Feb 062015

I was driving home from work the other week listening to BBC Radio 4 when I heard an excerpt from a forthcoming television documentary. The excerpt featured the agent of a woman who is infamous in the UK for being controversial, and that seems to be her main talent. The excerpt had a point that was rather sad, the agent admitted that his client deliberately targets Twitter trolls by spelling words incorrectly on purpose or making outrageous comments. He admitted that without the Twitter trolls, his client would not be so successful.

At this point it is worth noting that picking someone up on their spelling isn’t exactly trolling, but the concept that people deliberately court controversy and know that this will work on Twitter to generate revenue, is rather depressing.

Twitter continues to make headlines for the wrong reasons but those of us who have been in Second Life for a number of years know that those headlines can be very misleading. Hamlet Au over at New World Notes has an article about Twitter : Twitter CEO Basically Admits Pseudonym Policy a Disaster. That headline itself is a tad misleading as I can’t see anything from Twitter CEO Dick Costlolo that suggests that. However Hamlet’s article links to another article on The Verge : Twitter CEO: ‘We suck at dealing with abuse’. In that article Dick Costolo is quoted as saying :

“We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”

I use Twitter, I’ve seen the trolls in action, I’ve seen the heinous abuse but if Twitter was as bad as some folk make out, I would not be on Twitter. The problem with Twitter is not pseudonyms. Over time, even with a pseudonym, you build up a reputation of sorts, you own your words. The problem with Twitter isn’t accounts who don’t say much but use a pseudonym either. Whereas people can demonstrate horror stories from Twitter to try and claim pseudonyms are a problem, the same thing can be done on Facebook with people using their real names. Names aren’t the issue here, people are and more to the point, the way we interact online.

Online communications are largely faceless. We don’t see the person we’re talking to, we lose the tips that guide us in a face to face conversation. We lose sight of emotion, intent and humour and we focus on the words. On a platform such as Twitter where you’re restricted to 140 characters, this doesn’t make for a healthy meeting of minds when it comes to debate.

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Dec 152014

I’ve mentioned this before but here we go again. Second Life could do with more ways for people to share information about events, places and sims by allowing people to easily embed that information into blog posts.

Flickr allows you to embed or copy the code of a picture easily so that you can included it in a blog post :

Cracked Mirror

YouTube makes it easy for you to share or embed videos :

These quick and easy ways of sharing content from social media sites help to not only promote your own content, they help to promote the brand of the platform you publish on. Second Life is a little lacking in this area when it comes to sharing content from Second Life on blogs. Let’s look at some more social media examples.

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Feb 222014

One of the things about being a blogger is finding something to write. A lot of the time a blogger finds the material to base their post on elsewhere, … actually this happens a lot. This post will unashamedly use material from someone else. The reasons for this are because the material is cutting, funny and relevant. I’m heading off to Twitter for this.

There’s a lot of advice going around on what Ebbe Linden needs to do to make Second Life awesome. Both SLUniverse and the official Second Life forums have threads full of advice. However one brave soul has been collecting this advice from Twitter users, adding their own, putting their tongue firmly in their cheek and creating a Twitter account of @EbbeNeedsTo.

Now some of these are funny, some of them may not tickle your fancy, you may found the whole thing a bit silly. The first thing to say is that you should ensure that you have your sense of humour turned on if you read that Twitter feed because some of the posts may be about one of your important issues or pet favourites.

For example:

I mean come on, Versu is a brilliant project … that Linden Lab decided to ditch because they don’t think it’s so brilliant and they have a lot more information about it than me! Pah, but hey I can take it, healthy disagreement is good. I mean it could be worse, the account could be poking fun at SLUniverse, which is a site I think has a lot of good information on … oh wait …

Noooooo! However this poking fun at suggestions and ideas is actually quite brilliant in so much as it brings issues to light and also brings to light the fact that we don’t all agree. Healthy disagreement is good. There are many more issues raised, far too many for me to post about here, but I will cover some more.

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Feb 062014

Ebbe Altberg has arrived with a bang in some circles, before he has even officially started work as the new CEO. His start date, I’m unreliably informed, is Monday February 10th 2014. I’m writing this for reference for future blog posts.

Inara Holmes has once again donned her deerstalker, puffed on her pipe and investigated the man to come up with a rather deep short profile on Mr Altberg. This time Inara has been able to demonstrate her science of deduction without having to call upon the assistance of Gray Of The Lab from San Francisco.

Ebbe was born in Sweden, the country that invented Blocksworld and the country next to the country that invented Lego. Unforunately Ebbe has so far been unable to convince Swedish super group Abba that they should perform inside Second Life for tips only. However give it time, Linden Lab has opened the door to a Viking invasion and those guys like to party.

Mr Altberg has previously worked for Microsoft (hooray), Yahoo! (boo) Ingenio (?) and BranchOut (??) who were linked to Facebook (Boooooooooo!). For full details, please read Inara’s informed post, carry on reading here for an uninformed post.

