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In the midst of all the identity kerfuffle with Google Plus, Linden Lab’s beta social networking framework has brought me to the realisation of why I didn’t click with Avatars United, and why much the same thing is bothering me about Google’s stance towards Google Plus.

Let me see if I can articulate that for you.

Okay, so Linden Lab is working on their new Facebookish style social networking features for Second Life. On the surface, that seemed like a neat idea. I could see myself using that… and then I realised that I couldn’t see myself using that for very long.

Why? Because it only includes people with a Second Life account. Avatars United allowed game and virtual environment avatars more generally, but suffered from much the same problem.

My time is finite. My attention is finite. So’s yours, for varying limits of finitude. So, there’s only so many things I can pay attention to. Efficiency suggests that I should try to lump as much of that together as is reasonably possible to save wasted time.

Now, here’s the thing. Second Life’s beta social network is fundamentally limited to Second Life users. That means that if I want to have a conversation on topic with a broader group of people, I either need to have it elsewhere – where Second Life users may be unwelcome, or I have to spend extra time having the same conversation in multiple venues. I don’t know about you, but after doing that for a while it starts to feel like a big waste of time. I’ve got to flip back and forth checking multiple threads for replies, make my own responses, and there’s often a lot of redundancy as the same thing gets said in multiple places.

Much as I like you people, Second Life users aren’t the entirety of my social circle, though the Second Life group and the non-Second Life group have many common and overlapping interests.

I stopped using Avatars United because I couldn’t use it to effectively communicate across both categories.

Yes, Tat, we know all of this. There’s a myriad social networking services and not everyone you might want to talk to is on any particular one.

And this is true. The thing is, I want to communicate on a network where both categories can be represented. It’s obviously up to the individual as to whether they want to participate in any given network. And there’s the issue with Google Plus. Over the last few days, more than 30 of my social circle have evaporated. It is currently (for whatever reason) unwelcoming for one of the two broad categories of people that I want to be connected with, just as Second Life’s beta social network is, in its own way.

Thus, they both automatically carry less value to me than systems like Plurk or Twitter or Diaspora.

So, the Second Life social network? I’ll probably use that for a few days, and then end up begrudging it the extra time to pay attention to it, and just leaving it to lie fallow.

What about you?

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Categories: Opinion, Social Media.

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