

Me and Feather Boa's amazing interactive artwork - near the Astoria landing point.

I’m not saying bad things about anyone in SL…just that, I’m responsible for my SL – and if IWz feels so much better, then I must have let my SL grow to a less pleasant place.

But I’m finding IWz isn’t better – it’s just another layer!  🙂  My SL has certainly changed over the years.  My IWz will surely change too!  There’s room for me to have both virtual lives in my RL… just not enough damn time!

My task list in both worlds is very long.  I plan to finish a few SL projects and then try to divide my time more equally – checking in to both worlds regularly, starting new build projects in both worlds at the same time should be easier than backtracking as I have been.

Aside from being cheaper with plentiful prims, which grid do you prefer?  Why?  Lastly, why are there SL fans that won’t even look at other grids?

(added after posting)  I see many are web searching the topic “inworldz vs SL”.  I’ll add a stat I’ve observed.  When I joined IWz in Oct. 2010, there were 650 privately owned sims/regions.  Now, in April 2011 – 850.  Average attendance at sign-in was always below 150 – now it’s always over 150 -pushing 200 most of the time.  My furniture sales in both worlds seem quite comparable.    SL continues to have 50k (or more!) at any given time.  As much as I love my IWz, those numbers must be considered, in my opinion.  In defense of IWz, I’ll add a reminder that it’s still in beta!  The IWz founders are steadily working on scripting upgrades and ways that make this grid more steady.  I have great faith that it will soon be as stable (if not more so) than SL.  But will it ever reach those SL numbers…?  that would be a surprise!  Does it need to?  Not in my book!)

A Glimmer of a Second Life

Group Etiquette 1-A

Groups!  I have a love hate relationship with them!  They serve so many great purposes – but, can also be annoying, disruptive beds for growing false information.   I’ll try to keep my personal preferences out of here – but share some basic group etiquette that should benefit everyone!

  1. A little grammar, please.  I realize it’s a casual environment, but to prevent confusion…add a comma here and there – so we can distinguish one point from another.
  2. Who are you speaking to? If the group chat includes more than one topic/conversation/thread…mention the name of who you’re addressing.  This is so other people will know what topic you’re addressing.
  3. Promoting an event?  DETAILS!!  Of course the date, time & location are important…but what kind of event is it?  Specifically, what is new at your shop?  How much is it?  How many prims are included?  It’s only the really bored reader that’s going to respond to a vague announcement!
  4. Does the group have criteria?  Limits to chat topics or Notice frequency?  As a group owner, set them – and post them where all members can see (group description, perhaps).  As a participant in a group, heed them.  What you consider a friendly invite can be considered spam by another… Know your audience and respect their expectations.
  5. How many notices are really needed for an event?  Most people in world are spontaneous.  “There’s a great show now, let’s go!”…  but a week long update – 7 days till the big show, 6 days till the big show, 5 days, etc… Please stop!
  6. Consider a web based calendar for a busy agenda.  2-3 events per day, or a jam packed weekend line up?  Have one place where your followers can look to see it all!  Let your group notices be lighter – encourage your followers to learn how to get updates 24/7.   While I’m at RL work, I might check my favorite musicians Google calendar to see if there’s a show I want to attend that evening….  InWorldz blog pages would also work for this.  (web pages that feature your creations would also serve this purpose…updated with new merchandise.)
  7. Too many group notices?  Too much chat?  Check the Group’s page and review the options in lower right corner.  You can disable them temporarily and/or individually.  If that’s too extreme, consider “tearing off” the group chat window and minimizing it….then the group chat can go on without it pinging each time, and you can review what you missed, at your leisure.
  8. An InWorldz specific suggestion, as the Profiles can’t be opened by clicking on avi names from within group chat window… (one most go to Search, then look up the avi).  Don’t make the person who’s willing to dig an LM (or whatever) out of their inventory for you ALSO have to search your name to deliver it.  The person seeking help should be doing some of the work, no?