So far Mr Altberg seems to have been enjoying himself as the new found leader of the virtual revolution and other products and has been particularly active on Twitter, where you can find him under @ebbealtberg.

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Feb 052014

Second Lie at Twitter Party

The arrival of Ebbe Altberg has already led to the end of one Second Life character on Twitter, with @SecondLie announcing his retirement in an afternoon/evening of excitement, hope, despair, bewilderment and surprise at the arrival of Ebbe Altberg as new CEO of Linden Lab.

The unexpected turn of events threatened to overshadow the optimism about the arrival of the new CEO, with fans of @SecondLie expressing shock at his retirement. Lie (real name SecondLie) refused to answer any further questions, but did point reporters, observers, bloggers and Lindens in the direction of a new kid on the twitter block, @RebbeAltberg.

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Dec 052013

Due to the wonders of modern technology I was able to watch Charlie Brooker’s How Videogames changed the world last night. Well using TV On Demand Catch Up anyway, nothing dodgy. The show charted the rise of video games and in particular 25 titles that were considered hugely influential in the direction the gaming world took.

The show featured contributions from people inside and outside the game industry, the contributors included Peter Molyneux, Jeff Minter, Will Wright, Tim Schaefer, Neil Druckman, Ron Gilbert, John Romero, Nolan Bushnell and Rhianna Pratchett. Quite an impressive line up.

Now obviously being a list show people will disagree with the list, but here it is:

  • Pong
  • Space Invaders
  • Pac-Man
  • Manic Miner
  • Elite
  • Super Mario Bros
  • Tetris
  • The Secret Of Monkey Island
  • Street Fighter II
  • Doom
  • Night Trap
  • Tomb Raider
  • Parappa The Rapper
  • Starcraft
  • The Sims
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Shadow Of The Colossus
  • World Of Warcraft
  • Wii Sports
  • Call Of Duty 4 – Modern Warfare
  • Braid
  • Angry Birds
  • Minecraft
  • The Last Of Us
  • Twitter

Hold that thought. The show didn’t really touch upon virtual worlds such as Second Life, but it clearly showed how the foundations were laid to create the virtual world experience.

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Feb 022013

Two unrelated reports of possible security breaches, one at Twitter which is confirmed in a blog post and one for Anshe Chung which is uconfirmed but seems to be true, as reported by Shiloh Lyric over at SLUniverse.

I saw in my Twitter feed last night that people were reporting they’d received an email from Twitter informing them that their passwords had been reset, then others pointing to that Twitter blog post to confirm that this might not be a phishing attack. However even the existence of a blog post doesn’t mean it’s not a phishing email, so if you receive one, tread with caution. The Twitter blog post actually has some good tips on password securit, such as trying to make your password at least ten characters, use a mixture of upper and lower cases letters, numbers and symbols and don’t use the same password on multiple sites.

Twitter are also  advising people to follow the advice of the US Department of Homeland security and disable Java on their computer.. and then rewinding a little to tell people to disable in their browser.

The email on the Anshe Chung issue is interesting in some ways, because it was sent by Linden Lab and relates to Second Life passwords. However it should be noted that this is not due to a security breach at Linden Lab.

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Jan 242012

Lastly, I really do regret I that spoiled ‘Ciaran Laval’ s night away from the pub. The way this election is going he may find me there before long.” – Sir Norman Tebbit, April 19th 2010.

The above quote is relevant in the name stakes because it demonstrates I have a persistent online identity outside Second Life circles, although what I was ever doing on The Torygraph blogs whilst sober still remains a mystery, what Sir Norman was referring to is that I’d stated on another blog post of his that I was stone cold sober and agreeing with him, it was a scary evening.

Which brings us to the latest episode of the nym wars and Google +, which rears its head in the shape of form of Google’s Bradley Horowitz suggesting a new and more inclusive naming policy is being r0lled out. Now before you get too excited you need to tread carefully here, Violet Blue, who was very involved in the nym wars because her name was considered to be fake (it isn’t) has posted over at Zdnet suggesting that pseudonyms still aren’t welcome. However Violet seems to be getting a tad confused, Bradley Horowitz is talking of one name nyms, rather than normal looking nyms and this is where it all gets confusing.

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Sep 092011

Twitter CEO Dick Costollo has firmly planted his feet in the nym friendly camp according to a post at Wired’s Epicenter, which you can read here. Mr Costollo is quoted as saying:

Other services may be declaring that you have to use your real name because they think they will be able to monetize that better and think they will be able to get more information about you that will help them monetize better.

We are more interested in serving our users first, and we think by serving that by serving our users first, we will have a better platform for marketers and advertisers.

Hooray for that but not only is Mr Costollo absolutely right in his thinking, he shows Google + how wrong they are with their real name policy because in terms of advertisers, whom people follow and what their interests are, will likely produce better targetted marketing than what their name is and Google should know this because so much of their advertising service is based not on your real name, but what you’re looking for or at.

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