Vote for the Nonprofit Commons crew with Second Life Homelessness Mash-up, Transitions project for Mash-up challenge

Today, in the Nonprofit Commons weekly meeting, a group of Nonprofit Commons members (entire project team was not at meeting, but it is: In Kenzo, Ozma Malibu, Rhiannon Chatnoir, Kali Idziak, Amulius Lioncourt and others) discussed their Mash-up Challenge project. I am voting for this project, and I am endorsing them.

The Transition project’s mission is to combat homelessness and to help those in transition envision a real life situation where they will have a home. To that end, the homeless participants will build their virtual homes, the 40 virtual world participants will be able to tell us whether they feel closer to being able to design a real-life reality that includes a home. The mash-up will work with Second Life and other web tools to create a homelessness resource portal for finding local service providers quickly, a widget tool flexible enough to import and embed across webspaces and virtual worlds.

Their findings will help determine whether virtual worlds like Second Life are an appropriate tool for people to use in redesigning their lives. Starting from the Nonprofit Commons in Second Life, the Transitions team will be mentoring new residents in lifeskills and building new homes along through the website A Place for Dreams, , where new opportunities will emerge. They plan to offer full life-skills trainings, business tools and microloans, one-click services.

Here is the chat transcript from the meeting, where they describe their project and their experience with the Mash-up Challenge. They participated in the Google Hackathon last week, and had a very productive learning experience (there are 8 members of the Nonprofit Commons in Second Life on the team, and it is led by Evonne Heyning and Sandy Andrews, both Nonprofit Commons members).

Below, is the chat transcript from their presentation about their very cool mash-up:

[8:59] Ozma Malibu: ok, the transitions project will provide resources to displaced/homeless/in transition folk, on several levels
[8:59] Ozma Malibu: one of which is in SL
[8:59] Ozma Malibu: AND last Friday, Amulius and I attended the Google hackathon and got so much help!
[8:59] Manifold Destiny: can you explain what that means? homeless in SL?
[8:59] In Kenzo: is the document we have started to help the community get onboard with this project
[9:00] In Kenzo: Looking at RL homelessness through an SL lens, seeing if we can make a positive impact thru SL and other web tools created especially for those “in transition”
[9:00] You: google hacjkathon was a techsoup/netsquared event
[9:00] In Kenzo: We have applied for the mashup challenge with Netsquared
[9:01] Ozma Malibu: Volunteer engineers from Google were at the hackathon along with Netsquared, and after being guided to think things out we got to work with each attending engineer to see how their expertise would fit with our goals
[9:01] In Kenzo: To build web tools that will provide easy one-two click searches for those who need basic living care
[9:01] In Kenzo: and a portal that will encapsulate our collective work, as each of the group leaders here has contributed a vital piece
[9:02] In Kenzo: Community VoiceMail, Bridges, Floaters all serve this community already, we are consolidating their services and other data from around the web to make it easier for people to find what they need and move forward
[9:02] In Kenzo: At this point, we would love you to visit the website at Netsquared and give us your vote, make comments and ask questions there
[9:02] In Kenzo:
[9:02] Carmen Gray: /great idea Kenzo 🙂
[9:03] In Kenzo: We need lots of public support, and others here re welcome to join us if you see a programmatic link with your nonprofit work
[9:03] Jani Myriam: That *so* rocks!
[9:03] In Kenzo: we will be doing an SL pilot soon!
[9:04] Buffy Beale: Yes please everyone take a minute and vote for us
[9:04] In Kenzo: we will rock the vote today, come and help us gain a little momentum for this work. ozma and the team here has put a lot forward to build an SL pilot project, helping those in transition build new lives here
[9:05] You: and help these avatars win the big prize for teh net squared contest
[9:05] In Kenzo: We are REALLY EXCITED about this opportunity, and opening it up for people to start new businesses and lives through this imagination space….we will provide mentionship and grounding, tools and resources together and we invite you to join us
[9:05] In Kenzo: for the web space, for SL, for this community and most of all for those looking for a new life, we are building and will gather these elements on the web in the coming months. thanks for your help.
9:06] In Kenzo:

Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie

It’s official: SLCC Nonprofit mini-track will be produced and organized by Glitteractica and Rik Riel

Please check back on the SLCC Blog for details, as it gets closer to September, there will be more informaiton. Remember that we have a Wiki Page where you can volunteer and post your ideas. So far, we have a pretty solid idea of the four sessions (or so) that will be featured in that mini-track. We are still looking for sponsorships, so please contact me, if you are interested in being a sponsor!

