Archive for December, 2009

2009-12-29 We Are The Network: Part 2 – Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI

December 27th, 2009 1 comment

We Are The Network logo 300“Part 2—Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 29th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

Part 2—Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI (Return On Investment)

People on seesawIn our last session, we attempted to arrive at key measures to determine “The ROI” and “Virtual World Engagement” for virtual world and social media projects. I say “attempted” because we ended up with a variety of different positions and views on what constitutes the value center for engagement and ROI. Ultimately we decided that there is no single measure of value or ROI (other than dollars at the end game for business projects which could be measured in multiple ways, and measurable improvement of some sort for educational and social action projects.)

At the close of the discussion there was strong consensus that we needed another session on this topic. Actually it was closer to “we are going to continue this,” and so we will!

We decided that the path to metrics is to build a catalog of prototypical goals for various project scenarios in business, education and social action, with the premise that this will lead to some specific measures.

Please bring Read more…

12 Ways To Make Second Life™ Run Faster On Your Low Performance Computer

December 25th, 2009 23 comments

Joel Foner 2009-12-06
* Added the “How To Make Your Viewer Run Even Faster (when you really need the most you can get!)” section

Joel Foner 2009-12-08
* Added “Stay Plugged In” (thanks t
o Ignatius Onomatopoea for this tip)

Joel Foner 2010-03-25
* Added “Remember to re-check all
of these settings after any viewer updates, uninstall and reinstall or installation of an alternative viewer version!”

Joel Foner 2010-03-26
* Added Understanding the Maximum Bandwidth Option in the Second Life Viewer
* Added “If you’re Not Using Voice, Turn it Off!”

Stock Car RacingIntroduction

Second Life™ provides a 3D visualization of virtual environments, dynamically rendered so that you can make changes and any other avatar within sight sees those changes in almost real time. The technologies underpinning these capabilities are complex and place serious demands on the CPU and 3D graphics accelerator on your local computer.

The good news is that all of this is possible. The bad news is that there are a lot of moving parts and it uses a lot of computing and graphics horsepower to get the job done. The performance you see depends on many things. There are many factors that determine the performance you see, including the speed of your computer’s 3D graphics processor, the main processor (CPU), your hard disk speed, how much RAM (memory) your computer has, network stability, network speed, how many avatars are in view, how many avatars are on the region that your avatar is standing on, other load factors on the region, as well as specific characteristics of how the scene is built.

This article shows how to improve the operating speed of the viewer on low performance computer hardware. These steps will only cover optimization of your computer, and will not include addressing other potential sources of performance problems.

Please note that this article assumes you have some Second Life™ experience, and that you are comfortable with opening menus and making settings changes in the Preferences pages in the viewer.

But I Just Bought A Machine. How Could It Be Low Performance?

You may have bought a computer pretty recently, and assumed “this machine is pretty new, so of course its 3D graphics performance must be good”. You could be in for a surprise. In this age of Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

2009-12-22 We Are The Network – Forterra And Metaplace Go Boom: What Does This Mean?

December 21st, 2009 1 comment

We Are The Network logo 300“Forterra And Metaplace Go Boom: What Does This Mean?”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 22nd, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

“Forterra And Metaplace Go Boom: What Does This Mean?”

The closure of two virtual world platforms have just come to light in as many weeks. The first “not quite announcement” was Erica Driver‘s Tweet on December 18th: “It’s a sad day for the emerging immersive software sector. Forterra laid off 60% of its workforce. Remaining assets likely to be sold.” While there appears to be no public confirmation of this announcement, through various conversations I have reason to believe that we’ll be hearing something more about this turn of events, and that it is not rumor. The second announcement showed up in email directly from Metaplace, titled “ is closing on january 1, 2010.” This email was written from this Metaplace blog post. The blog post suggests that the Metaplace environment that we know will be shutting down, and that there will be some new strategic direction undertaken by the remains of the organization.

What do these announcements mean? Do they indicate something more general about the viability of virtual worlds? Do they indicate the relative viability of business, consumer and educationally focused virtual world operations? What do we think the root causes for these companies to not reach critical mass, and are future attempts (ones that we know about or others that are not yet released) more or less likely to succeed?

