24 Dec 2009

The ROHI or The Return On Human Investment

Given that this is the holiday season, we stop, supposedly and reflect upon what has made this year special, what has made this year memorable. Of course one of the greater stories is the rise of Twitter and the rise of the now ubiquitous term “Social Media.” Companies are now hiring social media managers because it takes a lot of time and effort to keep putting that message out on channels which the public now “listens” to and spends time on & with. Twitter and Facebook spring to mind. What is the ROI? This phrase was sung over and over again, “How do we make money on it?” Slide Shares were created which amused and enlightened, @thebrandbuilder's recent slideshare, hilarious to look at had a few key points which discussed this – but the bottom line was on slide 44 that attention to the brand will create traffic to the site which will increase sales,…. ultimately. Social media managers who can raise awareness through being followed by brand leaders, who can come up with a new way of attracting friends and fans to Facebook are important. It is an interesting time. One that MySpace wishes it could really be a part of.

It is end of the year, it is family time………let’s reflect on this for a moment, our first experience with social advertising was probably over hearing our parents talking about how great a product was they bought. “Yes, Bob, I couldn’t believe the Rice A Roni came in 5 different flavors, including Kumquat…..your favorite. And the A & P had a huge sale on it too so I got a carton. We’re set!”

Or the way the cute little red headed girl in school you liked always had Charleston Chews, and so to impress her, you began to stock up on it. We are socialized into brand affiliation early in our lives. The media holds the message, so thrown out wrappers of candy in the playground aren’t technically media but they represented another impression upon our young minds.

So when we are talking about the Return on Social Media, aren’t we also talking about how we are going to get that media to become the message to get people to want to buy our goods and services? Especially now that attention is split to near atomic levels, and marketers with budgets being cut in this new economy are looking for new ways to engage their audience. We are no longer held captive at the dinner table so to speak with 4 networks, no longer in the walled in playground of printed content. We are out there and we are spinning our own stories. How can we, the marketing and advertising community get people to listen and buy?

Was MySpace worth $650 Million? Is Twitter worth $100m? Club Penguin $750m? Don’t those huge valuations tell you something? That even in this world of a million channels, there is limited opportunity for investment in this arena. So that means this arena has a lot of users but they are funneling towards a few channels. I think that we should wait and see how the Social Media marketplace works out ultimately. And to do this takes a longer view. In this economy we don’t have the luxury, but in this economy we don’t have the luxury NOT to as well. Social Media spend is both increasing and paying off. It is a longer term investment because it deals with a human investment.

As reported in Marketing Vox, “New figures from an Econsultancy study show these channels are becoming more important to marketers. In the newly released Social Media and Online PR Report, Econsultancy and bigmouthmedia found that more firms are planning to increase social media spending next year and - more intriguingly to those loitering on the sidelines of this space - that those firms that have focused heavily on these channels have made it pay off."

An overwhelming majority of companies (86%) surveyed plan to spend more money on social media in 2010, and a further 13% are planning to keep the same budget levels.

The report does go on to say that those companies who have efforts in this area have typically reaped some reward. More than half (52%) who are heavily involved in social media advertising say that they have gained real value, compared with only 13% of companies who have "experimented but not done much." Marketing Vox goes onto discuss the new tools including the Push to Social for email enabling crossover of platform.

A.J. Leibling said “The power of the press belongs to those who own one.” In this day and age we all own a press each time we hit submit, what we need are those eyes to read and digest what we are writing. What we need is a community to share that with, and this kind of human investment does take time.

It is Holiday time, and though we will be involved with Twitter and Facebook telling “everyone” what we got for Christmas, it is also time to spend it with those from whose social sphere we migrated, namely our families.

I had the opportunity to go to the Smithsonian this past Thanksgiving to see mine. At the Smithsonian, prior to admiring the Hope Diamond and the jewels of Peggy Hopkins Joyce I chanced to read about Potlatch, and Indian festival of the pre-European days on the American continent. One quote, from an Indian Chief which struck me from the 1800’s was “the white man had a bank, where money is kept which generates interest – we have the potlatch and I have over 2,000 dollars in the hands of my Indian brothers and sisters. This will keep me with food and the materials I need as the gifts will come round to me again.”

In other words, the potlatch which is in the form of gifts to the community is what will replenish the individual. Was it a form of investment? Clearly so, in terms of a families status and also in terms of actual goods for consumption, food and sundries. It was a return on human investment. It was built up over time, and so will this return on Human investment we make in the social media community we belong to be. 27 million tweets a day and counting. You can hear us “singing” as soon as you tune in.

Engaging people is what will pay off. Of course there are other ways to engage, and my prediction for the next decade is to the virtual worlds which are 3D and dynamic, which have people at the edge of their seats and tips of their fingers as the next big frontier for advertising and brands. In the first quarter of 2009, the virtual world of Second Life saw $120 million USD exchanged through user-to-user transactions, with a record monthly $45 million USD in transactions in March. This is where the product meets the grid meets the people.

So here we have something that has both a monetary value and a human or social one –

Virtual assets which people will buy for real money to enhance their virtual lives or virtual social media lives. If Twitter could come up with a monetary widget that people could buy for one another in micro transactions would they do it? And I come to the question is social media = virtual media?

In other words as this exists on the Internet platform solely, as differentiated from traditional media of our newspapers we hold in our hands, of the TV sets that sit in our living rooms
Are we living virtually through this media – this glimpse into other people’s lives, thoughts, drives and observations?

We are investing hours of time on blogs, Twitters and posting onto Facebook. We want to be heard, we want our thoughts and observations shared, we are part of the greater potlatch of contemporary media and this virtual society at large is one we feed and feed on.

How can you measure the time we spend on answering emails, in LinkedIn group discussion and monitoring our inbox in a quantifiable way?

We read what we want, when we want and for how long we want to - we are caught up in a tide of finding things out and broadcasting what we have discovered. The return on investment for time is knowledge and entertainment – this is a new form of activity, broader and with farther reach but still a human activity, we are around an electric campfire now sharing stories, information and modern lore. Word of mouth is the most important form of advertising there is today - our attention level has been spliced, and so we trust in that most ancient of organizations, our friends and extended family.

The return on human investment is indeed a return on time spent acquiring knowledge about areas we want to be a part of. What is the price on knowing? What is the price on being heard?

In many ways my potlatch is on Second Life. I still Twitter though, follow me @pookymedia.

888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888888

14 Dec 2009

Document of Time - Interview with Holocaust Survivor Fanny Starr

Document of Time - Interview with Holocaust survivor Fanny Starr who endured the full six years of hell and living in deplorable conditions. Fanny Starr’s liberation day occurred on April 15, 1945. The British Army liberated Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Ms Starr answers questions about her lifetime and wartime experiences in a revealing interview which captures on record one of the most appalling times of human history. These are the answers to questions she had to answer to make the world aware and for the sake of record.

Thanks to Roadrunner Island, and Strat Inshan, Metropolitan State College. http://www.mscd.edu/secondlife/success.shtml

Music - Kol Nidre performed by Hazzan Dov Kaplan.

PART ONE

PART TWO

PART THREE

16 Nov 2009

At Bakery's End

Winner of Best Atmosphere at the Machinima 48 Hour Film Project 2009. Directed by Clemens Fobianke, written by Pooky Amsterdam.