Also, if you want to attend, let me know about that too.

Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie

Sharon Burns’ Virtual Worlds video tour

I just took Sharon Burns’ virtual worlds tour and I recommend it, especially if you always wanted to know about the leading virtual worlds, but SL eats up all your time, and you couldn’t possibly dare to enter another metaverse.

She surveyed kids’ and adults’ virtual worlds (also referred to as: immersive worlds, metaverses, the 3-D web and MMORPG)

Here is a snapshot of the landscape of worlds she covers, and a few words on each one:

  •– Similar Audience to SL, not as much role playing, a few nonprofits are there, they have 1 million active users, and users can purchase There bucks (they have a currency).
  • Entropia– Not much to say except that it is a MMORPG (Massive Multi-player Online Role-playing game) with fierce graphics and their users spend a long time on the game. She cited MMORPGs to the new way that people are having online community
  • World Of Warcraft– They are the grand daddy of all MMORPGs. They have 10 million active users, nuff said.
  • Gaia Online — They have an audience of 8-18 year olds. Most of their users are in the 14-16 year old range. The have art contests and poetry forums. It’s a creative space. I think what makes Gaia online particularly compelling (and Sharron may not have known this, b/c she did not reference this) is that their accompanying discussion forum that is the online community companion to the virtual world is the number one forum on the Internet. with nearly 12 million members.
  • Club Penguin– For kids, acquired by Disney for an enormous amount of money, it costs $5.95/month to play and there are 15 million registered users
  • Hi pi Hi– Launched this year, in Mandarin, a chinese version of Second Life that has commerce, community and collaboration.
  • Y-ville– Launched in 1999, it’s an education-based virtual world that is mainly focused on science learning. It has the backing of orgs like NASA and the CDC. Mostly girls belong to Y-ville.
  • Webkins– it was the first site to integrate a real-world purchase with a game or virtual world. You buy (adopt) a toy and then use the secret code on the product to access the world, where you can dress and house your pet. It’s a kids’ site, obviously.
  • Mokitown– for 8-12 year olds, a community about traffic and safety.

    Although this tour was only 8 minutes, it provided a good fly-over of the landscape. There was very little mention of nonprofits, as most of the above virtual worlds do not have a nonprofit presence. The real tour that we are all on the edge of our seats for is the part 2, the Second Life tour. I will be sure to let you all know about it, when it comes out.

  • Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie

    Demo for the US Department of State

    This morning, the members of the Nonprofit Commons demo’d SL for the US Department of State. Bill May (Serotta Keynes in SL) works in public diplomacy, as the Senior Technology Advisor. He invited the Public Diplomacy’s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau (the vast majority of their work is conducted through the NGO community) to shoulder-surf while he introduced the members of the Nonprofit Commons to them.

    It was pretty exciting to have such a good turn-out of our own members at such short notice. We had about 10-15 avatars from several different countries representing the nonprofit community inworld.

    The members of the nonprofits cited the usual benefits that we all seem to appreciate about SL: the incredible International representation, the ability to procure a good group of volunteers, the ability to raise funds (based on work done in SL, not necessarily directly from funds raised within SL), the ease of access to a great network of new colleageus, the range of diverse populations, the ability to do a lot of conferencing without spending money on travel and hotels, and the potential for social marketing.

    Penguin Kuhn referenced her blog post about Top Ten Ways SL can benefit Nonprofits

    In all the visit was short and sweet, but the audience in the RL room (btw 25-30 people) asked questions of the SL group, seemed engaged, and according to Serotta, No One Left the Room!

    I guess that is one measure of success?

    Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie

    In Praise of Interoperability: Facebook finally goes to SecondLife

    After the Virtual Worlds conference, the universal mantra seemed to be “we need interoperability!” Well, guess what folks? It has started. Enter Facebook in SL…although the entry in a little awkward (you have to TP in to the Facebook headquarters inworld and then verify yourself and then leave again to complete your profile, which is somewhat limited and doesn’t integrate well with your original FB profile), it is still a step in the right direction.

    So, why would you want to have interoperability between virtual worlds and other online social networks and other virtual worlds? Because it would allow you to find the place location for where you want to post/interact/connect and work within that environment, without having to constantly jump around between locations to talk about it to your other existing networks.

    To quote Christian Renaud, in his must-read piece, Ode to Interoperability The benefit to business of interoperability is that you have freedom of choice to pick a provider of the environment that best suits your use case (simulation, training, collaboration, etc.) without it being segregated from the benefits of the network-effect of the Internet and the many tens of thousands of active users of other virtual worlds. It doesn’t have to be an ‘either-or’ decision, with all of the risk of sunk development costs shouldered by the customer, but rather ‘and also’ as the platform you choose can interact with other virtual world platforms.

    So far, the app. doesn’t do that much, IMHO. It allows you to display your avatar on your profile, which I did anyway, in my RL facebook profile, and it indicates when you’re inworld (which has done for ages). I am not really sure of the advantages of being able to see images of your friends’ avatars, since we already all know and love our friends’ avies. However, on the plus side, it also allows you to share your picks and favorite SL locations and it has SLurls embedded, so you can easily TP to the places.

    Apparently, this is old-hat to some, and there are actually two applications that do this…not sure why I found out so late in the game. For more information about these two apps, check out Giving your Facebook profile a Second Life. I have asked Fire Centaur, the creator of Second Life Link that I just joined to speak at our weekly Nonprofit Commons meeting this Friday.

    How could you see interoperability benefiting your work in SL?

    Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie

    My take-aways from the Virtual Worlds Conference in Silicon Valley, October 10-11, 2007

    I am just recovering from the virtual worlds conference and I wanted to get down some notes before I lost track of the context in which my notes originated.

    This was a phenomenally interesting conference and I was very surprised at how many virtual worlds and companies that work within them were represented. The Creator of CSI, Anthony Zuiker
    talked about how there will soon be a choose your own adventure type of interactive entertainment that connects the TV show with a virtual world. It was apparent to me, from this conference, that games are going to take over the mass media, but little in this conference had to do with nonprofits and education.

    The most interesting session was on enterprise social economics in virtual worlds; led by Sandy Kearny, Global Director 3-D internet environments and virtual business, IBM.

    Here are the most relevant highlights of what she said:
    Virtual worlds are unique because they provide the opportunity to take work to the people, they can be anywhere in world, and she focused on a hybrid environment, a model where the virtual world will not replace the regular meeting, but instead, in will augment it.

    The overall buzz word of the day was Interoperability. Before we can push 3-d environs into the mainstream, they need to be interoperable, easy to use and easily integrated with the traditional web. People were asking what are the enabling aspects to get virtual worlds to work in tandem with other online social networks? In order for virtual worlds to take the mainstream communications by a storm, they must be usable, easy. The future holds a need to be mobile, easy to access and use.

    To IBM Interoperability means integration–IBM has an Intraverse, built on active worlds platform. This is instead of a traditional intranet. They cited a Metanomics conference, they had a mixed reality event like we did. Apparently, not many people do this successfully.

    Pioneers need to team up together. How can we simplify SL? We need to go after what is universal and generic. That is, virtual worlds need to follow narrative, be easy to use and generic enough to work with most computers and users.

    What I found fascinating was how many companies outside of SL are doing this well, but are not open or interoperable enough to work within SL. Proton Media and Active worlds are two fantastically complex virtual worlds companies that are enterprise ready but not interoperable, active worlds supports 400 avs in one sim.

    We are now less likely to just concentrate on where to put knowledge, but now we can see if people have rated it and allow them to change it. This is relevant with the open standards of virtual worlds and the open-sourcing of SL.