(We had planned to continue our virtual world ROI discussion this week. I thought it would be more timely to have this discussion and then pick up the ROI discussion again next week after the holidays. See you soon!)

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,


Reading links below – have fun and see you soon! Read more…

Ana’s Miracle – “Live Chat Celebrating 12 Years” This Sunday 6:30pm Eastern

December 18th, 2009 No comments

Ana's MiracleI have had the privilege of working with Nelson de Witt to help him develop concepts and project strategy for his newest cross-cultural project that will result in a book called “Ana’s Miracle”.  In Nelson’s words, “Ana’s Miracle is the story of how our family was separated during the Civil War in El Salvador, by death and adoption, and our journey to reunite.” is the info site for the project. See “The Story” for Nelson in a live interview about his background a bit of his history.

Sunday night at 3:30pm Pacific / 6:30pm Eastern Nelson is hosting a live video chat with his family to talk in person about their family’s history, to connect in a new way for the holidays, and chat with anyone who joins in!

Please join us live at the Facebook Event page for the event Sunday night at 6:30pm Eastern (live video stream with chat):

If you’d like to follow the project as it develops, you can Become A Fan of Ana’s Miracle: or follow Nelson’s Twitter feed: Please feel free to share and pass this on.

Disclosure: Nelson is a strategy coaching client (and now friend) who has a surprising history and a total commitment to everything he does. I’m helping him to get the word out about his project. This is work that I find fascinating from many angles, his history, his family’s history, and the use of social media across cultures to illustrate and bridge the gaps.

Categories: Misc Tags:

Is Your Wireless Router Stealing Your Bandwidth?

December 14th, 2009 2 comments

keep the antenna highI thought I’d write a post explaining some of the oddities of WiFi, why your wireless Internet performance can go from great to miserable in a matter of moments, and what you can do to improve the situation when your router decides to be “decidedly unhelpful.” Wireless connections can be an invisible and frustrating part of Internet connectivity, especially when you are running online voice, video and high bandwidth video games. This post explains some of the reasons for wireless system behavior, and how to improve the behavior and reliability of your wireless system.

Could Your Router Be Working Against You, Without You Noticing? Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags:

2009-12-15 We Are The Network: Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI

December 13th, 2009 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300“Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 15th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

Working Measures Of Virtual World Engagement and ROI

Have you noticed a pattern in the published descriptions of virtual world projects? I’ve noticed a prototypical write-up pattern that usually answers the following questions in sequence: Who sponsored the project? Who is supposed to be interested in using the virtual environment, and to what end? What interesting or “shiny” features of the build or programming were included? It is, however, all too common that a critical piece of the write-up is missing. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

2009-12-08 We Are The Network: How Will Google’s Personalization, Real-Time and Visual Search Announcements Change the World?

December 8th, 2009 No comments

We Are The Network logo 300“How Will Google’s Personalization, Real-Time and Visual Search Announcements Change the World?”

Please join us for a discussion every Tuesday at 12PM noon SL (US Pacific Time)

This Tuesday, Dec 8th, we will be at the Epoch Institute in Second Life

Click here to teleport to the Epoch Institute in Second Life

This Week’s Topic

How Will Google’s Personalization, Real-Time and Visual Search Announcements Change the World?

When I saw this cluster of announcements in the last 48 hours, I decided to write a brief thought piece about them. The three new announcements, search results that will be personalized even when you are not logged in, real-time search results and visual search, it seemed to me that these create a new ecosystem for thinking about search, potentially new search optimization automation options (read new companies or services) and potentially some changes to the way we think about advertising, marketing, person to person communication, and even how we think about ourselves.

How will these new features change the world? Will they change the way we socialize, the way we think about each other and the way we interact with each other? Where do we think these features are headed? They are early releases of capabilities – what would we guess are the next steps along each path?

Join us Tuesday at 12PM noon SL, and thanks for being part of “We Are The Network”!

