A few weeks ago Maya Paris suggested that I apply to put Split Screen onto the SL Destination Guide. Lo and behold, it got in. The effect was phenomenal: over 400 visitors in the first five days. Traffic subsided soon after but remained far higher than before. Judging from their names, many of which ended in "Resident," and also the behavior of a few I observed, a large portion of the visitors were newbies. Someone insisted to me that newbies never go to see art so they must all be alts; possibly this person was joking (didn't sound like it), but that seems unlikely. After all, there's no particular reason for someone to come to see art as an alt, it's not that shameful! Plus one would expect established residents interested in the arts to visit in response to the notices I sent to various arts groups. So it looks like (1) many people actually use the SL Destination Guide (I hardly ever have); and (2) many newbies are in fact interested in art, or at least curious about it. This is great news!
Unfortunately, my observations also suggested that (3) newbies often don't know how to interact with works like Maya's and Oberon's. Well, I should qualify that. Bryn Oh once commented to me that hardly anyone seems to realize that they can interact with artwork. The fact is, there are people who've been in SL for three years and don't know how to edit a prim or even operate their AO. Newbies probably have additional hurdles in the obscure way Viewer 2 does things, let alone the rest of their learning curve; if they don't understand what it means to sit on things, perhaps explanatory notecards won't help them; also, for whatever reason, often they often don't reply when spoken to. (OK, one immediately asked me to suck his dick. On the other hand, someone else decided to friend me and then talk. Go figure.)
I don't quite know where I'm going with this, since I'm not interested in bemoaning straightforward realities, and obviously the notion of dumbing down SL art is absurd. But I wonder a bit about the game element in SL. Much as I detest the notion of "gamification" (still more the word!), people do like challenges with rewards. The UWA art contests seem to have generated a certain kind of energy among artists, and some exceptional art in the process. Is there a way to create a culture in which SL art is also about play and competition for its audience?
In other news, at the last two parties, the Split Screen sim filled and people weren't able to get in (sometimes including the artists). With a limit of 20 people, a homestead sim is pretty easy to close, but I'd prefer not to turn people away -- and since Split Screen shares the sim with residents, keeping them out would create serious problems. For that reason I grabbed an opportunity to rent a parcel on an adjacent sim and make it contiguous with Split Screen. That way, people can spread out onto two different homesteads, doubling my party capacity. The parcel is called Split Screen Event Horizon.