Second Life: The Most Used Social Media Tool – By FAR!

The beauty of it is that the Internet, of course, is not “just Web pages” these days. In this early 21st century, we have an awesome new thing running on top of the Internet: online virtual worlds (either games or social online platforms like Second Life®). Sadly, there is no easy way to measure its “impact” using “page views” or “unique visitors”, although it’s usual to tell things like “number of registered users”, “number of active users” (for a given value of what “active” means), and “number of simultaneously online users” (ie. concurrency). These have no parallel with the Olde Webbe, where people hardly use those metrics. Ironically, “retention rate” has been recently featured by many sites — ie. it’s quite a novelty to hear that Twitter actually loses 60% of their registered users after just a month (Facebook allegedly only loses 30%). Churn rate — the percentage of users lost per month — was popular with ISPs in the late 1990s, but not so much after the first dot-com bubble burst (yes, we’re going through the second one 🙂 which might have a lesser impact than the first, since we’re through a financial crisis at the same time, while the 1990s were a decade of world-wide economic boom).

So, except for “number of users”, there seemed to be no easy way to compare what 2 billion users were doing on web pages with what a projected half a billion virtual world users in 2009 were doing (feel free to discredit those numbers; they’re hard to estimate anyway).

We have that option now. While “simultaneous logins” or “traffic” in SL might be artificial metrics, one thing is for certain: Linden Lab can quite accurately measure (more so than on web pages) how long people spend in Second Life.

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