I have been giving this blogpost a lot of thought and have had it in draft for quite a while, re-reading and re-writing it ever so often – not sure on how to put all this into a comprehensible article, without making me sound like a whining arrogant twat…
The title is referring to my.secondlife.com, aka the Profile Feed. For those not familiar with it, it’s the social media network of SL, which you can either access and use from your inworld profile or via your browser outside of SL.
I started using it the day it was introduced, around 2 years ago (wild guess here) and it really started to lift off and got more users when it became possible to add inworld snapshots to it, about 1,5 year ago.
In short: you can follow other residents, their posts/snapshots will then appear on your following tab (a great alternative for the friendslist) and when a post gets two or more ‘ loves’ it will automatically ‘ trend’ and will be seen on the trending tab. Trending means it is visible for not only your friends and followers, but also for other residents not in your own social circle.
You have a few options to decide yourself who can and cannot comment/love or see your stuff, that is all to be found in your settings. To prevent certain individuals from seeing your feed, you need to block/mute them inworld. They will however always be able to see your post when they end up in trending.
I have my profile feed open to all, but only logged-in residents can comment/love. I have very few people blocked.
From the start I have always found the feed an excellent medium to share Second Life experiences with others. I love to post snapshots when I am exploring, I post links to my blog, I post pictures of new outfits and random silly pics too. This way I have met a lot of other feed-users, on the feed mostly – hardly inworld – and found many nice places, shops, learned about events and lots of other stuff. Good things mostly!
As things go in online social media, things can get somewhat out of hand. Or out of control even. By now, after all this time, I have a pretty long list of ‘ followers’ and realise that – although I find it hard to admit as it seems so arrogant – I seem to live a very public Second Life. Yeah….I even get recognized Inworld and get IM’s when I am shopping or exploring, it always amazes me and uhm….I blush everytime it happens. I do not know all who follow my adventures personally, it would be too much, but I do appreciate them all!
Is it all happy ‘rainbow farting Unicorns and glittery Fairies’ on the feed?
Alas, no. It is impossible to be friends with the whole world and you cannot please everyone, so I am aware there are people out there who cringe at every pic or post they see from me. And surely not everyone appreciates my series, my sense of humour or my style. I can live with that.
Actually, I am not any different. I, too, scroll past posts and pics I do not find attractive in any way.
What bothers me though, and lately this has got me thinking, is this feeling I am starting to have: My own feed is not really mine anymore.
Sure, I can post whatever and whatever I please, it is technically MY feed. It is just the recent awareness that everything I post, every other post I comment to and every love I get or give is being analysed and judged by people that do not like me, my posts, my friends and everything I do.
It is, in my experience, developing a life of it’s own.
An example, and I will not name names and not give links, is: the fact I have made some comments on a pic with obvious adult content – a pic of a whole series of an unknown person to me – which I stumbled across in trending.
The next thing I know I get told off on a pic I post myself, while in a club and having invisible prims highlighted, of a guy with his male attachment in full. (I do this sometimes, but never post the full avatar and never mention a name, as to keep them anonymous.).
Also, I get bashed by some posters for posting pics of n00bs, and am accused of making fun of innocent new residents, so Caitlin must be a horrible person and who-the-hell does she thinks she is?
(They do not know, or even consider the possibility Caitlin always gives a link to the noob, often makes a really nice profile picture for them to use and in a lot of cases…Caitlin IS the n00b – starter avatars anyone?).
And it doesn’t stop with just some negative posts about me by certain posters, no no…it means IM’s inworld, private messages on the feed and lots of comments on my blog (the real nasty shit I delete, do not publish and try to forget). All made by unknown people, in my world: alts.
Now, I can handle negative or not so positive feedback. It’s fine, you do not have to love me or like me. I like a bit of poking here and there, some banter etc, as long as it is really not mean and certainly NOT about real life. I poke, I get poked – all part of (second) life.
I am, however, currently at the point that I feel I cannot poke/joke or banter anymore. As it will be interpreted, by some, as if I am Satan herself and everything I post after that will be proof of my evil character.
So I am re-considering my feed participation and trying to find the best way for me. I still love to share places, shops and cool stuff. I still love to see that from others.
And nope! I won’t stop posting, I just need some time to find the best way to re-decorate my glass house, since my cosy wooden cabin on the feed has turned into one… :).