Discovering France in Second Life : 3D tourism opportunities

France is the most visited country in the world. About 80 millions tourists from all over the world are coming every year and Paris is the most visited city with about 16 millions people. And I have to admit, it is a fantastic country to travel, and it is true that Paris is a beautiful city too ! I have been living here for 30 years now, often left but always returned ! That is maybe why, the first region I created on Second Life was the famous Champs Elysees where I could try to give a taste of one of most visited avenue in Paris !

Right now, it is snowing big flakes, the conversations here are about how to avoid Paris to be a museum city with no life except tourists ... Night life is going away to Berlin or London, energy is in New York or Tel Aviv, fantasy is in Roma or Barcelona... and Parisian start to be jealous ! French people, if you don't know them, have a great tendancy to grouse, to complain about changes, and others but more of all themselves and about everything... I am not very sure why it is that way, but I had the chance to travel a lot around the world, and this is always something I felt as a painful thing about the people here. Maybe it has something to do about deep and old identity that find it difficult to coop with this new global way of life, maybe it is a strong sense of analysis we cultivate since we are children at school, maybe it is just a trait of personnality, ethnic, historic...


When you live in France, you do not realize so much the chance you have to live here. The country has "a wide variety of landscapes, from coastal plains in the north and west to mountain ranges of the Alps in the south-east, the Massif Central in the south-central and Pyrenees in the south-west". You can cross the country from north to south, or east to west in a day and you' ll see so many different landscapes and will meet so many different types of people, there is no chances for you not to find something you really like, or maybe fall in love with.


If you want to have a taste of this, take a look to some regions of Second Life. Recently I visited Jura and Alsace, and I really thought that was a nice way to discover the country. Jura is close to Switzerland and belongs to a region named Franche-Comté,  you can have an idea of its architecture, industry and landscape there. Alsace is close to Germany, and has a great reputation for its Christmas Markets. You can even order delicatessen directly from Second Life to your hometown !

Those two places may give you an idea of the whole potential for tourism business to "demonstrate" in 3D into Second Life, a sensation that only 3D can give to be in  "there". It is not only about architecture, tourism or culture, but also about economic since you are also able to put in perspective the main sectors of activities from the region, its enterprises or its commerce. Talking about commerce, it is also so easy to link from virtual goods to an e-commerce platform online and allow people to discover and to buy. And it is also a great way to know the people, to go above the cliches and to really enter into relationships as a trempolino to real life meetings.

As we say in french, to try it is to adopt it !
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Is Avatar a little bit about Us ?

Avatar (2009 film)Image via Wikipedia
I just came back from James Cameron's 3D movie Avatar which was a really great experience. For almost 3 hours, I just forgot the time, my mind was not anymore in cold snowy Paris, but in Pandora, where you could see the slow move of Jake Sully to his long tall blue semi-lion man avatar. I wish I could also have jump into that jungle and fly on those strange birds.

Great 3D movie with hundreds of people stuck on their chair and applauses at the end. Sophisticated media, simple message and the idea that soon, someday close to us, our Second Life will also be as real as the world of Pandora for Jake. I know for some this may sound as a nightmare, but for some of us, - and I belong-, this will be a small revolution....

How did we arrive in Second Life ? What was the main reason . How did we end up to incarnate our avatar, what was the drive, when was the exact moment ?

For some, it might be easy to say, but others more shy or modest, it would be more difficult to explain. For some coming from video game univers, it was a natural prolongation. For others, manipulating the keyboard took a month before they could get handle movements properly.

Reasons to get and to stay into Second Life  are all individual choices. Maybe SL was an answer to loneliness, tough and modern, maybe just an inside solitude that nothing could kill before. Maybe it was a way to keep active, brain & engine. Maybe it was an overdose of television, bars and light relationships. Maybe it was sickness, handicap, difficulty to move but will to share and socialize. Or unemployement,  or opportunities. Or maybe just curiosity, fantasy, creativity. And maybe for some, it was a little bit of everything.

Whatever was the reason to get in, there was an instant, short, fleeting, an immaterial flash, where we and our avatar became the same person. The avatar was not anymore a puppet on the screen, but the person behind it, mind, soul and body. We even did not realize it, we were just in the mental flow, no more idea of time and space, just inside this 3D world that was so hard to leave.

This is called immersion, brain immersion, and that makes all the difference.
Because when the avatar becomes a part of us, and that we can evoluate in a 3D environment,  then all the doors open to leave a stream of emotion going from inside the screen to outside the screen. That helps us to get interested by others, their culture, their mood, their life. That is why we can spend hours building a house or decorate it. That is how we can make real friends and relationships. That is also how we can learn more easily, or share a conference together, or understand concepts better.  

When emotionnal doors are open, what happens to our avatar also affects us. It can be good, like a friend of mine who suddenly discovered she had no more vertigo in her real life after using parachutes a few times in Second Life. It can also be sad, like when suddenly you learn that someone you used to talk to everyday, had a mortal accident in a trip on the Himalaya Mountains.


Yes, our avatar changes us, that is a fact. 

People who never were in virtual worlds can laugh about avatars and maybe they do it because they dont get it. They understand you need a pen to write, or a screen to watch a movie.
But they dont get the idea, you may need an avatar to enter in another dimension, and eventually spend the vacations you can't afford in real, go to bars, laugh and dance, meet people, share time and mental energy with them, architect a palace you would never be able to afford, become the Madonna of the international virtual stage from you small village in Arkansas. But apart from the fun, your avatar in a 3D world, is a way to feel the abstract space, to see yourself in an environment that flat design or internet lists & catalogs are unable to provide.  For business people, an avatar will allow you to travel during the same day in many regions of the world, hold meetings and media conferences, exhibit your goods and products, recruit specialists, visit prototypes...

Your avatar is all about putting your dream in action, and at the end, you never know how this action will impact your person in the physical world.

People do not understand it mostly because they are afraid of it. Afraid that you would lose all contact with your reality. It is a risk for some, but for how long ? As Jake Sully, you do not feed your body with pixels...



