This virtual launch coincides with the sixth anniversary of the arrival of prisoners at Guantánamo, and several real world demonstrations in Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia and Boise,
ID; protests in San Francisco and Tampa; a discussion in Pittsburgh; a
vigil in Raleigh, NC; and a rally in St. Louis, according to the ACLU press release.
"The Tech," as The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose is lovingly called, today launched a virtual replica in Second Life - kind of. The building may look familiar, but the mission is to encourage the re-thinking of museums, exhibits and to explore the next iteration of "the museum."
The grant that made the virtual initiative possible mandates that it be a service to the museum community, according to Nina over at Museum 2.0. To that end, the project is actually both a web space and a Second Life space to prototype exhibits, collaborate, or propose exhibit ideas. As an incentive to get collaborators collaborating, there is a $5000 award being offered to an exhibit deemed "spectacular" enough to be carried out in the real world museum. The exhibit must be in the "Art, Film, Music and Technology" category and created during the incentive period which ends in June.
The initiative is a combination of a web community site, called the Museum Workshop and Second Life, tightly integrated. The web site allows members to post a proposed project and recruit others to join the project. It allows collaborators to have a project wiki, share project assets and publish a project task list. Second Life is used to build, co-create and prototype the exhibit projects. There is an idea area for those who aren't creator-types. The accompanying blog is an update and conversation space. Everything is made available under a Creative Commons license.
Nina says the space will have a full slate of programming such as classes, design reviews, Q&A sessions, and tours. There is a tutorial on interactive exhibit design (business communicators this is a great opportunity to learn about interactive design!). Tours are every day at 11:00 a.m. SLT, and scripting and building classes every Thursday at noon SLT.
The space is not populated with exhibits, as the hope is it will be filled with the collaborative projects in progress.
This is a project that certainly has an awful lot of the right ingredients, and one that is on the radar to watch the progress.
Join in on September 10, from 10:15 am – 11:45 am SLT for USC's Center on Public Diplomacy panel discussion, From Global to Local: Virtual Worlds, Immigration, and Linguistic Diaspora while the RL version will hail from Mexico City. According to USC's press release, the topic is meant to explore how virtual worlds can have an impact on making global
issues local; and how immersive and digital environments are playing a
role in cultural dialogue and interaction.
This panel is actually part of the larger event, Interdependance Day V, that brings together civic leaders, artists and thinkers for a series of discussisons on "the realities and possibilities of forging constructive interdependence in our troubled and divided world."
The entire event will be simulcast in Second Life and will feature a mix of panelists participating physically in Mexico
and virtually in Second Life. USC's participation is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The USC panelists include:
Peter Marx, Former Chief Technology Officer for
Vivendi Universal Games;
Jose Murilo, Manager of Strategic Information,
Ministry of Culture (Brazil);
Mark Wallace, virtual worlds journalist;
François Bar, Associate Professor, USC Annenberg School for
Gilson Schwartz, Academic Director of the City of
Knowledge, Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil).
the group in Second Life "MacArthur Foundation SL Events" for detailed updates.
Get the complete event schedule for Interdependence Day V and details on the USC panel here.
Sky News has been tinkering around in Second Life since the Spring, and launched their SL island early this summer. In a welcome sign that they are moving forward with an in-world strategy, news comes from Armin Ruede at Sky News that they have launched a Second Life "Be A News Reporter" challenge.
The UK news service is exending its RL commitment to citizen journalism into SL with this - "cit-j" is something Sky News has fostered since 2005.
Their promotional machinima gives you the low-down on submitting on-machinima news reports to Sky News for use on their web site - or if the reporter avatar has enough charimsa and news-worthy savvy - the virtual report may end up on UK TV. Sky News is inviting uploads of the news machinima via their SkyCast social network and video sharing site.
Sky News has also assembled a reporters' kit that is available in their virtual offices. It includes helpful notecards on how to frame a news report, some do's and don'ts, and some technical tips on audio and video. Included is the "must have" Sky News microphone - "must have" because it is a requirement to have it in order for a news report submission to be considered. And a nice, subtle, professional reporter-type animation that microphone enables for your avatar as well.
The Sky News reporter challenge runs through September 30th.
There are some indications that News with a big "N" is starting to mature in-world - and that would be "News" as traditional public relations people know it. There are of course many existing exceptionally good SL news outlets reporting on the day's events and analyzing the big issues - and they actually get it right.
But the launch last month of SLPulse, a free press release service (web-based) by Cold Fusion Intertainment, in-world news HUDs like Reuters', and Sky News now encouraging in-world cit-j video news reports are just a few of the elements in the overall effort toward tackling the organization and distribution of News using methods businesses, media and communictors are comfortable with. With luck these tools and services will take on SL news models that are less "gatekeeper" and more "News Infrastructure/Enabling."
This is Znetlady Isbell signing off for SL Business Communicators. See you next time!
A tiny country undergoing huge reforms, the Republic of Maldives has opened an embassy on a corner of Diplomacy Island in Second Life.
