How to Improve Second Life New User Retention

Reader Recommendations

SL user experience first time

Whoever Linden Lab hires to fix its first-time user experience, they may want to take a look at what New World Notes readers recommend:

Optimize the first-time orientation for low-end computers. Ideally it should look halfway decent on even a PC/Mac laptop with no 3D card. More from Yves Firlan:

Update the default settings so any system they might have runs halfway stable with decent graphics after installing the viewer for the first time (like: did they ever change the default setting for bandwidth from 500 to 950/1000 which is one of the main reasons things rez frustratingly slow for Newbies?)

Immediately connect new users with affinity groups:

I don’t think there is a single new user experience in the history of Second Life’s carrier that prompts you to join groups you may be interested in. Such a no brainer for social. — Adeon Writer

[I]t’s astounding Linden Lab never figured that one out. To take it further, groups need to be improved. (Or maybe we need a feature separate from groups that can act more as a social hub, as current groups are tied to land ownership and other features that limit how many groups we can have, cause group chat issues, etc.) — Penny

Yes, exactly. I’d go so far as to say new users should be able to choose groups on the webpage sign-up.

A couple more important recommendations:

Update the default avatar:

Refusing to update the default body, instead pushing us to user-created mesh bodies, fractured the entire avatar creation aspect of SL. Now you need to choose a mesh body, which costs money, and to make an informed decision you need to understand the THREE different types of rigged mesh (rigged, fitted, and Bento), understand that clothing is made for specific bodies, and have a grasp of what kind of clothing support each body has. How is a newbie supposed to figure all that out on their own? – Penny

That’s good advice but not sure how feasible it is, since so much of the SL economy depends on mesh bodies.

Speaking of which, here’s a radical ideas —

Pay established SLers to onboard new users:

The way SL is designed it will never be easy to use, one can only make it easier for newcomers to stay by assigning them a Mentor who should get some type of remuneration from Linden Lab depending on how long they can make their Mentees stay and come back into SL. – Yves

Second Life’s many complexities are so difficult to fix, it might make more sense to literally pay veteran Second Life users a “bounty” to onboard new users, spending the 3-5 hours necessary to get them over the first-time user experience barrier. 

I’m not sure how feasible this suggestion is either, but look at it this way:

If Linden Lab paid, say, $10 in Linden Dollars for each successfully on boarded, retained new user — i.e. someone who logs into SL 3 months after creating their account — it would cost the company $1 million to grow its user base an extra 100,000; to add 1 million new users, just $10 million. And maybe that would be the most cost-effective way to grow the user base? 

Have A Great Week And Happy Holidays From All Of Us At Zoha Islands/ Fruit Islands! We will have limited support during the Holidays while our staff spend the holidays with their loved ones, so please be patient.

World Premiere!

Be the First to See WAARHEID and Meet the Cast on Lab Gab



We’re excited to announce that Second Life and Film Threat are partnering for the world premiere of WAARHEID, the sequel to STÖMOL, an award-winning feature-length sci-fi movie shot entirely in Second Life by machinima creator Huckleberry Hax! Watch it live with your fellow residents at a special virtual cinema screening event exclusively at the Film Threat venue in Second Life!

Huckleberry Hax has been a resident of Second Life since 2007. He has also written a number of novels set in Second Life. WAARHEID stars Caitlin Tobias returning to reprise the role of the ill-fated truth hunter from the previous film and AvaJean Westland as Totuus. It also features Ylva, Strawberry Singh, Boudicca Amat, Lydia Lindemann, Mich Michabo, and Huckleberry Hax himself.

Learn more about this special screening event and watch some of the cast on Lab Gab as they give you a peek behind the scenes and also a walk through the WAARHEID art exhibition opening soon. You can also watch the trailer for this movie on Huckleberry Hax’s YouTube channel!

Add the following dates and timings for the upcoming events to your calendar:

Friday, December 9th at 10am PT – Watch the cast of WAARHEID on Lab Gab on the Second Life YouTube channel!

Thursday, December 15th at 1:30pm PT – Come to the Virtual Cinema Screening Event for WAARHEAD at the Film Threat venue in Second Life!


WAARHEID Virtual Cinema Screening Event

Watch WAARHEID, a feature-length sci-fi thriller completely shot in Second Life, during this special virtual cinema screening event at the Film Threat venue in Second Life. Watch together with the cast and crew of the film and along with other members of the SL community on Thursday, December 15th at 1:30pm PT!

