links for 2007-12-11

Presenting with two of my heros in Second Life

sl_medill.jpgWhen you're invited to present on new media in Second Life next to two thought leaders (and all around great guys) you just hold on and try not to sound stupid. Last Friday I had the pleasure of taking the stage next to CC Chapman and Greg Verdino (neither of whom I've met in person) in a presentation in Second Life to a class at the Northwestern Medill School of Journalism. Hopefully I held my own and added some value to the discussion.

Some takeaways from the presentation:

  • SL is a great way to add texture to what would typically be a voice-only conversation. The avatars resemble (Greg and CC look MUCH more similar to their RL selfs than I do) the people and are more engaging than staring at the back of a Polycom.
  • A lot of the questions centered around a) how to learn about new media and things like SL and b) how to measure it.
  • We presented through SL's voice chat and it was just like being on a phone call. Very stable.
  • There was a mix of in-world and out-of-world people attending. Questions and answers went very fluidly.
  • There is a generation gap with virtual worlds that is important to acknowledge here. If you're not 25+ and in this space or under the age of 10 you may not know a lot about it. Thanks to Webkinz (and similar kid-oriented networks) the next generation of consumers will be 100% fluent with virtual worlds. They'll know how to move around, interact and transact.

To any students reading this post, the advice from the three of us was pretty unanimous and along these lines:

Never before has it been easier to get involved in marketing, engage thought leaders, learn from experience and hit the ground running when you get your first job. The best advice is "do stuff". Start a blog, create an avatar in Second Life and wander around, upload your photos to Flickr, comments on blogs that you enjoy reading, listen to podcasts and call in with a voice comment, create a Twitter account and actively listen to what's going on. Those things I just mentioned are all free, they just take a committed time investment.

I've often said that social media has been more valuable and more educational than any class ever was. People want to teach and learn at the same time. We're collectively in this to help each other advance and that's a great thing.

What advice would you offer students in school right now?

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