The Maldives, a developing country with limited resources within the global arena, sees Second Life as a method to extend its diplomatic outreach beyond the opportunities the “real world” affords them and a way to boost its international profile.
The space prominently displays information about the Maldives reform agenda. The Republic is currently engaged in sweeping constitutional, human rights and democratic reforms, including enhancing the role of the media in Maldivian society.
Unlike Sweden’s plans for their SL embassy, which is slated to open May 30, visitors to the virtual Maldivian embassy will be able to conduct some diplomatic business such as talking to virtual diplomats about visas and trade issues.
In keeping with its reputation for innovative news delivery, Sky News Centre will debut in Second Life in June. The virtual news room will invite visitors to try out their anchor-person skills and engage with Sky News personalities and events, according to their press release.
But what is especially intriguing in the announcement - and worth keeping an eye on as it rolls out - is that Sky News apparently plans to recreate news-worthy events, such as "court cases, crimes scenes and natural disasters" to provide a "deeper understanding of the issues."
I hope my friend and former journalist, Gary Goldhammer over at Below The Fold, weighs in on this. It is a fascinating endeavor for a news channel that has me thinking deeply about both the delivery of "hard news" and individual involvement with it. A cadre of TV stations such as The Weather Channel and Court TV are certainly expanding the implementation of "news coverage" and have proven that viewers do value deep engagement with subject matter. These shows however, also rely heavily on the "entertainment value" of news.
I wrote in an earlier post that as 3D spaces become more accessible to content creators and "audiences," content will become "animated, 360-degree, un-flat,
multi-dimensional and multimedia." This applies as richly to news as it does to other forms of communications. And besides communicators and marketers having to understand how space and props are part of the message, so too will journalists. Many of whom are still getting their heads around having to capture images and sound while keeping a story factual, objective and balanced.
I wonder how scenario building and "news event education" (my term) will juxtapose. How will the collaborative, wiki-ish features of Second Life build upon it?
How will role-playing change "news"?
How will scenario shifting change our views of the events?
How will "being in" the "time and place" affect the perception of the story?
How will journalistic practices evolve to encompass 3D news delivery?
Before you jump all over me, I'm not saying news will be 3D any time soon and all journalists will be "building stories." But as Sky News experiments with "news education," I am saying we may find some very interesting questions to ask about journalism and the evolving concept of "news."
Prominently displayed outside their offices are 34 world leaders dubbed as “predators of press freedom.” You can access biography notecards of each.
A stark reminder to those of us with so much access to so much information are two wall maps: countries that are “Internet black holes” and counties color-coded based on their press freedom.
The organization also inaugarated a journalists' memorial in Bayeux, France yesterday, commemorating the 1,889 journalists killed since 1944 while doing their job. Twenty-four journalists and five media assistants have been killed so far this year. RSF/RWB cites 163 media workers who have perished in the Iraq conflict since 2003.
By almost any measure, the gold rush in virtual worlds is here. Infinite Vision Media is taking a step to ensure non-profits can stay with the pack with the introduction of their Social Responsibility Initiative.
Drew Stein, CEO of IVM tells me that the “IVM-SRI” is an end-to-end suite of services for non-profits and academic institutions to tap into the same enterprise-level creative and development services large brands can command. IVM will be offering pro-bono services to structure the projects while assisting each non-profit to access and secure funding resources.
In conjunction with their Social Responsibility Initiative announcement, IVM disclosed they will be undertaking the pro-bono development of the American Cancer Society’s headquarters in Second Life.
As the demand for virtual world services heats up, so goes the retail prices for services to develop 3D content projects. Developers will naturally be more than tempted to put greater attention and resources to easy-come, well-paying projects from corporate brands.
IVM’s initiative will level the financial playing field for their clients and help bring important and worthy projects into 3D spaces.
Gartner, of the famous Hype Cycle, released news out of their Gartner Symposium/ITExpo:2007 going on through tomorrow, that they are predicting 80% of active Internet uses will have some kind of a "second life" in a virtual world by 2011.
Gartner also predicts that meaningful corporate use of virtual worlds will
lag behind the influx of individuals into them, but that "the
collaborative and social aspects of these environments will dominate in
The Symposium is Gartner's premier annual event, geared to IT professionals, and it focuses on the emerging trends in business, technology and the economy.
According to their press release, Gartner is advising clients that virtual worlds is an emerging trend, and to go slow in investing until platforms are more stable the environments mature.
Toward this end, Garnter offers five "laws" for participating in virtual worlds:
Virtual worlds aren't games, but they aren't parallel universes (yet)
Behind every avatar is a real person
Be relevant and add value
Understand and contain the downside
This is a long haul
Gartner's "laws" and advice are not necessarily more insightful than the conversations going on within the virtual world community, but it does encapsulate them nicely.
It also lends Gartner credibility to virtual worlds for businesses and as an evolution of the web and social networks, for commerce and business operations.
The gold quote from the release:
"Despite the concerns within companies, don’t ignore this trend. They
will have a significant impact on your enterprise during the next five
years.” ---Steven Prentice, Gartner vice president and distinguished analyst
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