Quechup on spam – viral marketing gone wrong

Posted by jerry on September 3rd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Perhaps you are one of the lucky ones who has not yet received a dozen invites from trusted friends about joining the latest social networking site – Quechup. It seems that as part of the signup process Quechup scans your gmail in-box and emails everyone in it. This is not an opt-in option. Fortunately I read the list of ‘benefits’ and found virtually no difference from Facebook – which isn’t (quite) so aggressive – so I didn’t sign up and add to the global spam content.

This is certainly not the way viral marketing is supposed to work – ie it’s not actually meant to be like a virus that self-replicates around the internet – rather it should be about a good meme that others think is a really good idea and feels they want to share it with others – a soort of positive people power.

Instead, the involuntary sharing of Quechup invites seems about a attractive as turning up at a party with the flu and ‘sharing’ it with everyone!

My advice for what it’s worth is to avoid Quechup like the proverbial. I’ll stick to Facebook where I have more control over the process.

And don’t take my word for it – check out the technorati tag cloud on this topic.

Dealing with griefers in SecondLife

Posted by jerry on September 2nd, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media

Wherever there’s a positive creative space, there’s always someone who wants to spoil it for others – and virtual world SecondLife is no exception. Maybe it’s a power trip thing, maybe it’s someone’s idea of a joke, but it can be disconcerting – even upsetting to be the butt of a griefer’s fun.

I attended a really useful class run in-world by Ayla Curry at the GQ teaching site on dealing with griefers.

SL counter-griefing class

Griefing can take many forms – the one common feature is it’s a form of bullying. Some shoot guns that push your avatar around, some surround you in particles until everything slows down under the processing weight, and some try to get control of your avatar and make it do things you don’t want it to. Some are just abusive, incite vilification, or belittle a newbie’s attempts to come to grips with their new surroundings.

Most people respond with anger – and that’s exactly what the griefer wants – a sign that they have had an impact. So it’s important to stay calm – there are several things you can do.

If you are surrounded by fog or particles you can go to the View menu and click on BEACONS – you can edit out particles and then you can see again.

SL counter-griefing class

If an avatar is pointing a gun then sit down. That’s it – just find something to sit on – the ground will do – and sit down. This immobilises your avatar and renders it immune to pushing by others.

If they attach something that follows you around – like a big spider or a sound that hurls abuse – try teleporting out – anything that is attached can’t follow through a teleport.

And if all else fails log out and log in again later.

If you can get a screenshot of the griefer or capture chat history of any abuse then you have the identity of the griefer and proof of abuse – report it to Linden Labs and it is likely that person will be banned from the world.

Above all, stay calm and breath deeply. It’s only a game after all! And remember: WHEN IN DOUBT – LOGOUT!

SL counter-griefing class

For more information, consult the Secondlife knowledge base (login required).

Many thanks to Ayla Curry for her time and generosity 🙂


Sliterary Magazine – Literary stories from SecondLife

Posted by jerry on August 26th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Writing

I was about to log out when I received an announcement of a literary group meeting hosted by Morrhys Graysmark and Ina Centaur of the biennial literary magazine Sliterary Stories of Fiction and Second Life. I arrived not long after the session started and was welcomed and invited to take a seat (with the choice of seat or mushroom to sit on – and I was warned that the mushrooms make one brood). I risked it anyhow. What followed was a spirited discussion on the kinds of literature being produced in SecondLife – ranging from romances to thrillers, poetry to dramatic scripts. There was discussion of the merits of linear and ‘choose your own adventure’-styles.

And like any serious literary group there were offers of collaboration and critique exchanges.


The three-person editorial board – which includes RL journalists – decides on the merits of submissions to be included (or rejected) and, unusually for SL, offers RL rates for SL fiction. The focus is on fiction themed on SecondLife or on the crossover between secondlife and real life. The fiction is then published both in-world and on the web with each edition attracting in the order of 1000 downloads from the website and about the same in SecondLife. So it has a good circulation for a literary magazine.

Many of the participants are published authors in their own right. And the quality of writing is excellent – the fiction of the metaverse!

Who knows? perhaps I’ll send in a piece to test the waters for a more extended piece of fiction – but the deadline is very soon. In any event I’m looking forward to seeing the next issue 🙂


On hearing yourself fly – mac audio and SecondLife

Posted by jerry on August 24th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Technology

Have you been having problems getting SecondLife sound into your mac? It may be your audio settings in the sound preferences.
The solution has been posted by Barry on the Global Media Initiative blog

– Open the program Audio MIDI Setup [it’s in the Utilities folder in Applications].
– Change the audio output from 96000 to 44100.
– Restart Second Life

And Voila! you can hear yourself fly (and talk and listen to the birds and waterfalls..)


Revisiting Wittgenstein

Posted by jerry on August 19th, 2007 — Posted in Journal, New media, Theory

I think it’s timely to revisit Wittgenstein – the early and the late – it terms of how do his views stand up in respect of new media and new media literacies.

“The world is all that is the case – the world is the totality of facts not of things”

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”

Here in the Tractatus, Wittgenstein is setting out an extension of the phenomenological understanding of the world – ie as it presents itself to us – as a function of concepts, perhaps not independent of ‘world stuff’, but constrained by our understanding of that which presents itself to our senses.

In the later Philosophical Investigations (16 years after the Tractatus) Wittgenstein extends his views to speak of language in context and of non-linguistic thought and raises the question of the possibility of a private language, or a pre-linguistic one. “If I draw a person what do I mean by it?” At what point is meaning present? and is ‘meaning’ the same as ‘thought’?”

At this point, Wittgenstein acknowledges that one can mean without verbal language – that even an air-drawing may signify a person, and so he continues to problematise aspects of language as only one of many signifying systems. Moreover he speaks of the problem of perception and that what may be intended may not be what is conveyed – for example by the ambiguous drawing of a duck-rabbit – sometimes seen as one or the other – often depending on context – ie if pictured with a field of rabbits we see a rabbit, but if in a pond of ducks we see the duck. So he is identifying the limits of language – notably that each person’s experience causes them to comprehend something a little different from the same utterance as that of another.

In this sense, Wittgenstein is also acknowledging Saussure’s view that the assignation of meaning to signs in language is arbitrary.

Perhaps this underlines the importance of even the limited gestures available in SecondLife and other virtual worlds.