This past Wednesday brought an official blog post about the SL Share viewer with a new post to Facebook option. In general I don’t use the official viewer very often because I prefer the tweaks in the third party viewers, but I thought it might be fun to download it and see how this new feature is going to work. It’s new, it’s shiny, so even if I’m not sure it’s a feature I’ll ever use much I still have to check it out. 😀
In the SL Share viewer the new shiny is, of course, the option to link your Second Life account to Facebook so you can post directly from a dialog box within SL, rather than cutting and pasting SLURLs or saving and uploading photos. Sadly you can’t link this to a Facebook Page, it has to be tied to a personal profile, which I found a little disappointing because I’d be more likely to use this with a page than my profile.
Connecting to Facebook is easy, you log in and give it permission to read your already public data, to post, then select the audience who will see the posts (public, friends, custom friend lists, only you, etc.) And like any other Facebook app, if you decide you want to change the post audience you can go into privacy settings for apps and update, or delete it entirely if you decide you’d rather not use it anymore.
Once you have connected your account the easiest thing to do is drag the Facebook button onto the toolbar for quick access. You have the option to share a status, a check in location, or a photo, which can also include a location link. I’m not sure I can really see a big benefit to using this for status updates vs just flipping back to your browser and typing your update, but I can imagine using the photo sharing option. I usually prefer to do a little post processing on my SL shots, but for sharing a quick snapshot moment this is handy. You have the option to include location data as well, which will generate a (rather lengthy) map link.
Using the check in feature notes that you checked in at a location on Second Life, and gives the option of including the overhead map view. I like the small link on the check in better than the way the long link shows up in the photo share. I’m presuming that the extra data on the photo share link is to track how many people will click through the links once they see them on their timeline. I’ll be interested in finding out how popular this feature will actually be once it’s released in the main viewer.
All of the posts also announce they were shared via Second Life, clicking the app link will take you to the standard SL landing page that you see when not logged in. If people are intrigued and want to learn more then they’ll have the opportunity to sign up, though I have to wonder if people unfamiliar with SL are going to think this is just another browser game and sign up, then abandon it entirely when they realize it requires a download.
Any photos that you share will go into their own album, rather than turning up in the general timeline album. I’m not a big fan of the way Facebook handles photo albums, but this does make it easier if you want to keep them rounded up in one place.
Overall I like this feature, but it would be much better if they could extend it to allow linking to a page rather than a profile and I hope they’ll look into a way to make that a choice. I think this would be great for page admins to post a quick notice or add some event shots as it takes place, as well as for all the people who have made a page for their avatar instead of a profile. As it stands now I doubt this will persuade people to suddenly begin sharing the details of their Second Lives, but for those who have already been posting their activities to Facebook this does make it easier.
The only thing that might prevent me from making much use of this is the lack of people in my friends list who would understand or have much interest in what I’m sharing. I’m not in the camp that maintains separation between SL and RL, but as with any other hobby I’ll usually only talk about it with like minded friends or people I think might be interested. I have posted SL photos or news clips on my profile a few times over the years, but the majority of people on my friends list have no clue what Second Life is, and many seem to have no particular interest in anything that can’t be accessed on a phone or a tablet. I’m not sure anybody would really pay much attention if I started filling my timeline with pics of SL landscapes and art builds, but you never know. If this makes it to the third party viewers then perhaps in the future I’ll share something on occasion just to see if it sparks anybody’s interest.
Hey, it’s got to be better to share a pretty image from SL than to bombard your friends with the standard social game invitations, right? 😀
You can read more about the SLShare viewer and check out Torley’s video introduction on the official blog announcement here, or check the release notes and download the beta viewer here. Happy sharing 🙂