I came across this article in the WSJ where companies are testing job interviewing in the virtual world called Second Life. Huh? I thought this was another gaming environment where people could spend countless hours wasting their life away. So I Googled Second Life and looked for more business uses of this virtual world. There where way too many articles about virtual sex but I did find a few articles like this one about virtual classrooms in SL and this one where Dell set up Dell Island. As my research continued I stumbled across one grassroots initiative who started leveraging SL for streaming video of keynotes and allowed you to attend breakout sessions. Another article from Brandweek discusses marketers challenges as they try to use SL to promote brand awareness.
Perform this search and you can see countless businesses dabbling in SL ranging from recruiting, advertising, educating, collaborating, to countless other innovative ideas. Then I found this article that shows how the Weather Channel, IBM, and Cisco are leveraging SL to advertise and create brand awareness.
All of this is mind boggling to me. I can understand people using SL as a gaming environment. But for someone like myself who has a full time job, a family, and a life, how can you justify spending countless hours "conducting business" in a virtual world? As the head of the architecture team at my work, it is my job to learn about all emerging technologies. I am constantly studying topics like Web 2.0, Open Source, SOA, virtualization and best practices such as change management, project and portfolio management, and IT governance. I feel obligated to take a deeper dive into SL but after walking around SL aimlessly for 30 minutes I decided to let others do the research for now and I'll stick to reading articles on this topic for the near future. Besides, it is hard enough to get new initiatives going in the real world. I can't even imagine selling management on the virtual world!
I would love to hear from anyone who has some real experience using SL for business reasons.
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