Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Working Closer to Virtual Worlds

Dear Linden Lab,

I found your explanation for the benefits of using virtual worlds very compelling because of the cost-saving point you discussed. It's interesting to see how well thought out the virtual world plans were executed. In the IBM example of meetings held in Second Life, I thought it was very useful to have concierges escort and help the majority of newcomers settle into the new context. It's a great example of how the boundary between face-to-face and online communication is blurred because people have the ability to present and create images of their "real" selves, including creative individual projections of a different identity. It made the point that "skeptics become believers" much more poignant by providing instances of people unable to, at first, see the benefits and the purposeful uses of virtual worlds. Each member was able to experience an almost complete replication of the actual real life setting without actually having to move away from their desks, which saved the estimated example of $320,000 in expenses. Although these conferences are set for technological based companies at the moment, I feel as if these virtual conferences can actually spread to other companies specializing in other areas.

In Edward Castranova's article Implications and Policies in Synthetic Worlds, concentrated on the personal aspects of Second Life, and its use in everyday life. However, it did provide the business benefits of taking part in such virtual worlds. One point was the gained knowledge in immersion, in terms of technology. "Synthetic worlds are also methodologically superior teaching and training tools...Much of learning requires immersion, and immersion is what virtual worlds do" (252). Castranova emphasizes the effective result of hands-on training, which virtual worlds seem to provide by allowing the actual action of building and planning. In both cases, it seems that more companies should participate in virtual world events because it can help save money and build personal skills in many areas.

Rebecca Cheng

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