There are great surprises to me as an author, now that I can track what people read. Although Sim Street Journal is released as two versions—one in-world and one online, the audience is also split 50/50 between them. Both offer readership statistics on what is most-read.
The first surprise is that SSJ is read in 72 countries! Clusters of readers will emerge from Egypt or Argentina, depending on the sharing patterns. The maps are very illuminating, and where readers will sprout is unpredicatable. Yet, the readership location percentages overall seem to mirror the SL population: 40% North American, 40% European, 10% Australian, 5% South American, 5% Asian, approximately.
Even more surprising is what you, in the audience, read. As much as I think I know the target reader, I did not predict the results!
The editorial content of the publication is a mix of contributors and my editorial overview commentaries. I expected the profiles—the individual achiever’s story— to be most read. The articles that I write, comparing and contrasting viewpoints, I expected to be less-read. But the opposite is true by a multiple! The profiles have readership at first, but then it falls to smaller occasional spurts. But the overview articles have a consistent higher readership level! This is a great compliment! They are my original works, where the job of the rest is editorial.
I have taken this to heart. From the first issue of SSJ, I had a master list of ten topics to investigate with contributors. Unlike a magazine with a variety of writers, this content is designed to have more consistency, but still allow the personalities of collaborators. The topics coral around specific concerns and inspirations. Now, with having almost 200 interviews in hand, there is much to compare/contrast! The consistent vision is evident because the skeleton of the ten topics holds. It is very cool that these creations with the comparing viewpoints are the most read!! So, naturally, in response, I took the approach another step:
Relevance: From the Inside Out is written more for the outside reader than the in-world one because relevance means affect on real life. Having a second life has changed the first life of millions by now. Each night, there are between 48,000 and 68,000 avatars logged in. Sim Street Journal has 2,000 of them per issue as readers, which means it reaches its target. I believe in the 80/20 rule, and of the 20%, only 5% is of quality. SSJ seeks, finds, and reaches, those concerned with the quality and meaning of this expanded sense of time and space. It is a larger project to compare them than the confines of one journal issue—it follows the model of a larger compilation, possibly following the book format instead.
Books and art require a LOT of marketing to sell. For any product, it takes seven exposures to a target before they purchase. In an online world, the visual competition is huge. Now that everyone is a “publisher,” concerned about making posts and sharing their lives in a show-and-tell fashion, to break through that, and ask a reader to consider more universal topics, is knocking them off of a mindset. This is not a product that keywords will find, unless the reader has heard of the title already. Few would type into Google: “I am looking for a book on how developing a second life can influence the first.” This notion only occurs to those who find the topic within their journeys.
I think Megan Prumier said it best in SSJ#8: “Handle the virtual world with care.”It means so many different things to different people. In summary, it enhances real life. But there are many for whom it impairs. To everyone, there are reminders that it is public, and all kinds of people are behind the keyboards. The protection of anonymity has its pros and its cons, there for each to discover.
—always inspired, Eleanor Medier,
author, Relevance: From the Inside Out
Eleanor Medier (avatar of Liane Sebastian)
Sim Street Journal explores the relevance of virtual to real commerce and culture.