I Now Have 800 Followers on Twitter!

I logged into Twitter this morning to discover that I have hit a milestone: I now have 800 people following me! I realize that I am nowhere near people such as Kent Bye of the Voices of VR podcast with 24,000 followers, or Robert Scoble with his whopping 407,000 followers (both of whom follow me and sometimes retweet my tweets), but I still think that it’s something.

My handle on Twitter is Quiplash— short for “quipster whiplash”.  I am well-known in both real and virtual worlds for my snappy comebacks and my sarcasm! All of my blogposts here on the RyanSchultz.com blog are automatically posted to my Twitter feed when I hit the Publish button on WordPress.

At the moment, my Twitter feed is a rather bizarre mix of a few friends and coworkers from real life, a lot of people who work in and post about virtual reality, social VR/AR and virtual worlds—and a slew of infectious disease experts whom I started following because of the coronavirus pandemic! As I am trying to cut back on the amount of COVID-19 news I am consuming, I may decide to start pruning the list of people whom I follow on Twitter, to remove many of the latter group. While Twitter has afforded me a fascinating window into what the doctors and researchers talk about during the pandemic, all the relentless news and commentary on the continuing global public health crisis tends to wear me down after a while.

If you want to check out my Twitter profile, it is here. The picture I used for the banner image in my profile is from IDIA Lab’s world 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair, which you can visit and explore in Sansar.

And I’d like to thank all the people who think that I am interesting enough to follow! If you want to join my patrons who choose to support me financially for the blogging and video work I do, I would love you even more! Here’s my Patreon page, or if you prefer, you can simply buy me a coffee, making a one-time US$3 donation. Whether or not you choose to express your appreciation by supporting me financially for the work I do, thank you for reading this blog and following me on Twitter! Your support means the world to me.

Thank you for your support!
(Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay)

Quote of the Day: “An Hour in the Metaverse…”

Image created by rawpixel.com – www.freepik.com

Dana Cowley, who is the senior marketing manager at Epic Games (the makers of the phenomenally successful Fortnite), made a great observation about the metaverse that I wanted to share with you:

She said (or perhaps quoted), as part of her notes on the recent SIGGRAPH presentation by Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney:

An hour in the metaverse needs to be better than
– an hour on Facebook
– an hour on Instagram
– an hour on Twitter
– an hour on YouTube
– an hour on Netflix
– an hour in Fortnite
– an hour in anything we have now

In other words, the metaverse has to be so compelling—and offer something so different from what we have now—that people will inevitably flock to use it. It’s something to keep in mind as we look at the current landscape of social VR platforms and virtual worlds.

Editorial: Why I Think High Fidelity is Doomed

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Look, I realize that I have been exceptionally cranky lately when it comes to High Fidelity. The company is just trying so hard to make its remote teamwork social VR platform a thing, but, sweet minty Jesus, I think they are failing (and flailing) big time.

I follow the High Fidelity corporate Twitter account, and this morning, somebody posted the following tweet:

Clicking through takes you to the High Fidelity Marketplace, where you can pick up Piper Peppercorn’s virtual coffee mug for 25 HFC (High Fidelity Coin):

So, the thinking here is something along the lines of: “Hey, we want to get people visiting and using High Fidelity, so I have an idea! Let’s promote various items from the Marketplace on Twitter! Somebody will want that coffee mug so much, that they will:

  • download and install the High Fidelity client software;
  • create an avatar;
  • go shopping on the High Fidelity Marketplace and buy that coffee mug.”

I’m sorry, but that is a completely insane expectation. Between tweets for various objects for sale like this coffee mug and a scarf (yes, a scarf!), and numerous generic tweets about the joys and benefits of remote working, I am seriously starting to wonder what the hell is going on:

High Fidelity should stop trying to promote remote teamwork in general, and start focusing squarely on selling their platform. They are not going to convince any company to try using remote workers through these ineffective tweets. If they think this will actually make any sort of difference with executive decision makers, they are sadly mistaken.

The virtual coworking island cam fiasco is a perfect example of a company seemingly completely adrift, without any clear indication that they know what to do, or how to market themselves. It took two days—two days—for the company to even notice that its livestreams had no audio. And the livestreams hardly showed off the platform in its best light, even though they have some innovative product features such as spatialized audio. Nobody is going to watch these videos and think, “Hey, this is cool! I want this for my business!”

High Fidelity is one of the clients of a professional PR company, called Firebrand Communications; do they not listen to their advice at all? Or is this the best advice they are being given at this point? (One blog reader astutely pointed out that any good PR company would be monitoring mentions of their clients on social media and blogs, and stepping in when somebody posts highly critical, deeply negative blogposts like I have written about High Fidelity recently. That’s what PR companies do.)

High Fidelity is a sinking ship, and it just breaks my heart. I’m just going to come right out and say this: I now believe that the company is doomed. Their user forums are a virtual ghost town (nobody has posted anything for a week now, a troubling sign). Many people, like Jason Moore of the MetMovie Project, have abandoned HiFi for other social VR platforms. You load up the HiFi client and visit, and except for a few events like the weekly salon hosted by DrFran, the platform is empty.

High Fidelity is a case that should be studied at university business schools of how not to treat your existing userbase, and how not to promote yourself to try and get new customers. High Fidelity desperately needs help, particularly when it comes to marketing and public relations, and I’m not sure that they are going to get that help before they run out of the millions of dollars of venture capital they received, and simply close up shop.

So, what do you think? Please feel free to leave a comment below or, as always, you are welcome to join the freewheeling conversations, arguments, and debates about social VR and virtual worlds taking place on the RyanSchultz.com Discord server, the first cross-worlds discussion forum! We’d love to see you there.