Personally, I like to see groups stay true to their origins.   If I’m in a group for cat lovers, it isn’t because I wanted to hear about your day, your broken heart or visions for your sim….if I’m interested in your day, I’ll send you an IM.   Particularly in a large group with a fairly broad focus, doesn’t it just seem polite (and discreet) to take your personal details to IM?  If what your discussing takes more than 2-3 entries, perhaps you should pause and contemplate how many of the people in this group want/need to know what you’re talking about.

And since you’ve made it this far, I’ll be very blunt and say that, overall, I dislike ALL groups!  I cringe when there’s dozens of notices each time I sign in…my blood pressure goes up each time an IM interrupts my work…  I actually boycott any establishment that sends me more than one announcement per day!!!  Yet, there are facets of each group that I want – so I don’t turn off the announcements.  When you ramble on in a group chat, I mute you for the day!  I don’t dislike anyone in the groups.  The groups I’m in are full of great, friendly and helpful people and there’s such an amazing network being developed – every day! – I just prefer a quieter experience when I sign in (/me is a weird hermit)

I hope the groups I’m in don’t think I’m a bitch now… Perhaps I could form a new group “People Who Think Dancer is Bitchy”??  LOL  Am I the only one who feels this way?

Hugs everyone – see you in Group Chat!!

The Bitching Post

Who, me?

Perhaps it’s just my RL years catching up with me, but it turns out, I’m not nearly as open-minded as I’d like to be.  I’m not talking about race, creed, sexual preference, age or even political party!  But, I’m sorry to say there are a few virtual life practices I just don’t have patience for.

I mean… I just can’t take a conversation with a dragon very seriously!  Or people with wings, halos or horns…or vampire teeth.

Pretending to be a master, slave, Gorean woman or a Mom, Dad, big brother or sister?  Not sure you’ll easily keep my attention.

I’ve yet to encounter a child avi without having really icky feelings!  I’m sure there are many well intended child avis on the grids – but, with internet child abuse/pornography so prevalent and hard to detect, why in the world would you want to be remotely associated?

My higher conscience knows I’m being snobbish.  I mean, virtual living is THE PLACE to pretend and experiment with alternate styles and lifestyles!  Fortunately, my little corner of the virtual world doesn’t put me in situations where these folks would have to put up with me and my narrow mind!  🙂

But what’s really driving my fingers today are …RL Married People who have romantic relationships online – but not with their RL spouse!

Some of these people keep their 2nd life a complete secret from their RL spouse and family.  Some claim to tell their RL spouse..but really don’t.  Perhaps most common, is creating a modest description of SL to tell your RL spouse.  (this is when calling it “just a game” must come in handy!)  “They’re just avatars on poseballs – it’s not real!”  “We just dance and talk a bit”  It’s really easy to downplay the description of SL activities.

Meanwhile, inside the IM window, commitments to have partnerships, agreeing to not date or dance with anyone else online, sharing of secret dreams and fantasies and SO MUCH MORE occur.

Each RL married avi I know has a special way of justifying…or classifying, their online actions for themselves.  It’s incredibly easy to fool yourself too, to compartmentalize it…after all, it’s your PC/laptop, where you play online games….

I’m no saint!  I’ve been a 3rd party in these situations.  Knowingly and unknowingly.  It’s a shitty thing to do….so I tell myself before and after!

I’ve read all the debates about online relationships.  They ARE real – They AREN’T real.  You SHOULD be jealous – You SHOULDN’T be jealous.

Come on people – can you tell me that the emotions online aren’t real???  Genuine, heartfelt exchanges take place.  Those poseballs stir affectionate thoughts!   Did you put all that time and $$ into your sexy avatar just to impress yourself?

Think you’re safe because you don’t use X-rated or kinky poseballs?  Pfffft  Poseballs aren’t the threat at all!  It’s those private moments shared, the whispers, the anticipation and growing desire that would worry me!