    The overarching problem that was cited was again, just like at SLCC, not being able to track metrics in virtual worlds (with traditional tools).

    Virtual worlds will enable organizations to travel from here to there and proceed with work on a much faster pace, having access to in-house experts without having to go F2F., conferences, events.

    Robin Linden gets the prize for the best quote in the conference, in her session with, she said:
    By pretending to be someone else, you can learn to be more of who you are. Value in anonymity. She cited the issue of building trust. As SL will be going towards portable ID, you will be able to bring aspects of your real life with you. Some of us already do this, with our SL, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace identities all merged and intertwined. When things get interoperable, however, this will become more relevant.

    The questions that remain in my mind are: should we be looking to do this work outside of Second Life and how can we look at out of world mechanisms to drive people to our events in-world? There must be more than just posting on koinup or facebook, but what are the other ways that we can be interoperable? And finally, how can we go beyond just replicating what we do in the real world and reach beyond the replication of regular, RL meetings to have events that will take advantage of the tool in engaging, fun and creative ways? We have learned that needs to be a focus, something to do in virtual worlds, but I am still wondering what the best way is to find that focus.

    Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie

    New Events sign/calendar at NPC landing point

    I just discovered that the new events committee of the Nonprofits in SL group, also known as the Nonprofit Commons community has created a calendar/sign post. This was very exciting to me since this is something that I have wanted to have in-world for a while now. While I was having lunch in RL with SLebrity, Jani Myriam, of Transgender Resource Center fame, on Friday, she and I were discussing how if you want something to happen in a community in SL, you mostly have to do it yourself, or it takes long to never to happen. It was a commons frustration we shared. Until recently…I am lucky to have Coughran Mayo, Kosmik Guru and PCOSGurl Infinity on the new events team.

    While I was there, I was talking to Movies1963 Beck who has a MySpace page dedicated to SL Live events. He was looking at the new NPC events calendar, and I told him that I was interested in having the events tagged NPSL in eventful. “Tagging?, What’s that?”, he asked. “Uh oh”, my reply. I then barraged him with TechSoup articles on tagging and forum threads on feeds and tagging 101. Then, fortunately, Faust (Nick Hernandez) came to my rescue. While I flew away, I over heard him uttering, “There are sites like that you can…”

    So, thankfully, I had achieved a few positive things in world tonight. I got friendly with an avatar who has a myspace page for SL live events, I learned about a new events calendar that our group has put together and I helped introduce a couple members of our community and one learned about Web 2.0.

    You see! SL is more than just a game! On the note of the calendar/sign. Do any of you know how to make the events on that thing get tagged with NPSL for eventful, so it can be fed into this site?

    Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie

    Nonprofit Commons and dozens of other sims get griefed

    This was my first live experience with a griefer and it brought many thoughts to mind about the act of griefing.

    • Is it really disruptive if the technology does not get shut down? The griefing made it dizzying and unpleasant to be in the NPC sim, but I was still able to talk to avatars. I got bumped around a bit, but it was a little like trying to have a conversation in a hailstorm or a typhoon. The rain though, in this case was hundreds of little square teenage mutant ninja turtle posters. There was also a deafening scream, but I just muted my computer.
    • It became a spectator sport. Avatars whom I rarely see showed up, as if it were a show of fireworks on the fourth of July.
    • It was a mass attack on dozens of sims
    • Coughran Mayo IMed the griefer who designed the attack and he said he did it because he was sick and tired of being spammed with Second Life emails. When Coughran asked him to stop, he said he was not done playing yet. Then his avatar disappeared off the fact of the grid. I searched for the griefer and he was gone.
    • I was wondering if this was the work of a Goon or a Goon-in-training. At SLCC I learned about the goons who are an elite group of griefers who only accept members after proving themselves for at least three months. The act of greifing becomes a sort of activst protest for them.

      We are working towards reconciling this attack. Master Quatro is on the case. It seems too simplistic to just question why people want to be greifers. It seems more apt to wonder why more people are not griefers, and frankly, I am worried about that.

      It does also give me pause to think about how vulnerable SL is to hacks, though.

    Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie