About this Video
This video is from the The 4th annual SIIA Content Forum conference, which focused on the tools, tactics, and best practices necessary to build, enable and sell content.
The Software and Information Association is the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries.
The Second Life discussion at the Content Forum included Russell Miyaki (TMP Worldwide) and Valerie Williamson (Electric Sheep Company) as panalests and was moderated by Patrice Curtis of Curtis Research.
Patrice provided the basics: SL contains about 10,000 square miles of virtual space, 6003 islands, and more than 5.6M residents. It has its own currency (Linden Dollars) and a fluctuating exchange rate determined by the market.
While most people find the idea of Second Life interesting, many wonder if it benefits a business to have a Second Life presence.
Russell felt that it did. His company specializes in recruitment in the real world and has extended their reach into Second Life.
On their island in Second Life, TMP constructs interactive buildings for their clients, organizes, and executes recruiting events.
We explored the T-Mobile building where a user could not only meet a recruiter, have a private conversation, and â€œhandâ€ someone their resume, but they could also sky dive off the roof!
Valerie’s company, Electric Sheep, is the largest creator of virtual world content.
Content in SL is everything – literally. Avatars, clothes, buildings, cars, and every object, is content. Content is also information in the more traditional sense.
Valerie’s avatar showed us Nissan’s flying cars, Showtime’s island for The L Word, universities, and interesting applications of real world content (XML files) within the virtual world.
While no one offered an ROI on creating a Second Life presence, benefits were visible around community and collaboration.
There were many visitors on Showtime’s island, The L Word, creating parties and props and interacting with Showtime content and personalities.
Those visitors had jumped into an environment created around a Showtime brand and then enhanced it based on their own preferences with the collaboration of their new found friends.
Instead of a blog, a chat, or a game on a website, their participation was more intense and immersive.
Does Second Life make real life marketing obsolete?
Hardly, it’s one more place you can build a community, host a conversation, and interact with your customers.
I’ve worked in several companies while they’ve struggled through change. I was with AT&T right after it divested the baby bells. I was with Prodigy (anyone remember that?) when it was trying to create a consumer oriented online news and shopping experience (before AOL even existed). I’ve spent the last six years working with traditional publishers.
If there has ever been an industry smack in the middle of radical change – it’s publishing. If you’re in the information business the world is a scary place right now.
Or is it?
You can close your eyes and hope everything turns out all right or you can figure out how to participate and build a thriving business. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’d like to find out what others think, what they’re doing, and how it’s working for them.