13 Nov 2009

12 Nov 2009

yourBusinessChannel

Creating business video in Second Life - social marketing advice from Pooky Media.

20 Oct 2009

Spotlight TV #9

Scorpinosis Nightfire interviews Pooky Amsterdam.

30 Sep 2009

Cybergrrl Oh: Living a 2nd Life Episode 17

When Second Life personalities Pooky Amsterdam and Cybergrrl Oh connect on the couch for a good chat they find lots to discuss. Listen to insights and gleanings on the past, present and future of metaverse entertainment.

Cybergrrl Oh : Living a 2nd Life

29 Sep 2009

Marketing with Audio and Video

Live radio interview highlighting how companies can use this breakthrough mediato engage an audience while reinforcing brand message and more. Listen to the interview titled "Second Life TV" at Marketing with Audio and Video.

5 Sep 2009

Hypergrid Business

Machinimators ‘too busy to date’ Machinima is important business for companies looking to use cost effective video for training and profiles. The Association for Corporate growth and Merrill Datasites sponsored an important Intergrowth 2009 guide for new attendees to their Las Vegas Convention at the Wynn Hotel. And, work keeps us a busy here at Pookymedia.

25 Aug 2009

Little Wooden Boy and the Little Jewish Genie



From IdeaJuice Studios, Pooky gives dialogue and voice to a charming little genie with quite an accent in this beautifully done machinima by CodeWarrior Carling. A great collaborative piece, filmed in iClone.

25 Jul 2009

5 reasons to use Second Life as a Media Platform

Filming a live broadcast program for the internet where people can log in from all over the world and participate is riskier than Formula 1 race car driving, so agreed Richard Bartle, the father of the MUD.

It is very rewarding, and I am breaking the virtual ceiling with it, as my show every Tuesday night, The 1st Question attests. It is an increasingly popular weekly phenomenon. Giving people rewards for engagement is a trend likely to continue as you win peoples hearts and minds when you give them something palpable to play with and of course watch. I am also on the forefront of real time Multi User Virtual Environment (MUVE) entertainment, and my company PookyMedia is award winning for the machinima (Cinema done on machine) we produce.

I use Second Life as the platform upon which to produce, and know like days of yore when Television began live, that this is indeed The Golden Age of the Internet. In these heady days of social media marketing, the very real time MUVE of Second Life is rarely mentioned. Understanding how to use Second Life has more to do with how you use it, and is more complicated than using 140 characters at a time or how to increase the number of people who follow you peripherally. It can be used for very cost – effective, targeted and relevant marketing. It is somewhat of an art form, as advertising is also an art form and has taken years of production experience to develop what I, and my team know.

The failure of business to really connect here is due to a lack of understanding of the real marketing potential inherent in Second Life. It is what takes place around the companies virtual presence that will enhance the brand. It is about building a community. Many brands are trying to do that now, jumping in, and using any one of the social media sites such as twitter, facebook, MySpace. I also found it was futile to resist and have accounts on all 3 of those. However the platform I know and breathe and produce real content on daily is Second Life.

In order for a company to take full advantage of what this has to offer, they must have expert advice which can not be found from most marketing people or even social media faddists who have limited exposure and understanding of what Second Life is. Any marketing experiment can fail. Budgets are being slashed because they have. Companies are taking this into their own hands and to be honest this is a great thing as the company really understands their own product. Companies however do need to know how to negotiate Second Life and more importantly, how to use it with great effectiveness. This is my platform and I do share.
Below is a description of just how I have made use of this, with video examples.

Overview-
Second Life as a media platform is encompassed in a variety of ways

1- To construct entertainment to show on websites.
2- To create branded communities which will appeal to marketers, consumers and companies, offering the setting / backdrop for ongoing video series.
3- As a platform for films, story boards and training films which can be made for a fraction of outworld cost.
4- As a platform for entertainment for inworld audiences who can log in and participate in live online viewer entertainment which can also be filmed and archived for later watching by web audience.
5- As a platform for entertainment which can be viewed outworld through live streaming, which is Chat Bridge enabled allowing the audience to engage right along with the show.


The Spy Who Lives Here -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdVwkUcuxmk

In order to construct entertainment here, one has to understand how to use this platform for it. And how to film upon it. It means also understanding the strengths which Second Life has and playing to them.

Visually, set construction is a huge plus, the ability to create or recreate major structures, whether of fantasy, or from reality is great– as we see in the above example using a virtual Big Ben. Architecturally using Second Life as a backdrop or set with the help of expert builders is a great strength, it just looks terrific and is very cost effective to build.

Entertainment is of course different for different people. PookyMedia likes to create videos which have broad appeal. Video content is increasingly important for any site, and to be honest, having just a flat page with text is no longer acceptable for any serious website’s product or service. We are trained visually to accept standards of not only production value but also of content. Perhaps the “YouTubing” of our multiple generations has elicited this effect, but we expect to see moving pictures. First it was “OMG I have a picture on the internet” (remember how long you were willing to wait for one to download!) - then it was “OMG look at this flash effect its moving!” and now its- I don’t want to watch unless it is moving and is entertaining or informative. And relevant.

Ads that run on websites with related content are 61% more likely to be recalled than ads running on sites with unrelated content, according to Condé Nast and McPheters & Company, which released additional data from an earlier study about ad effectiveness in various media. This means of course targeted advertising, and video advertising is among the most important.

According to a new study by Frank N. Magid Associates, commissioned by Meta Cafe, the report finds that consumers are finding online video as entertaining and engaging as traditional Television spots in some cases. The number of people watching is growing exponentially. According to TechCrunch in June, the real number of streams/day, is above 1.2 billion/day worldwide. That pretty much means everyone on the Internet, on average, is watching one YouTube video per day. Video is beyond important at this point; indeed it is a way of life.A study from comScore concluded that “Adding this human touch gives the user confidence in the web site and company, increases trust in their brand and turns visits into inquiries.” Now a hallmark of professionalism, as well as effective customer integration, video has become extremely important.

Creating good looking avatars for film parts and as spokesmodels too is a great strength of the platform. I recently was looking at style.com surfing the fall fashion shows for 2009, and saw that Vera Wang had a Sitepal face talking- much like a talking head, I couldn’t help wonder if this done on Second Life wouldn’t have been so much better looking and engaging.

I also recommend prototyping an expensive movie or commercial first using Second Life. Storyboarding that saves time, money and creates a visual impact which can not be easily or as cost-effectively seen otherwise.

Advertising follows the eyes. Outsell Inc., a media research and advisory outfit revealed its most recent annual marketing study which predicted $65 billion will be siphoned away from traditional advertising channels in 2009 and spent instead on companies' own Web sites and Internet marketing. To scale that, compare the total U.S. TV and cable advertising revenue for 2009, which is about $66 billion. The marketing dollars companies now spend on their own sites is equivalent to all TV ad revenue for the year.

More than $80 million poured into Internet TV startups in the first quarter of this year, new marketers are jumping into the world of Web programming and online video is one of the few mediums that will grow this year.

Obviously video is optimizing very quickly, what will the content be? Production value is important and branding is important too for companies who want to get the customers attention. The question really is how to get them to interact with their brand?

