Observations from the Net Tuesday Event : Second Life for Nonprofits, a Mixed Reality Event

NetSquared's picture

I just wanted to share my observations from the Net Tuesday/Second Life Mixed Reality Event

What worked:

  • TechSoup’s name and word of mouth made this a large event.  The sim was packed and I heard that we maxed at just under 60 participants.  There is already a great deal of interest in hosting a second event (and many other affinity group meetings) in the TS space.
  • There was a lot of media coverage via blog and reporters and photographers.  Volunteers liveblogged and recorded in world (meno rich is avatar who recorded).  They also posted their pix to flickr.  The tags used are: net2,techsoup,npsl, secondlife, mixedreality.  The metaverse messenger (SL’s main newspaper) will write an article about the event next week (Tuesday).  One person even recorded the after-party mingling http://blip.tv/file/51926  Video of the event can be seen here: http://worldbridges.info/techsoupvideo/  The photos from the event can be seen at Flickr at the tags mentioned above and here:http://amoration.fotki.com/betterworldmedia/.  Also a member shared this a bit on the Omidyar Network discussion boards for nonprofits in SL:http://www.omidyar.net/group/secondlife/news/16/?page=4
  • Via the transcript, I saw a lot of networking between nonprofits that was occurring. 
  • This was a great way to connect the NetSquared audience and the TechSoup audience.  There were people there that we would never had access to in the regular TechSoup Community events that showed up, because the topic and platform interested them.
  • Volunteers were amazing!  Beth Kafka (Kanter) took over role of project producer, Frank Foley (Tom Maroney) was in world technical lead and procured many technical volunteers, Dore Junot (Salvador Luna) was the RL tech lead and set up all the elements we needed to make this whole event happen, Dolly (Gina Cardazone) helped make the logistics of the entire Net Tuesday fall into place, Lorelei Junot (Lori Bell) the Library Island owner made sure that everything was set up in the island and therefore the event didn’t crash the sim, Jeska Linden (Jeska Dzwigalski) brought the credibility, experience and knowledge of being a Linden (working for Linden Lab) and b/c she was there, people who are notable in SL wanted to check out our event.
  • This has revitalized TechSoup and provided us with an emerging technology focus.  We have had a reputation of being too 1.0, so this is a way to engage the more Web 2.0 audience and make the 2.0 technologies fun.
  • Volume and word of mouth in such a short amount of time.  There are an average of 1000 visits to the TechSoup space a day, 20 or so NPOs are a part of our directory (only 7-8 have ully filled out their information cards), we have an average of 20 people at our weekly meetings, we have 45 people on our Google group about 75 members of the TechSoup group.  After last night’s events, I expect all these numbers to grow.


 What needed a little help:

  • Upon reading the transcript I can see that I wasn’t able to talk to everyone that was talking to me.  There were several in world reporters who were asking questions and I wasn’t aware of them b/c it looked like I was there, but I wasn’t always at the keyboard, and I missed some of the chat that was going on.
  • I wish I would have been able to tour people around the TechSoup space, to give an explanation of what we were doing, how we started, etc, but there was too much craziness going on.
  • I also noticed that I was being asked about what the event was about, by several people, but I didn’t see those questions during the event.  I read them afterwards in the transcript.
  • I wish there was a guest book for nonprofits to drop their information that was less labor intensive than the directory, so we could have captured all that were there.  The directory is great, but it takes a little more effort to be enrolled in it.
  • It would be great if the act of enter oneself into the directory would automatically add one to the Google Group.
  • Apparently, the lighting needed work. At one point, many people were being blinded by the bright light of the projector.
  • Audio was not working for everyone.  Skype was better than sound streaming in SL.  Many people said that they could hear it but were not able to understand it.
  • We got a request for a camera man.
  • Slides need to be projected from a second laptop with a second projector next time.  Next time, two perspectives into the SL world too (two avs “looking in” would have been a better vantage point for the in-room RL audience.
  • There was a group of seven in Boston—I was asked if there would be a group together to view it in NYC.  Next time let’s have many groups assembled to view and participate in different cities simultaneously.  Maybe even internationally (there was one or two users from Australia).
  • The directory should have gotten more recognition.  Max Case spent hours making the directory with Frank.  It should have been demo’ed a little more clearly/slowly.  I got feedback that it was difficult to understand what the directory does or how to use or submit to it.  It is perhaps the most powerful ttol we have so far in the space, and we really want people to use it and submit their orgs to it.
  • We needed a more formal arrangement of speakers to know who was walking up to the mike first, who was asking questions. For ex, John Coate (TechSoup’s director) kept asking about whether SL would work on the $100.00 laptop, but no one heard his question.  I read it over the transcript, after the event.
  • It would be nice to have guides and greeters in the TS space on a regular basis answering questions, in the TS space.

We will be having a weekly meeting to debrief openly on Friday at 8:30-9:30 am PST.  We welcome you all to come and share your observations.

For those of you who still haven’t taken the plunge, please do not be scared.  To join, just go to <www.secondlife.com> to register and download the application.

When you have it up and running, you can go to "Find," click on "Places," and type in "TechSoup."  This will take you to the virtual TechSoup office.

To join the group, go to the tabbed find menu and go to Groups and Find TechSoup.org.  Then you can join this group.

Be sure to grab a free virtual TechSoup t-shirt from the wooden sign next to our round seating area when you are there!

Beth Kanter has recorded her observations on her blog: http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2006/07/reflections_on_.html

Finally, for those of you who haven't been there yet:

Virtual Location:  http://tinyurl.com/ogbpd
From Second Life, click on the blue map button at the bottom of the screen. In the Find Region field, type "TechSoup.org" (without quotations) and include mature regions, click Show Location and then Teleport to go there.

For more newbie and How-To information, check out the Second Life wiki:

Here is a
great intro piece on how SL can be used for serious purposes:

Here's a great screencast for newbies:

Thanks to all of you for making this such a successful volunteer, team effort!