Once upon a time a Second Life profile was something to be proud of. Way back in the olden days, they even included a rating system. This system cost someone around 25L – I think it was 25 exactly but it was so long ago now I may be wrong – to then pay to rate someone for being good. I remember often getting IMs from customers at work, saying that they had rated me, and running with glee to my profile to see that my rating had updated. The system also said how many times a person had rated others, and once I met a man that had rated over 2000 avatars and I thought he was just awesome for doing so.
They got rid of the system, in a way I can understand that it would be kind of sad to be working so hard to do good things, customer service, helping people and so on, and having no ratings at all, because people did start to look at them as a measure of how professional or courteous people were. So I was sad face, but understood it being removed, and thought that the ones to lose out the most were actually the lindens, because that was some serious money back then, 25l each time, hundreds of thousands of them happening probably every day.
So then we had regular pretty profiles. You had your front page, the parts that showed your date of rezzing, the partner section – I love mine – whether or not you are pay info etc. Then you got to talk a bit about yourself, or others, or your dreams and aspirations…or you just got to be creepy if creepy was your thing. Then you have the handy profile slot for dropping inventory items…YAY we love those – mind you I love even more when it was made possible to drag to IM, but anyway. Then you had the web tab, the one where you could insert a link to your own site, or favourite site, then check-boxes for things you were able to do, and things you wanted to do. All fun, and sometimes the things people typed in on their own were humorous, but it was a cool feature as it used to really show at a glance if someone had the sills needed for a task – unless they were fibbing, and that happens.
Then Picks Tab, which was originally to share with others the places that you felt were worth visiting, a kind of lead by example type of ideal. If you had bothered to ‘Pick’ it, it must be good right? well not always lol. But it did become a very useful work and business management tool. If you run a business in Second Life, please always make your number one ‘Pick” the CURRENT landmark to your store/office. You can set the placement by numbering them before the name, so it would be 1. Main Store 2. Store Policies 3. Other Locations and so on.
Then came your Classifieds Tab, another useful resource because they allow for more keywords than picks do, and for as little as 50L a week, you can allocate them for your store, or wanted ads etc. I find them very useful when running events, as you can put out a 50L ad so that you appear in search with more keywords that may be needed. Be sure to uncheck the box that allows them to rollover every week if you are only having a short term run, so that you don’t get charged over and over again.
Then you have the first life tab, probably the most misused of the tabs, sometimes they include RL info, but I used to use mine for little tips and tricks that could be shared, like rendervolumelodfactor so that people can make sure they are seeing sculpts at their best – need to change to 4 if not already at 4. Or I would put links to blogs I like and so on, it varies.
Then you had my favourite tab of all time, NOTES! For someone that works or is overly social in SL this tab was a godsend. I put information about clients in there, I put redelivery info for customers, information on staff, and so on, in their own notes section, as it is only visible by you. I have come across notes on people that I have not seen in years, that are as basic as ‘ delivered Sydney hair april 2007′ to ‘met them at such and such’s house new years 2008′ to more complex things such as real issues with people that I needed to know about forever, like copybotting and such.
THEN DISASTER. They changed profiles, they made them complicated they removed options, and added others. But it is funnily enough and yes I talk way too long before I get to my point. It is the NEW options that are disgusting.
This week I have been using the LL Viewer. I don’t usually as it doesn’t work properly for me, and I need things to work or I cannot do the things I need to get done. So even though I have seen the new profiles in the past, I did not really grasp until today how really awful they are. We do not see what is visible on LL viewer, if we use Third Party Viewers and do not use web profile option. On the TPV’s you see things the way they used to be and all is rosy in the world.
Today I went to the profile of a content creator – no names – and I was needing to IM her in a hurry because of some work related stuff. She was not on my FL so I went to properties on an item in my inventory and it opened her profile. It then becomes a complicated task – even for an oldbie – to find the right button to find the hidden option of IMing someone – that in itself is disturbing and probably why this atrocity occurs – while on the ‘feed’ page, I was witness to things that I should not be able to see, messages from customers, customer service related messages.
Because IM’s as an option are not the visible option, the first thing that people are met with is an area to text, so they use it…but for people like myself and I am sure hundreds of thousands of other avatars, this is not an area we ever even see, so worse than missing an offline or a notecard going astray, this feed system goes unnoticed, which is even worse, because it is publicly not dealt with. A customer rants that they did not receive an item and to deliver it ASAP, and the message stays there for months, no one even knows it is there – except others using that system and visiting the profile – and even if the issue is dealt with promptly, unless the customer returns to the scene and acknowledge that, it sits in wait for someone to judge your business based on it. Also for some customers they may think that that is the best way to contact you, and not even IM you or Notecard you, then what, they think you are an awful retailer and write not only a scathing message, but tell everyone how you ignored them and stole their money?
If you do not hear from a store owner about an issue you have, do not use this function, send another notecard, send another IM they may have not received the first, it happens. Also be patient, just because you are online every day, does not mean everyone is, or is able to be, also things happen. People in Second Life run businesses 24/7 the commitment to it is incredible, when in RL business is 8-10 hours usually only 5-6 days per week. You would never get the response that is expected as a MUST in RL that you do in Second Life, so remember everyone is trying to do what they can, in the time they may be limited to.
Aside from all of that, it is public, and that should not be allowed. Customer issues should be private. LL should not make it possible to turn someones profile into a place for trolling and customers to feel that they are not being dealt with. This is too much like the so called reviews on Marketplace, but that is a whole other rant.