The RyanSchultz.com Blog Celebrates Five Years!

It was exactly five years ago today—on July 31st, 2017—that I wrote my first blogpost on this blog. It was to announce the public beta of the social VR platform Sansar, which at the time was owned by Linden Lab (the makers of the still-popular virtual world, Second Life).

At the time, this blog was called the Sansar Newsblog, because that was the only metaverse platform I wrote about. Over time, I began to expand my coverage to include many other social VR platforms and flatscreen virtual worlds, and on February 10th, 2018, I changed the name to the RyanSchultz.com blog.

One of the advantages of using your real-life name as your blog name is that you can go off on tangents, and because it’s you, you never go off-brand! 😉 And so, in addition to “news and views about social VR, virtual worlds, and the metaverse” (as the tagline for this blog states), I have written about artificial intelligence, the crypto/NFT space, and notably, my experiences during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past five years, my blog has become more popular, and I have even been interviewed by publications such as The Globe and Mail newspaper and New Yorker magazine. I’ve also been a guest on several podcasts about the ever-evolving metaverse.

In 2018, I set up a Patreon (from which I earn a small amount of money, enough to cover my WordPress.com hosting costs), and I also set up my Discord server, which now boasts over 685 members representing any and every metaverse platform!

In retrospect, creating the RyanSchultz.com Discord was one of the smartest things I have done. I have made so many new online friends who are also keenly interested in the metaverse! I rely on them to alert me to news and events happening on the various social VR platforms like VRChat, and in the flatscreen virtual worlds like Second Life. Honestly, I get half my new story ideas from them, and I thank them! And I believe that the members of my Discord are the single best team of metaverse bullshit detectors on the planet! 😉

Some statistics from five years of blogging:

  • 2,553 blogposts (which works out to 1.4 posts per day, over 1,827 days)
  • Over 1,280,000 blogpost views (my busiest month so far has been January 2022, with over 40,100 views!)
  • Over 720,000 blog visitors from all around the world (top ten countries in order: United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Australia, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Brazil, and Spain)
  • Over 1,500 comments!
  • Over 450 blog subscribers via email or WordPress

My Top Ten Most Popular Blogposts in 2022:

Please note that, for a few months in 2022, I did test out Patreon patron-exclusive blogposts, but I have since decided that it’s not worth the hassle (also, Patreon has changed its rules and that particular plug-in no longer works in WordPress unless I upgrade from “Patreon Lite” to “Patreon Pro”). Accordingly, I have now unlocked all my previously-restricted blogposts, and you should be able to access and read all of them. Please note that all these blogposts are safe for work, even the ones which discuss adult or sexual topics.

  1. The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat—Hidden Adult Content (which to my bemusement, is still, far and away, THE most popular blogpost on this blog, mainly because it comes up as the first result when you Google “vrchat adult”)
  2. Welcome to the Metaverse: A Comprehensive List of Social VR/AR Platforms and Virtual Worlds (Including a List of Blockchain Metaverse Platforms)
  3. A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get Started in Decentraland (and Some Caveats for New Users)
  4. Clip and Save: Ryan’s All-In-One Guide to Freebies in Second Life
  5. LGBTQ Spaces in Social VR and Virtual Worlds: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Places in the Metaverse
  6. List of Non-Combat, Open-World Exploration/Puzzle/Life Simulation Games
  7. 3DX Chat—A Brief Introduction (and the Biggest Problem with Most Adult Virtual Worlds)
  8. Shopping for a New Penis in Second Life: Any Recommendations?
  9. Exploring Sleep Worlds in VRChat
  10. Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Female Second Life Avatars

As you can see, sex is popular, as can be seen by numbers 1, 7, 8, and maybe 5 on this Top Ten list! However, as I have stated in my ever-popular list of social VR, virtual worlds and metaverse platforms:

Please note that there are two categories of metaverse platforms which I will not endeavour to cover on this list:

• Products aimed at the teen/tween market (mostly on mobile devices, e.g. IMVU); and
• Purely sexually oriented or “adult” virtual worlds and social VR

Why? Well, I’m not interested in either category, and I will the herding of those particular categories of cats to other people… I’ve got my hands full as it is!

However, you can expect a complete overhaul and reorganization of my list of metaverse platforms (item #2 in my Top Ten list above) in the second half of this year.

Also, although I still dearly love to spend time there, I will be spending less and less time writing about Second Life on the RyanSchultz.com blog. While my coverage of “Steals, Deals, and Freebies” in Second Life has proven extremely popular, and I have firmly established my credentials as a freebie fashionista, there’s just so many other things that I want to write about! Instead, I would encourage my faithful Second Life readers to join my in-world group, where I will continue to post fabulous fashion freebies as I encounter them in my travels around the grid (group join fee is L$50).

