Linden Lab Issues a Second Life End-of-Year Update: User Concurrency Figures Are Remaining Steady

Linden Lab has released a Second Life End-of-Year Update, outlining some of the achievements and events of 2018, and things are looking pretty good overall.

They shared some statistics on user concurrency, which show that it has remained steady over the past two years. It’s not increasing, but it’s not going down, either, which is encouraging:

As the year comes to a close, we’ve rounded up some interesting statistics to share insight into how the Second Life community is spending its time and money.

One thing is clear: Second Lifers were a busy bunch in 2018.   You spent an estimated 336 million hours inworld in the past year alone!  And there are 50 million+ chat messages daily.

Our daily concurrency rates remain stable, too. Take a look at this chart, which shows the overall traffic trends on logged in Second Life users over the past two years.

 

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Pictured: Second Life concurrency rates from early 2017 to late 2018.

Also, They shared some stats about sales this year, and they’re pretty good too:

This active population helped keep the Second Life economy healthy in 2018. Approximately $65 million was paid out to Residents in the past year for a variety of items and services. On the Marketplace, there are currently over 5 million virtual goods for sale. Since we lowered prices on the Mainland and maintenance fees on Private Estates, we’ve seen some growth in the overall land market as well. For example, we saw increases across the board in land ownership – more Region owners, more parcel owners, more group-owned land, more Regions on the Grid. As many owners traded up from Openspaces and Homesteads to full Regions to take full advantage of the lower pricing, we saw growth in overall SQM owned by Residents.

Back in 2011, ReadWrite reported that Second Life made almost $100 million in revenue a year, so sales appear to have gone down, but I still think that $65 million is a pretty impressive figure. It’s clear that Second Life is still a cash cow for Linden Lab, the profits of which are funding not only SL development but also the company’s work on Sansar.

Here’s to the next 15 years!

My Final Days on Facebook: A Rant

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Facebook is really, really pissing me off today.

First, after sending many of my Facebook Messenger contacts a cut-and-paste message outlining all the ways to get ahold of me after I leave Facebook (see below), the service abruptly logged me out due to “suspicious activities”, and forced me to create a new password and review various account settings before it would allow me back in.

Then, one of the cross-posted items from my blog was flagged for “going against our Community Standards”, and not posted to several of the many Second Life groups I belong to on Facebook:

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What. The Actual. F*CK?!?? There’s absolutely nothing even remotely offensive about this. The only possible difference between this post and countless posts that I have made without incident over the past year is that I talk about “leaving Facebook at the end of this year”.

All of this is only hardening my resolve to delete my account and all my data, and get off this social network as soon as possible. As a recent news article from The Guardian newspaper says, why not make it a New Year’s resolution to quit Facebook yourself?

A New York Times investigation has found that Facebook gave Netflix, Spotify and the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) the ability to read, write and delete users’ private messages. The Times investigation, based on hundreds of pages of internal Facebook documents, also found that Facebook gave 150 partners more access to user data than previously disclosed. Microsoft, Sony and Amazon, for example, could obtain the contact information of their users’ friends.

The Times’ new report caps off a very bad year for Facebook when it comes to public trust. Let’s just recap a few of the bigger stories, shall we?

  • March: The Observer reveals that Cambridge Analytica harvested the data of millions of Facebook users without their consent for political purposes. It is also revealed that Facebook had been keeping records of Android users’ phone calls and texts.
  • April: It was revealed that Facebook was in secret talks with hospitals to get them to share patients’ private medical data.
  • September: Hackers gained access to around 30m Facebook accounts.
  • November: Facebook acknowledges it didn’t do enough to stop its platform being as a tool to incite genocidal violence in Myanmar. A New York Times report reveals the company hired a PR firm to try and discredit critics by claiming they were agents of George Soros.
  • December: Facebook admitted it exposed private photos from 68 million users to apps that weren’t authorized to view your photos. (You can check if you were affected via this Facebook link.)

If you’re still on Facebook after everything has happened this year, you need to ask yourself why. Is the value you get from the platform really worth giving up all your data for? More broadly, are you comfortable being part of the reason that Facebook is becoming so dangerously powerful? Are you comfortable being on a platform that has, among other things, helped incite genocide in Myanmar?

(Below is the message I am sending out to all my Facebook Messenger contacts. This also applies to all of you who are reading this blogpost.)

After I quit Facebook, here are all the ways you can still get ahold of me:

  • Email: ryanschultz [at] gmail [dot] com (or just use the Contact link on my blog)
  • Blog: https://ryanschultz.com (you can always post a comment and I’ll see it)
  • Cellphone/text: Available upon request, only to those people whom I know.

