Thursday, October 28, 2010

More on the So-Called Silent Majority and a Fun Little Video

Here are a few points that clarify my thinking related Tuesday's Silent Majority topic:
  • I don't believe that reading Second Life blogs or participating in related social networks is necessary to maintain an educated point of view. Knowing "Crap from Prokofy" wasn't meant to be an example of useful information, but rather one of SLebrity trivia. I intentionally didn't reference important issues as such as the impact of the new viewer, problems with search, etc. because I assumed that anyone using Second Life with regularity discusses such topics within their inworld social circles.
  • I do believe that participating in blogs, social networks and other internet searchable vehicles allows one's ideas to have immensely greater reach and longer staying-power than  communication limited to inworld channels. This isn't because we have better ideas or are more important. It's because search engines can find our content. For instance, when someone types 'second life sex chat bot' into Google, my blog is the first search result. (Maybe that wasn't the best example.) As more inworld events and forums are archived to the web via video and chat logs, this may equalize a bit. 
  • "Silent Majority" wasn't meant to designate a monolithic cultural group or market segment, but rather as a memorable term referring to those who choose (for whatever reason) not to actively participate in Second Life blogging and social networking circles.  I didn't mean to imply that I expected a single point of view on particular topics. Quite the contrary. I'm curious about what's up within Second Life sub-cultures which don't have a strong web-based presence.
Based on the relatively large number of comments on the post, I think this is a topic that will probably bounce around the Second Life blogosphere a bit. It's a microcosm of the broader question of how modern society is impacted by social networking and the ever-blurring line between creators and consumers of information.

Since Michele Hyacinth reminded me of my prior commitment to less words and more dance videos, I'll leave you with this song and concept video I created last year that relates to the topic at hand:



15 comments:

Merry Gynoid said...

How long will we have to wait before Prokofy makes a comment?

Imnotgoing Sideways said...

I often find myself facing friends or whatever who barely see beyond their own community. If I talk about Burn2, "What's that?". If I talk about the latest LL Blog update, "What's that?" I'd nail it down to the idea that there is a majority that's in SL but not for SL's sake. (^_^)

If it were any other service, they'd be there. It just so happens that SL fills their want. Once they achieve that want, they proceed no further... Gleefully unaware of the madness that goes on in the Forublogatwittersphere. (^_^)

Meh... Makes them no more or less. Just a different community with different means of sharing information. (^_^)y

Prokofy said...

Er, no.

It's not about any eroding anything.

It's *still* about how geeks like you are cut off from the masses by your technological toys, to the point where you lose touch with common sense and reality.

Your aversion to culture that you disdain as "mass" or "low" is one of the reasons you remain out of touch.

Lixena Lamourfou said...

Kudos on the video!!!!

Botgirl Questi said...

Prokofy: Or maybe the problem is that you are cut off from those you disdain as "geeks" by your ideology and preconceptions, mistaking your own mental projections for external reality. How would you know if you were deluded?

Botgirl Questi said...

Lixena: Thanks. It was pretty much a proof of concept. Hopefully someday I'll take the time to do something more than just cruze around the virtual set.

Miso Susanowa said...

My blog doesn't even come up when I type in "second life sex chat bot" into Google :(

To Prok: everyone knows I am all about low culture! I got Tamagotchis and rubber-band bracelets for days!

On the other hand... writing itself could be viewed with a jaundiced eye as elitist. Who are you to pontificate? You write doncha? &$@#!! intelekshul -_-

To Botgirl: did you pull her pigtails yet?

Bonus: CAPTCHA includes the word POG. How's that for bein' in touch wif street culcha? ^_^

sororNishi said...

YAY!! Fight!! fight!!!....

sitearm said...

@Botgirl;

I think by "silent majority" you / we mean, people who DO read posts but do not post nor reply to posts. Thus, they listen in, but they do not speak up. They are "listeners."

While it may be counterintuitive, my interests and experience show that ** listeners matter as much as speakers. ** I came across this several years ago when researching the first US discussion forum, The Well.

I came across this in another context of (sorry for the weird language) "giving someone your listening."