Best regards,


Reading links below – have fun and see you soon! Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

Three Announcements That Dispose Of Static SEO And Create A New Findability Optimization Game

December 7th, 2009 No comments

The Way Things Were Yesterday

In the land we’ve known, you could do static search engine optimization (SEO) of on-page elements on your web site or blog, consider strategy for offsite, tinker with it for a while, check the results, and have some confidence that the results you just saw reflected what your potential searchers would see 10 minutes later. Although people with personalization turned on may see different results, the issue of search consistency across users seems to not have been a strong focus for search engine optimization strategies to date.

Arrow race with new rulesThis Is Today

The world of yesterday is about to vaporize, due to the confluence of three Google announcements.

Personalized Search Without Login

First, the announcement that Google will present personalized search results even if you are not logged in to a Google account. This means that if you do not stay logged in to Google, your laptop search results will likely not match your desktop at work, and will likely not match your home computer, because their search history will all be different.

Now extend this to other people on the web. Their search history will likewise be different, and their work Google login may not match their personal login, if they log in at all.

All of a sudden the simplistic “one set of search results per search query” assumption is completely gone, even for users who are not logged in to a Google account.

Real-Time Search Results

Delivery of real-time search results changes the game in obvious and subtle ways. Real-time search results provision leads us even farther down the path of creating, and needing to create, time-sensitive SEO strategies.

Real-time search results for all leads to the possibility of “Just In Time SEO” (to use a phrase from the manufacturing industry). Just In Time SEO changes content in real-time in order to reposition search results dynamically, potentially just before some event or strategic initiative where you would want highly placed results.

Another side effect of real-time search results might be a drive the creation of more real-time search engine optimization monitoring services.

Will we see disruptive corporate marketing strategies that at the surface are similar to denial of service attacks? Perhaps a competitor would create a content strategy that would “lie in wait” for the hour before a major event and the dynamically disrupt the SEO positioning of your firm just in time to intercept your positioning for the event, and then disappear from view after the fact? How many other ways could dynamic repositioning be used, for good and worse?

Visual Search

Google also announced visual search, in particular on the Android phones, with the idea that you can take a picture of something, Google will analyze it and deliver search results. The “something” might be a store front, or text from a book, or other objects around you. While it is clear that this technology is at the very start of its development cycle, the implications are immense.

Do you now have to generate an SEO strategy for pages in books, or screen captures, or for your brick and mortar stores? Do you have to watch out for signage in your stores, or perhaps parts of your web site, that if captured by a camera might lead to search results pointing to your competitor’s products and services? Will we see print advertising with custom graphics designed to link to specific search results?

The area of visual search raises the concept of “Visual Search Engine Optimization”, leading us to choose graphics and video with an eye (pun only sort of not intended) to whether these images help or hinder visual search optimization.

The potential privacy and policy issues generated by extensions of this technology are extensive, not to mention some potentially wild changes to societal expectations. For instance, what if by pointing a cell camera at a person, and not even taking their picture, you could have their latest blog posts, public profile, Tweets, comments by others about them, all show up on your mobile – without even knowing their name a-priori? This would not be possible with the first release. However it is not a long stretch to mash up the current face-tagging technology with this sort of search to enable such a feature.

This will be interesting.

Follower Count: Meaningless, Follower Temporal Interest Graph: Priceless

December 5th, 2009 2 comments


I have been thinking about some of the current approaches to measurement of social network strength, and realized that there were a few specific things that seemed to be missing in these approaches. In this post I review why the complexity of social network behavior far exceeds a single simple metric, and propose a multi-dimensional model to describe social network strength and utility towards a selected objective.

Power MeterFollower Count: The Simple Metric That Isn’t

Follower counts are generally mistrusted for validity, but still used due to simplicity. Follower counts are, in some ways, a somewhat bizarre way to measure social network strength. General follower count is a “feel good number” that in the end means little in terms of viability of achieving a particular goal.

