Email is the fire that fans the internet. Hidden amongst untold millions of boring, static web pages are tiny pockets of original content. Yes, there are RSS feeds and sites which aggregate content but how do you find most of the good stuff? It’s probably through people you trust sending you emails which link to web content.
I’m contrasting the static nature of the web page with the viral nature of emails. A good internet meme will hitch a ride on emails and travel the world in a day. It can bounce around for weeks or months, reaching huge disparate audiences, crashing web servers with unexpected surges in traffic. Meanwhile, your web page will sit there, twiddling its thumbs, waiting for people to visit.
This is true of Second Life also. Under the guidance of developers who profit from such things, corporates are making the mistake of valuing the static over the viral. Building edifices that nobody visits. See, even if you built a pretty edifice and people were excited to visit it (I hate to have to tell you this…) you can’t fit more than 40 or so at a time given the server load limitations. Aren’t you better off concentrating on sending your message through Second Life using viral means? That way you stand a chance of reaching a decent sized audience.
You can do this by harnessing the beast that is Second Life permissions. An object (invitation, animation, item of clothing) can be made copyable and transferable, giving people the ability to pass around unlimited copies to their Second Life friends and acquaintances. This is a great sampling facility if only you can design an attractive enough object. No, Sun Microsystems, a T-shirt or coffee cup bearing your logo is not that object.
Viral objects are an underused promotional strategy in Second Life.
There are a number of ways you could go about executing such a strategy, but one of the most powerful ways is to use a Holodeck, a product developed by my business partner Loki Clifton at Inside This World. The Holodeck allows companies to build indoor or outdoor 3D scenes and give them away as transferable objects. These branded scenes can then bounce around Second Life from one person to another.
Apart from its viral nature, the virtue of this approach is that you can build a scene that gives people a context for your product…
“Not a bottle of wine, a five-star restaurant. Not a raincoat, a walk in the rain. Not a range of glassware, a shooting gallery.”
When they have that 3D scene they can walk around in it, invite friends in to it, socialise using it and generally take advantage of the interactive nature of the medium. This will be a powerfully memorable experience for those who participate and we invite corporates interested in virtual world branding to consider it.
Visit the link for pictures and full details about the Holodeck, which we see as the first 3D viral advertising medium.