I am also inviting you to join the RyanSchultz.com Discord discussion group! There’s no cost, it’s free! I’ve got a channel set up just for my Facebook friends to use. And I promise, I won’t data-mine you like Facebook does 😉

Here’s the invite link to take you directly to my Facebook friends channel, just click on this link: https://discord.gg/r4sFkVr

UPDATED! Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: What Christmas Trees and Advent Calendars I’ll Be Hitting on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day

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Photo by Evelyn on Unsplash

There are various locations within Second Life where generous content creators have placed free Christmas gifts under the tree:

  • FaMESHed Event: You can join the FaMESH ed group for free to pick up the gifts under this Christmas tree. As a bonus, there’s also a wheeled cart off to the side where you can still pick up an assortment of gifts from a recent autumn round of FaMESHed!
  • The Dubai Event has an assortment of gifts under their Christmas tree (including a particularly nice blue and gold ballgown by Virtual Diva, for Maitreya Lara mesh bodies only).
  • The Free Dove has gifts under a large Christmas tree, located to the right as you enter the freebie store. You do need to join The Free Dove group for free.
  • The Swank Event has quite a few gifts under their tree outside, but also many more scattered around outside in the snow! So wander around and see what you can find. No group is required.
  • Epiphany has some lovely gifts under a Christmas tree in the centre of the event. No group is required.
  • At the Man Cave event, the “tree” is a stack of green beer bottles, and the “gifts” are beercans with red ribbons standing underneath it! There are over 30 gifts here, all for male avatars.
  • The VERSUS event has five gifts at the landing point, including ice skates, roller skates, and a jetski, and there are many other gifts which are located in Christmas stockings at the various vendor booths. You must join the VERSUS group for free to get these gifts, including the Estephania full-body female mesh avatar by Altamura, which previously was a gift in the SL Frees & Offers Hunt. (UPDATE: Although this was a free group join when I first visited, the organizers have since raised the group join fee to L$50.)
  • The Très Chic event has a pile of presents under the Christmas tree outside, plus gifts at some of the vendor booths inside. Join the Très Chic group for free to get these Christmas gifts.
  • As in past years, the Cosmopolitan event has gifts in over 30 Christmas stockings hung on the large Christmas tree at the entrance. You do have to join the Cosmopolitan group for free to get these gifts.
  • UPDATE Dec. 23rd: I just found out that all the gifts under the Christmas Tree at Sn@tch will be FREE on Christmas Day!
  • UPDATE Dec. 25th: Fallen Gods has a wonderful assortment of gifts under their Christmas tree! No group is required.
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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Most of the advent calendars and 12 Days of Christmas calendars operated by in-world stores in Second Life require you to show up each day to get the advent gift for that date. Sometimes, you may be able to purchase previous days’ gifts for a small fee. But there are a few calendars which allow you to pick up today’s gift, plus all the previous days’ gifts, for free or a small group join fee. Here’s a list of locations where I intend to visit sometime on Dec. 24th or 25th to pick up all the gifts at one time!

  • ALB Dream Fashion & ShuShu has an advent calendar where you can pick up most (not all) of the previous days’ gifts. No group is required.
  • At ML Fashion, you can not only get all the gifts at once on their Advent Calendar on Christmas Day, you can also pick up their Peace on Earth Hunt prize, which is tucked away at the very top of their Christmas-tree-shaped calendar! No group is required.
  • Both Emerald Couture (women’s wear) and Emerald Man (menswear by the same designer) have not one, but two Advent calendars: one requires you to join their respective groups (for free) and you can only pick up gifts on the appropriate date, but each store also has a second Advent calendar which does not require a group, and you can pick up all the previous days’ gifts for free! (Use the provided SLURLs to find the exact locations of the no-group-required Advent calendars; they are in a different location than the “regular” Advent calendars.)
  • JUMO has a 12 Days of Christmas calendar where you pick up all the gifts at once. Remember to come back on New Year’s Eve for a final gift! All gifts are free and do not require a group membership.
  • And, last but not least, Altamura lets you pick up all their 12 Days of Christmas gifts under their Christmas tree at one time! You do have to join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group for L$25 to get these gifts, which include the Omega-compatible Leila Bento mesh head for female avatars, and a nice set of Omega skin appliers, in all the Altamura skintones, to use with that head! And apparently, they will also put out a male Bento mesh head as an Advent gift well sometime in the coming days. Altamura often has group specials and gifts throughout the year, so it’s well worth it to spend the L$25 to join their group now, and stay subscribed (usually, the join fee for the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group is L$50).
  • UPDATE Dec. 25th: Surprise! Firelight Hair has made all the previous days’ Advent gifts available for free (you do need to join the Firelight group for free).

So, there you have it! Play your cards right on Christmas Day, and in one series of teleports around the grid, you can pick up dozens and dozens of Christmas presents for free or next-to-nothing! Happy freebie shopping!

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash