. Sign boards are located on 35 Member and 45 SL Help Island and
Welcome Area sims.
. Data show increases in the
numbers of new registrants on all member sims.
Resident Management Team
. Sitearm Madonna - Development
. Annie Milestone - Membership
. Spook Maroon - Operations
Resident Support Team
. Biancaluce Robbiani - Help Islands and Welcome Areas Sign Support
. Cher Harrington - Interview Candidate Members / English
. Eria Ziemia - Interview Candidate Members / Danish, Norwegian,
. Joja Dhara - Interview Candidate Members / Dutch, English
. Esmay Rand - Network Teleport Sign System Advisor; Italiana
. Mini Wirefly - Check Current Members Quarterly for Membership
. Kaimi Kyomoon - Marketing Imagery Advisor
. Smitty Boyau - Security Advisor
. Teresa Ewing - SL Mentor Advisor
. Cyberpiper Roeolfs - Deutsch, Français
. Dai Paz - 日本語
. Elwe Eldrich - Premium Account Advisor
. Ham Rambler (Dublin in SL) and
. Ivo Krupinski (Groningen in SL) are instrumental providing support
from the earliest stages in working with the program, encouraging
the team, and
providing the first two members
Linden Lab Support
. Blondin Linden (Help Islands and Welcome Areas)
. Katrin Linden (Community Gateway Program) and
. Blue Linden (New User Experience Program) are instrumental in
working with the program, encouraging the team, maintaining a Help Island Testing
Presence, and referring additional candidates for membership.
Press Release 4Q08
"SISTER CITIES AND FRIENDS OFFERS NETWORKING OPTION"
Themed build owners in Second Life are finding a
new option to network and promote awareness and growth of their
work: Sister Cities and Friends in SL.
Guests benefit by becoming aware of other quality,
themed sims in Second Life; and having direct teleport access to
many different types of entertainment activities.
Owners benefit by providing broader exposure for
their designers, artists, venues and events, especially for new
"Sister cities membership supports continued
growth and success," says Sitearm Madonna, who started the
resident-managed program in 2007. "New theme builders coming into SL
are like new musicians: some are very savvy and know just what to
do; some are new and are good at some things but not at others. Most
of us are somewhere in the middle. All of us benefit from
opportunities to learn from each other."
Lislo Mensing of Munich in SL agrees: "Being a
part of a strong network is better than working alone. It is the
notion of being connected to people with a similar mindset. Creating
high quality environments like a real town and enjoying the
community that chooses to live in these environments."
Bibi Bayliss adds, "There are instant benefits -
increased traffic and visibility and access to a great marketing
team in Sitearm Madonna and the Sister Cities personnel. Longer
term, I think it helps to focus on the continued need to welcome and
engage the SL community, both new and experienced."
What does "Sister Cities and Friends Online" mean?
Groningen in SL is a "city" because it is a themed, realistic
recreation of a real-world urban location, including structures,
plazas, and roads. SS Galaxy in SL is a "friend" because it is a
themed recreation of special interest - a luxury ocean liner
spanning three sims.
Sister Cities and Friends Online started with three
members: San Diego, Groningen, and Dublin. The idea for the program
occurred in a conversation in May 2007. Madonna recalls, "That was
the day we opened San Diego City in SL. Ivo Krupinski was there and
IM'd me, saying he liked my construction office with schedules, prim
budgets, and scale models. I knew right then, this must be a smart
Krupinski says, "I liked the forward-thinking
approach to planning an entire city, not only for the building phase
but also for the events phase. I was building my own city, Groningen
in SL, at the time. The scale models I saw included terraforming,
roads, and structures. The prim budgets I saw allowed room both for
growth and for performance buffers so that crowded events would have
Madonna and Krupinski discussed the idea of
networking the cities that they knew about and worked with. So when
Groningen opened a few months later, in September 2007, the Sister
Cities network began: Three teleport sign boards, each featuring one
of three cities, were placed in San Diego, Groningen, and Dublin.
