"The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." - Mark Twain
Over the last month I have been reading about the death of Second Life as the news organization Reuters closed down their in-world offices and several big name brands exited the virtual world. But just like in real life, the recovery (in real life and second life) will most likely come not from the big corporations but form the nimble, entrepreneurial small and mid-size business sector. They will see the benefits of virtual worlds, not for just broadcast advertising and brand placement but for "real" uses like collaboration, training, recruiting and all the while saving money.
In her post, Businesses Not Stampeding from Second Life, SL blogger Tateru Nino over at Massively (news about MMOs) says it well,
"SME's, universities, colleges, training groups and health-care providers are all deriving benefits from their usage of the virtual environment and few of these successful models rely on drawing the interest of Second Life users at large or drawing large quantities of eyeballs.
The number of educational institutions operating in Second Life is literally countless. It's a mammoth task just trying to total them all up -- and by the time you're done there seem to be more of them than when you started."
We continue to get questions about what are we "really doing in Second Life" and is it "really worthwhile". Note the use of "really" that keeps coming up. Can a virtual gaming environment, "really" be an effective learning and collaborative environment? Read what others are saying:
SL Entrepeneur Magazine reporter Feldpar Epstein gets it right in his post Real Life in Second Life says the most important benefits of Second Life are:
- Second Life can be used as an environment to be utilized for interaction, collaboration and training of your staff. This use doubles as a bit of advertising for your company that might prove palatable to the general public.
- Using Second Life as an advertising-only vehicle is relatively pointless unless you are willing to experiment somewhat rigorously and learn from your mistakes.
He then goes on to profile our work on CPA Island,
"Another case in point is the CPA Island (http://www.cpaisland.com/) build. The MACPA (Maryland Certified Practicing Accountants) run conferences here on a regular basis; CPAs can attend these conferences in Second Life to earn CPE credit (this is a points system for the ongoing education of CPAs). The MACPA have engaged speakers from across the globe to lecture on a wide variety of topics; they started in the middle of this year, and the conferences have been so successful that they plan to continue into the foreseeable future. It has also raised the profile of CPAs within the consciousness of Second Life users."
Then there is Dave MacDonald with the Canadian Management Accountants - British Columbia talking about his "first time" taking CPE in Second Life,
"So I went to the ampitheatre on CPA Island in Second Life and saw a number of other avatars present. Many were CPAs with no affiliation in Second Life except for the CPA professional development - it was exceptional. There was an animated talk on Enterprise Risk Management discussing myriad aspects of planning the prioritization of strategies with adherence to risk management principles. The talk was great, but the medium was fantastic."
And Edith Orenstein, social media maven at the Financial Executives International (FEI) and her first experience with the virtual world in her post, Get a (Second) Life. We have hosted a couple of mixed reality (virtual & real) meetings with the San Francisco FEI Chapter and the Bay Area FENG.
"After a few initial missteps, it became easy to move around. Avatars can stand up, sit down, walk, and even fly. At CPA Island we strolled through training and presentation facilities, trade show floors, kiosks, a media center, office space, and even break rooms (where my avatar stopped for a quick Red Bull). At various places throughout the island, we saw places where we could access PowerPoint presentations and direct links to schools and accounting firms. Several accounting firms and universities already have a permanent presence on CPA Island, as does Financial Executives International. The 3-D effect makes you feel like you're really in these rooms, whether it's sitting in the audience, speaking at the podium, or touring the booths."
We are currently building Accounting Web's booth for our EXPO right now...
Visit our virtual trade show and sessions during the second annual MDBIZEXPO on June 16th & 17th.
For more on our events in Second Life see our post 2008 Year in Review - CPAs start adopting Second LIfe for training
For upcoming events visit our blog at www.cpaisland.com
See our intor to Second Life movie on Youtube
Well what do you think is Second Life for real?