Visit in Second Life
Have A Great Week From All Of Us At Zoha Islands/ Fruit Islands


Trouble Seeing Your Computer Screen?

Ben Franklin opined that nothing is certain except death and taxes. I would add “aging eyesight” because it affects everyone eventually, diminishing the pleasure and productivity of computing. Various adaptive technologies are available to compensate for loss of visual acuity. Some are built into Windows. But these options all have limitations, and using them in certain combinations can actually make it more difficult to make sense of what’s before your eyes. Read on for a look at Windows display settings and how to use them to best advantage…

Getting Windows Display Settings Right

Before trying to improve the display it’s best to reset it to default values so you know how the manufacturer intended things to look. Defaults also provide a baseline against which tweaks can be compared.

Open the “Change Display Settings” desktop app by right-clicking anywhere on the desktop and selecting “Display settings” from the drop down menu, or type “Settings” in the search box, double-click on the Settings app, click System, then Display. On Windows 10 or 11, you will see a list of controls like the one below.

Set the following items to the values indicated to restore your display to its defaults:

  • Night Light: Off
  • Size of text, apps, and other…: 100%
  • Resolution: “recommended,” the highest your display supports
  • Orientation: Landscape

On some devices you may see a Brightness control in the Display Settings panel. I recommend setting it at 50%, or as close as you can get it with the finicky slide control. (Some monitors have physical menu buttons on the front, side or underneath, that let you fine tune the brightness, hue, scaling, and other aspects of the display. If yours does, check those settings and set them to default values as well.)

If any advanced display settings are in effect you will see a notice to that effect. If you do, follow the instructions to disable them. You will be logged out and will need to sign in again to see the default settings take effect.

On a Windows 7 system, there are fewer controls. Click Start, enter “display settings” and then click the item “Change display settings”. Set your screen resolution to the highest your display supports, then click Apply. Next, click the “Make text and other items larger or smaller” link. Choose the “Smaller – 100%” option. Finally, click “Adjust ClearType text” and follow the instructions to get the sharpest-looking text on your display.

Moving Beyond Default Display Settings

Change Windows display settings

Most likely, things will look smaller, crisper, and move faster. Using default display settings has a positive effect on overall system performance because few resources are diverted to accommodating custom display settings.

SL Christmas Expo 2022 Is Fast Approaching

SL Christmas Expo 2022 Is Fast Approaching

The 12th annual Second Life Christmas Expo for 2022 will open to the public next week on Friday 2nd December through until Sunday 11th December 2022. The SL Christmas Expo 2022 theme is The Magic of Holiday Stories.

The SL Christmas Expo regions have arrived on the grid and now work is underway to get them ready for the big grand opening next week. The SL Christmas Expo is spread across 12 regions (Chapters – different holiday story) featuring more than 150 shops and more.

There will be live entertainment, live performances, special hunts, decoration competitions, photos with Santa and much more. The return of Linden Lights of Hope region showcasing Linden Homes from Linden Lab. There could new details announced about the next Linden Home theme during the expo.

SL Christmas Expo 2022 Regions

Please spread the word about next week’s SL Christmas Expo 2022.

Have a great week from all of us at Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands

The Leviathan Bay

Dive into a world of new possibilities at Leviathan Bay in Second Life, where a city once thriving, was hit with a mysterious disaster and is now flooded and taken over by sea life!

Ziekling Bunnyhug started this community over 8 years ago and tells us more about it in her own words: 

“Our community can be as hard to define as Second Life itself. It’s not exactly a place to role-play, but it has a story. It’s not exactly a dance club, but we do have musical events with DJs and live musicians too. 

I’ve been taking inspiration from RL cities that I’ve been to, places I would like to see, places I’ve explored in other games, and mashed it all together. 

We also have a lovely little art gallery in the center of the city, run by one of our own long-term staff members, Apple, showcasing her real-life artwork. 

Meanwhile, our original builder HG will be hosting her own Groovi Movie which is a drive-in theater up the road, with its own sunflower beach and community area. 

Under the water, we have the sunken city and if you explore the subways it will lead you to Leviathan’s Lair, sometimes even featuring Cerberus (who owns the region) himself!” 

