(Click through to the larger version to read the poster)
I've been going to meetings on information island at the TechSoup area in Second Life where a small group of avatars interested in nonprofits and Second Life have been busy working on some exciting plans lead by Susan Tenby of TechSoup. (Next meeting is 10:30 a.m. PST at the TechSoup Office).
So, I volunteered some time to work with Emily Commerce and Lyre Calliope on researching and compiling the nonprofit directory on Second Life - which is not an easy thing do for a newbie avatar because my skills are still very basic, but easy because there aren't a lot of nonprofits on SL quite yet.
So, I was delighted to discover that Harvard's Berkman Center will have a presence in Second Life. There is an event taking place on Friday on topic of "Avatar-Based Marketing" as a conversation between avatars moderated by Ansible Berkman. You can read the details here from Wagner James Au's New World Notes Blog.
I immediately teleported to Berkman Island today to see if what the place looked like and ran right into Ansible Berkman. I reserved my seat. As I ran snapping my tourist photo of the poster for my learning journal (which I keep on Flickr), Ansible mentioned that uploading Second Life snapshots on Flickr is controversal. He pointed me to this Wired article.
If anyone has been following my flickr stream lately, they will notice perhaps a few dozen Second Life snapshots in my 2,000 or so RL ("real life") photos of my kids - less than 1-2%. So, perhaps my photos won't be censored from the public search. And, darn, a few like this one may not make it into the public Cambodian group. And reading the article, I wonder if the scans of my kid's drawings would also be a violation of the policy. It will be interesting to watch how this is all resolved and how many people turn into Flickr haters.
All that aside, I can't wait to experience this virtual event - it will be my first "educational" experience. Hey, at least I can say to my son that it is a professional development activity, not a game that I am playing.
I am also behind in my reflections about my first virtual meeting at the TechSoup office last week. (Taran, whose back problems kept him in bed on painkillers with his laptop, was also there and has written a great report on his explorations.).
I've facilitated and participated in many online meetings - using various tools (phone, chat, whiteboards, etc.) and so I volunteered to take notes. I usually do this because typing is my strategy for paying attention. I wasn't used the multi-channel chat and IM - so it was a little distracting. The meeting content was very fast paced as Taran mentions and the many of the other participants were already immersed in the culture and language of SL - so for someone like me who was a newbie - I wasn't following all of the subtext or terms.
I felt a little weird being at a meeting where I didn't know most of the people or avatars and wasn't sure of who they were in "RL" (Real Life). Watching the avatars sitting around "listening" to the meeting discussion wasn't as distracting as was the multi-channel chat. The question running through my mind was "How does this compare to a phone conference/chat channel in terms of understanding, being on the same page? How does the use of the avatars add or distract from our communication/interaction or to collaborate effectively?"
It is way too early to answer those questions. But I did discover that I had to follow up one-on-one to catch up on the stuff I'm not understanding. A steep learning curve ..