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Virtual Copenhagen in Second Life & Green Expo



Except if you have been sick and away from any traditionnal or new medias the last 2 month, or out on another planet, you certainly have heard about UN Copenhagen Summit on Climatic Changes which is being held until Dec 18th.


There are many ways to participate to this conference, if you are not invited at the Summit ! You can of course do it the traditionnal way, which means waiting for hearing the news on TV. But if you want to be more active and get the feeling to participate, you can either share and interact on the website OneClimate which distribute a live stream from Copenhagen 24/7 thru Justin TV, either join the Virtual Expo in Second Life at OneClimate Island where you will get to participate to real conferences and meet interesting people who have been using Second Life and virtual worlds as a platform to prove their concept for a greener world. That is one of the most interesting aspect of virtual worlds and this is the best moment to get the idea !


This means you'll have the opportunity to ask questions of the policymakers and campaigners shaping the most important climate negotiations of our time.  You can also watch films & get information, based on the five elements, covering the Arctic, rainforests, wind turbines & typhoons, volcanoes, peak oil, virtual allotments and Australian wetlands.  

You'll find all details of the program and places in SL here.


If you have any questions about this great event and want to relay or know more, you can contact Paolo Rousselot in SL aka Peter Lundquist.
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Gewicht verlieren in Second Life

Zwei Putzfrauen im Bürogebäude. Sagt die eine: "Ich mache jetzt Diät".
Darauf die andere: "Gut, dann mache ich die Fenster".

Warum müssen wir über so etwas lachen (komm, gib es zu, du hast wenigstens geschmunzelt)? Keine Ahnung, und im Grunde auch völlig unwichtig, ich benutze das Stilmittel des Witzes nur als Einstieg in diesen Beitrag.

Aber mal ehrlich, das Jahr neigt sich dem Ende und spätestens nach Sylvester sind sie wieder da, all die guten Vorsätze. Immer gerne genommen, der Vorsatz, im neuen Jahr abzuspecken. Deutlich abzuspecken, versteht sich. Und endlich kann ich diesen Blog einmal dazu benutzen, wirklich hilfreich zur Seite zu stehen. Mit meinen beiden Tipps. Tipp 1: 15 Kilo abnehmen in 5 Minuten – die Bein-ab-Diät!! Funktioniert immer und dauert vor allem nicht so lange. (Übrigens: Vorsicht, funktioniert genau zweimal, dann ist Schluss mit dieser Art von Diät!)

Auf Tipp 2 bin ich gerade eben gestoßen: Abnehmen in Second Life. Was?! Ist der jetzt total irre geworden? Ist er nicht. Kürzlich hat in unserer virtuellen Lieblingswelt Kaliforniens beliebtestes Fitnesstudio eröffnet: Club One. Auf einer kompletten Insel kann der gemeine Resident Sport treiben, relaxen, Pfunde verlieren und was weiß ich noch alles. Dass das kein Gag ist und man es in Kalifornien offensichtlich verdammt ernst meint damit, sieht man nicht zuletzt daran, dass Club One jetzt ganz aktuell ein spezielles Programm aufgesetzt hat, für das der elitäre Club Leute sucht, die mitmachen. Und zwar in Second Life ... also virtuell. Genauer gesagt, Fitness OS (Ohne Schwitzen).

Ok, wenn wir uns alle wieder beruhigt und hingesetzt haben, dann lasst mich erklären, warum das tatsächlich funktionieren kann: Wer schon mal eine Diät gemacht hat (und wer hat das nicht, außer mir?), der weiß, dass die meisten Diäten an sich selbst scheitern, sprich an den Leuten, die sie machen. Der biologische Prozess des Abnehmens ist nicht das Problem, das Problem ist die Frustration, die Motivation, kurz: die Emotion. Und genau da setzt dieses virtuelle Pfunde-verlieren an. In angenehmer Umgebung treibt man Sport, schwitzt, saunt, schwimmt und dieses virtuelle Verhalten überträgt sich sozusagen automatisch auf das Verhalten im realen Leben. Wer einmal virtuell 2 km am Morgen durch das eiskalte Schwimmbecken gekrault ist, dem sollten lächerliche 200 m Freistil im Schwimmbad um die Ecke keine mentalen Probleme mehr bereiten. Na, das denk ich doch auch.

Wer's immer noch nicht glaubt, der schaue hier:



Anmeldungen übrigens direkt in Second Life. Das wollte ich nur noch erwähnen. Nur für den Fall, versteht sich ...


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Is Second Life ready to change name ?


What is the common point between Second Life 2008 and Second Life 2009 ? Or let's figure the question as one of those wine lovers friends, and since we are almost at the end of the year, can we assert the Second Life 2009 vintage is one that will show a definite break between the old Second Life and something that we do not know yet but which is on the way.

So much changes everyday announced on the Second Life blog, new website, adult policy, new policy for the newcomers, new premium accounts, new rules for merchants, new enterprise program, new viewer in perspective and so much more is showing a deep change and it is hard to believe Linden Lab is not onboard to announce some main change.

I am not reading the cards but I really would like to be in one of that movie where you could read the newspaper of december 2010, then come back and use that news to achieve the best position for the future.

Today I was having a closer look to Blue Mars strategy with content partners, reading about the lauching of NearLondon , listening to people talking about Eve, downloading pdf about web.Alive and finally ended by watching James Cameron talking about his movie Avatar which I am looking forward to see next wednesday with my nephews !


I celebrated my 3rd rezz day a few days ago. At the time I entered SL, blogging was the hot thing. My Space was this music thing, Facebook was a joke, microblogging was not even existing, Apple was talking about the iPod Phone and Second Life was wowwww. So much is going on with web 2.0 and time passing, we dont realize how we have ingest that change, how all that has changed us, but also shaped a whole generation coming in the ring and for whom Second Life looks not so wowwwwww.

I love Second Life and the way we were. I am working as an evangelist for 3 years, and integrated it in my personal and professionnal life but let's face it. Change we need & change the community needs to accept.