There are two evidences of someone giving our posts their listening (I should perhaps say, giving our posts their reading *coff*).

The first evidence is, if they post a reply to our post, or reference it in another post. We can SEE that.

The second evidence is, if they tell someone else about our post. We can NOT see that.

As posters, readers DO matter to us. But so do the reasons WE post in the first place.

We have system metrics for reader interest: numbers of followers, numbers of hits and referrals, etc.

We also have personal metrics, of some kind or another, for our ability to use the system to express / channel ourselves more fully.

It's of separate interest to discuss people who do not read posts at all, the "non bloggers." If we want to reach THEM, we HAVE to rely on our listeners.

Johnny said...

Second Life is a platform for narrative role-playing - some people live out their fantasies of being fashion designers, or superheroes, or barbarian slave-masters; we SL bloggers just like to imagine that we're erudite cultural commentators, with just about the same degree of versimillitude.

Botgirl Questi said...

sitearm: Good points! I wasn't counting those who read blogs or monitor social networks without posting themselves in the Silent Majority. But it's certainly an interesting group to consider.

Based on follow counts for the SL social networkers and by reports on daily visits from some SL bloggers I know, I'd be amazed if there were more than a few thousand people who avidly follow SL blogs and social networks.

Johnny: I think the difference is that in a roleplaying, both the players and the "game" are clearly fictional. In blogging and social networking, the topics are usually about issues that are considered to be non-fictional, such as the impact of Linden Lab policy on the future of Second Life.

CronoCloud said...

I was once at a venue and happened to mention the word "FIC" which I pronounce like BIC because I is for Inner.

Anyway...someone asked what it was and then I mentioned Mr. Neva. and then they said: "Who's Prokofy Neva?"

Course, I've got similar responses from mentioning the old fashion blogs, PXP and Linden Lifestyles.

Here's the thing, those of us the blog/comment frequently on blogs are part of a "Inner core" of people who have more influence over the virtual world than your average HOWLZing club goer. And as you say, we do tend to have more "staying power", that might be a selection bias though since as time passes, someone might discover the SL blogs, comment or start one of their own.

Time may also be an issue, someone who really likes the live music scene might consider reading NWN, Second Thoughts, etc, to be a waste of her precious time when she could be listening to music.

It might be somewhat represented by that video you and Night did: you're talking about gridwide implications and Night says: party! Party? Party! To some, rezbian mating rituals are more important, or more likely, more fun than reading about how the out-of-touch tekki-wiki socialist elite is ruining SL or reading some blog post by a shoe obsessed redheaded virtual fashionista.

Johnny said...

@Botgirl

The subjects we cover may be real, but the significance we attach to them is largely fictional. The columnists in the New York Times write about the war in Afghanistan, the state of the economy and the speeches of the President; we offer our opinions on the war against Woodbury, the slump in the Linden dollar and the rantings of Prok, which, I think you'll agree, are somewhat less consequential.

sitearm said...

@Johnny; To many many MANY people in the world, who do not live in Afghanistan, and I include for example Chinese and American and European citizens etc., the war in Afhanistan is equally of zero interest and significance as are digital virtual environments.

Significance is a matter of individual perception, at least it is to me. People, so to speak, "vote" with their attention. And they pay attention to an astonishing variety of things, often different than what you or I would pay attention to.

Changing to a new but related topic - it looks like neither laptops nor cell phones will be the communication technology most used in the world (and I include savannah tribesmen and Himalayan village people in this) as measured by percent of total world's population.

The dominant technology will be App Phones, descended from today's iPhones and Androids and ultimately available widely and cheaply. Thus, more than ever, people will be able to cluster-communicate and work, based on * like interests *, in addition to or replacing communication and work based on like geographical locations.

(references:

http://sitearm.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/david-pogue-and-the-app-phone-an-up-experience-post/

http://sitearm.wordpress.com/2010/10/28/richard-florida-world-mega-regions-and-the-creative-economy-an-up-experience-post/

).

Acuppa Tae said...

For more about the emergence of the prosumer and produser see Axel Bruns at http://slidesha.re/cqQ0LQ