Linden Lab launches SL Share and a look at the viewer

As spotted by Daniel Voyager earlier in the month, and reported here as a result, the Lab has now officially launched SLShare, which they describe as, “an easy way to share to Facebook while In-world.”

Now, before people start getting all worked-up about Facebook, being “outed” and generally getting knickers knotted, there are a couple of points which need to be understood:

  • SLShare is opt-in. If you don’t want to use it, you don’t have to, you can ignore it
  • SLShare will only work if you actually have a Facebook account – so LL aren’t doing any “sneaky back-door outing” or “forcing” anyone into Facebook.

The blog post announcing the feature reads in part:

SLShare is a new, 100% opt-in Viewer feature that will allow you to easily update your Facebook status, share photos, and check-in from Second Life locations to your Facebook wall.

Whether you’re at a great in-world event and want to let your Facebook friends know where to join you, want to show off a photo of your avatar modeling your latest Marketplace purchase, or just share a thought inspired by your in-world explorations, SLShare makes it easy to share pieces of your Second Life experiences with your Facebook network.

The blog post also notes that the feature “isn’t yet available for everyone”, however, the release candidate viewer with the SLShare capability – version 3.6.7.281331 – can be downloaded via the SL wiki.

If you do opt to manually download the RC viewer, note that it will, by default, overwrite your current release version of the SL viewer (if installed), so please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to avoid this.

As noted in my original report, the Facebook capabilities are contained in a new floater, accessed via Me > Post to Facebook …, which in turn comprises four tabs.

The four tabs of the SLShare floater

The four tabs of the SLShare floater

The tabs are:

  • Status tab:  allows someone to post a text comment via their Facebook account
  • Photo tab: allows someone to upload a snapshot to their FB account. As with the current Profile Feed option in the snapshot floater, the resolution of the image can be selected at upload (minimum 800×600), and an optional SLurl / comment can be included with the image
  • Check-in tab: allows someone to share the SLurl for their current in-world location via Facebook, together with a short comment on the location and a map image if they wish
  • Account Tab: will allow those with a Facebook account to connect their SL account to it for the purposes of posting from SL to Facebook.

The last option will open a browser window allowing a user to log-in to their Facebook account and link their Second Life account to it for posting purposes (this must be done for any of the other tabs to actually communicate with a Facebook account). In addition, to make accessing the floater easier, the viewer introduces a dedicated Facebook toolbar button.

To help explain the new functionality, Torley has produced another of his TuTORials, and there is also a Knowledge Base page explaining the capability and its options.

Again, please remember that this is an opt-in capability, and no-one is being forced to use it. Whether SLShare will evolve to include other social media sharing, or whether additional capabilities for sharing with other social media platforms will be added to the viewer remains to be seen.

In the meantime, SLShare is available via a release candidate viewer, as noted above, and will be progressing as the de facto release viewer in due course.

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24 thoughts on “Linden Lab launches SL Share and a look at the viewer

  1. RR

    Opt-In is not the solution. the only solution is no easy facebook option at all.
    One way or the other people are going to use it and force sooner or later other people to create the evil facebook account because the want to see something. SLFeed is already a disaster, buit thats posisble because LL never finished it. But that would be a much betetr way. keep everything under 1 roof. That way people dont get forced or ignored.

    Reply
    1. Inara Pey Post author

      And what about those people who actually like sharing their SL experiences with their non-SL friends? Those who already share snaps and thoughts and comments via their Facebook account, but have to jump through hoops in order to do so? Don’t they get a choice in matters?

      I’m not one to argue against the Lab doing more to enhance and improve the SL Feeds; it is something that needs doing and really should be done if they are serious about maintaining the capability. However, it’s not an either / or situation. There’s no reason why those who prefer to use the feeds shouldn’t continue to do so, and those who want to share their SL times with their non-SL friends – note the emphasis – shouldn’t also be able to do so.

      This isn’t about “forcing” anyone to do anything. It’s about giving people a wider choice – and that’s always been at the heart of Second Life. And if, in the process, it encourages others out in the world at large to come into SL and give it a go as a result of seeing what their friends have been doing – and knowing they’ll have a helping hand to guide them when they do take their first steps in-world – then so much the better.

      …And I’m speaking as one who is neither a Facebook user, nor has any intention of becoming a a Facebook user.

      Reply
  2. Mona Eberhardt

    For picture sharing, there’s already a full-featured solution that allows far better management of our pictures. It’s called Flickr. Other than this, the tabs for posting stuff to Facebook look well-designed and I think LL should consider improving its Flickr integration in similar ways.