Philip Rosedale
I remember Philip Rosedale in Chicago saying " we know virtual worlds are here to stay and grow. We just don't know if Second Life will be the one..." and disappear in the boiling flow of technology as Netscape did in its time. And because I want Second Life "to be the one" (dont know why really, but this is how it is), I think we all should work to accept and manage this change and the opportunities it offers each of us.

More than this, I think nothing will really change for those who dont want to change. Second Life is just opening to other users, other needs and wishes, other type of consumers, and why would it not ? Why would we want to keep the old Second Life the way it was like a jealous lover who would ask you not to ever change ! And for this move, all of those changes make sense :
- a new viewer to simplify the first hour experience for those who are not video game oriented
- a new premium account with land and basic house to enhance that experience
- a new enterprise product to feet corporate needs
- an adult policy to run away from usual scandals that pollute the image of the world
- a change of Xstreet to enhance the shopping experience and maybe avoid crazy dumping
- Second Life Answers with Resident Help Network like the aardvark model
- an energetic solutions providers program to chart quality and extend "a B2B sales force" (affiliation program ?)
- a reorganization of the P.R. program to reinstall the real image of SL

I am sure I forget a lot of announces but what I feel for sure is that the change behind all this is leading to a swift in the economic model. More income, sure, but also more money to finance more technology and therefore more services.

More technology also means different versions of the viewer and maybe a lite SL browser based, real time, acting as a twitter inworld. Means also integration of 3D meshes, and interoperability with other social medias.

And to get back to the image of Second Life, this change would take us to a really new Second Life, a Second Life 2.0 that would certainly needs a change of name. Is a suffix enough to identify what is your Second Life, entertainment, enterprise or education ? Or is Second Life already a brand of the past that needs a total fixing with a new name ? Is Second Life ready for a change of name ? What do You think ?

My opinion is that name must be relevant to the user you are talking to, and I am sceptical on the fact that a radical change of name would carry the idea of a total new change without losing the benefits of 6 years experience and work. Except if SL would be totally integrate by a larger company, what is the point ? A suffix would be a good start so each consumer will associate it to its own interest. The first talks we had with corporates mentionning a new product called Second Life Enterprise are showing us a slight change of attitude and a positive concern.

Whatever will be chosen, wherever leads those changes, we may all agree Second Life has definitely opened the way and changed the life of millions of people all over the world, introducing the era of 3D web real time... Let's continue, let it be the one, let's move on and share !


"Life 2.0" documentary teaser from Jason Spingarn-Koff on Vimeo.
This feature length documentary follows a group of people whose lives are dramatically transformed by a virtual world, Second Life - reshaping relationships, identities, and ultimately the very notion of reality.
Premiering at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival




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How corporates can use Virtual Worlds for professional education & training ?

Le Bec Hellouin, Eure, Haute Normandie, FranceImage via WikipediaBack from a few days in Rouen, the old capital of Normandy, where I was in charged to train the creative team of a multimedia agency which main signature is something equivalent to "Materialize Virtual". Nothing about 3D but just the plain idea that web is a virtual experience...


Confronting ideas and working on website ergonomy, I suddenly realized the gap which existed between "talking about virtuality" and "living the virtuality".

Maybe, as I developed it in an early post about immersive internet, it is still the use of the word "virtual" that is still frightening people and corporates, maybe it is the close proximity with video games, forcing some to add "serious" to limit the analogy... Maybe also, corporates just do not understand the substantive savings and the qualitative added value they can get from adopting those new collaborative practises.

Actually my deep thought at this point is that there is no difference between real and virtual, virtual is just another side of the reality... or let's say a tool, very practical to be in real time in different places at the same time. What is the problem with that, the oldest dream of mankind, why should it raise so many questions, except those that I would describe as philosophical, and which are the most important : who am I, what is the meaning of my life, what do I want to do with my life....

The famous "Cogito, ergo sum" from our national René Descartes, persists in the dematerialized reality as it in the physical one... I am a thing who thinks, or let's say a thinking reality... And I am tempted to go further here, asserting that without his social attributes, manking gives itself a larger freedom of being, behavioring, and exchange knowledge with more authenticity.

Maybe that can be frightening, and especially in France, my country, where the sacralization of education is also about how you say it and what you wear...

The last conference I gave could have been made totally into a virtual environment. A training of 3 hours a day during a week, at the MakeMyWorlds Training Center would have cost less than half of the price of the budget that was used to invite me there - which was a pleasure nevertheless - But in those times of economic crisis, swine flue & green logic, that is a real point to think about each time you would organise an event.

Just a short calculation to give you an idea :

Budget 1 : 10 000 to 15000 euros (depending on the type of executives)
  • 3 days conference
  • Train, taxis and other transportation
  • Hotel for 3 nights
  • 21 restaurants & various reception fees
  • Salaries of 6 persons non operationnal during 3 days
Budget 2 : 5000 euros
  • 5 x 2.30 hours per days conference at MakeMyWorlds Training Center (including basic pre-training of Second Life, documentation, installation)
  • Salaries of 6 persons during 12h30 which is very different since collaborators are just non operationnal a third of the day interrupting another way with the daily flow. The other important thing is that the 5 sessions can be organised twice a week so the pedagogical process is much deeper and efficient.
Above the knowledge those people acquired in the training, you must add some special value directly created from the experience in virtual environments. A group of 6 persons meeting in 5 sessions, develops special bonds sharing a learning experience in an unknow territory ... to make it short and create a physical sensation, it is a bit like those team building sessions where you stimulate a selling force by walking bare foot on hot coals ... just less traumatising and dangerous !!

So the budget for this training would have cost to this company , less than 50% of its price in reality, and would surely have brought at least the same effect, and eventually more in a longtime run... since those 6 people would also have developed a special skill to meet in virtual environments ... skill that they could use in the future for internal meetings from home or external meetings out of the city.

Some nice savings that corporates can reinvest into more trainings to allow people to extend and enlarge the field of their knowledge and access to R&D, or redistribute it in better wages, or offer workers cultural and social events, very real, to stimulate creativity and create a real enterprise culture. From a diner-concert or theater, to a ClubMed week end, opportunities are endless... What about creating philosophic coffee shop next to the cafeteria...


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Ein Glück! Keine Schweinegrippe in Second Life !