It’s not always about romance, either….I once shared hotel recommendations with a long-time avi friend, who was going to my favorite European cities.  He and his RL wife had a great trip and he reported that my hotel advice had been great.  I guess his RL wife hadn’t known about me or his SL – and when she discovered SL and our chat history, she was so upset!  Upset that her husband had a virtual pen-pal, that he took advice from some “stranger” (gee, i don’t seem like a stranger to me!) for their RL vacation, that he had hours and hours of chat (nothing romantic) that covered day-to-day crap, the kind of crap you share with your dear friends.  She was upset to not know he had a dear friend.  I totally understood where she was coming from.

Ultimately, it’s the RL couple’s life and situation!  (and i should mind my own business) Perhaps they’ve special guidelines for each other, or have a true understanding and acceptance of what their spouse is doing online.  Polygamists even!  Perhaps my RL married avi friends are being neglected in RL and SL is filling a void…. any scenario is possible!  Yet, I can’t help feeling that the RL spouses are not getting the whole story (even if they think they are) – and if they did, they’d be crushed!!

After about a year of SL, I had a sudden revelation and added it to my Profile RL tab  – it still holds true to me today:  Why say your RL is private when really it’s your SL that’s the big secret?

If you happen to be on my Friend list and think I’m writing about you – you’re probably right!  But, 6 of my 10 Friends can think the same….so it’s not specifically you 🙂  And, my friends – this topic irks me, but doesn’t change the friendship I feel for you!  …there are no dragons on my Friend list!

Online relationships are a new frontier – I’m no expert – and all of this is just my personal reaction.

I’m sure my next post will be light and witty… it’s time to hang up my hat at The Bitching Post and ease on over to The OK Corral!

Published in: on January 3, 2011 at 3:54 am  Leave a Comment  

I Hate to Complain, but….

Things are off kilter in my SL (photo 2007)

I remember very clearly from my earliest days of SL that we use the grid at our own risk.  No guarantees that you’ll have your stuff, your land, even your avi, tomorrow.

Like everyone I knew back then… tp issues, lag, sim crashes, hair and shoes up your bum, , etc., were all a part of the deal.  A hassle, but no real “losses” for me.

I grow tired quickly listening to others complain about these things…It couldn’t be THAT bad, could it?  And, I’m sorry for your struggles, but, don’t bring my SL experience down with your problems… Complaining only depresses us both!  If it’s that bad, sign out for awhile.  And please, surely there are enough blogs full of crying and whining already??

Well, I can’t shut up anymore – I’ve got to write this down – and sadly, I’m asking you to listen!

My SL experience has really taken a dive.  In October, while exploring a Group Land error I’d made, I discovered I was double billed for my tier (a $200+usd error).  My avi is borked – I’m a cloud or Ruth 99% of the time – unless I change viewers.  That’s ok, but with the other viewer, I have no assets or access to About Land menu.

At no time does everything work.

Of course, I’ve tried all the tricks I can think of – scoured the forums for new tips and spent hours with endless Tickets and Concierge Support.   All to no avail.  Particularly disappointing was the customer service from LL.  Not only did it not  help, but they were often vague, even rude! – and their typing/spelling was atrocious!

For several years, I had AWESOME support from LL…this change is the biggest surprise and disappointment for me.

A case of SL burnout had crept in this past autumn, and I discovered InWorldz – so I’m not really minding my viewer issues too much.

Mostly I’m disappointed that the SL/LL support is so bad.  That after years of unconditional support for them, I get none in return.

Whew, I feel better!  I’m done trying to fix things there – and I don’t really feel too bad about it.  Perhaps I’ll retire Dancer and use an alt… perhaps I don’t really need it all to work perfectly.  and truly, I’m not wanting to feel bitter about all of this.  SL has been an awesome adventure!!!

Bruce, AM and Jac get a huge hug for listening to my whimpering!

Thanks so much for listening!

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 7:34 pm  Comments (1)