Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Web Secret #95: Second Life for Professionals

Last week's post provided an intro into the amazing alternative world of Second Life (SL). What are the potential applications of SL for the individual practitioner, or the smaller business operation?

Quite simply, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Savvy pioneers have:

1. conducted meetings
2. held conferences
3. scheduled interviews
4. discussed their products and services
5. provided consultation and coaching

the list goes on and on

I will turn to my pioneering friends at the Online Therapy Institute (OTI) to illustrate how you might use SL.

OTI bought a virtual space on the SL Islands of Jokaydia. All of the residents of Jokaydia focus on education in one form or another so OTI found it to be a natural fit. They hired an SL architect to build an office that is used primarily as a place to provide more information about OTI. The office has also been used for consultations and media interviews. Watch this video of OTI founder DeeAnna Nagel being interviewed about coaching possibilities in SL to get a better idea:

CoachReporter: Coaching in a Virtual World from Mark Joyella on Vimeo.

OTI is in the process of building a "SkyBox" above the original office which will offer a therapy room, a small group room and a classroom. A SkyBox location allows for more security so that others inworld cannot simply “drop in” at will. When conducting avatar therapy inworld (an OTI goal for the future), other measures will be utilized to ensure confidentiality such as encrypted chat and voice.

As is true for other social media, using SL for business purposes requires a different order of commitment and knowledge. There are books, video tutorials, and OTI even offers Second Life Consultancy. OTI will meet with you "inworld" and discuss basics about how Second Life works, and what the benefits and disadvantages of working inworld might be for professionals.

I can never think or write about SL without feeling excitement laced with a touch of anxiety. The idea of connecting instantly with people from all over the world to share ideas, teach, learn, and heal is thrilling. But some people have gotten sucked into SL to the detriment of their "real" lives....

DeeAnna Nagel believes that in the future, many of us will live in a "mixed reality", seamelessly moving between our real lives and a virtual world.

We will just have to wait - and see.

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