It’s actually just past a year since Telstra launched its Second Life presence. The reason we haven’t covered the anniversary until now is due to having a request for a comment in to Telstra on the first anniversary. There’s been no response, so I’ll reply on my observations and hopefully your comments on Telstra in Second Life.
The first theme that comes to mind is expansion – the initial eleven sims was significant but there are now sixteen in total plus the two Telstra Experience sims. Aside from geographical expansion, evolution in what’s offered on those sims has also changed, with the opening of rentals for individuals one landmark event. The SydSim virtual Sydney CBD expansion was also launched with some fanfare but is yet to be completed.
The second theme is learning – mostly on the part of Telstra. In the initial couple of weeks after its launch, The Pond sims were inundated with new and excited Australian Second Life users – the trouble was they weren’t getting any guidance. Not long after that, volunteer and paid staff started giving support in-world and that support is still pretty much in place. Another key learning was around what an effective social space was. The Pond sims have numerous activities and spaces – clubs, pubs, sport activities and sandboxes. And what’s the most popular? A bunch of wooden boxes out the front of the Billabong Bar. There’s nothing fancy – just the boxes to sit on and a campfire. And no matter what time of day or night it is, you’ll usually find a handful of people there chatting whilst the nearby club is deserted.
There’s no doubt Telstra have succeeded in Second Life – their traffic is considered one of the best for a corporate presence. They’ve been responsive to feedback and have had the resources to implement changes where needed. Whether they’ve succeeded in engaging the wider Second Life community is something to be judged by you. If you’re a regular Pond frequenter, what is it that keeps you coming back?