Beer Break-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rpYjHKPCpY

Another way to use Second Life as a media platform is to engage the customer with the brand. A few years ago JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey was quoted as saying “Time is the new currency. Our job is to ensure that more people spend more time with our client’s brands. We need to create ideas that people want to spend time with. The better the idea the more time people spend with it.”

This was repeated recently by Jon Gibs, vice president, media analytics at Nielsen Online when he released a report a few months ago and noted importance for marketers has to do with time spent. "Measures of advertising online should be time-based measures rather than impression-based measures. Instead of buying 100 million impressions on a Web site, it would be buying X% of a person's time."

The next step, according to Geoff Ramsey, co-founder and CEO at eMarketer, "is to overlay the data that is unique to the online space and provides a digital footprint measuring how the consumer is engaged with the brand over a period of time." Again a measure of how the consumer spends time with the brand, where they interact and that will illuminate much. Where is the best place for customers to interact with a brand? Virtual worlds offer a tremendous opportunity for this in a variety of ways.

After you watch Beer Break, think of this as I make the point that branded communities are something I can author for a company in a significant way on Second Life What can be accomplished with a Site such as Second Life is the shared experience, and beautifully done so as well. Advertisers are missing out on the opportunity here to allow their customers the chance to really interact with their brand. And by that I don’t mean just throw up a mall, or an empty building filled with stuff and hope people find it.

I propose to give people a targeted reason to come onto Second Life, using film and create a program, a tournament, a sponsored competition (surfing?) and / or happening for people to go to on a regular basis. Being represented by avatars, people can say, “Look! That is me, my avatar on that program or commercial.” Compelling and interesting, this is part scripted show and part Virtual reality TV. (And yes if they are being filmed there has to be a TOS understanding at the event that this will be filmed)

If the live event is taking place on a regular basis, people will tune into it. We are still version 1.0 Human. We will embrace “Appointment Internet.” We will embrace the predictable event- TV has made that happen when at 8PM Sunday night in the US we all tuned into….What?
Yes Ed Sullivan- one thing I will digress for a moment upon is the observation that having edited and valuable and well produced content will never be irrelevant. YouTube is great, it’s not going away, but could you imagine Ed Sullivan (or even David Letterman if you are not old enough to recall ED) letting the first 5 people on air that night who showed up outside of his studio? Of course not- Professional entertainment is professional. Sure people can get lucky and get hundreds of thousands of hits or more with a kitten or a baby biting his brother’s finger- but to be honest- to be professional means delivering a quality product, on time and on a regular basis. Instead of scrambling for the next accidental video hit, companies need to build their consumer alliances, delivering value for their customer today, they can count more on the customer delivering loyalty to them tomorrow.

So to be considered a professional marketing environment- the company needs to establish a location for their audience to visit- they need to establish an activity for that audience to engage in, and they need to offer a compelling reason to return. Community, other people, fun things to do, prizes and the possibility of it being filmed and shown where one can say- “Hey, I was there!” has tremendous pull. Anyone who wants to attract potential customers has to provide something that will engage them, make them want to know more about the product and give them a reward for positive engagement with that product.

For example- if you were a Heineken drinker all your life and there was a game called Bowling for Budweisers which was fun to play, on Second Life. There could be a bowling alley and you could get a great 50’s retro style outfit to wear for free and you could bring your date there, you would begin playing, and have fun. There might even be a leader board there and you could win something cool if you were the top score that month. I don’t care if you have drunk Heineken all your life, you will eventually pick up a Budweiser, because it has become a part of your life and part of your play.

And let’s say there was a webisode series also filmed around the people at a bowling alley sponsored by Budweiser. Filmed weekly, with script, set and regular characters this would give people also an entertaining series, filmed for a fraction, I mean a fraction of what an outworld produced series would cost. You have activity, you have an audience not only spending time with your brand but actively engaged with it. And they are also able to come to the set where the series is filmed. They do not have to travel to Universal Studios to see it. The entire webisode series becomes part of the identification process people have with the brand.

A few companies are doing targeted webisodes, but not yet out of Second Life - Nestea is doing one, so is Alloy sponsoring one called “Privates” based on a teenage detective style novel 6 -7 minutes long, it will be available on the web only. Webisodes of under 10 minutes are flourishing, they also cost $25,000 an episode to film and edit. PookyMedia can do this for $7,500. Cost effective is a very important part of anyone’s marketing strategy today.

There is the terminator series on machinima.com which is being paid for by Warner Bros Terminator Salvation: The Machinima Series follows Blair Williams, across a post-nuclear Los Angeles in six original episodes. It is the first long-form dramatic machinima series produced by a major studio.

That’s great and Warner’s is saving big bucks- but what’s missing? I see the opportunity for them to create “Terminator Park” somewhere in a MUVE where people who like the Terminator franchise can roleplay around it, and possibly become part of an ongoing community around the product. For the amount of money Warner’s spends they could buy an island in Second Life for a year and for roughly $25,000 they could have their own Terminator development module here, invite people in to film for a competition or design new costumes, assets etc for their next series- a lost opportunity for gaining great user generated content. Okay maybe not lost I’ll get my people call their people.

I do not think anyone is now discounting the value of games played online as a potential for reaching customers as it is predicted that spending on ingame advertising will reach 1 billion by 2014.

Here is a way to engage ones customers right literally and figuratively where they live & where they play - this is an important point because it also shows us that the marketing community is becoming more and more comfortable as the consumer leads them to what they are comfortable with- cartoon like images and small representational characters are well within the realm of the accepted senses and this should not be ignored.

So indeed Second Life can offer a great platform upon which to build a branded community for a large variety of products and services.

And to market any of this will not take any additional dollars but be a piggy back on existing advertising.

New research from Affinity confirms that magazine ads with URLs are more likely to drive readers to advertiser websites overall, as well as across a range of genres. Even if "drive to web" is not the goal of the advertising campaign, including a URL to boost web visits is a benefit most advertisers will appreciate. All a company needs in any of their ads which already exist is a line of drop out type that gives the name of the URL, the type of event and the happening. On Second Life this means cost effective and valuable and community building it also answers the very important requirement of time spent with the brand.

The Association for Corporate Growth / Merrill Datasites-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAkTrBP6d8s

Another way for Second Life to be used as a marketing platform is using it as a backdrop with which to film cost effective and targeted training films. Not only films which espouse the benefits of using Second Life for business, though of course this is a valuable use of platform but to use it to tell the story to the corporation and the public they wish to reach. Yes and here we see an example of a video created for a well known corporate entity that used it as an actual filming platform-

We were able to recreate parts of Las Vegas and film this for a client saving them 10 to 15 times in real money what this would have cost. Even more because as you will see we were able to recreate as avatars, people whose appearance fees alone would be several times what the entire video cost to make- Cost effective, as well as green, no frequent flier miles were spent in the making of this video, and the electricity we used was based out of our local utilities alone. Money and fuel is saved in the making of this video as no one had to get on a plane or into a car to make this video happen.

It shows exactly what the client wanted it to show. For the person attending the conference for the first time, it gave them a virtual video playbook of what was going to happen that weekend. It completely prepared them for what to expect, and even gave them clues as to what to pack. The benefits of preparedness for a high level conference is a direct return on the investment for those business professionals, and for the sponsors of the conference.