Ham Rambler of Dublin in SL explains, "You could
see pictures of other good locations in SL and, just by clicking,
teleport to them immediately. Because these signs were posted on our
sim, our Regulars knew we recommended these other locations as
having similar high quality activities and themes."
Cher Harrington adds, "I saw a new-to-SL visitor
reading the Sister City sign and teleporting to the different sims.
I envisioned the friendliness and the great introduction to SL they
must have had. This, to me, is what the project is all about."
But aren't all these cities competing for traffic
for events? Won't they lose their communities to other locations?
Not so, explains DBDigital Epsilon of SS Galaxy in SL: "Sister
Cities and Friends in SL is a network of locations that are
interested in sharing traffic.
"There is plenty of traffic in SL to go around and
it is to our mutual benefit to steer visitors who like our work to
locations of similar standards of quality and community. The old
saying 'united we stand' is very accurate in this regard."
Growth of the network created administrative
overhead early in 2008. Madonna explains, "We had grown to a total
of five cities (Zurich and Cologne had been added) and two friends.
I discovered that maintaining seven different teleport boards, each
on seven different sims, was getting to be a burden for updates and
adding new members.
"So I began experimenting with a networked system
from Esmay Rand
and found that it was much simpler. However, now the growth
constraint became the time needed to interview new candidate
New factors led to renewed growth in mid 2008. "I
am in the Second Life Solution Provider Program, like many other
developers in SL," explains Madonna. "In June I volunteered for the
Solution Provider Council, created to provide improved
communications between us and Linden Lab.
"I met Katrin Linden, who manages the European
Community Gateway program. She explained the increased emphasis that
Linden Lab was placing on 'positive first experiences' for new
residents in SL. She introduced me to more great residents and
cities and I felt renewed to take the program larger."
Madonna met Joja Dhara, the newly-hired Community
Program Manager for Groningen in SL. "Joja is irrepressibly cheerful
and a master networker," laughs Madonna. "She peps me up. I invited
her to help manage the program and she agreed immediately. Madonna
also met Blue Linden in the New User Experience and Help Island
Testing program. "Blue counseled us on how to adjust the signs for
optimal use by new registrants. Esmay immediately updated the code
for us and we rolled it out."
"Then we recruited three more great people, Annie
Milestone, Eria Ziemia, and Cher Harrington. Suddenly we had a resident
management team, resident technical support, and the good counsel of Linden Lab.
Things really accelerated!"
Dhara elaborates, "The operations team offers
advice to owners in operating efficient, sustainable sims. This is
of course optional and at no charge, and it is offered for as long
as an owner is receptive and finds it helpful. Also, there is no
charge to be a member of Sister Cities and Friends in SL, but
eligibility requirements must be maintained."
Can anyone become a member? Dhara explains,
To be eligible a sim owner must:
a) Be established with a themed sim build
b) Maintain a weekly activity schedule and growing community base
c) Provide new residents a friendly, safe, positive "first
experience" of SL
d) Sign a confidentiality agreement
e) Provide sim promotional materials
f) Allow placing a networked teleport sign board in a public
location on the sim
g) Meet from time to time with an operations team member.
The team meets weekly to identify new members to
invite and to discuss ideas:
. Joja Dhara, Netherlands
. Eria Ziemia, Denmark
. Annie Milestone, Germany
. Cher Harrington, US
. Sitearm Madonna, US
Milestone explains, "We want to reach a total of
30 members before the end of the year. We want to focus especially
on cities first. It is aggressive, but there are many great
"We want to make hometown locations and hometown
languages easy for new residents to find. We want to make exciting
new places easy for tourists to find.
"And we want to make great locations easy for
companies who want to invest in SL to find." Newest members include
three cities (Munich in SL, London in SL, Berlin in SL) and one
friend (Poseidon's Port).
Madonna concludes, "We all have interest to bring
our special ideas and talents into virtual reality. And we all have
a stake in virtual platforms like Second Life continuing to evolve,
succeed, and stay in existence.
"This is true whether it's for a business or for
recreation. Sister Cities and Friends in SL gives us an intelligent
way to network and cooperate so that each of us benefits."
For more information see the website at