An egg is always an adventure; the next one may be different.— Oscar Wilde (source)
One of the things I love about hosting a blog on WordPress is that I can review my statistics over time, to see which posts are more popular and which ones aren’t. I have completely given up on my ability to predict which ones will fall into the first category, and which ones will fall into the second! A blogpost I dash off in a hurry without much thought can blow up on me, while a second one I slaved over and post in high expectations goes pffft! It just happens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
So, on a whim, and to get a better sense of what’s trending overall, I ran some stats today on my 12 most popular blogposts over the past 365 days (Feb. 16th, 2021 to Feb. 15th, 2022). I do hasten to assure you, gentle reader, that all links in this list are safe for work, so don’t be afraid to click on them 😉
- The Dirty Little Secret of VRChat: Hidden Adult Content – I am endlessly bemused by the fact that it is still, far and away, the most visited blogpost on my blog, with 72,351 visits over the past 365 days, which works out to almost 200 views per day, mostly because it is usually the top result when people search Google for “VRChat sex” or “VRChat adult”, or something similar…and I hate to break it to you, people, but you are not gonna find NSFW worlds in VRChat using the Google search engine!
- Welcome to the Metaverse: A Comprehensive List of Social VR/AR Platforms and Virtual Worlds – this popular, constantly-updated alphabetical listing has seen a surge in visits since Facebook rebranded to Meta in October 2021
- A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Get Started in Decentraland (and Some Caveats for New Users)
- Clip and Save: Ryan’s All-In-One Guide to Freebies in Second Life – this is a constantly-updated compilation of my best tips and tricks for finding fabulous fashion freebies and bargains in Second Life
- Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Meshbody Offers Free Versions of Their Classic Mesh Bodies for Men and Women
- 3DX Chat: A Brief Introduction (and the Biggest Problem with Most Adult Virtual Worlds)
- Second Life: Maitreya Releases Version 5.0 of the Maitreya Lara Female Mesh Avatar Body
- Second Life Steals, Deals and Freebies: Free and Inexpensive Mesh Heads and Bodies for Female Second Life Avatars
- LGBTQ Spaces in Social VR and Virtual Worlds
- Shopping for a New Penis in Second Life: Any Recommendations? – this link is safe for work
- List of Non-Combat, Open-World Exploration/Puzzle/Life Simulation Games
- How to Change Your Avatar Name in Second Life: A Step by Step Guide
So, what trends do we see in this list?
Trend 1: Sex (As Homer Simpson would say: D’OH!)
Well, it would appear that sexual/adult content and activities are perennially popular in virtual worlds and social VR, regardless of platform (#1, #6, perhaps #9, and most certainly #10 on this list).
There almost seems to be some sort of rule that if you can get two avatars together on a platform—any platform—they are going to try and have sex. In fact, to prove my point, the BBC reported today on sex “condos” in Roblox!
So I was not terribly surprised when Meta’s Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues social VR platforms recently implemented a hard-coded, four-foot boundary between avatars, after several women reported being sexually harassed (even though the avatars literally have no lower body!).
Trend 2: Lists of Metaverse and “Metaverse-Adjacent” Platforms
Secondly, people seem to be looking for comprehensive lists of metaverse platforms (#2) and what I like to call “metaverse-adjacent” content, i.e. non-combat, open-world platforms like Fortnite Party Royale and The Sims (#11). Of course, the line between the two is becoming ever more blurred.
One of my major tasks over the next few months is to complete a thorough reorganization and recategorization of the well over 160 entries on my increasingly popular list of social VR, virtual worlds, and metaverse platforms. I also want to update my equally popular, but by now somewhat dated, spreadsheet of what I consider the “top” social VR platforms (and a shout-out to Dr. Fran Babcock for doing some updating of the latter over the past few months; it is much appreciated!).
It would appear that there is lots of interest in my big-picture look at the metaverse and all the companies busy building it, so I intend to make both of these tasks a top priority, once things die down a bit at my full-time paying job as a university librarian!
Trend 3: Second Life Is Still Popular!
As I have said before, I never expected to become a prolific Second Life blogger, but it’s clear that my coverage (with a focus on Second Life steals, deals, and freebies) continues to be popular with my readers, and among the most-viewed content on my blog. While it may seem weird to write both about 18-year-old SL and then switch to writing about much newer platforms, I see everything as part of a seamless, whole history of the metaverse.
Of particular interest, I note a lot of traffic to my posts about both free and paid-for Second Life mesh heads and bodies (#4, #5, #7, #8, and of course, #10!). Therefore, I will continue to provide that coverage, and I may restructure my now-sprawling blogposts about free and inexpensive male and female mesh heads and bodies in SL, to make them easier for people to navigate…but only after I tackle the long-delayed reorganization of my metaverse list, mentioned under the previous trend!
Finally, people seem to value good, step-by-step instructions on how to do things in SL, like rename your avatar (#12), so I will be continuing to write up more blogposts in that vein.
Trend 4: Blockchain-Based Metaverse Platforms Are Becoming Ever More Popular
I notice that my step-by-step instructions for getting started in Decentraland (DCL) is an increasingly popular blogpost, even though the instructions may already be a bit dated (#4). As I have mentioned recently, DCL and all the NFT metaverses are seeing a huge surge in interest (and in financial speculation!), ever since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta, and Mark Zuckerberg announced that they would become a metaverse company.
And, as promised, I will be writing about all these platforms in 2022:
Although I have mentioned and written about a number of virtual world/social VR platforms on this list which DO incorporate blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), please note that I have, up until now, tended to focus only on those projects which ALREADY have an actual working platform, where you can create an avatar to visit and explore NOW: NeosVR, Cryptovoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium Space. I have not really written much about projects which have yet to launch, because frankly so many of them are vapourware!
However, given the current burst of enthusiasm for all things blockchain/crypto/NFT and metaverse (particularly after Facebook/Meta’s repivot to become a metaverse company in October 2021), I will endeavour to expand my coverage of such platforms in 2022.
And I remain highly concerned about the number of poorly-thought-out NFT metaverse projects (and frankly, just flat out scams) that seem to be proliferating by the day. I will also be writing a lot about that topic in the next 365 days, I suspect.
Trend 5: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer Spaces in the Metaverse
My blogpost about LGBTQ spaces in virtual worlds and social VR (#9) is becoming more and more popular over time, an indication that queer people are actively looking for community in the metaverse. Therefore, I will write more articles about that, too!