As one can build 3D models of not only buildings, but also of product, engines, machines, fashion and anything that exists in the world, Second Life offers the tremendous ability to create videos for training, for informational purposes and for exposition.

The Dating Casino-
http://blip.tv/file/2153569

Another way that Second Life can provide a media platform is for something I hold very dear to my heart- I produce 2 live shows here, The Dating Casino which is on hiatus until September, and the 1st Question which will film its 60th episode this week.

I believe it is time for the world of marketing, which is fueled by advertising and products, to take a deeper look at Second Life which provides a perfect opportunity for people are able to get there for free, from anywhere in the world, any time they want to and enjoy the social experience of real time interaction. What the marketing community must realize is that Second Life is a social media platform, and that in order to tap into this they must offer something to spend time with.

The Dating Casino has 3 men and 3 women reveal their likes, dislikes and needs to know regarding the opposite sex. Through the use of a matrix board which is technically scripted to record points when a match is made, points are accumulated throughout the game. This is yet another strength of the platform. These are great boards and set show pieces which are developed by my team and used in broadcast to “light – up” and be part of the set’s ongoing visual activity. “The Matrix Board of Love” shows where the points are being accrued. The podiums before which the contestants stand have their answers on them when they are asked, and the questions and the multiple choice answers are also on a fabulous looking graphic board for the audience and viewer at home to see. The set looks fantastic. The Dating Casino also encourages the audience to reveal their preferences to the questions asked as the contestants also answer in real time. They play along with the game and have a lot of fun doing so. Development of cool visual tools to further the game and the show is very important in having the broadcast look great.

The Dating Casino is one example I would like to see picked up by a major sponsor, and then incorporate the sponsor right into the show in the best traditions of The Golden Age of TV. No pre roll, mid roll or end roll. The sponsor is part of the show itself, and the people watching don’t stop as it is seamlessly incorporated into it.

And I will acknowledge that sound is one of the big issues for Second Life and being able to negotiate this is a critical part of doing an effective on air show. The good news is that sound has been improved greatly through the use of Skype for broadcasting and recording. This will only get better.

The 1st Question
http://archive.treet.tv/1st-question-golden-anniversary

I produce shows that people are thrilled to be a part of. The 1st Question has a weekly audience which loves playing along as the show is taped, yes live. They watch it in video archived on the site afterwards, and it has become very popular. It is the Quiz Show to The Stars! The audience interacts as if they are also the stars, and to be honest, they are. It is a fast paced hour with the audience voting along, and guessing the answers to the questions in real time as it happens.

I originated this kind of viewer log in entertainment on another MUVE, HabboHotel and can attest to the popularity among all age groups of being able to take part in live entertainment. But it has to have merit, it has to be well produced and it has to have content in order for it to be viewed and for it to grow an audience.

Game shows are cheaper to produce outworld as well- one game show cost $90,000 USD to create, here I could do 20 shows for that amount. VERY cost effective. 'The Price is Right' made its TV debut in November, 1956, over 50 years ago, and it is still on TV! Games shows are obviously a very good & valuable entertainment commodity.

Pookymedia is producing original game shows on the internet, with another 16 shows that we would like to develop with the right sponsor and broadcast partner.

The 1st Question is streamed live and the ability to stream media is also huge here of course. Streaming video and music will generate more than $78 billion in network-derived and content-derived revenue over the next six years in the United States, according to a recent study by The Insight Research Corp. The streaming market is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 27 percent over the next five years, driven by on-demand audio, on-demand video and the accompanying advertising revenue. "Over the past seven years, as we've tracked the developments in streaming it has evolved from an esoteric niche to a mainstream market," said Robert Rosenberg, Insight Research president. "What we predicted way back when is coming to fruition. The advertising revenue that long supported traditional TV is gravitating to this new medium, putting downward pressure on traditional TV distribution schemes.”

The kind of live stream shows that can be originated on Second Life are exciting and broad in appeal. Live streaming also includes the use of a chatbridge which facilitates a much larger audience and enables people to play right along with the game. And viewer log in comments are a way to attract and build an audience.

There are other audiences, whose needs could also be addressed in this manner, including business and news reportage. To stream a nightly business report with an expert panel and offer people from around the country and world the ability to find an open networking happening every night relevant to their business, relative to their interests is huge. And would make use of the expertise and personality of the people who know their field. Connecting with the viewer is what we can now offer, in ways that only the internet allows. Use of this technology will propel the shows and sponsors who employ it. Second Life offers real opportunity for programming, community building and branding.

In conclusion

In thinking about how people view video, it pays to think about how people already view video. The experience of watching is certainly not new, and there are loads to understand and appreciate about viewing patterns inherent in the traditional TV audience. The screen has shifted yes, but the same eyes remain firmly in place the species “video on the Internet” is very different from “traditional TV programs” but the species Human has not changed so very much, for example:

The average number of TV channels that people actually watch has only gone from 10 channels in 2005 to almost 16 channels in 2006, despite the number of channels going up from an average of 41 to 104. The relevance here is that people have “viewing habits” whether on the Internet or television. People will go back to the same thing again & again if they get something they like there. The Internet caters to people’s tastes and, according to PodTrac, a high percentage of Internet audience members tend to listen or watch the same“station” (for lack of a better word, or “site” if you prefer.) Think of yourself, what number of different actual sites do you go to willingly? Do you tend to visit the same sites over and over again? I think we all do. That’s why we have cookies.

The beauty is there are so many ways to engage the viewer, consumer and to benefit an interactive audience. The Virtual World platform is unique. Second Life is all of this.
Here is an opportunity to involve and entertain an audience on a regular basis, offer compelling and cost-effective video product.

PookyMedia Films delivers high quality and entertaining filmmaking over the Internet. Using real-time, interactive 3-D engines instead of expensive 3D animation software makes it possible for the costs to be highly competitive and attractive. Feel free to contact us, the time is now.

17 Jun 2009

3D web marketing is now

Sit back and relax has become lean forward and engage. Streaming video and music will generate more than $78 billion in network-derived and content-derived revenue over the next six years in the United States, according to a recent study by The Insight Research Corp. Streaming media refers to the transmission of digital audio and video files over an IP network or wireless network in real time or on-demand, while prohibiting users from storing the files locally.

The study also estimated the revenue from the various types of content-derived revenues, along with associated advertising revenue. The streaming market is projected to grow at a compound annual rate of 27 percent over the next five years, driven by on-demand audio, on-demand video and the accompanying advertising revenue. "Over the past seven years, as we've tracked the developments in streaming it has evolved from an esoteric niche to a mainstream market," said Robert Rosenberg, Insight Research president. "What we predicted way back when is coming to fruition. The advertising revenue that long supported traditional TV is gravitating to this new medium, putting downward pressure on traditional TV distribution schemes.”

While ad spending has been affected by the recession, this figure below is of great interest to note: Spending on in-game advertising will reach $1 billion by 2014, media analysis group Screen Digest said in a new report. For me, there is not much of a jump from in-game to in-world, and the 3D immersive one Second Life is.

“The ever-changing landscape of new platforms and technologies that enrich interactive advertising guarantees this growth trend will continue.” IAB President and CEO Randall Rothenberg mentioned a few years ago. What PookyMedia is doing encompasses fully the new new media platform and technology such as Second Life.

PookyMedia is creating digital product: delivering engaging and targeted video which is dynamic and extremely cost effective. Entertainment, which captures either a live show where the audience is literally at the edge of their seats, or in meaningful video, that has the look and feel of something new, special and beautiful. Plus real people can take advantage of the very local destination known as their home to log into Second Life. It becomes relevant, easy to access and fun. This is a remarkable combination to offer people. The flat 2D web is rapidly becoming passé. The new 3D immersive environment is where consumers and thus advertisers are moving too. We have a unique opportunity to offer people something special to really make this kind of community resound. We must know the best way to do this.

A recent study from Forrester research found that 57 percent of advertisers plan to spend less on TV and more on web advertising such as online video and visually, socially, and interactively rich media. With more and more money transitioning from offline channels like television, online marketers have an opportunity to show how online video can provide measurable results. It is more than just “watching” that the public wants. They are going where they are involved, evolved and in control. The more of this you offer the more likely the public is to return. We must tap into the zenith of user generated involvement, and we can do that in Second Life.

A few years ago JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey was quoted as saying “Time is the new currency,
Our job is to ensure that more people spend more time with our clients’ brands. We need to create ideas that people want to spend time with. The better the idea the more time people spend with it.”

Media content and distribution companies realize that the one thing that seems to matter the most in the 21st century media environment where attention is sliced at near atomic levels, is association with a brand. But we are at saturation level for images, how can commercials or marketing messages be edited any tighter?

How do we tap into marketing here without being clicked off, avoided or negatively portrayed for leaving no vestige ad-free? One way is by involving people in the product itself while giving a reward for that involvement. Rewards can be defined in many ways even beyond entertainment. Tapping into meaningful dialogue, relevant social issues, charity, group activity and yes of course traditional laughs all are possible, it is what PookyMedia is doing. Being able to do this in a 5 minute video extends the depth of a 60 second commercial, being able to do this in a 30 minute game show is memorable fun and having a community built up for a cause or focus brings hours of engagement. Plus the costs of doing these things is lower by many factors of 10. Worth it? You bet.

The drive to monetize social media is something that everyone is very interested in. According to a very recent Nielsen, social media has overtaken email as the most popular online consumer activity, giving it exceptional reach — increasingly among users between 35-49, and 50-64 years of age.

Relationship-wise, social media enables a broader array of personal connections and peer contact, giving users reason to visit such sites regularly and over an extended period of time. Finally, the content and desirable connections compose social media's personal relevance to consumers — making it ideal for advertisers who know how to target their markets. People go to a social media site and offer themselves to some extent as the ‘brand." Lets face it –it is their own lives and the lives of their friends or people who appear interesting that they are involved with. The internet is a tricky place to advertise though. Facebook isn’t making any money really and MySpace just laid off 30% of it’s workforce. But it does support the view that social media type places – the gathering wells, the online destinations, are a good place to reach people. Not so much water cooler as watering hole, where people go for some refreshment, and can spend hours of their time in a socially stimulating environment that also offers opportunities for advertisers and consumers alike to interact and be enriched.

Social media is not spliced at the near atomic level. Social media gives the consumer, the person after all, a chance to interact with the people, information and page displays they want at their own pace. They can control it. In a world of increasingly less personal power, being able to leisurely flick through others profiles and information is a very compelling function. Being able to turn off the increasingly chaotic stream of messages which barrel through the TV and now outside in Outernet advertising has become the last refuge from being treated like consumers

We might have gotten to a point where we have just been oversold, and we aren’t going to buy it anymore. Coupled with an increasingly dire economic outlook, advertisers are going to have to seek meaning once again with their, dare I say it- “constituents.” When you view the people who are going to cast their increasingly valuable economic vote for you, as constituents, you must look at them differently.

I believe it is time for the world of marketing, which is fueled by advertising and products, to take a deeper look at these trends. Second Life provides a perfect opportunity for this because people are able to get there for free, from anywhere in the world, any time they want to enjoy the social experience of real time interaction. What the marketing community must realize is that Second Life is a social media platform, and that in order to tap into this they must offer something to spend time with.

This is what PookyMedia does with the original shows which are produced and broadcast into which branded content, product placement and audience involvement can take place. We also create series of shows and commercials which companies can brand as their own, again serving as a vital way to engage targeted customers. PookyMedia can also craft a branded community on Second Life around an event or series of events which enable and record people actively engaged with the product. This becomes part of peoples' lives and reflects back onto that which they are involved with.

Personal interaction extends the branding identity and grows the community which sponsored it.The 3D web is the future of audience interaction. Viewer log in entertainment, being a part of a community and identification with it, is what will work in this century. It’s right here, right now and PookyMedia is able to deliver this to you with a wealth of experience in production. We are surfing the zeitgeist. Catch this wave.

23 May 2009

Second Life as a Media and Entertainment Platform

video
Download mp3 here

Recorded at ReLaM, Relocatable Laboratories in the Metaverse, sponsored by the KIRA institute asked Pooky Amsterdam to conduct a lecture on Second Life as a Media and Entertainment Platform.

28 Apr 2009

Interview with Curious George..........The Genius


There are the ahead of the curve on Second Life, and the very astute and the very Brilliant.
All of these qualities are in abundance in one of Second Life’s most illustrious residents, Curious George. He actually raises the world we are in simply by being so much a part of it. He is one of the driving forces behind The Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics (MICA) a professional scientific and educational, non-profit organization based in virtual worlds. George is a Professor of Astronomy and a Co-Director of the Center for Advanced Computing Research (CACR) at Caltech. I had the great opportunity to sit down recently on StellaNova which is the base of MICA operations on Second Life with the man I call………….The Genius.

Curious George: Please, sit down.

Pooky Amsterdam: Beautiful furniture this is very comfortable.

Curious George: Thanks! That's the idea behind StellaNova, make it a pleasant place for discussions and communication.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes the ability to 'make one comfortable ‘really on a visual plane helps the mind extend itself.

Curious George: So aside from a few major venues - the amphitheaters, the seminar room - we have several of these discussion circles scattered through the sim.

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you have any other venues which stimulate discussion- the club room is a classic do you have for example a pod in the midst of the galaxy?

Curious George: No, we did not want to do any "space Disneyland" stuff -- plenty of that around. The idea is to have a natural and realistic park-like setting, the groves of academe if you will.

Pooky Amsterdam: Classical in that sense and open air as well. Your goals of having a sim to foster discussion of the kind you just mention are important.

Curious George: Yes, the idea of openness is conveyed throughout - no hidden spaces.

Pooky Amsterdam: Though we do have hidden regions of the mind that thought & of course discussion will illuminate.

Curious George: (smiles) Some of them, anyway.

Pooky Amsterdam: How long have you been open?

Curious George: We opened on Jan. 30, and we are starting to have a full schedule of events including the workshop tomorrow. (For a full schedule of workshops and calendar of events http://mica-vw.org/)But we certainly use the sim for our meetings, and I have seen many visitors come through.

Curious George: We welcome anyone, and the environment is meant to be used for any and all scientific and scholarly interactions, discussions, etc.

Pooky Amsterdam: Did you ever envision that you would be teaching, learning and collaborating on a place or platform such as this?