While my formerly blistering pace of blogging has slowed somewhat this year, I do plan to continue reporting on news and events in the ever-expanding and ever-evolving metaverse, and the many companies who are building it!

Cheers!! Here’s to the next five years!

Housekeeping Notice: The NeosVR Dispute

SEE ALSO: Housekeeping Notice: I’m Juggling

Because I have been occupied with my full-time paying job as a university librarian these past couple of months, I have fallen behind on my monitoring of what’s been going on in the many social VR, virtual world, and metaverse platforms I write about on the RyanSchultz.com blog.

So I have been out of the loop (and trying to get up-to-date) on the recent news about NeosVR, and the now-public dispute between the company’s CEO and the rest of the team, involving NeosVR’s cryptocurrency, called NCR. I have been madly bookmarking and reading everything that I could get my hands on over the past three days, and at this point, due to the large volume of information I have to sift through, I will probably be writing up a series of blogposts, instead of just a single blogpost, starting sometime next week. I do realize that because of my position and experience, I might be the best-placed person to write up something about this dispute!

But with that position and experience, I also have a responsibility.

I have learned (the hard way) some hard lessons covering corporate disputes and controversy in the past on my blog (notably the series of layoffs at Sansar), where I realized that I wasn’t just a blogger—I’m a reporter, and what I write has real-world impacts on the metaverse platforms involved, and the companies that build them. You could say that I have become somewhat battle-hardened. This means that I have a responsibility to my readers to be as accurate and as neutral as possible, while still having an editorial viewpoint (after all, the tagline of the RyanSchult.com blog is “News and Views on Social VR, Virtual Worlds, and the Metaverse”).

So, I plan to dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s before I publish anything about the NeosVR situation, and I will also try to incorporate a variety of perspectives and opinions, using direct quotes of source material as much as possible.

TL;DR: I am very well aware of what’s going on over at NeosVR, I am actively researching it, and I plan to write up a series of blogposts about the dispute, probably starting later next week.

P.S. Of course, I have many other story ideas in the hopper, as I usually do (for example, the response of the AltspaceVR community to the removal of the central gathering places like the campfire by the company). I never have a shortage of things to write about lately, there’s just so much happening! Stay tuned 😉

Housekeeping Notice: I’m Juggling

Between the ongoing pandemic, the recently-concluded five-week faculty strike at my university, and now the unexpected war in Ukraine, things have been a little crazy around here these past 3 months (did you know that 14.5% of Manitobans are of Ukrainian ancestry?). Like many of you, I have been glued to the news lately.

Throw in a broken Valve Index VR headset (my unit, of course, died a couple of months after its one-year warranty expired, and Steam has asked me to ship back my headset and cables to be replaced with a refurbished, non-warrantied, headset.) Also, Carlos and I have also—finally!—started working on Episode 1 of Season 2 of the Metaverse Newscast, about which I will be sharing more news soon.

I forgot to mention that after 23 months of working from home for my university, this week I finally returned to my office in the library full-time. (The University of Manitoba has a firm vaccine mandate and a KN95 facemask mandate. Faculty, staff, and students were required to upload proof of vaccination to a special, secure website, and students who did not do so were deregistered from their courses this term. U of M is following the science and absolutely not messing around, which makes me feel much more comfortable coming in to work every day!)

I’m juggling a lot of balls at the moment
(photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash)

I’m juggling a lot at the moment. All of this is my very long-winded way of saying: don’t expect a whole lot of blogposts from me over the next few weeks. I’ll do my level best to stay on top of all the news and events happening in the metaverse, but no promises 😉

Thanks to my readers and followers for your continued support and engagement! And you are welcome to join the RyanSchulz.com Discord server, with 650 passionate members, representing every social VR platform and virtual world! We discuss, debate and argue about the ever-evolving metaverse and all the companies building it, and we’d love to have you participate (or, if you prefer, just lurk and learn!).

Two New Sansar Blogs: Sergio Delacruz and The VirtualTrotter

It’s wonderful to see new Sansar blogs popping up in the blogosphere! Here are details on two more that I found this morning.

Sergio Delacruz is a talented Sansar content creator and scripter who already has quite a few items up for sale in the Sansar Store:

Sergio Delacruz 18 May 2018.png

The VirtualTrotter is a Sansar blog by Sarah, who describes herself as:

I’m Sarah the author of The VirtualTrotter and Fashion Salad SL.  I love to explore new places in Sansar and Second life, fashion and having fun taking pics! I hope you like my work!

The VirtualTrotter 18 May 2018.png

Both new blogs have been added to my blogroll on the RyanSchultz.com blog.