Kein Grund zur Panik! Ganz ruhig bleiben. Es kann Ihnen nichts passieren. Natürlich nur insofern Sie das Haus nicht verlassen, öffentlichen Versammlungen fernbleiben, nicht in den Urlaub fahren und mit niemandem reden – oder nur mit Ihrer Familie, die mit Ihnen im Bunker lebt.

Mittlerweile glaube ich ja an gar nichts mehr, vor allem nicht an das was ich lese. Zu oft werde ich überrascht. Beispiel? Gerne. Nehmen wir die Weltwirtschaftskrise. Noch bevor sie uns alle dahingerafft hat, ist sie auch schon wieder im Orkus des Unwiederbringlichen verschwunden, die Gute. Natürlich erst, nachdem die Blüte unserer Wirtschaft (ich meine Unternehmen) dieses kurzweilige Phänomen ausreichend zum Anlass zu nehmen konnte, im großen Stil Arbeitsplätze abzubauen. Das versteht doch jeder!

Eigentlich hat die Weltwirtschaftskrise auch ihre guten Seiten, denn am Ende bleibt dem Normalo-Bürger (arbeitslos oder nicht) so wenig Kohle, dass er an Urlaub gar nicht zu denken braucht. Wie gut, denn dann kann er sich in der Fremde auch nicht anstecken. Und null Reisekosten, sozusagen.

Das gilt natürlich NICHT für Unternehmen. Denn für die gehören Reisekosten ja zum festen Posten einer jeden Budgetplanung. Klingt nach Einsparpotential – und siehe, genauso ist es. Und was hilft da beim Sparen: richtig – virtuelle Welten wie Second Life! Denn SL ist nicht nur von der Schweinegrippen-Epidemie weitestgehend verschont geblieben, sondern bietet Unternehmen überdies eine ganze Reihe von Möglichkeiten, virtuell zu meeten. Und davon wird immer mehr Gebrauch gemacht. Wie z. B. IBM. Virtuelle Messen, Kundenmeetings, Mitarbeiterversammlungen, Online-Präsentationen – das alles geht jetzt in einem Rutsch. Und kostet so gut wie nix. Aber das beste ist: Keiner pennt mehr ein in so einem Meeting.

Denn Jetlag gibts auch nicht mehr! Na dann ...




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Social Week End off Second Life & Links review

Needed a nice break from Second Life this week end to enjoy my real nephews, and socialize with my natural environment ! Fall is nice in Paris those days and walking makes your ideas clear and fluid. It is important, when you spend a lot of time inworld, to create those breaks that make you see your old second life as a newbee. I can't believe I will enter into my 4th year of SL in a few weeks...

Ending my week end with a great movie (Le Concert from Radu MIHAILEANU) shared with some friends in a comfortable movie theater, I was remembering of a live performance I enjoyed at Natt Jazz Club sometimes ago, and wondering if it would be the same kind of emotion to share this movie with my SL friends from all over the world, in a great decor like the one of the incredible Rose Theater. That is maybe why so many people are using TV screens in SL...



Last week I spent quite a bit of time updating my social online networks thru facebook, linkedin and twitter... Those followings are a few articles I run thru on the way. Glad to see that aside from usual critics and complaints, and far from the medias affects, there are still a lot of people and organisations who are experimenting and working to make the best out of SL and virtual environments.

What happened to Second Life? I was not too sure when this was written when I read it... Look as an old vision of SL, which is very different from what I can see. Apparently there was an interview given by M Linden and the BBC journalist wrote it yesterday... But she does not seem to have really taken the time to explore Second Life 2009....

How Virtual Worlds Mimic the Politics of the Real World
Interesting thoughts & questions about governance in MMO and democracy in virtual worlds...

Business Process Modelling in Second Life
"Our scope was to explore how Web 2.0 techniques, social networking tools and virtual world environments can be used to support the collaborative design of business process models."

The U.S. Army Embarks on Virtual Worlds for Amputees
"Pixels and Policy looks at the growing trend in developing an amputee-friendly Metaverse, and the role new "accessible worlds" will play in improving the lives of amputees."

Wiki Tree Goes Open Source
"So we’re liberating the Wiki Tree software. We’re releasing all the code, both in-world and server-side under the Berkeley Software Distribution license."


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Ever feel alone in Second Life ? A strategy for empty business islands...

When presenting Second Life to friends or clients, there is always a question which ends up to be raised, and believe it or not, this is always the same one. Guess what ? "Why is there no one here ?" And then maybe you would go hmmm or you would desperately try to find someone there on your friend list to make a demonstration that you are not totally alone in the world...

Strangely, no one would ever ask this question when you are surfing on the web. Unless you are in a chat, on a private logged area or on twitter, there is no ways to know who is visiting a website at the same moment that you. You just know that the internet keeps growing, on and on, bigger and bigger. Same here in Second Life, the world is larger, wilder, and the community, engaged and strong, develops itself worldwide.

Linden Lab's late figures & metrics are here to attest on this, and they are quite impressive.
  • In total, users around the world have spent more than one billion hours in Second Life. That's roughly 115,000 years spent doing everything from meeting and socializing with friends; to attending live concerts; to creating, selling, and shopping for virtual goods; to learning a foreign language; to attending business meetings; and much more. User hours grew 33% year-over-year to an all-time high of 126 million in Q2 2009.
  • Second Life Residents spend an average of about 100 minutes inworld per visit. This average session time is significantly greater than those seen with popular social networking websites and reveals the uniquely high level of engagement Residents have with Second Life.
  • More than 18 billion minutes of voice chat have been used in Second Life since voice was introduced in 2007. Voice minutes grew 44% year-over-year from Q2 2008 to Q2 2009, and more than six billion minutes of voice have been delivered in 2009 alone, making Linden Lab a major VoIP provider.
  • Approximately 1,250 text-based messages are sent every second in Second Life, and more than 600 million words are typed on an average day. Roughly 60% of active Second Life Residents based outside of the US, representing more than 200 countries, and the Second Life Viewer available in 10 languages.
That is just about communications.... But if you look at the land it is even more striking.
That was Second Life land in 2002...
.. and this is Second Life in 2009.
The total land area of Second Life is now equivalent to approximately two billion square meters – roughly the size of the state of Rhode Island. Land in Second Life has grown roughly 18% from Q1 of 2009 and approximately 75% since Q1 of 2008. As the creator and original seller of all virtual land in Second Life, Linden Lab is not only the provider of the worlds largest platform for user-generated virtual goods, but also a leading virtual goods vendor itself.