Curious George: Now I of course see that, but before being introduced to VWs about a year ago, I was skeptical, like most academics, I think.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes of course- you have achieved a great thing here through your willingness to be open to it and will certainly lead the way. How are people you work with reacting to this.

Curious George: It's fun to be exploring new and unknown territories, and VWs certainly are that. Most academics are oblivious to the change that this technology brings, so it will take a few years.

Pooky Amsterdam: There really is little corollary in real life- lets all go on an overseas voyage & see what we want to discuss about, the universe?

Curious George: Right now, most people assume that this is just some silly video games for adults. But that will change, as the VWs technology becomes more pervasive and people start discovering its utility.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes but have you been able to bring your colleagues into this- have they been intrigued? You work at one of the nations most prestigious universities in terms of technology. Are you vetting your colleagues before you approach them?

Curious George: Not vetting, I just know who might be interested to try this, and I tell them about it. Some of them have already. We ask people to give MICA seminars and/or public lectures. Some colleagues, yes, but these have been selected as being potentially open to this kind of thing.

Pooky Amsterdam: Great- this was my next question- you are using it both for international collaborations and also to bring events to the more general science community.

Curious George: There is also the obvious use of SL as a collaboration platform, and I have used it for my research group meetings. As for the people we bring in as speakers, some remain active, and some don't. And we are about to start using SL for meetings of an international collaboration we are now starting, with groups at Caltech, in Italy, and in India. Telepresence technology like this makes a lot of travel unnecessary, and it is a very green technology because of that. And on a subjective level, as you know, it works better than the usual video- or teleconferencing setups.


Pooky Amsterdam: Do you find that new people, new scientists are amazed at how they might "extend themselves" into an avatar?

Curious George: Those who really take to it, yes.

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you find it is a love it or don’t get it kind of thing?

Curious George: Not sure, there is probably a spectrum of reactions. The technology is still fairly primitive. It will get a lot better, and then more people will "get it". What I mean is more effective 3-d graphics, and haptic computing to capture motions and facial expressions. And this will happen, for commercial reasons, probably first driven by entertainment, but then becoming ubiquitous in the same was as the web did, and perhaps even more so. Right now we simply transfer the ways we do meetings and lectures in RL into SL. We may yet discover better and new uses.

Pooky Amsterdam: Hmm, how much does facial expression affect a lecture in RL? Will be very interesting to have a motion capture animation for a professor giving a lecture.

Curious George: Yes, body language and facial expressions are crucial parts of our communication, and yet somehow, these cartoony and limited avatars do work better than videoconferencing.

Pooky Amsterdam: We accept their limitations more readily somehow.

Curious George: There is probably some good research to be done on this, by the people who study human perception, vision, etc.

Pooky Amsterdam: Perhaps we are more exacting for "completely realistic." You have opened fairly recently here, what program have you been most excited about and what events are you looking to broaden your calendar with?

Curious George: Well, MICA has been around since last April or May (2008), but StellaNova is new. We have started two new research discussion groups, in collaboration with KIRA, which is Piet Hut's other SL playground.

Pooky Amsterdam: A playground for the mind so to speak

Curious George: One is a group to investigate the use of OpenSim and WVs generally for numerical stellar dynamics. The other is a group called "Relocatable Laboratories in Metaverse", and the name explains it. These have weekly meetings I would like to start a couple more things soon. And another one will be a series of roundtable discussions on topics in computational science and technology.


Pooky Amsterdam: Brilliant & again I would think that would need also graphics or some kind of representation.

Curious George: One group we plan to start would be a research forum on immersive data visualizations.

Pooky Amsterdam: Can you tell me about it what people will be looking forward to on Stella Nova. Do you find people open up that is become more inspired with out the barrier of the physical body? Is this more a purer mind experience- the ideas generate exponentially? What is KIRA?

Curious George: OK, since you have been asking new questions as I have been typing the previous answer, let me rewind and answer the new ones in order: "what is KIRA?”: It is Kira Cafe, a group run by Piet Hut / Pema Pera, and it deals with matters of philosophy, spirituality, etc., and some aspects of science.

Pooky Amsterdam: Fractals are for example, a program which generates images based on a specific kind of randomness , e.g. found in nature when you say you are looking at computations, I think why not use a scripting program to set up the parameters for what you want to see something like that or am I completely off the loop here. Would you use something like this?

Curious George: I really don't understand the question, but let me say what we actually do:
Some of us do modeling of stellar systems, e.g., star clusters, and there is some randomness in that, but it is all rigorously well understood and controlled; and then the output of these simulations needs to be visualized. Another aspect is visualizing highly complex data sets - some of which may appear random, but a goal of science is to discover patterns and structures.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes of course.

Curious George: I am not sure if that answers your question, but to more on, "what people will be looking forward to on Stella Nova"? Well, several things: We continue our program of popular and technical lectures, We have these new interest groups that I mentioned, and more to come, We will be organizing interdisciplinary meetings to exchange ideas with scientists and scholars in other fields, and the workshop tomorrow is a bit like that. And finally, it is an open and inviting environment for people to come and use for their discussions, and hopefully make new contacts.

Pooky Amsterdam: You “exponentially” broaden your idea group when you do this.

Curious George: Yes. Now, "do you find people open up that is become more inspired without the barrier of the physical body?" I don't know about that, and I kind of doubt it, but there are a couple of effects: First, it is easier to establish contacts and communication with other people here, perhaps because there is no "social cost". Second, perhaps it is easier to focus on the exchange of ideas, since there is no physicality to distract you. But on the other hand, there are distractions peculiar to SL, so... it is complicated. The upshot is, it is somehow easier to communicate with people who were perfect strangers just a few minutes earlier, to establish genuine rapport, and quickly; and in the first place, you would never have met in RL....

Pooky Amsterdam: I find that fascinating & strangely enough builds some measure of trust so it has all the hallmarks of a great laboratory in this sense people accepting that "all in this together" and loosening up.

Curious George: Speaking very generally, facilitating exchange of ideas is one of the most powerful engines of progress - in science, art, politics, and civilization in general. And SL is really good at that as this is all about human interactions. Now, the purpose of MICA is all that, but also something else.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes indeed I see a kind of renaissance happening because of this.

Curious George: We need to establish such "scientific use cases" in order to bring in more skeptical academics. We need to find out what else is this good for, aside from the human communication aspects; so, for example, effective data visualization is a major scientific need - could this be a really good tool for it?

Pooky Amsterdam: That is my question about scripting, that is can you run a script on this engine to determine patterns.

Curious George: What you may be thinking of is what goes under a generic name of "data mining." And indeed, good data visualization is a key component of discerning patterns in the data.

Pooky Amsterdam: To program a script to actually give interaction maybe more of a regression analysis type of engine.

Curious George: There is even an emergent field of "visual data analytics". Computing within SL is not very efficient - it is not meant for that.

Pooky Amsterdam: Ok I trust you on this one.

Curious George: A more efficient approach is to do the computing on another machine, but visualize and interact in SL (or OpenSim, or some other VW environment).

Pooky Amsterdam: People are more open & more willing to share here- so surely the collaborative aspect is going to "pay off" for lack of a better word.

Curious George: I should point out that MICA is not SL-specific, we use SL as the most convenient platform for now, but we are really interested in a broader issue of the use of VWs for science and scholarship. OpenSim is thus one direction we are exploring.

