It's Friday, it's summer, it's raining - okay that's my set of excuses for spending a little bit of time in Second Life today. I attended a meeting at the SLTechSoup Office, a discussion forum on Avatar Marketing hosted by Harvard Berkman Center, and visited a donation site for the Make A Wish Foundation.
Today's planning meeting at TechSoup Office in Second Life on Information Island was with a group of avatars, some of who I know in real life, to discuss the upcoming TechSoup mixed-reality event on July 18th (more about that later). If you're interested in attending or getting more involved, there are some ways to do so. But first, skim through the discussion forum on TechSoup, especially if you're new to Second Life. Feel free to email or skype me if you need help getting started - it's a wee bit of a learning curve, but fun.
If you are a nonprofit or affiliated with a nonprofit that is already doing something in Second Life, take this survey or let us know by leaving a comment in this post. The TechSoup group is collaborating on a directory of nonprofits and we want to make sure your organization is included. If you want to get involved in the planning for the event or other activities geared for nonprofits, join the Google Group here. If you want to talk about nonprofit involvement on Second Life, come on over the Omidyar Network where there is a lively discussion going on ...
During the meeting, we discussed the upcoming mixed reality event at TechSoup office on July 18th, the nonprofit directory, and a representative from Global Giving discussed some ideas on how they would like to use Second Life.
I'm pleased to say that I've perfected my notetaking techniques and am more comfortable with the multi-channel chat and IM. Except for two things. Second Life crashed - and we were all frozen and booted off. We had to log back on. So, it sort of made the meeting a little chaotic. Also, at the end when I thought I was having a private IM with a colleague to set up a play date with my kids, it was broadcast to the entire group. It is like sending a personal email to the entire listserv by mistake. Well, at least I wasn't saying catty things about the people who were there ...
Then I teleported off to the Berkman Center discussion on Avatar Marketing. The panelists included journalist Wagner James Au and Harvard Business School Review Senior Editor Paul Hemp and several others. There was some entertaining banter between panelists before we started, including tips on where to purchase a tweed jacket in Second Life. Each panelist gave a brief introduction on their perspective on the topic. At one point, one of the panelists was swimming while flying in the air - never seen that in a real life harvard lecture hall!
While you are reading the chat, you can also click on each of the avatars and read their profiles. The only celebrity I discovered was Pathfinder Linden, the big wig who is in charge of educational initiatives at Linden Labs. After the panelist intros, it was opened up for audience discussions facilitated by Anslee Berkman (who is a she). Unfortunately, I had to leave because I had to pick up my son from summer camp (my first life is so boring ..). A (unofficial) transcript exists here.
I also checked out a few of the nonprofit spaces that we have identified as part of the directory. One of them is "Make A Wish Foundation." This space was set up by a resident named Yonder Dousberg. He has collected approximately $14,000 in Linden dollars which translates into about $45.00.
This is an example of virtual grassroots fundraising. And certainly, not the only potential way a nonprofit could benefit from a presence in Second Life.