Ok, so if all of those datas are true facts, what is the problem ?
Well, imagine that you open a shop, a hotel, a library, or any commercial place in the middle of nowhere somewhere in France, or England, or anywhere in the world. How would you expect anyone would know about it and arrive there - except in the Bagdad Café movie, you know, as we know, this is all about advertising and marketing.

Setting a presence in Second Life is not only about building the most beautiful headquarters, with great functionnalities, that you can buzz all over the net. It is also and primarily about building a faithful and engaged audience which will fill the place (under control) on a daily base. It starts by working on organic search the way you would work on the SEO of your website, and deploying a real strategy of content, links, conversations, and useful services for the community you target, for a maximum visibility and traffic.

Whether you are a small SL business willing to expand, or a real life corporate company wishing to enter and conquer immersive internet territories, you should definitely establish a presence strategy prior to any other decisions...
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You'll never walk alone !


Kennt man doch, wird doch überall in den Stadien gesungen, das Lied. Auf dem Fußballplatz ist damit natürlich was anderes gemeint. »Alone« hat nämlich noch nie Tore geschossen.

Aber darum soll es hier nicht gehen. Wie immer spreche ich von virtuellen Welten und ... von Second Life, denn genau da will man auch nicht alleine sein. Da will man möglichst viele Menschen um sich haben. Immer.

In einer jüngst
veröffentlichten Umfrage, die das Verhalten von Second Life Nutzern (von Insidern Residents genannt) untersuchte, kam heraus, dass chatten, spielen und Events besuchen zu den Lieblingsbeschäftigungen in Second Life gehört. Gut, das wundert einen nun nicht so unbedingt.

In der gleichen Studie war aber auch noch etwas anderes zu lesen. Dabei störten sich die meisten SL-Bewohner daran, dass in den meisten Orten, so schön sie auch sein mögen, einfach keiner rumläuft. Will meinen, ähh ... da ist einfach keiner. Es ist sozusagen menschenleer. Niemand da zum spielen, niemand da zum chatten. Insbesondere wenn man bedenkt, wie viel Aufwand Unternehmen betreiben, um einigermaßen ansehnliche Präsenzen in Second Life zu kreieren, wundert es demnach nicht, dass sich immer wieder die eine oder andere Niederlassung aus der virtuellen Welt wieder verabschiedet, die vorher großartig angekündigt wurde. Mercedes Benz, adidas, Sony, TUI, Vodafone – die Liste der Aussteiger ist so lang wie prominent.

Aber woran liegt das eigentlich? Wo sind denn all die vielen Residents, die sich laut letzter Linden Lab Verlautbarung (siehe hier) in Second Life tummeln und im letzten Quartal Waren im Wert von umgerechnet 150.000.000(!!!) US$ (in Worten: einhundertfünfzigmillionen) untereinander gehandelt haben? Immerhin sprechen die SL-Erfinder von mehr als 54.000 Residents, die im 3. Quartal 2009 im Schnitt zeitgleich online waren.

Dazu mal folgendes: Ich glaube , die wenigsten machen sich eine Vorstellung davon, wie groß Second Life mittlerweile ist. Als ich Anfang 2007 mein virtuelles Leben startete, sprach man davon, das Second Life den Umfang des Großraums München hat (wobei ich jetzt nicht darüber diskutieren möchte, ob man München und das Wort GROSSRAUM überhaupt in irgendeine Verbindung bringen kann, smile).

Oben sehen wir die Generalkarte (Map) von Second Life. Diese kleinen grünen Dots, die da wie wahllos hingeworfen aussehen, sind jeweils 65.000 qm. Das Blaue dazwischen ist einfach nur Platz, Speicher um genau zu sein. Und jetzt stellen wir uns einmal vor, hier, irgendwo verteilen sich 54.000 Einwohner.

Nun? Genau. Es verwundert wohl kaum, dass es schon mit dem Teufel zugehen muss, wenn man dort jemanden antrifft. Was natürlich trotzdem passiert. Soviel mal dazu.

Und diese kleine Betrachtung zeigt uns dann auch gleich noch etwas anderes: Es bringt sozusagen überhaupt nichts, sich besonders viel Mühe zu geben, um eine wundervolle Landschaft oder Unternehmenspräsenz zu kreieren, wenn man nicht dafür sorgt, dass die Einwohner davon erfahren. Das heißt, man muss in Second Life dafür werben, dass die Leute kommen, konsumieren und kaufen. Wie im richtigen Leben auch. Und obwohl Second Life wirklich alle Techniken für marketingrelevante Aktionen bietet, scheinen Unternehmen immer wieder zu vergessen, was genau sie tun müssen, um die Bewohner von Second Life auf sich aufmerksam zu machen. Schade eigentlich.

Das es auch anders geht, zeigt die Präsenz von EnBW in Second Life. Auf insgesamt 4 SIMS (vier Inseln á 65.000 qm) zeigt das Energieunternehmen, wie man in Second Life mit der Zielgruppe kommuniziert. Da wird Technologie erklärt, Energiesparmaßnahmen aufgezeigt und ein Quiz mit leckeren Gewinnen für die Residents sorgt für den nötigen Traffic dort. Und am besten kommt wohl an, dass Bewohner sich hier Ihr eigenes »Kraftwerk for free« besorgen können. Damit auf deren eigenen Inseln nicht das Licht ausgeht. Respekt. So muss man es machen. Mehr Infos findet man auf der EnBW SL-Website.

So, das musste mal gesagt werden. Und nun hier noch ein kleiner Film, der zeigt, dass Second Life auch schön sein kann, wenn man nicht überall Schlange stehen muss. Einfach ansehen und genießen.