Pooky Amsterdam: What is the benefit there do you think? & then I will ask what are you most looking forward to in the near term either event or program & where do you see MICA in a year.

Curious George: In SL you are limited by the LL servers in terms of the memory (e.g., the number of prims) etc. With your own machine, you can have as much as you can afford to buy, and use the VR visualization engine to look at it, as it were.

Pooky Amsterdam: Are you planning on using prims for experimentation?

Curious George: Let me illustrate this; let's go to the SE corner of this sim. You may have seen this, an early visualization experiment I did with Desdemona Enield. These are real data in a 6-dimensional parameter space plotted here. But there is only about 1000 data points, one per prim. In the data sets we are dealing with nowadays, there may be a billion data points - or even more. That's a bit too many prims for LL servers. So if we want to visualize a data set with more than a few thousand data points, we need our own server.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes why though in 3D for a data point? : I can understand if you needed it to explain something or have more than one set of info in it. Why not a flat picture?

Curious George: We can do experiments in SL to see what works, but then do the real production on a custom machine.

Pooky Amsterdam: It’s fabulous looking.

Curious George: Why not a flat picture? Because the need is to visualize data sets in many dimensions, not just 2 or 3.

Pooky Amsterdam: Ah yes to see where it isn’t spiked or peaked in 3D you see that better this way & may I ask what this data is representing?

Curious George: This is a 6-dimensional data set; we know how to encode maybe a dozen dimensions; but the data sets we are exploring in astronomy now may have hundreds or thousands of dimensions. And in biology, there may be data sets in millions of dimensions. So a flat picture just does not work.

Pooky Amsterdam: Do you think there are hundreds of dimensions? As there are many more colors in the spectrum that the human eye can see?

Curious George: These are dimensions of a parameter space, not real space.

Pooky Amsterdam: Are you sure?

Curious George: String theory says there may be 11 dimensions, but that is a completely different story. What I mean here is: You measure a 100 numbers for each of a million objects, say galaxies, or some medical records, or whatever. Then you have a million data points in 100 dimensions. For this one, you can click on the sign to the left, to get a simple explanation card.

Pooky Amsterdam: It’s a much deeper tool for knowledge & of course pattern mining.

Curious George: Anyway, I hope that we can do much more complex data visualization than this. One advantage SL has is that I can interactively examine the data set, along with my collaborators.

Pooky Amsterdam: It’s a start for this and is a fantastic tool indeed. I’m’ in awe……

Curious George: Well, sit down, don't faint... :) Here's another one of our discussion circles, where people can sit down and talk about whatever data visualization is being displayed there.

Pooky Amsterdam: May I ask you finally where you would love to see MICA in a year?

Curious George: That is a good question, so: I'd like to see a broader buy-in by the academic community, getting engaged, experimenting with immersive VR, and how to best use this technology for its purposes; to have MICA as a forum and a catalyst for interdisciplinary exchanges of ideas in this arena; and also, to have it as a real, legally incorporated scientific institution, with its own funding, staff, etc. MICA is an experiment by itself - an experiment that hosts other experiments.

Pooky Amsterdam: Yes it is and hopefully the rest will follow soon.

Curious George: It aims to answer the question: how would you do research in VWs?

Pooky Amsterdam: It makes this question so relevant because you are asking it as well.

Curious George: Including the relatively mundane issues of having a purely virtual, serious scientific organization, how to run it, etc.

Pooky Amsterdam: And of course this is a laboratory for much in this way of discussion. You don’t need to go to a mesa in Arizona, its incredibly cost effective as a retreat.

Curious George: Yes, and cost-effectiveness is very important especially now, with the funding crisis. Already we can save a lot of research dollars if we don't travel, but meet here.

Pooky Amsterdam: That’s immediate plus you don’t have to bring your suit to the cleaners.

Curious George: Yes, it is a green technology - save the money, and the jet fuel.

Pooky Amsterdam: And in the comfort of your own environment you are able to open up to the shared environment maybe SL is less threatening because of this - you are in your safe space in reality & so on this foundation of personal safety can express yourself more.

Curious George: That's not so important to scientists - and there aren't too many of them who are too shy to express their ideas.

Pooky Amsterdam: Wonderful really this has all the hallmarks of great success I would bet on it if I was a gambling woman.

Curious George: Thanks, let's hope so.

Pooky Amsterdam: thank you for the hour as well.

Curious George: And pleasure talking with you, as always.

Pooky Amsterdam: I will join KIRA .

And I did and have been additionally enriched by the series of talks I have attended there as well. If you are interested in broadening your understanding of scientific and educational research and ideas, I urge you to join too.
And please join MICA to learn more as well. We are very fortunate to have this high level of information available to us, which outside of a university setting, you would be hard-pressed to find. IM Paradox Olbers for this.

25 Apr 2009

JWheels Carver interviews Pooky Amsterdam

Pooky Amsterdam is interviewed by JWheels Carver on making machinima and in creating her hit show The 1st Question and in the original Dating Casino. JWheels and Pooky have a great half hour conversation on vision, what audiences want and cook up some great steam behind how to create real entertainment in Second Life. A must listen.

http://thinkerer.org/VoiceVirt/VoiVirPeoWheel.htm

12 Apr 2009

Science Life

I walk the Science beat in Second Life, it is incredibly rich and diverse. It also includes education and technology. I am constantly amazed at the depth of resources, and their availability.

Tonight I am going to Yuri’s night http://slurl.com/secondlife/Avatrian%20Central/123/78/31

which is the celebration of the date of Yuri Gagarin’s successful trip into outer space in 1961, and as the first human being to orbit the Earth. We will be celebrating this great human achievement with slide shows, and more. I even hope to pick up a copy of the space suit he wore.

Yesterday night I worked on fixing the voting board which allows the audience in the StudioDome, where I broadcast my live show, http://www.the1stquestion.com/ to vote in real time from all over the world on which of the panelists’ ideas and / or inventions they most support. The panel this week was made up of a university administrator whose college hosted the Edward R. Murrow Awards, http://www.wsu.edu/murrow/winners.htm for journalism, and where Helen Thomas took the stage in Second Life and in real life. Also on my panel was real life science author Billy Marse, (SL name H3 Turbo) who just wrote a great treatise on Geology and in addition will be a leading light in a few weeks for Earth Week on Second Life, where members of the US House of Representatives will be speaking.

I just received the Astro-news from the head of the Physics Club, Sl name Roger Amdahl, who sends out a weekly update of astronomical happenings. Yesterday morning I attended a lecture on NOAA weather satellites, Thursday morning I was at a lecture called, “Stellar Dynamics in a Virtual Universe,” a weekly workshop on setting up N-body simulations in virtual worlds at the MICA auditorium. MICA stands for Meta Institute for Computational Astrophysics. I will be submitting an interview I did recently here with the founder of MICA, Dr. George Djorgovski (SL name Curious George)of Caltech University who worked on the World Wide Telescope for MicroSoft, and is pioneering in his vision for and work in the virtual world known as Second Life for science education.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/StellaNova/128/128/2

I also attended Science Friday which is broadcast live over NPR, and which Dr Ira Flatlow hosts in Second Life to a very appreciative crowd.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Science%20Friday/205/250/23

I found out about Science Friday from Troy McLuhan, (Real Life name Dr. Troy McConaghy PHD in AstroDynamics) who runs the science center and moderates the listing of inworld science events. http://science-center-group.wikispaces.com/Science-Related+Places told me about it.

