BlogHer08: The Second Life Experience

Britt Bravo is on a much-deserved vacation, so I'm stepping in for
her on the Net Squared community blog.  Ever since Friday and Saturday when I participated in BlogHer08 in Second Life, I can't stop reflecting on all that I learned!  I posted some of my thoughts on the Net Squared blog (and wanted to share them with you as well).

It was my first time attending a conference in SL and really helped me wrap my mind around the social media tool that it really is.  What makes Second Life such a unique option for conference organizers is how much of the face-to-face nature of in-person
conferences can be replicated. The biggest ones to me were:

  • I can SEE you! Because people are able to create
    avatars and literally move around inside the world of Second Life,
    including to your various conference locations and elsewhere, when
    participants or speakers are interacting, they are actually able to see
    who else is in the room, on the panel, or sitting in the next seat.
    Being able to see people, even if they look a bit different than they
    would in reality, as well as hear them makes the experience much more
  • I can TALK to you! We have all experienced the
    moment in a conference when the presenter says something either really
    intriguing or really funny and we turn to our neighbor to talk about
    it. On a conference call, an audio feed, or a podcast archive of an
    event, that isn't really possible. But, while listening to presenters
    in Second Life, the other participants and myself were able to talk
    with each other publicly or privately and consequently with the
    presenters! I could see who was next to me, read their name badge, and
    say hello...even offer to connect (just like handing off a business
    card to stay in contact).
  • I can FIND you! One of the best parts of
    conferences are the people you get to meet for the first time or catch
    up with again. With BlogHer in Second Life, I was able to connect to
    the conference ahead of time by registering, like usual, and see who
    else was planning to attend 'in-world.' Once I signed in and teleported
    my way to the BlogHer panel session area, I was able to talk to the
    group and look around at name badges to find specific people I wanted
    to meet. It was an interesting experience because often people feel
    that by tuning into something online, no one can see them or even know
    who they are but attending the conference in Second Life meant people
    could see me, knew who I was, and wanted to say hello!

I'd love to hear additional thoughts from others who either attended BlogHer08 sessions in Second Life or another conference/event.  What was the biggest surprise to you?