There’s nothing really wrong with Linden Lab’s communications… or at least there wouldn’t be, if it was a garden store, or a supermarket, or a hardware store or something like that.

But as Linden Lab has been telling us for years, it is a unique company with a unique service and a unique model. From a communications perspective, however, it may as well be selling mobile phones, or wicker baskets, or maybe publishing video games.

The communications model of the Lab, however, doesn’t match this paradigm (or Weltanschauung, if you prefer), and that’s one of the key places where it all falls down.

Insofar as Second Life goes, Linden Lab is never entirely distinct or separate from its customers (who are also its suppliers). Second Life consists of a cyclical dependency between creators, consumers and the Lab, each blurring into the next without entirely clear distinctions, and each entirely dependent on the others, through intertwined products/services.

Second Life isn’t exactly any of the products or services, individually or in aggregate. Second Life is the flow – the dynamism – between products, services, customers, creators, developers, communicators, marketplaces, billing systems, and more.

That dynamic flow is bottlenecked or obstructed only to its detriment, whether that’s a faltering in communication, or a failure in testing, or a call-centre flunky with a flowchart that isn’t up-to-date.

Those are the things that broke Second Life’s momentum. Momentum that Linden Lab seeks to recapture without actually opening the channels to let it flow again.

I don’t need to tell you that isn’t going to work.

Second Life didn’t experience a boom because of its prominence in the press. Prominence in the press doesn’t inevitably lead to boom times for a product or service.

Second Life didn’t experience a boom because of the quality of its products/services – they were, at the time, in a fairly shaky state.

Second Life boomed, because of the power of its cyclical, dynamic nature.

Second Life is currently plateaued because that dynamic has weakened.

I complain about Linden Lab’s communications, a lot (as do many others), because it is just one of the more obvious places that the dynamism of Second Life has broken down. The Lab’s communications have never been exceptional – but there was a time when they were sufficient. Sufficient to support the intangible dynamo that kept it growing.

Second Life is more than its products; more than its services; more than its content; more than its customers; more than Linden Lab.

Second Life is the energy, the flow, the network effects, the communications – it is sheer dynamism. It is a wheel that currently has a brake on it, afraid to roll freely.

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