One of my jobs is marketing software (and a few other things). I know, to some people, that sounds like “one of my jobs is gassing puppies”, but I try to fit in, be transparent and help other people do their jobs. I’m pretty skeptical about marketing myself.
Here’s an important fact: Second Life has about 350,000 residents. As I write this, all of 3260 are online. Now, it’s the middle of the work day here in North America, so I’m sure that number will shoot up in the evening. Still, consider this chart from an online game stats site. Second Life barely rates compared to the millions of, say, World of Warcraft users.
I’ve seen three articles in the mainstream media about Second Life in the past couple of weeks. Clearly SL is at the top of the hype curve.
Then I read Kevin Dugan’s funny post entitled “Second Life to Open in Second Life: Ultra-virtual ‘Third Life’ becomes the first virtual for virtuals”:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fluffy Poostar has been asking when he can play Second Life,Ã¢â‚¬Â noted John Smith. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hopefully this will shut him up so we can focus on more important things, like figuring out how to get off f%^&*@g Help Island.Ã¢â‚¬Â Second Life creators consider this a natural brand extension.
We view virtual worlds like Second Life as the next stage in the evolution of peer-to-peer media like blogs, wikis, social networks and other online forums. People are using all of them to connect about things they are interested in and create the content they are passionate about. However, Second Life is adding a new dimension to it, because it provides an immersive 3-D environment that makes it more illustrative and inspiring than other platforms.
Whew! All those virtual, spikey-haired avatars were running, swimming and flying around without any reliable public relations consulting. How did they manage to get anything done? How’d they manage to build a theatre or Dublin or, I don’t know, Tetris, without brand synergy?
My initial response? Why go where you’re not wanted? Of course, I’m just assuming they won’t be wanted. I just logged into the Second Life forums, and searched for discussion about Text 100’s move. I couldn’t find any (and those forums are pretty darn active). I’ve posted a question (SL account required, I think) to solicit the community’s response.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve said elsewhere that I think important things are happening in Second Life. Those important things, however, are happening between people, not between people and PR agencies.
UPDATE: The results of my poll question (‘How do you feel about PR firms in Second Life?’) are few, but they’re in. They’re decidedly mixed: