Today, July 20, 2007, I gave a short presentation in Second Life at a meeting of the Nonprofit Commons, a space where many non-profits have created their presence for outreach/education spaces or “offices.” What a great group of creative folks! My brief report was about a fairly new group in SL called the Non-Profit Global Network (NPGN).
I believe that the perceived boundary between Second Life and “Real Life” is largely just a habitual pattern of thinking. For non-profits, as you can easily imagine, we are talking about real people, real collaborations, and real structures all situated within a social ecology, if you will, of living and working together on Earth. One of my daily challenges is to help “melt down” for some people their initial perceptions that SL is just some game or fantasy thing. It’s as real as this conversation.
The kind of SL/RL collaborative activity engaged in by these non-profits in Second Life — and in whatever future iterations “it” might take — I call Web 3.0. My analysis: It is not merely revolutionary. It is transformative.
Talking Points from my presentation today:
– Thanks for letting me talk a little about what’s still an emerging effort with our group, the Non-Profit Global Network (NPGN). Like many of you, it’s taking longer than anticipated! 🙂 In retrospect, the easy part (ha!) was setting up the space, although it has taken some time, and then summer happened. And we had a great booth with other non-profits at the Best Practices in Education in SL Conference (a terrific 24-hour conference that we were proud to be a part of!).
– There are 2 most important projects in the pipeline. The first is connecting our presence here with some of the organizations participating in the global “Design for the Other 90%” effort. Currently there is an amazing exhibit of award-winning designs-for-the-people at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum: http://other.cooperhewitt.org/
These are designers working in relationship with global/local development efforts, so it’s a natural fit for many of them to begin working in SL where they can use this virtual world environment to design, build, test, and most importantly, join in co-present conversation with their partners from around the world….at a fraction of the cost. That connection with us is in the early stages, but has taken on new momentum just yesterday with a conversation with Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity. He presented at TED. Let’s start collaborating in SL.
– Also important and closer to preliminary agreement is connecting our presence here with the global Development Gateway Foundation, officed in Washington D.C.. Development Gateway is one of the largest and most active on-line portals for development practitioners around the world to share and exchange their latest news, information, and best practices on an almost daily basis from around the world! They have active participants from 336 countries! http://www.developmentgateway.org/. We have been in communication with them for over 2 months, and I am presenting our SL Non-Profit Global Network to them on July 3o in Washington.
– Development Gateway has 673 active blogs and online communities from around the world — so the vision here is no small thing! Critically, the fact that many of the local practitioner groups have Internet access and are online through the DevGateway portal means a significant number of them will be able to make a transition into SL with existing resources.
– Interestingly, it’s building real world credibility that takes the most time, largely because you find yourself not only describing the vision of the group, but you have to first describe what SL is! “Sooo….Second Life is…well… joining a virtual conversation, a virtual world environment…”. And you see people’s eyes start to glaze over… 🙂
– The incredible machinima movies now available filmed in SL are really helping to communicate a sense of the breadth and potential of creating a presence and, more importantly, a “site for interactions” in SL/RL. If you’re not already, I encourage you to use them. The old “show-and-tell” method is very effective. 🙂
Finally, as an example of powerful show-and-tell, if you haven’t already, please do yourselves a favor and check our Robbie Dingo’s incredible new machinima video. It’s also part of why I’m in Second Life. Robbie also creates “hyper-musical-instruments” in Second Life. I play a hyper-cello and a hyper-flute. His creation: http://youtube.com/watch?v=LxVDVggLqsA
Please let me know what you think — and Robbie, too!