    Reply
    1. Inara Pey Post author

      I’d personally like to see Flickr integration taken-up by the Lab a-la Katharine’s code TPVs use (although I actually prefer to manually upload my own shots most of the time!).

      Reply
  3. Otenth Paderborn

    I do have a Facebook account, I do sometimes mention Second Life, and I don’t keep my identities secret in either place. Which is to say, I will probably use SLShare. What really, really bothers me, though, is that the Lab’s video doesn’t use a RL-identified Facebook account, and Linden Lab has thus far not commented upon the wisdom of doing so as a user. The FB identities in the video do not show up when searching FB, so perhaps they deleted the accounts when they were finished. A typical user, however, has no way of knowing if using SLShare will target their avatar-identity FB account for suspension by FB or make them easy prey for trolls who report SL avatar accounts. LL should have 1) used an employee’s RL FB account (there are more than 100 LL employees identified as such on FB) and 2) made a comment cautioning that FB has been known to suspend accounts that are not based on RL information.

    Reply
  4. Darrius Gothly

    The real “gotcha” here is that the SLShare functionality must be granted access to your FB Account. I haven’t looked, but I suspect it’s the same sort of OAUTH style authorization used by FB and most other web sites to allow outside programs use of their internal data and functions.

    Why is this a “gotcha”? From the security aspect, it’s as tight as they come and will not open anyone to undue exposure or risk. However it does give FB a way to rapidly cull all accounts that are not real-life identities and rapidly delete them. In short, LL has just handed FB a nearly automatic way to find and close all accounts that violate their (Facebook’s) ToS.

    Reply
  5. Timo Gufler

    If you have a RL Facebook account and want to keep it hidden from SL one, there is a pitfall. Sooner or later Facebook understands, that your SL and RL profiles are closely related and starts recommending SL-RL or RL-SL friendship to your friends. Earlier I had a SL Facebook profile, but one day one of my SL friend’s RL account was recommended to be my SL account’s friend. It was quite embarrassing for her. After that incident I decided to close my SL Facebook permanently and have not regretted that at all.

    Flickr is a great place to share SL pictures, but direct upload there is useless for many photographers, who want to post-process their shots before uploading.

    Reply
    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Again, the key point is “IF” you want to keep one of the two accounts hidden. If you do, then allowing for FB’s attitude towards pseudonymous accounts, this option likely isn’t for you.

      But again, as mentioned in comments here, as well as in my original piece, there are those in SL who have no issue in connecting their SL account with the real-life FB account, as such, here’s a route for them to to so more easily – and one that is attractive to the Lab as it may, in turn, encourage the friends of those who lot so to see SL in a new light and give it a go.

      Flickr uploader: for the most part I agree; most of my shots on Flickr are post-processed to a small degree. However, the option is still useful for those who either don’t post-process (I didn’t for the longest time – as you can probably tell from may work prior to this year!) or for those wanting a rapid-fire upload and who may not use the SL feed, it’s a handy option.

      Reply
    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Flickr Doesn’t present those who have no problem linking RL and SL (and yes, there are people in SL who do that) with easily sharing venues, activities etc., with friends. Similarly, there are those who don’t use Flickr who may well regard the additional option on the snapshot floater as a waste of time. It cuts both ways.

      Reply
  6. zzpearlbottom

    I know quite a few Musicians, Music promotors and so on that Use facbook and dont have ny problem in sharing Rl info about Sl!
    For those it will be quite useful i do hope!
    As long as it does not break any and LL does not leave Sl feed like it is now, almost useless I can’t see no evil, besides the fact that facbook is loosing a lot of users right now and will keep loosing them as long as Usa keeps using and supporting Nsa! Beware, the World is fed up with that!

    Reply
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  8. Quan Lavender

    How far can a company be from their customers? Facebook is deleting our accounts as “not real” and LL connects us to help Facebook finding us faster! That is ridiculous. What is needed first is to find a solution to keep avatar accounts at FB.

    Reply
    1. Inara Pey Post author

      Once again:

      • Not everyone in SL uses FB pseudonymously. Some have no problem in linking their SL identity with their real-life FB identity. SLShare just makes it easier for them to do so
      • SLShare is opt-in. No-one is forcing you to use it
      • If you are worried about being outed to FB because you do have an pseudonymous account with them, don’t use SLShare.
      Reply
      1. Darrius Gothly

        I think the main reason this feature is such a hot button for folks is the perception of a massive disconnect between LL Management and the customers that put money into Second Life. You are absolutely correct that SLShare is purely optional and will have benefits for a segment of the SL community. But the size of that segment is so incredibly small in comparison to the size of segments being ignored or (worse yet) actively damaged by LL’s other decisions, it engenders a feeling of frustration among the SL Faithful.