I keep a few examples in hand to debunk the concept that high follower counts automatically create generic utility. Here is one of my favorites. Sockington ( is a Twitter account owned by Jason Scott’s cat (well… take a look and you’ll see what I mean). At the time of this writing, @Sockington is closing in on 1.5M (yes million) followers. If you want to send a message to 1.5M people to entice them to, for instance, buy life insurance, would the reach of Sockington’s network be substantial? Maybe in terms of the old school “impression count,” but that’s probably about all. In the process, if you were persistent about it, you’d also see a pretty high abandonment rate, and I suspect that most people who follow Sockington would ignore such a push message as advertising spam. Certainly if the account and Sockington’s network were used more than a very few times in pursuit of this objective, it would likely fragment and be disrupted as a result. Such a message is not why they follow Sockington, and any other sort of message is both out of character and not their impression of why they follow him. (I’ll resist getting in to the psychology and implications of 1.5M people following a fake cat’s Tweets for now!)

Clearly the raw count of followers isn’t what we’re after. Some have proposed measures of engagement, using reply counts and conversation rates on Twitter, or comment posting rates on blogs.

Simple Event Count-Based Aggregate Network Strength Also Misses The Target

Dart arrows missing targetUnfortunately, measurement of social network strength also defies a single numeric count of followers or responders or even conversational length. Various client and personal experiences have led me to develop a concept I’ll call a Follower Interest Graph. A Follower Interest Graph is a multi-dimensional graph of a social network that maps several factors that define the strength of the network for a particular utility and goal. Before talking about what a Follower Interest Graph might look like, let’s look at some assumptions and realities of social network behavior. Read more…

Categories: Misc Tags: ,

Endorsements and Ethics in Social Media – Live Virtual Event Today, Dec 4, 1 PM Pacific/4 PM Eastern

December 4th, 2009 No comments

I have been asked to be a panelist today at “Endorsements and Ethics in Social Media”, to talk about the implications of the new disclosure guidelines published by the Federal Trade Commission.

John Jainschigg, Executive Director, Internet & Technology Lab, ZiffDavisEnterprise is moderating today’s event and the panel will include Clint Boulton, Senior Writer at (ZiffDavisEnterprise) and Mitch Wagner, Senior Writer at (TechWeb).

You can watch on the web at 1pm Pacific / 4pm Eastern, or if you already have a Second Life account please feel free to join us at

Please see the announcement below for more information):

Join the editors of SmarterTechnology on Friday, December 4, 1 PM Pacific/4 PM Eastern, for a LIVE virtual event:

Endorsements and Ethics in Social Media – New FTC Guidelines

New FTC guidelines for online ‘endorsements,’ announced in October and now in effect (as of Dec. 1), aim to make more explicit sponsorship arrangements between online content providers (e.g., bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook posters, viral-video uploaders, etc.) and the companies and products they cover (opine about, retweet, call attention to, and/or “build buzz” around). What will these new guidelines mean for the commentariat, publishers, viral marketers, corporate bloggers and other stakeholders?

Joel Foner, New-Media Consultant, Blogger (ex. Sidewinder Linden)
Clint Boulton, Senior Writer, (ZiffDavisEnterprise)
Mitch Wagner, Senior Writer, (TechWeb)

Moderator: John Jainschigg, Exec. Director, Internet & Technology Lab, ZiffDavisEnterprise


1. Register on the web at
2. Confirm your registration by clicking the link in the email you receive. (Check spam filter!)
3. Return to – click the Login tab, and log in with your email address and password
4. Press the Engage tab for our web-based conference center, where you can view the live event on video and participate via text-chat.


IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A SECOND LIFE ACCOUNT, AND HAVE THE SECOND LIFE CLIENT INSTALLED ON YOUR COMPUTER: Please register as above, and confirm registration, then click this link to teleport directly to our virtual conference center:


1. Register at
2. Scroll down (on the second page of registration) and fill out the CREATE SECOND LIFE ACCOUNT form to create a Second Life avatar.
3. Download the Second Life client for Windows, Mac or Linux and install.
4. Plug a headset into your computer.
5. Log into Second Life — You’ll appear at our virtual conference center.


Sponsored by IBM, is an online community for strategists and IT decision-makers seeking to improve sustainability, efficiency and profitability through intelligent implementation of advanced technology throughout the enterprise. Join us online at

EMail sent by: John Jainschigg, 28 East 28th Street, New York, NY 10016

This should be an interesting discussion – I hope to see you there!