When asked what Second Life means to her, Ziekling tells us: 

“Second Life is my creative outlet, it’s a mirror I look into that reflects my dreams and desires, but the most important thing it has been for me is a home. I’ve moved a lot IRL, to different cities, states, and even another country. It is hard to make friends just to say goodbye to them shortly after. In SL I am able to keep meaningful relationships close no matter where I end up physically. 

Creativity was always a part of my life. I was into drawing, painting, the typical art forms you learn in school, lots of doodling, and lots of daydreaming. I always had a world inside my head and in SL it’s not only a way for me to enter it, but I can bring other people to that world too.” 

Meet the other members of Leviathan Bay that make this community thrive: 


Video Production by Draxtor Despres


The Leviathan Bay

The Bay returns in its new form. Jump into the future where a city, once thriving, was hit with a mysterious disaster, flooding the lower half and taken over by the mermaids and sea life nearby. Only a small portion of the city remains, where the people rebuilt. There is an entire area full of life with a thriving art district and many restaurants on the main road, as well as a theatre for special events and many venues for entertainment. Perfect for hanging out, exploring, photography, or on a date with someone special. Casual RP is welcome but not required.

Visit in Second Life
Have A Great Week From All Of Us At Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands

Monday Memory

When IBM’s Metaverse Campus Was Flooded With a Labor Union Protesters Including a Large Angry Banana

IBM metaverse campus protest 2007

I recently chatted with Samantha Cole of Vice for her article “The Corporate Metaverse Can’t Compete” and am kicking myself for forgetting to mention the wackiest example of emergent social behavior in a corporate-sponsored metaverse experience — that time IBM’s official campus in Second Life was flooded with labor protesters from IBM’s Italian branch, including a sign-waving banana:

Most of the activity seemed to be concentrated on the IBM Italia region on the corporate campus– unsurprising, since the protest is over a paycut impacting Italian  workers of the company.  In any case, they continued streaming in, and the leaders kept count of unique visitors.  At the end, the Uni Global Second Life spokesman told me they’d counted 1850 in all. 

What IBM management thinks of all this is still unclear; I talked to several staffers on campus during the strike, and they declined comment. A senior IBM staffer watched the protest from a distance, but when I asked to take a screenshot, he promptly vanished into the metaverse aether.

IBM’s Second Life presence wasn’t just a marketing/PR stunt; thousands of employees used it for remote meetings every week; IBM staff were also behind a ultimate unsuccessful attempt to make Second Life interoperable with OpenSim. Instead of engaging with the avatar protesters, which would probably we the wiser path, I later found out from an IBM staffer that they were under strict orders not to engage with them at all.

In any case, the takeaway for companies now: If you do plan to have a metaverse platform presence, prepare for this and even more chaotic user-driven events to happen there.

More from the Sam Cole article:

For many companies, the thought of letting people run roughshod over their hard virtual work would be untenable. Unpredictable humans will do unpredictable, and potentially unsavory, things to your nice sterile VR world or shiny new brand activation. In 2006, after it opened a news bureau in Second Life, CNET learned this the hard way when a protestor pummeled a live interview with custom-made flying penises

But the risk of flying penises has to outweigh the payoff of a truly interactive space. Customization and control over one’s own experience—in a social way, beyond the same 10 pre-programmed hair, nose, or outfits to choose from—is central to immersion…

The few instances of successful campaigns worked with users in already-existing spaces, instead of trying to force people into boring new virtual malls. And they know their audiences. In spaces like Walmart Land in Roblox (not to be confused with VRChat Kmart, the unsanctioned project where people LARP as Kmart employees), there’s not a lot of aggressive Walmart branding or stuff to buy. There’s just Roblox games that kids would enjoy, and live musical events with Gen Z artists. In L’Oreal’s brand activation in Second Life, the company placed replicas of its cosmetic products within an already popular user-generated world called Greenies [above]. 

“If I was going to leave you with any conclusions, it would be, don’t take Meta’s framing for what it is,” Au said. “Corporate engagement is simple. You just have to respect the community and the platform, and understand the medium. It’s a totally different thing than traditional social media. It won’t be the dominant thing, it will be a large part of it.” What worked on Instagram probably won’t work in an interactive, live world.

Read the rest here.

Have a Great week from all of us at Zoha Islands/Fruit Islands