        We try so very hard to help LL make good decisions, informed decisions, PROFITable decisions, and then they haul off and do dumb things like this. It’s almost enough to make one click the “Delete Account” button on the master account page.

        Reply
        1. Inara Pey Post author

          I don’t entirely agree.

          I think the reason this topic is a “hot button” for people is because it uses the “F” word, nothing else (“Facebook”, that is). I’d point to some of the comments here and following my original article on the matter as proof. The word seems to give rise to feelings that range from outrage to paranoia no matter what the context in which it is mentioned. Some of it is justified, much of it (particularly in this case) is not.

          As to catering to the community, those making use of SLShare many be small compared to the rest; but does that automatically exclude them on the basis of numbers alone? Why shouldn’t LL occasionally cater to groups of varied dispositions? Is it really hurting their bottom line that much? Does it really cause the vast majority of SL users so great a loss of faith? Even those being vocal about it are an extremely small number of people when compared to the SL populace as a whole.

          Yes, the company is capable of at times making the most insane and potentially counter-productive decisions that we, as users innately bound-up in SL, could ever imagine. But I really don’t think SLShare is one of them, and to count it as being “up there” among the likes of, say, the recent changes to Section 2.3 of the ToS is perhaps and with respect, losing a sense of proportion in matters of import.

          Certainly isn’t something that is preventing the company from continuing to do what they’ve been doing for the last 18 months: trying to tackle some of the most basic, fundamental issues with the platform which prevent it from being the kind of stable, predictable environment that we, as the SL Faithful, have been demanding it should be, and to the potential benefit of us all.

          Reply
  9. garvie garzo

    Um, i’m siding mostly with Inara on this one, though again < not a FB user, NO idea how it became so large or popular, and NO intention (for now) of using SLShare. But i don't see what's so bad about it being an option. I imagine it will be great convenience for some people and especially some organizations.
    However, when I read the announcement, I assumed that this was something LL did primarily in its own interest and thought, oooh clever. Because it could work to get more people curious about and gradually engaged with SL and our weird goings on via FB posts (or whatever they call them). Maybe SLSharers will be sort of like a vanguard word of mouth squad. They post more and more updates about inworld stuff, it is seen by more and more people on the other side, thereby raising awareness of and knowledge about SL and possibly encouraging further engagement.
    As Monty Python once said, that is my theory, which is mine.
    Here's another one: LL is smart; SLShare is smart. It might not only bring new peeps, it could draw them in a way that ameliorates the shock of the new and fear of the unknown in the process and do it all without anyone even realizing that was part of the plan.

    Reply
    1. Inara Pey Post author

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, and it’s something I tried to allude to in replying to peoples comments.

      The back-door marketing aspect is indeed why this is appealing to LL as it does leverage user-based word-of-mouth. I’m sort-of surprised so few appear to see this aspect; particularly given we, as users are so often insisting the Lab should use us more in spreading the word…

      As has been pointed out in the comments here, those willing to align their RL Facebook identities with their SL identities may well be a small number of the told user base – but as I also pointed out in my reply, that doesn’t me that should be excluded, and they do actually represent a gateway to a potential audience of new users through their Facebook friends.

      Reply
  10. garvie garzo

    yup, indeed. might also work in reverse and drag people like me who haven’t visited or updated FB in years back in there in hopes that i can somehow bridge the chasm between my FB addicted but SL averse friends & me. might.

    Reply
  11. Vanessa Blaylock

    Thanks for the info and the spirited comment discussion. Many have brought up the issue of avatar accounts being against FB, and infamously (can you spell “nymwars”) G+ TOS.

    While G+ created the far bigger political battle and there current policies still suck, it’s my impression that G+ is not actively deleting avatar accounts at this time. FB on the other hand regularly deletes thousands of avatar accounts… yet… of the many avatars I know with FB accounts, I haven’t really seen friends lose FB accounts.

    We know what the FB “policy” is, but does anyone know what the FB “practice” is more specifically? What accounts do they delete? What do you have to do to get flagged by them?

    Thanks Inara & everyone!

    Reply
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