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April 23, 2007

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Dr. Trotsky

more like this please

erasmus

Thanks, Al, your post brought it all back to me. My daughter dragged me to one of these worlds once. I remember a lot of people standing around shape-shifting then flying up into the air for no good reason.

ahfukit

Would that we all attended our gardens thus.

M

I keep meaning to check out what Second Life is all about. The excuse I've used for staying away is that between all of the other online activities I just don't have the time. The Second Life Nonprofit Commons sounds interesting enough to make the time for.

Your garden sounds lovely.

Creech

"There’s a Nonprofit Commons under construction in Second Life, described as “breathtaking” on the Nonprofits in Second Life blog. The virtual land was purchased and donated by Anshe Chung, the first “virtual world millionaire.” The Commons will cost $200 a month to maintain."

I'd like to clarify that the commons costs the Nonprofits in Second Life Group nothing. It was all graciously and generously donated by Anshe Chung Studios.

--The land was donated
--The time it took to create the sim was donated
--The monthly land fees are donated.

The net result, so far, is a connection between many excellent nonprofits and like minded individuals who are interested in collaboration in creative and new ways. The nonprofits involved cross international borders.

Albert Ruesga

Thanks for your comment, Creech. A connection between excellent nonprofits is often a good thing.

I invite you to help skeptical readers understand what you believe these nonprofits will achieve by giving their staff time to these virtual interactions.

Susan Tenby

There are many articles and information covering this topic (why Nonprofits should care about virtual worlds.)

In fact, our project (TechSOup's nonprofit commons)was just written up in the New York Times. With large foundations like Mac Arthur funding virtual worlds, and hundreds of organizations in-world, soon the skeptics will realize the potential of this new platform (it is not a game) for its creative, social networking and awareness-building capabilities. Everyone is invited to participate in TechSoup's weekly meetings in the Nonprofit Commons space from 8:30-9:30 every Friday to see for themselves.

Beth Kanter

Albert,

As with any new technology there are limitations, barriers, and skeptics. I seem to remember a "I'm sticking with DOS campaign" that came up late 1980s. Anyway, there are also opportunities and the nonprofits working in second life are gaining valuable experience in what works and what doesn't. Also, ditto to all the points that Susan and Creech make above. But the best way to form an opinion is via first-hand experience -- so come join the weekly TechSoup meetings.

I hope you'll correct the statement in your post about the maintenance cost for nonprofit comments.


I'd li

Albert Ruesga

Hmm, time to set the record straight a bit. The $200 figure came from your own post, Creech. Here’s the link. I never claimed it would cost the nonprofits involved $200 a month to maintain.

I tried, in my own post, to give a sense of the creative possibilities of Second Life, and my response to Creech was a sincere invitation to have him expound on some of those possibilities. Do you think differently in Second Life, and if so, how? Is it considered rude to edit your appearance while somebody’s "talking"? Most importantly, has some breakthrough in nonprofit thinking happened in Second Life meetings that would not likely have happened in real world meetings?

I think readers would find these kinds of things interesting.

Lest you peg me for a Luddite, my first career was as a software designer (we called ourselves programmers back then) and I’ve seen Forbidden Planet at least three times.

What are the trade-offs with the new technologies? What’s the seamy side of Second Life? Are we discouraging whole generations of pimply youths from learning important social skills? Is it yet another decadent diversion for nonprofits, trotted out under the banner of innovation? Are there grounds for being skeptical about all the technological boosterism that goes on in our sector?

Dooch-Bahhhk

It's too late, Glitteractica_Cokie, Albert has aleady hired professional help!

Beth Kanter

Ah, I think you misread what Creech wrote - the $200 monthly maintenance fee or rent for the sim is being covered by the donor. There are not costs to nonprofits except for their time.

Noah Chesterman

Al,

I think you pegged the problem of SL with your first ‘interaction’. Sure it looks pretty, but what is it good for when the only people you meet do the hula and inspect their rat… good for nothing. That’s why many people were excited about the donation and creation of the Creative Commons area.

When I log into SL, I know no one. It is an endless amusement park, but how I am going to meet likeminded people or exchange ideas; largely impossible. However, with the Creative Commons area people can click a single link outside of SL, and instantly be transported to a global conference hall. Who’s speaking and are the creative juices flowing? Not always, but it’s an excellent starting point to find information and real people from across the world to sharing ideas, opinions, and exchanging viewpoints.

The nonprofit I work for can’t afford to send me to conferences within the same state, let alone across the country or internationally. The people participating in the Friday morning conferences are from all over the world. I learn from the ideas and viewpoints they bring to the meeting.

So it could be looked at as I spend an hour wasting time in a game; but it’s more of a free form conference and meet-n-greet for a globally diverse group of likeminded people. (and yes, sometimes people in CC do the hula too, there is no place you’ll escape that in SL)

Noah Chesterman
Director of IT
Central Coast Energy Services
www.energyservices.org
noah (at) energyservices.org

Albert Ruesga

Noah, thanks for your very thoughtful comment. It's helpful to hear from others about their "lived experience" of virtual worlds like Second Life. And I appreciate your reading the post in the spirit in which was written. I'll look you up next time I'm on the Commons.

Tidy Sum

That stuff creeps me out, man.

Some might say we ought to worry about our first lives.

I recently talked to an Iraqi vet at a county fair at the National Guard Booth and he struggled to make sense of how out of touch American's are with the war.

My grandmother's view of the world is totally mediated by 100 channels and a monthly trip to the beauty salon.

And come to think of it...

Kids spend over 4 hours a day watching TV.

Adults spend more than an hour a day surfing the net.

On my subway ride into work, everyone is mezmerized by their own electronica.

One in four adults read no books last year.

Half of American's are overweight.

Half of American's don't vote.

And on and on.

Those virtual worlds seem awfully self-indulgent, but I grant that they have their utility for some.

So go shake your thang. Go get your virtual high five.

I just find the real world far more interesting and important.

Albert Ruesga

I hear you, TS. We appear to share some of the same concerns. I understand the benefits of virtual worlds (and there are many we haven't alluded to in the main post or the comments). But I worry about the general trend of plugging in and tuning out. I feel there's been an atrophying of thought and sensibility, attributable, in some measure, to the increasing amounts of time we spend online.

Zonker

Doing Nothing Online

i.a.t.

yo, zonker, my son and his peeps aren't raising money for darfur. they're spending hours on facebook visiting babe profiles and writing "nice nads."

His Lordship the Viscount St. Austell-in-the-Moor Biggleswade-Brixham

Never trust a Yalie.

Albert Ruesga

I know exactly what you mean. Those smug smiles, the arched eyebrows.

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