It sounded like a catchy title. And companies certainly have used the media frenzy around the Second Life platform to garner outstanding mainstream coverage. But step into Second Life and the complaints come fast and thick. Complaints from the Second Life residents about islands that were built and abandoned after the big “events” that brought them to the platform in the first place.
Twenty-two of us discussed the issue of how companies can build a sustainable presence in Second Life that adds to the culture there. Download the pdf transcript of the event, with special thanks to Doug from Tech PR Gems for providing it after my avatar crashed and I lost the whole thing.
We asked Giff Constable, from Electric Sheep Company, and Marc Schiller, CEO of Electric Artists (and also an amazing street photographer and artist)to talk about their iVillage project, which hosts a Girls Night Out program every two weeks.
They start at the iVillage loft and give participants a tour card (called a HUD in Second Life) and then they tour interesting places and talk with well-known people in Second Life, ending back at the iVillage loft with live music. It has been very well attended, and maybe too well attended. Second Life has its limitations with a limit on the number of people that can gather in one Sim, or island (30 to 40), the fact that it is a bit of a resource hog and often causes lag and other issues. Anyway, iVillage has explored some ways to mitigate this (within budget), with one way being streaming live video from Second Life to a Web page so that you don’t even need to go to Second Life to attend the events.
You can check out a lighthearted Machinima, or video, that Giff put together at one of the iVillage Girl’s Night Out events, to get a feeling for the events.
The bottom line is that marketers, companies and PR professionals need to learn to create experiences in virtual environments, versus destinations, which up to now has been the focus. With Linden Labs releasing the Second Life code to open source, this should make the Second Life platform even more interesting to developers and companies trying to build their brands there.