As promised, I went along to the IBM meeting in Second Life (SL) yesterday evening. I was first struck by how closely the experience imitated real life. I turned up at the last minute having rushed away from dinner with a customer and was quickly ushered in to an auditorium. It seems that there is a limit to the number of people who can fit on any one island so the 130 attendees were distributed across four venues. Unfortunately the ‘projector’ was broken in our room, leaving us with just the live soundtrack for the presentation.
Eventually someone told me how to get the necessary permission to teleport to another venue where I could sit and watch the remainder of the live presentation. I have to confess that being able to see the reactions of the other attendees (including applause and laughter) did add something to the experience over and above a normal webcast.
Afterwards I mingled with some of the other attendees. I found it hard to resist the temptation to keep asking who they were and what they did in real life. Perhaps the urge fades as you spend more time in SL and have more common experiences to share with others. One of the eightbar crew then gave me permission to join him on the private Hursley Island so I could take a look at some of the fantastic constructions that my colleagues have built over there.
Final stop for the evening was the “New Citizens Center”. A helpful lady there provided me with some useful tips (for example, people bow when they meet one another as it isn’t possible to shake hands in SL). I also picked up lots of freebies so my character now has slightly better dress sense (although I suspect stripping in the middle of the island may be frowned upon!).
Initial thoughts? I’ve yet to be convinced of the value of SL as a business tool but there’s plenty to explore and I’m willing to give it a little longer to see if the experience grows on me.