If I would have told my mom I would earn part of my life in a virtual Tron-like existence, wandering in a digital world created by a peaceful bunch of super servers, she would have thought that I had finally lost it (again). Trust me, even convincing some of my colleagues that moving a little projection of myself -called Heliade Beck- through the narrow streets of 2nd Life, is an important way of serving my clients is a stretch. But when a virtual world starts to be so real that it becomes an economic reality, it is at least worth investigating…
Already 6 million citizens of Second Life choose the benefits of having an alter avatar ego in a fast moving virtual world. Second Life, originally largely setup and used as a social networking site, is beginning to develop more and more into a business tool. Having already created its first Real Life millionaire last year (a Japanese land broker) this 3D matrix shows an astonishing impact on the real life economy. Major names such as Reuters, Warner Bros, Sun Microsystems, Toyota, Sweden, Adidas and Oxfam have built up a thriving parallel business in this online universe.
Earning money in 2nd Life is not even the biggest benefit for corporations and businesses in the virtual world. More and more corporations develop a virtual office in 2nd Life, where they can host global meetings, interactive presentations, press conferences, keynotes and corporate training. 3D meetings seem to be less tiresome and more efficient than webinars or conference calls in real life. It is certainly less expensive than a videoconference (and did those ever work?). Avatars attending global meetings in 2nd Life avoid queuing up in airports, catching headaches with killing time differences and spending fortunes in expensive hotels. Done with burnouts due to too much jetlag.
Agreed, it is still in its early stages today, not yet mature, not yet proven, not yet established. But it is worth looking into it, testing it. It is work mom, just not as you used to know it… 😉