If you follow me on twitter you'll find me tweeting from and about geek meets in Second Life, which are among the best learning and networking experiences I've found.
Among my recent meetings (listed in the public 30 boxes calendar on the right column of this blog) was one organized by Nick Wilson ( Metaversed ) in which one of my favorites, Jeff Barr from Amazon, was a panelist joined by Xerox's Jonas Karlsson, Fiona Gallagher from Sun and Craig Cmehil from SAP.
What I didn't know was that also present was Dennis Howlett who reported later in Irregular Enterprise | ZDNet.com. Dennis liked what he saw, writing that
"....Second Life provides a viable meeting alternative to a traditional conference, especially for those who are time starved but want to discuss a single issue. (Aren’t we all?) The combination of IRC style chat and live voice, a well constructed location and readily identifiable avatars gives it a ‘human’ feel. Carefully organized events like the one I attended could easily become important meeting points ...
As a value add, it is hard to quantify the value but on this showing, the savings in travel alone have to run thousands of dollars. And oh yes - the back channel and ‘after event chatter’ was just as interesting as you’d find at any real world event.
Now here's where it really gets interesting, because he was clearly a naysayer before this.
"I had tried Second Life about 18 months ago and was deeply unimpressed. Today, I have a wholly different opinion.
Yes, creating an avatar is a dreary process and yes, getting the best from Second Life requires an investment in programming. But the rewards are clear and obvious. This is a Web 2.0 service that is maturing nicely and one that should be given CXO level attention."
Folks, if you have not created a Second Life presence it's time to do it. When the atheists are being converted by attending a simple meeting I count that ten times better than if an agnostic enthused like this.
Note: The avatar creation process can be time consuming to get it looking professional, not to mention that nobody wants to look like a Noobie, even if we are noobies, Spending some time on putting your virtual self together can make you feel much more comfortable at your first series of events in-world. It's bad enough to be walking into walls without looking like your skin has been ripped from a Barbie doll and your hair is plastered to your head
Talk to me about names before you sign up so you can avoid making unfortunate choices. And call on me for if you'd like some help constructing / presenting yourself in a professional manner.
I'm glad to just give a few pointers or do more extensive work with you. But whether you do it yourself or do it via me or someone else, it's definitely time to invest a couple of hours in at least taking the first steps.
Skype chat @artsyasylum, A direct message in facebook reaches me well as does a direct message in twitter or a blog comment. I've sworn off email for the most part and celebrate the decision