Rod Humble started his new assignment as Linden Lab’s CEO with a public relation campaign through the use of social media and a few interviews. One of these interviews was made by Tateru Nino, where I found some interesting suggestions made by Vivienne Daguerre. Vivienne, among other things, suggests improvements to the Viewer 2 interface to better promote events. Her suggestions prompted me to add my own comments on this specific subject, which I wish to repeat and expand here.

As a community manager of the East River Community, I have to deal with events promotion a lot. As anyone who has to deal with promotion in Second Life knows, this can be a quite tedious, complicated work. We use several channels for our community: several groups, a mailing list, our blog, social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, and Google Buzz. The same message must be repeated over and over for each channel. There must be a better way. How about simplifyng the whole process?

As a matter of fact, creating a more efficient promotional tool for Second Life residents wouldn’t be a difficult task. Ping.fm is a good example of what I have in mind. Ping.fm is a web service that lets users aggregate all their social network accounts and update them with a click through a single interface. Its usefulness is amplified by being integrated into some popular Twitter readers. I use it extensively to send messages to all the networks I use. I can envision Linden Lab doing the same for our needs. Let’s see how.

Events are usually associated to groups. If I hold regular live music events I want to have a group to promote these events. If groups had a web page the way the new users’ profile pages are — and they should have a better one than what is available today, no matter what — we could have a tool located on this page to promote events. The tool should have an interface so that I can select Second Life groups I am a member of, and those social networks where I have an account, to which send out notices. Group pages should have a button to let users join when open enrollment is enabled, and display buttons for all the promotional channels used so that users have a choice of channels to subscribe to, pretty much the way the new users’ profiles are today. There should be an API so that third-party creators can link their services, and to push content to external web sites. Such a tool can work on top of existing, reliable, well-tested technologies that are easy to implement. Perhaps the only link that needs to be created is the connection between the web and group notices.

How to promote is one side of the problem. The other side is visibility. Today content promotion — where content can be anything from a location to an event — is spread to several places of the Second Life system. There are two things that could be done here: one is to aggregate all this content on a single web location where users can find anything from events to, say, the destination guide. Obvioulsy, this content should be organized by category to facilitate consultation. Another thing to be done is creating a subscription system to events, news, groups that can be easily accessed from one single place, such as the user’s profile page. I want to be able to go to my page and see a list of all the events I have subscribed to (Facebook has something similar). I’d like to receive an email several hours before an event start, and an automatic reminder inworld when the event is about to start.

All this would greatly simplify promotion in Second Life.

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