Thursday, November 15, 2007

Your World or Mine? Exploring the Metaverse

I attended my first Austin Social Media Club meeting tonight. What a cool group of people.

Tonight's session focused around Second Life and how Dell and the American Cancer Society are using it. Dell seems to be focused more on brand building, while the American Cancer Society is actually raising funds through things like virtual Relay for Life events (which is one of their most financially successful events in real life) and garage sales.

I've dabbled around in Second Life a bit and quickly realized it would need to be a weekend project for me to acclimate myself to that metaverse. Plus, I admit, it kept crashing my computer which made it incredibly frustrating.

One of the things that Laura Thomas spoke about when she was trying to sell the idea to her higher ups at Dell, was the importance of getting buy-in from management. Okay, got that. My VP of Marketing, Koen De Witte, is encouraging a couple of us to look into it.

And in looking into it we'll need to answer the simple question of WHY? And that one word has so many connotations to it like:
  • WHY spend the time building a virtual universe when we should probably focus on our real universe of marketing and lead generation?
  • WHY become a part of this world if we aren't even sure that this is where our customer base is located?
  • WHY step out of the box, when the box we're in is so darn comfy?
All valid questions as are the others that are certain to ensue. But the reality is and Connie Reece really hit the nail on the head with this one, is that this metaverse is here and if it's not the one that lasts long term then another world will pop up. Would we as an organization rather be part of this now or miss the boat entirely. And mind you, I totally get that Bulldog would not be an early adopter at this juncture as SL has been around for several years now.

And Laura made another great point about future generations when she spoke about how her daughter is aleady functioning in a virtual world when she visits Webkinz and purchases virtual items for her Webkinz pet.

Oh, lordy, didn't I write a post earlier about feeling old?

The world, both first life and second life, is changing and evolving. The question now is do I or does my organization jump on board and learn about it or ignore it and hopes it goes away?

1 comment:

epodcaster said...

Kim,

I joined Second Life last year and I agree that it takes a bit of time to learn. I don't spend a lot of time in it because of the amount of computing power it requires. The fan on my computer starts going into overtime the minute I log in. I'll probably give it a real go when I upgrade my machine in the next couple of months.

Good breakdown of the SMC Austin gathering. Thanks for posting it so those of us who couldn't make it feel as though we were there.

Cheers!