Monday, April 20, 2009

On Participation

There was a big argument over at Prok's blog concerning the Resident's Choice awards. Vickie Greenwood won many of the building categories but the big question all across Second Life became: Who the hell is Vickie Greenwood? Prokofy being Prokofy, he went and did a lot of digging and found that Vickie does not have much of a footprint into the Second Life world. In fact, it seems that unless you personally knew her, you wouldn't have heard much of her at all.

That leads us into an interesting discussion. How can someone win a contest such as this and have almost no visibility in Second Life or its related websites? At the time, it was noted that she didn't even have a profile picture. And is it right to award a distinction to such a person?

The awards were about the resident's choice. And one would expect the resident's choice would be someone who engages and is active in the Second Life universe. This can usually be gauged by such things as profiles, blog posts, items listed on Xstreet, and so on. That indicates an outreach into this world of ours. They've invested some time and energy into putting something out there.

By not engaging and not listing on Xstreet, not blogging/being blogged about, and not spicing up one's profile, you've disengaged from Second Life. You are attempting to be aloof. Plus, there is the implication that you're an alt. People don't keep alts well. If alts were jugs of milk, then people tend to let them turn to cheese. Not having anything 'there' triggers an instinct, and that instinct is 'the person I'm dealing with is someone else, this must be their alt'.

It could also mean that you don't give a shit about Second Life. Visit any university sim or any island where the inhabitants are students/employees forced to register an account and check out the profiles. If there is a profile picture, it will be one of the random default picks in the inventory library and the profile space will have 'Penn faculty' or 'hey all, Temple CoE '08'. Read them and the feeling of apathy oozes out. This pattern also drifts into my mind when I see a skimpy profile.

There's this feeling, this attitude that if you participate and build and create in Second Life, or hold discussions or host and create music, or design the latest in sculpty socks, that you'll be taken up into the current. And you'll make a profile. If you're good, bloggers will come to you and interview, if not, you'll make your own blog. I think this is inevitable, especially when you're really good at what you do. Just imagine if Torley had nothing on his profile. I cannot imagine that, it's up there with making a word for that squelshing noise my shoes are making because I got ripped off and the soles are falling off and when water gets into them it makes that noise or calculating all the digits of pi.

Not that it isn't possible, just extremely implausible. In fact, it's nigh upon suicidal if you're serious about being recognized and having others buy your work or join your groups. Johnny McAlt will put up hours you can contact him in case you need debugging of your prim scooter, or Suzy Avatarvik will put the hours when she hosts a discussion on the recent policies of French cheese imports.

Let's come around now to my opinion. Vickie deserves a medal for being low key and then winning three of the categories. However, she also did herself a disservice by not making herself visible for whatever reason. The announcement left everyone scratching their heads and that's not a good thing. You're the best, dammit! Promote or something. Although, this is probably a moot point now as Linden Lab's contest has single handed pushed her into the top.

That's what's fueling all this speculation. It is as if my alt won the award for blogging. What's that you say, you've never seen my alt's blog? Well, it's set to private. And there's only a few posts. And I've never told anyone about it (until now) and I've never linked there. But trust me, it's good. My alt doesn't have much of a profile, but that doesn't matter, does it? It's the exact thing. My alt could have writing that would make Jesus cry in its wonderful subtlety and supreme skill but I imagine people would rightly question how I won the award. Well, it's the same deal with Vickie. She may very well be the best of the best of the best, but it is kind of scary that not many have heard of her until now.

Considering this is the awards as granted (or so Linden Lab says) by the residents, one would think that one requirement for this would be an awareness among the populace of the person who won. If most of the community is left scratching their heads and frantically googling your name and asking everyone around who you are, something might have gone wrong. You would imagine the winner would be someone well known. It's only logical that the winner of all the residents would be pretty famous else hardly anyone would have voted for them.

Then again, what do I know? I'm writing this in the middle of the night punch drunk.

No comments: