It’s that time of year again. Autumn is about to hit. School is about to start. SL sales summer slump is about to (hopefully) end. And there is a large gathering of sex crazed nerds violating a city somewhere in the US. While the months leading up to it had far less buzz than any year I can recall, as it’s happening the buzz certainly has gone up.
The following rant can be summed up by: Future United, please pay attention to what the community wants/needs and not what the money wants.
I’ve been to two – Chicago and Tampa. If you go with the sole intention of getting smashed, meting interesting people, talking about SL in RL to people who don’t stare at you funny, and having a laugh it’s a good time. However any other reason will probably leave you frustrated and annoyed then grumbly at the price tag. Unless of course you are there with a corporate expense account.
Yeah, complaining about SL issues face to face with a Linden is fun, but rather disappointing when you realize it’s just a waste of time. And watching everyone drool over Philip is amusing for a while, then makes you gag.
Most of the people I enjoyed being around in years past aren’t there. Most of the people who made SLCC what it is aren’t there. I mean how can you have a SLCC without the Leather and Lace Ball? SL is what it is and if you sanitize it, it sort of well… makes it a lie.
Over the weekend, I’ve gotten loads of txts from people complaining. Lack of people – I hear it’s under 300 this year. Lack of anything remotely interesting. And a serious lack of organization. For instance, they had to postpone registration because the person with all the files wasn’t even supposed to be there until much later in the day.
There are rumours abound about a cluster fuck of power and that just a single person is allowed to make all the decisions. However, whatever decisions that are being made are taking the entire event from what it started out as into something so far from what SL is and forced into a shiny corporate package in order to be viable for expense reporting.
Community Corporate Convention
They really need to change the name so it’s not misleading. It is not for the community. It is for the big sponsors so much that the only tracks that future united organize is for business and education. But don’t let the name “business” fool you. It’s for big corporate business and how they can utilize SL for X, Y, Z.
There is not a single thing for us small time solely SL based content creators. There are a few panels that sound like it, but not really. Where are the classes on making content? I would have loved to take a class on say, scripting. Content creation is such a large part of SL, whether you sell it or not, but it doesn’t exist at SLCC. Yeah taking fashion from SL -> RL is interesting, but how many people really want to or will do that? There are scores more people who want to just learn the SL part, or increase their skills by watching a seasoned creator do it. Or at least I would assume so.
Why is it that every con that exists has a vendor area and SLCC doesn’t? Yes they may have a hallway for the big ticket sponsors, but wouldn’t it be great if smaller merchants could have a small booth where you could as least see pictures of what they are doing and stop and have a chat with them. Hell, I would have paid money for something like that and perhaps tried to be sober for it. This isn’t a new concept and I know it’s been brought up to the organizers, but it’s been rejected for a reason I just can’t understand.
I also hear complaints about the lack of social tracks, or at least the removal of one after ’07 in Chicago. Since most people socialize in SL. But I hide under a prim rock so I am unable to give any constructive criticism of that point.
Then you have the other mini tracks. These are organized by the first person who can write up a proposal that the string puller likes and can come up with the cash. For SLCC 2008, that number was $2,500 and granted it was the first year of this. Yes they get to organize the entire section, hand pick speakers, spend loads of time doing all of this, and pay a nice chunk of change. It’s no wonder the brand/company/website is overly hyped as being the best thing since sliced bread. If I paid that much money, the only thing that would come out my mouth would be my store name and my website. But listening to it is another matter all together.
How the speakers are chosen is completely by who you know. The talks really are hit or miss and generally over self promoting of the speaker’s work whether they pay the $ for the track or not.
Location, Location, Location.
This is probably the largest downfall for this years con. You may or may not know that every year Future United asks for the communities help in choosing a location. The community chose Vegas and the con is in SF. A lot of people were considerably upset by this.
Now I love SF. It’s my favourite city in the world, and I’ve been to many. However, it is one of the most expensive. In a world wide recession and during a grid wide sales decline, this was a lame move. The hotel chosen at first was the Marriott with a nightly cost of around $249 and 4 night’s stay of $996. But because of choosing a hotel chain that supported prop 8 and the large amount of LGBT people in SL, they switched to The Westin St Francis. With a nightly cost of $173.92 – $495.84 and a 4 night stay of $695.68 – $1983.36. And both have an extra price for the ability to use broadband in your room. (Prices were searched for 1 person in a room. The Westin just had more choices).
Food is expensive unless you know where to go. Booze is expensive. I hear the hotel bar is $8 a beer. Everything in the downtown area is just well… expensive.
You don’t have to stay at the hotel the con is at, but it’s much easier to stumble back to your room at 7am if it’s in the same building. Besides, the last time I checked there aren’t many hotels much cheaper in SF, let alone downtown.
It’s really no wonder that attendance is down this year to under 300.
Let’s face it. We are nerds who spend much, if not most, of our spare time in a virtual world. We are not cool. We are a bit crazy. Every year I hear the scoffing at the physical appearance from the picture feed. Not only is it rather cruel, it’s absurd. We are nerds. Trendy and pretty nerds exist, but we aren’t generally the subset that is drop dead amazing to look at.
There are some awesome people who have gone to SLCC that have been an absolute riot to be around. There are interesting conversations. And there is that absolute awesomeness of being around someone in person where you can bitch about SL to. The people are what make SLCC bearable. However, there are some to watch for…
The ego circle jerk. Many times it gets so nauseating that you have to walk away.
Then you have those people that instead of having a chat, it’s a rehearsed promotional speech about their in world biz. Thing is, I have yet to hear of any sort of collaboration come out of SLCC that hasn’t fallen through.
Add to that the uncomfortable moments of certain people so full of themselves they down right ignore the existence of others they consider below them. Even direct questions. And even if they are your customer.
I very much doubt that anyone has not heard “and then we hooked up” or “so and so hooked up” at least once when hearing about SLCC. Or at the very least about some snogging. Anyone there has to be blind not to see it. Or far too drunk in some people’s case :P
Where ever there is a lot of drinking there is a lot of sex. Add in some easy access to a room, ya know being in a hotel and all. Add in the general social awkwardness of nerds and the sexual nature of SL and I’m shocked it’s not just one giant orgy. Or maybe it is and I didn’t go to that party.
It is more sex crazed than a frat party. It’s thick in the air and lingers. If people aren’t talking about SL, they are talking about sex. People bring out their sexy strategically placed articles of clothing. If you are prepared for it, it’s amusing. If not, it hits you like a truck.
In the end…
Now I didn’t go this year. Partly because of the mentioned issues I have. Partly because the people I most wanted to see again had no intention of going. Partly because I’m knee deep in a documentary I’m editing. Partly because I’m quitting smoking and that much booze won’t help. I could have crashed on a number of friend’s couches if I wanted to, but I just really didn’t see the point.
Oh and blame hawksrock for this post, cause he asked for it.
This year might have been different, but I haven’t heard anything good coming out it. If not, there is always next year – if they have one.