Travel agent

searchSatnavs: one of those pieces of technology that we never really saw coming, but now we have them, we’re stuck with them. There are those who love them and those – like me – who feel their contribution to human wellbeing is, at best, dubious. Yes, i do have one of the infernal things – it comes with the job – but i rarely have cause to use it; instead, i tend to rely on the good old-fashioned method of navigating by map and road sign, although i will resort to the AA route planner if i need to know journey times and distances. As far as i’m concerned, satnavs are a redundant technology – there are perfectly serviceable and far more useful and intuitive methods of getting around that don’t require charging overnight, don’t fall off your windscreen when you hit a pothole and won’t send you blindly down a country lane that’s only navigable if you happen to be driving a tractor.

These new-fangled methods of finding our way around may look the part, but give me a proper, old-style road atlas any day and i’ll be far happier. Sometimes, the old ways are the best.

The same is true of sl search – do you remember the old v1 search that would neatly give you a list of SLurls for each individual item in a particular store? Inworld shopping was so much simpler then – you could home in to exactly what you wanted and teleport straight to it from the search window. Today search is far less helpful, and even the most precise search terms can throw up little that is useful or worthwhile – all you can ever find are strip joints and zombie apocalypse sims. All of which is terribly depressing for an avid explorer, like me.

what3_001Back in the good old days, it was a simple matter to type in a search term reflecting whatever i fancied checking out, and simply nip off to wherever turned up. The fact that you were also presented with a whole range of bizarre alternatives too, didn’t really matter – there was still a heck of a lot that was fairly relevant to what you’d orignally searched for. Lately i’m finding, more and more frequently that i seem to have been everywhere of interest on the Grid that there is – which is impossible, of course, (i think!). Take the last week or so – i’ve had the urge to get stuck into something that i think sl does very well: the gritty, dark and somewhat sombre style of urban streetlife. Yet search struggled terribly to come up with anything new or novel – i tried ‘urban’, ‘grunge’, ‘noir’ and a whole host of terms, all of which merely threw up places i’m already familiar with, or stores, clubs and the inevitable sex joints loosely based along those themes.

So, my exploratory tactics are changing. You’re more likely to find me randomly searching people, than places, because i find them so much more productive when it comes to revealing interesting and novel locations to check out. No need to even use relevant search terms either – i’ll just call up a list of random residents and profile surf, pulling out any locations from picks that look to be interesting. Truth is, i profile perv a lot anyway, not just to find out the juicy details about the people around me, but also to steal their favourite picks, for checking out at the first available opportunity – and it’s far more productive than search ever was.

Surely that’s not the way it should be? It’s not that the virtual world is shrinking so fast that we’re running out of new and exciting sims to visit and explore – although i won’t deny that many wonderful places have now, sadly, disappeared into oblivion – it’s more the case that many locations are simply not showing up in search, or place descriptions have become so generic and all-encompassing that any attempt to index them falls entirely flat on its face.

neo3_001It’s a problem not unique to sl – if you want to boost your site ranking on search engines, just throw in a few choice phrases as metatags: ‘naughty nurses’, ‘Bieber’, ‘conspiracy theory’, should all work wonders – even if you happen to be blogging about post-consumer vegetable product recycling. It may boost your ranking, but it also frustrates the hell out of people searching for conspiracy theory sites detailing Justin Bieber’s frolics with naughty nurses. What frustrates me about it in sl, is that these tricks of the trade that people employ to boost sim visitors is probably having completely the opposite effect, by muddying the waters of search to the extent you can’t find a damn thing!

So, i shall continue to scour profiles for juicy sites to visit, and employ ever more devious means to seek out new destinations. And, if you know of anywhere worth a visit, perhaps you’ll let me know too?

s. x

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree
I travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody’s looking for something
Soul Rebels – Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This

This entry was posted in Rants, RL, SL, Techietalk, Tour Guide. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Travel agent

  1. Becky says:

    I find precisely the same experiences with SL search, which is why I use blogs (Bitacora, Ziki’s, Honour’s, Caity’s, of course oodles and oodles of Flickr shots, to name a few highlights) to compile a list of travel destinations (a sadly growing list that I’ve parked on my shelf with next to no time to visit until we finish producing our next show!). Once Paradise Lost is premiered, I may actually post these on my site and check them off… kind of like a travel spot per week thing with an accompanying review on my blog. Anyway, I’d be happy to send the list your way if you look me up in world (Canary Beck). Oh! You should come by our region! (The Basilique) I’d be happy to give a little tour and it would be fun to chat anyway 🙂

    • The Basilique is definitely on my list of places to visit – when i have the time! When you built the new theatre i remember asking myself why on earth i hadn’t managed to get around to check out the old one… and i still haven’t – i really need to get a grip!

      Occasionally, i’ll drop a few LMs into articles here, of juicy places i’ve found, but so often, great places move or simply disappear, it can be quite disheartening to discover they’ve gone.

      i’m sure you’d do a great travelogue – you have a wonderfully evocative way with words – i look forward to reading it. 🙂

      s. x

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