Ich freu mich! Wie immer ...




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A world without walls, maybe, someday...

Small study tour of the Berlin Wall in Second Life and Twinity, or how to implement a moment of great history in a real-time 3D world .... The idea is to pass not only a series of contents, texts and images, in the memory of the learner, but the real sensation of "separation" in a capital city, and above all the confinement of a part of the city and its people - part of the "free world" - in another hostile world "under dictatorship."...

Explaining this might seem a bit simplistic, but the intention of the author of this blog is not to give a history lesson!

Immersive Internet offers all the components and the qualities to develop new ways of teaching History. It is deeply different from all the audiovisual documentaries since it owns the capacity to make you "feel", cognitively speaking. It does participate only to the intellectual construction, but to the sensorial construction. And in this sense, it changes everything, opening the door to a memorisation where the individual learner can appropriate himself the facts as part of his own history.

Bet that traditional educational publishers will hear the message, and that teachers of the 21st century will also consider educationnal travel for school into virtual environments suitable for children. This won't take anything away from real visits and tours of the sites, but in reality quite the opposite ...


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MakeMyWorlds Named Gold Solution Provider by Linden Lab

Press release :
Following a thorough application and vetting process, MakeMyWorlds has been selected by Linden Lab as one of his 39 gold solutions providers all over the world, for Second Life and the brand new Second Life Enterprise.

"The Gold Solution Provider program identifies highly qualified providers who have demonstrated a high level of client satisfaction (through the review of client references) and have developed successful projects on behalf of businesses, governments, educational institutions, and other business organizations in Second Life. For example, Gold Solution Providers have created projects for companies and institutions such as Adobe, Cisco Systems, Michelin, Wiley Publishing, Imperial College of London, and the Goethe Institute. ..

Gold Solution Providers are top-quality providers for large businesses and international corporations looking for a Solution Provider to help them develop their Second Life strategy and presence. Services that Gold Solution Providers offer include developing facilities to hold company meetings and events, holding trainings and seminars, creating simulations for educators to recreate science experiments, organizing and managing conferences and mixed media events, and growing successful Second Life communities around client brands and experiences. "

Created by Kai-Michael Schmuck (Hambourg) and Hélène Zuili (Paris), MakeMyWorlds is the first franco-german agency coming from Second Life to get this qualification. MakeMyWorlds helps its clients to integrate virtual worlds by engaging into powerful communication strategies, both internal and external, on very diverse audience & targets, using technologies coming from games or immersive internet. MakeMyWorlds also builds specific products based on training and coaching to accompany changes, and this can be done in french, english or german. Among its clients, MakeMyWorlds is happy to count the Swiss Stem Cells Bank, Konolive 2go, FrontRange, the National Realtors Association (NAR), a few european communication and advertising agencies and a few educative departments from universities or schools.

For any information , contact Hélène Zuili - "helene (at) makemyworlds.com" - or Kai-Michael Schmuck - "kms (at) makemyworlds.com"

Second Life and Linden Lab are trademarks of Linden Research, Inc
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Geschafft! makemyworlds ist Gold Solution Provider




Diesmal was in eigener Sache. Es ist passiert und wir sind ein ganz klein wenig stolz darauf: Seit dem 2. November 2009 gehört makemyworlds.com zu den weltweit 39 Firmen, die aufgrund ihrer speziellen Erfahrung und der zahlreichen Projekte in virtuellen Welten von Linden Lab (dem Anbieter der 3D Plattform Second Life) in den erlauchten Kreis der Gold Solution Provider berufen wurde.

Das von Linden Lab ins Leben gerufene Solution Provider Programm steht für die eindeutige und letztendlich auch konsequente Ausrichtung auf Business, denn hier wird Know-how gebündelt und für Unternehmen, die virtuelle Umgebungen als Collaboration Plattform nutzen wollen, zur Verfügung gestellt. Und einer muss es ja machen. ;-)).

Nimmt man die jüngste Verlautbarung Linden Labs hinzu, in der das Release der neuen »Behind the Firewall« Solution namens Second Life Enterprise angekündigt wird, dann wird die Sache rund. Denn jetzt ist es möglich, eine virtuelle Umgebung auf dem eigenen Server zu installieren, mit den gleichen und noch mehr Features zu nutzen und dabei gleichzeitig die Sicherheitsrichtlinien von Unternehmen zu integrieren. Das war bisher immer ein Showstopper, denn wer will schon gerne, dass eine Horde von abgedrehten Pferde quer durch die eigenen Pressekonferenz läuft.

Eben.

SLE – welche Strategie dahinter steckt und wie Unternehmen davon profitieren können, erzählte Mark Kingdon (M Linden) auf der Enterprise 2.0 Conference. Bitte beachten: die kleine Performance mit den Laserpointern. Sehr nett.


Sie kann also losgehen, die Verknüpfung von virtuellen Umgebungen und Business. Und niemand ist so gespannt wie ich. Aber ich glaube ja stets an das Gute.

Liest man übrigens die einschlägigen Blogs, dann scheine ich allerdings der einzige zu sein, der das Gute sieht. Da wird gepostet was das Zeug hält, und nimmt man alles zusammen, dann machen sich die üblichen Verdächtigen gerade mal wieder ein wenig ins Hemd. Da sagen die einen, dass Linden Lab den Aufwand besser in die Verbesserung der Performance des Main Grid hätte stecken sollen, anstatt eine isolierte SL-Lösung zu entwickeln. Die anderen klagen, warum nur Gold Solution Provider SLE vermarkten dürften und nicht alle. Und dann gibt es welche, die einfach nicht verstehen, warum der ach so schnöde Mammon nun auch Einzug in diese virtuelle Welt hält. (Als ob das nicht schon längst passiert wäre.) Und so weiter und so fort.

Die meisten scheinen nicht zu verstehen, dass SLE so rein gar nichts mit Second Life zu tun hat, wenn man von der Basistechnologie einmal absieht. Es ist keine Business-Parallelwelt zu SL, nichts wird verdrängt, nichts gerät in den Hintergrund. Im Gegenteil. Ich bin davon überzeugt, dass durch den Einsatz von SLE die Akzeptanz virtueller Welten generell steigen wird. Und davon profitiert auch SL. Glaube ich.

