Apologies for being silent for a while, but we have been busy preparing a new peer-to-peer media platform for Text 100 and our clients. Now is the time to break the silence: I am excited to announce that we created an office in the virtual world of Second Life that will be opened to the public the week of August 21st. PR Week is reporting about it today (Update 8/8: now accessible without subscription. Thanks Keith).
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Second Life, it is a rapidly growing virtual, 3-D world in which
people can interact, create, educate, play, and work in entirely new ways. Since Business Week dedicated a title story to the phenomenon of Second Life, many of you will know that it has already become a commercial platform where people now trade virtual goods in the amount of over US $ 5 m a month.
Second Life has also got the attention of influential bloggers. Shortly after Robert Scoble joined Second Life back in March, he felt that you could even view it as an operating system and advised Microsoft to pay close attention to it. Cory Doctorow, one of the authors of the popular blog boingboing and science fiction writer, raised the attention for Second Life when he used it for a virtual booksigning event in July last year.
Within the community of PR bloggers Steve Rubel and Shel Holtz in particular deserve credit for commenting early and regulary on the potential Second Life can have for communications. Last but not least, our very own Aedhmar Hynes flagged the potential of Second Life to the Arthur Page Society back in April and also blogged about it.
We view virtual worlds like Second Life as the next stage in the evolution of peer-to-peer media like blogs, wikis, social networks and other online forums. People are using all of them to connect about things they are interested in and create the content they are passionate about. However, Second Life is adding a new dimension to it, because it provides an immersive 3-D environment that makes it more illustrative and inspiring than other platforms.
As a result, we think it offers interesting new possibilities for education, innovation, collaboration and marketing. E.g. we will use our Second Life office for internal trainings where we can make our best trainers better available globally. Using the three dimensions of the virtual world we can also enrich any kind of online meetings for our clients. E.g. they will be able to use our office to hold press conferences. Or they could use it to solicit feedback on a new product design from users. Or they could pull a global work group together to hold a workshop in an inspiring environment that could be entirely customised for the topic being discussed. The possibilities are virtually (!) limitless.
The Text 100 Second Life office has three sections: welcome center, amphitheater, and information center, and visitors are able to fly between the different areas. Screens throughout the office will be used for slide shows or video streams. The information center will also showcase Text 100 client work, news, and office contact information.
Of course, we also look at virtual worlds with a good sense of reality. While Second Life is growing really fast, it is still early days. Like with all communications platforms, we will always have to check how it can support our clients' business, before we propose an engagement to them. However, we have rarely met someone who wasn't excited about its opportunities once they have seen it.
We will come out with more news on our virtual office in the upcoming weeks, as we externally launch it to both real life and Second Life publics. Watch this space!