I also saw Troy at a recent talk replete with PowerPoint and great audience discussion and interaction given by Dr. Robert Knop (SL name Prospero Linden & yes he does work for Linden Lab) Dr. Knop Talks Astronomy - “A Snapshot of the Early Universe” here is an abstract of his talk –

In 1998, two teams of astronomers observing supernovae discovered that the expansion of the Universe is accelerating. The speaker, Dr. Knop, was on one of the two teams, working with Saul Perlmutter. In this talk, I will describe just how it is that you can measure the expansion history of the Universe by observing distant exploding stars, and what surprising things we saw in our results that indicated to us that the expansion of the Universe was in fact accelerating. At the end, I’ll briefly mention some things about “dark energy,” the mysterious substance that is causing this surprising universal acceleration.

This science talk is intended for the general public. All were welcome. Its part of a series of popular talks called Dr. Knop Talks Astronomy. I learned a lot, might not have understood everything, but for a person with a very active mind, being able to access information like this is unbelievably significant for me.

Dr. Knop, or Pospero as I call him, was also very much present at the MICA Popular Talk - Black Holes, Bright Lights: Quasars as Probes of the Early Universe

I was last week to the International Year of Astronomy 2009 Island

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Astronomy%202009/34/222/2

where a fantastic lecture on"William and Caroline Herschel and the Invention of Modern Astronomy"was simulcasted (beamed live) into an auditorium there, given by Michael Lemonick — Science Journalist & Lecturer, Princeton University. I found out how an experiment William Herschel made with a thermometer, a prism and the rainbow of light it reflected led to the discovery infra red light. Wow!

Attendance in the lecture also meant a chance to win a real life Galileoscope. It is a high-quality, low-cost telescope kit developed for the International Year of Astronomy 2009 by a team of leading astronomers, optical engineers, and science educators. Someone won the raffle (which will be an ongoing event) and it will be shipped to their real home, so they can watch the sky. If I win, I will donate it to my daughters’ school. If I wasn’t there, I never would have known about it.

Troy just relocated the Science Center http://slurl.com/secondlife/Science%20Friday/33/146/22 to Info Island, http://infoisland.org/ where Loreli Junot (Real Life name Lori Bell), DaisyBlue Heffernan and Abbey Zenith, among others run the magnificently appointed Info Island, which has links and teleports to 43 Library installations and islands. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Info%20Island/112/105/33 Click on the Archipelgao board for more information. Here there are books, audiobooks, training programs, programs, medical library, science fiction portals, a fantasy gallery, events, a movie theater, exhibits, web resources and also the ability to create customized resources for people. The Alliance Liabrary system is magnificent!

The Librarians were one of the first groups to realize the great economies of agglomeration to be found in Second Life.

There are a lot of libraries on Second Life. A great one is being built as this blog is being written. It is being created dutifully, and in minute detail, which will thrill ancient architecture students from all over the world. The texts being accumulated are

the passion of one Nev Loring, who is building in his own time and on his own dime, the Library of Constantinople. http://slurl.com/secondlife/WORLDland%201/235/165/21

He said he had been accumulating so many books over his year on Second Life that he had to give them a home. A friend offered him some land on which to build, and here he is creating it for us, the residents who care about these things. There are a lot of us.

The Smithsonian Latino http://slurl.com/secondlife/Smithsonian%20Latino%20Lobby/140/128/2

has an incredible exhibit on the The Olmec who were an ancient Pre-Columbian people living in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico. There are pictures taken of Matthew Stirling of the Smithsonian Institution who conducted the first detailed scientific excavations of Olmec sites in the 1930s and 1940s. Stirling, along with art historian Miguel Covarrubias, became convinced that the Olmec predated most other known Mesoamerican civilizations. The dig and museum is an incredible learning experience and again I traveled to a part of the world I would never have found if it wasn’t for Second Life. The museum was designed by a woman, SL name Penelope Riggles who had been given a workshop by the person who is in charge of the Exploratorium in San Francisco and who curates and maintains the one here in SL, Patio Plasma.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Exploratorium/147/118/22

He also writes Isaac Asimovs old column.

I have been to exhibitions on Charles Babbage, been introduced to the legendary figure who was Ada Lovelace, and found remarkable adventures in thought, education, science and more. All in the Victorian Island known as Caledon which has an incredibly rich and well resourced community for this important period in the time of the Industrial Revolutuon.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Caledon%20Victoria%20City/155/118/23

I have seen the Mars Phoenix land on MARS, in an open air auditorium in The Scilands here with 90 other people who witnessed it live with me from around the world, while we had feedback from the actual control room at NASA. The SciLands are a restricted area in SecondLife devoted to the Sciences and Education. 45 islands now make up this illustrious area. The SciLands are my beat so to speak. I broadcast my weekly show, The 1st Question from here in The StudioDome, and make it my business to know what is happening around this great part of our metaverse in Second Life.

I take the following from the SciLands wordpress http://scilands.wordpress.com/

site:

The SciLands is a specialized region of Second Life for Science and Technology based organizations, providing:

* Island reservations in a pure Science region, with shared resources and other Science-based organizations, initially centered around the Space Industries and the acclaimed International Spaceflight Museum.

* Shared resources, islands, events and networking for organisations interested in formal and informal science education, innovation, knowledge transfer and research using Second Life.

* Access to our network of experienced Second Life residents and developers who value scientific accuracy and innovation.

* An extended network of organizations interested in all aspects of informal and formal education using Second Life, including University Faculty, Government Agencies, Libraries, Museums, Subject Matter Experts and Educational Technology Researchers.

Here is the SciLands.org URL as well http://www.scilands.org/

The events held in the SciLands of second life are just like watching your favorite shows on the History and Discovery Science channels, except you get to be interactive, ask real questions, in real time, from real experts top in their fields. It doesn’t really get any better than that.

I could go on, but I have to get ready for Yuri’s night, which is also being celebrated all over the world, and celebrated on Second Life. I will meet people from Russia who are attending to celebrate this achievement of this great human being who was one of the first to orbit the moon. And so from all over the globe we come together to realize what we can accomplish together. I just got a book called US Human Spaceflight, which was compiled by SL name Charlie Navarathna for the NASA CoLab Library & Archives. Head Librarian of which is Archivist Llewellyn.

http://slurl.com/secondlife/NASA%20CoLab/96/232/2

It is a great place to be when you want to learn. The only naked I am aware of is The Naked Scientist broadcast which comes out of the BBC live onto the Scilands. It is a great hour of listening to the radio, in fact The Naked Scientists just won a European Podcasting Award. http://www.thenakedscientists.com/ Every Sunday we collectively gather and take part in this great program, they even take our questions from Second Life. It is a thrill to hear ones name called out over the broadcast! http://slurl.com/secondlife/SciLands/102/129/26

For those who are involved in the sciences, education and technology in Second Life, there are untold riches of discovery, learning, collaboration and more. We meet each other with a thirst for knowledge and an offered cup of wisdom which we share gladly and gratefully. I have heard other things go on in Second Life too, happily I keep this beat. Tune in to this channel for more of what’s really happening.