So sei es.

PS: Der Kontakt zu makemyworlds.com ist ganz einfach!





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Second Life : The way we were

A couple of weeks ago, Philip Rosedale (aka Philip Linden) announced that he was quitting his job at Second Life to work on a new company of his own, though staying in the Linden Lab Board. Same day, Amanda Linden was publishing a post called "The Time for Work Avatars has Arrived". A few days after, Linden Lab was announcing the date of the official launching of Nebraska on November 4th, the enterprise project which will allow companies to create their own virtual environment on their own server, so called "behind the firewall solution".

It has been a long way since I entered Second Life for the first time in 2006. At that time, it was all about socialization, sex, games, shopping and money. THE PLACE for your imagination. I came to look and to undertand what it was all about, I started to create and to meet people from of all over the world, and despite the mockeries of all kind around me, I stayed there and started to really integrate Second Life to my real life, thru work and thru personal relationships.

I had no plans. It just happened. At this time of my life, it just perfectly met my needs and my lacks, with many ingredients which stimulates my brain : creativity, people from "elsewhere", technology, game, experiment, adventure... It was as we say the meeting of chance and necessities.

I was lucky enough to make the right choices and met the right people, but maybe i just met the people i could only meet considering who I was. A friend of mine told me one day that virtual meeting on the net were all about our unconscious and maybe it really is.

I entered very quickly into a semi-professionnal project with the creation of Feel At Home and of one of the first virtual "ClubMed", bungalows on the beach, meeting center, pool parties etc.. I remember my astonishment shared with my first friend ab Vanmoer from Canada, while preparing a bungalow for a "just married" couple ... "What I am doing here ? LOL !"


At that time, Second Life became the darling of the medias and a lot of professionnal actors came inworld to see what they could do with it, thinking for a lot of them, they could just transpose some kind of communication means they would do with print or traditionnal medias. That is how I met Pietro Veragouh, from Switzerland, working on behalf of the Swiss Stem Cells Bank and created for them my first immersive Headquarters site in Second Life. We encoutered many challenges on a technical point of view which were hard to complete. But we did it, and that project was really nice to do. Thru it, I met new friends like Blaise Timtam from the Guided Tour System or Porky Gorky from Hydro Houses.

On my first sim Tulip Island, I still had time to share and meet. And I met a lot of people of all kinds, among whom some became real bonds : Master Quatro, my good friend from Boston who was at that time the main "commercial director" for Anshe Chung land business, Aron Chapman from Heidelberg, whom I shared many important conversations before he became a virtual assassin, Waldfon Shwartsman, a german wine lover, who divorced and marry the Californian Kitty in real life, Darko Okamoto, a young widow from the midwest who relearnt to socialize, Linda Sautereau, a american university teacher who develops great educative projects, and so many others that opened my eyes on the many ways Second Life could help or change once person life.


I also met Kai Michael Schmuck from Hambourg in Germany, aka Kigh Kline, with whom I created my second project for the Cebit. Kai is a dear friend and my professionnal partner for makemyworlds, the company we created to offer business solutions in virtual worlds.

The list could go on like this, and I am sorry if I can't mention everyone with whom discussions and sharing were important to me as they would bring me to learn, open my mind and question myself. Some are still here, some left Second Life, some died and will only be remembered tru their SL name. Thanks to all of them.

At some point I decided I needed to know more about those people who were hiding behind the avatars and decided to join the Second Life Community Convention in Chicago. There I saw and maybe understood much better that Second Life was all about life and people. And a lot about community. A community of people who wanted to push the borders and move the lines : librarians and academics with knowledge sharing, architects and creators with expression, entepreneurs with global business projects, and regular people from all over who could just be themselves deeply and sincerely without all the restrictions of their appearance, look, opinions and that this world could allow to extend their own perception, vision, friends and relationships.

That was Second Life at that time, a kind of enormous cauldron of ideas, creativity and research under the protective look of Philip Linden and the Linden "family". Philip who was there, with his big tee shirt "Missing Image" already explaining us hs great vision that we all could hopefull shared. Talking with him in Chicago and a year later in Amsterdam, I knew at least 2 things. That Philip was a real (blue eyes) visionnar and creator, an active dreamer who was on had no other choice that to "leave his baby" (translated from french) so the baby could grow in the best direction. And that Second Life would change to make it possible to happen and I wanted to be part of it.


And Second Life changed. And we also changed and adjusted. The change went thru the co-direction with Mark Kingdon, the new CEO, who softly but smartly conducted his team and processes to modify Second Life. Technically. How long has it been since you really experienced a real crash ? Stability was a must for making Second Life a real application. Implementing voice was a deep change also though some might not consider it this way. Socially. By banning casinos and banks, closing ad farms, separating adult territories, and I guess I forget some other measures. Professionnaly. By creating diverse services turned towards professional needs and expectations, a real website with serious conversations structured for a better feedback, a service provider list and offer, etc.. And soon Nebraska.

And hopefully much more is coming along. Philip says he will be working on some project based on the existence on Second Life. Could that be a browser based Second Life which will defintely open it to Mister and Misses Everyone... ? Or some kind of no browser, no viewer platform that could allow us some kind of virtual reality total immersion... like in Total Recall... ?

Second Life as we met it 4 years ago has disappeared, but Second Life as it is today is really worth to try and to experiment, and still surprises me. It is different in many ways, but its maturity makes it even more enjoyable for creative people and dreamers. Second Life is more than ever your world, your imagination. Join us ! We'll be opening our Makemyworlds Business Center in a couple of weeks and be happy to welcome you there in english, german ou français !

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Missing the Second Life Community Convention : The power of the community .

I wish I could write more. The making of our makemyworlds website plus the creation of our own island in Second Life, plus regular work, new clients into Second Life, kept me so busy, it just was too much... So in almost 2 Months, a lot is to say, and one post would not be enough...

