|Join the Community to Succeed on the Second Life Grid|
On July 8th Kim Anubis (Kimberly Rufer-Bach in real life) discussed her latest book: The Second LIfe Grid: The Official Guide to Communication, Collaboration, and Community Engagement (publisher and Amazon) to a very interested audience in the Info Island open air auditorium.
Anubis has been in SL since 2005 and owns one of the oldest SL development companies, The Magicians. Anubis has a long history in developing technological solutions and games for education. "I worked on educational computer games in the mid-1980s. One of them, First Men in the Moon Math from Fisher-Price, was a bestseller." Anubis' earlier SL book Creating Your World: The Official Guide to Advanced Content Creation for Second Life by Aimee Weber, Kimberly Rufer-Bach, and Richard Platel was focused on creating content in SL; The Second Life Grid is about how RL organizations can use SL for their projects. Anubis gave an overview of the content of The Second Life Grid:
"The book is in 3 parts. The first part is mostly case studies and resources; it's divided up among different fields [education, government agencies, non-profit organizations, enterprise]. In part 2 of the book I wrote about inworld culture here in SL. There's a chapter about avatars and how to integrate your organization into SL culture; another chapter about understanding social interaction in SL -- such as what do you do if a Gorean brings its friend by on a leash to your presentation? There's also a chapter about good sources for keeping up with SL current events, including official news from LL as well as other sources. Part 3 of the book is all the nuts-and-bolts stuff [infrastructure, setting up an office, marketing, events, selecting a solution provider]." In addition to all this practical information, Anubis offers some glimpses into SL's future, including new content-creation and communication tools, stand-alone grids, and cross-reality systems. Anubis summarizes the take-home message of the book: "No one should try to do a project here without logging in as an avatar personally because you cannot even judge who you might hire to do it for you if you don't come in and look at their work!" She added that the hype and the SL 'gold rush' phase is over; to succeed in SL now an organization needs to join the community.
During the lively discussion that followed the group asked Anubis about the future of virtual worlds. Monk Carter asked: "Where do you think we are in the life cycle of synthetic environments?" and Anubis replied, "Oh, it's early times, Monk. We are headed for a time, not so far off, when we'll be using things slicker and handier than our cell phones to do this."
Anubis also mentioned the huge part the librarians on Info Island have played in the development of the SL community. She writes in the book, "Librarians have become an important part of the SL scene, thanks to the Alliance Virtual Library, a project of the Alliance Library System, and Online Programming for All Libraries (OPAL)."
During the book talk she also pointed out, "It becomes very clear about how much pioneering and innovation here is driven by the educational community," despite the larger corporate budgets, although corporations are using SL for employee training in closed simulators that aren't publicly available. One problem with the acceptance of SL by administrators and managers is that it is often viewed as 'just a game.' Anubis said, "I have been working on educational software since 1985. Back then, we called a game a game. This avoidance of the word "game" is relatively new. I think we may have done ourselves a disservice by trying so hard to make sure we aren't playing "games" here and I think it has come about because we have all had to explain ourselves to people who are unfamiliar with virtual worlds."
Whether you are in SL for education or for business, The Second Life Grid has something to offer. Even the most experienced SL resident will learn something from this book.