Facebook integration

SL Marketplace Likes

So, why do we have “likes” on the my.secondlife.com profiles, on the Destination Guide, but not on SL Marketplace?? A “Like” button is insanely easy to implement on a website! Someone must have missed that…

Cross-advertising

… and while we’re talking about merchants and commerce, it only makes sense that classifieds become Facebook ads and vice-versa. Well. Mostly… I’m sure that this would require some chats between Zuckerberg and Rod Humble. In any case, LL has roughly 3.3% of the Facebook userbase — not much, but certainly it’s not “nothing” and far more than many other platforms — so they might be able to strike a deal.

This would naturally interest merchants — one thing is to advertise on a crippled in-world search engine, the other is to advertise on a targeted, profiler-rich environment 🙂 So I’m sure that a lot of merchants would be quite happy to do cross-advertising… providing that Facebook’s managers lift the restriction of using “fake” profiles, of course. But I’m sure that if they’re “persuaded” that those, uh, “fake” profiles are actually buyers of digital content worth US$0.6 billion annually, and quite eager to buy ads for selling that content, Facebook’s management would want a slice of that market, too.

Still, I see this as far harder to implement, mostly because of the required talks between the two managements…

But perhaps it’s easy enough to create a gateway converting Facebook credits into L$ and vice-versa. There is a lot of potential in that!

… and easy Wall posting

Of course, sometimes you just wish to send a Wall update to your friends, and not bother launching up a Web browser. Although a lot of HUDs provide that kind of service, this should be conveniently be as easy as using the text chat box at the bottom and just check a box saying “Post to Facebook”. Optionally, you could drag a texture and/or landmark/SLURL to the chat box as well — and these would immediately get posted to your Wall with the text message. Definitely not a hard thing to implement!

Security

Well, you might not be yet convinced that it’s really the Russian Cybermafia running Facebook — except for myself, I don’t know of anyone else believing that, either — but it’s clear that the most vocal residents don’t want any kind of Facebook integration. Others want some things but not all. But at least Facebook’s API allows the detail of management to be set by the user; by default, nothing might get exchanged between Facebook and SL, but you might have the SL-to-FB “bridging” application have a lot of options (all initially set to false) selectively allowing information to be shared — and, conversely, the SL viewer should have the complementing options settable as well. By default, of course, no association would exist between Facebook and SL, and gradually you could check a few things. Being able to “Like” items on a shop might be popular for some; others might feel comfortable with attending events, but not allow friends to chat with them via Facebook. This should all be individual choices that could be turned on and off at the user’s convenience.

Why stop at Facebook, though?

Many have commented that Plurk is more useful than Facebook to keep in touch with their SL friends; others prefer Twitter. Although few social websites allow as much integration as Facebook, some do — MySpace, Netlog, Tagged, Orkut, even Multiply, are good examples: they all support timelines or at least “status”; they allow pictures to be uploaded; and at least MySpace, Netlog and Orkut allow OpenSocial applets (similar to Facebook ones, but differently implemented), but LinkedIn or Plaxo are also possible candidates. Together, they might have as many users as Facebook, even though individually they have less. In any case, once this “integration development” starts popping up on the viewer, adding support for additional social networking websites should be relatively easy. Facebook is the hottest site on the Web right now, but it might not be the only one (and, well, one day people will understand what it means to give all your private data to the Russian Mafia… did I mention them before?… and go back to safer websites 🙂 ).

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