Maybe I will just start to tell you about my frame of mind, this morning, writing from a small city of the Norman coast in France, eyes watching the long white beach all way across to the Pacific Coast where my S.L. community is holding its annual meeting and that I could not attend for the fist time since I am a Second Life resident.

I miss being there, with you, just gathering with you and sharing experiences and much more... The feeling of belonging to a community of creatives, entrepreneurs, dreamers, imaginers, artists, scientists, genius developpers, hobos .... from all over the world. I miss sharing the breakfast with you, guys, before attending the first meeting, I miss looking at the faces, giving some flesh and corps to an avatar name, I miss to know what happened this year with you Ben from Holland, Carol from Australia, Pikes from Malaisia, Gabriel from Boston, Ab from Seattle, Kigh from Germany, Pahtudee from Chicago...

I miss not being on the picture - which is really a great picture, M. Linden - Not for the picture itself, but to be able to hold this feeling during a whole year after the SLCC, that I am also part of this world, in real.

See, for once, I am not talking about figures, statistics, or social medias, theorizing on an idea of collaborative web 3.0, or buzzing on SL in a social network... No, I am just talking about love... maybe not a romantic love, but a deep emotion that give sense to all of you there to be able to share your Second Life passion.

So next year, why not to come to Europe and give the Old Word an idea of what is SLCC...

I have put the slides of my last year conference at SLCC. Any questions, just ask, I'll be happy to share ....

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Will "Immersive Internet' become the next buzz word ?

Or should I put it this way : Will the term "Immersive Internet" be the next buzz word to replace that of virtual worlds in the coming months ?

Like the term "2.0" added some glamor to the poor old web of researchers and academics, like the term "serious games" has made video games more politically correct to the anti-players, will "immersive internet" open a new era where real-time 3D surf will become hype and sexy …

An era that sweet and crazy dreamers who inhabit immersive platforms in the shape of all types of avatars will boast of being there first, missing those ancient times when the world sill had the flavor of the garden of Eden ... the time before the "market" ...

At the speed in which new technologies evolve and converge, change is imminent, although professionnals predict it will take two to five years to "cross the chasm", Geoffrey Moore in Crossing the Chasm), which separates the adoption of a technology by early adopters to a take-up (early majority).

In the same way that it gets more difficult to imagine ourselves working without internet, it should be the same in the next five years for immersive Internet. Soon, we will study and train ourselves in virtual campuses where immersion and simulation will provide unimaginable benefits for the understanding of situations and familiar or professional applications.We will do some part of our work in 3D environments where we can communicate, collaborate with colleagues all over the world, working to produce prototypes, visualize complex datas, interview and recruit candidates.

Our avatars will become more sophisticated, highly profiled and implemented with rich features enabling us to interact with each other and share informations, datas, social and virtual objects in a way that will become increasingly real. And in the same way that Internet has deeply changed our perceptions of time and location, immersive Internet will change our perception of work and relationships, adding a much more intense emotional engagement until to forget completely that we are separated by a screen - in fact increasingly thin.

So what reasons could push a company to integrate the immersive Internet today in its development strategy and what are the application areas where it can invest in this new technology focusing on a measurable return on investment?

The research firm ThinkBalm has just published a survey that reported on the creation of business value of immersive Internet for companies as diverse as IBM, Microsoft, BP, United Space Alliance, Preferred Family HealthCare, Town of LaSalle (Illinois), Michelin or Kelly Services. This detailed rigorous study puts into perspective the benefits received by those organizations, both by increasing revenues and improving employee productivity.

Reducing costs while increasing the level of engagement is mentionned by those companies as a main result. Uses currently focus on education, training, meetings and conferences. But the most advanced companies already consider the use of immersive internet as a platform for collaboration tools for data visualization, for 3D collaborative design and prototyping, for the rehersal of situations, or human resources management.

This study is extremely well presented in 3D in Second Life, and probably more didactic than the pdf !

The study clearly points out the quality of exchanges in immersive meetings, widely regarded as superior to the techniques of video-conferencing or any other forms of telepresence. These interactive immersion is much closer to face to face interviews.

My own experience and the studies I conducted on this subject (
Coaching et nouvelles technologies) are also going in this direction. The issues of non-verbal and paraverbal resonate differently inside a virtual world, resulting in the creation and formalization of a language based on other statements, other codes that the parties learn to decipher. The results are relevant and superior to any other form of exchange at a distance. The difference: interaction in the same virtual space is producing same type of results than a face to face meeting, talking about emotional interaction.

The other advantage I see in the use of this technology is, without doubt, the accession of the company to a sustainable development policy, thus reducing its carbon footprint, but also highly improving the quality of lives of internal and external actors involved in the operation of the company. By reducing the number of trips, automobiles, trains, planes, through virtualization trade (not all of course!), the company takes part of a green economy fighting against climate changes and can boast the creation of quality jobs.


Defining a clear strategy for the next 3 years.

Today, companies can undertake in the immersive world.They must do so with full awareness of the chasm that still separates the early adopters to mass users. They can do so by refraining from over-estimation of the objectives, and any underestimation of costs and barriers. Starting now, armed with a clear vision and strategy in the short and medium term, and accompanied by real professionals, businesses can expect to return on their investment, a unique experience, and quick visible benefits.

Unlikely years 2006/2007, companies should not only use immersive internet to create buzz for a P.R. campain, but clearly define strategies with precise mission to solve a business problem : commercial, marketing, communication, innovation, human resources etc..

Nothing really new for professionnals... but another technology to integrate into the toolbox. The main difference being that immersive internet plunges its roots in video game and virtual worlds, it will require special skills and understanding. Like email, intranet, internet, social media, and other collaborative tools adopted by the company over the past decade, immersive internet will slowly takes its place and profoundly change the way we work and collaborate. But in the end, the "challenge" will sure be rewarding for those who will have succeed in marrying transversality, experience and innovation, and simultaneously accompany changes arising. It should be even more successfull for those who will anticipate and start the adventure before the wave ...

Helene Zuili is co-founder of makemyworlds, a European company specialized in business solutions for virtual worlds. She is a Linden Lab Solution Provider for Second Life. You can email her at helenezuili(at)gmail.com


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