Gone Gitmo Launches on Monday, September 17th at 10:30 AM PST

USC Institute for Media Literacy and the Seton Hall School of Law will be launching on Monday a “Virtual Guantanamo” to focus on public policy issues surrounding the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.  The first in a series of monthly discussions about various political, legal and ethical questions surrounding the detention center, the program on Monday will center on constitutional questions relevant to Guantanamo. It looks like this will be a mixed-reality discussion, taking place both at Seton Hall and in-world at a simulated Guantanamo detention center.

Rik Riel has a great write up with photos and videos.

That’s this Monday, September 17, beginning at 10:30AM PST at IML sim (teleport SLURL).

Written by: kanter

Kiva in Second Life: Interview With Official SL Volunteers

Second Life kiva.org volunteer: Julles Boucher

Kiva.org, a micro-finance organization, has funded nearly 17,0000 loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries and last week crossed the $11 million rank. Kiva.org has already had a very big year, funding about $9 million worth of loans so far, and having been featured in the mainstream media including the Wall Street Journal and on ABC News.  With the assistance of dedicated volunteers, Kiva also maintains a presence on different social networking sites and has recently established a presence on Second Life through the Techsoup Nonprofits Commons Project

I discovered this when I clicked on Skeeboo Tammas’s profile while chatting with him in Second Life.   His profile said.

Do good at Kiva.org! For $25, you can help fund a small loan to someone in need in a developing country. Kiva is not a charity. You get repaid and e-mail updates as the business succeeds! From there you can withdraw your funds or lend it back out. You can also donate Lindens to one of our Fundraisers, or drop it into the donation box at our virtual office here on Second Life. Click on the Picks tab above to teleport there! For more information about this amazing social lending network, visit Kiva.org

That’s only one method they use to help educate Second Life users about Kiva’s work.

Skeebo Tammas

Skeeboo Tammas (or Joe Alamo in real life), a volunteer who also runs KivaFriends.org, Kiva’s MySpace page, their Change.org profile and created the kiva.org browser bar.  that the staff does not have time to manage.

Julles Boucher or (Julia Bailey, PhD) serves as kiva.org’s Second Life Coordinator on a volunteer basis.   She entered Second Life because of her relationship with kiva.org, but has purchased land and operates a shop called Garb the World.  She is scientist in real life and a self-described philanthropist who has invested $5,000 plus in kiva.org.   She is interested in technology and is an owner of an Internet-based business.

I sat down with to learn more about their efforts on Kiva’s behalf in the virtual world.

What is kiva.org doing in SL?

Expanding marketing and awareness. We had an office a while back that someone donated but it disappeared, so we got a booth at 1st Life Aid, a few other places and we are just starting to set up a presence with the Nonprofit Commons Project. We think it is a good idea to be located with other nonprofits.

Why do you think Second Life  is important for nonprofits – particularly fundraising?

Second Life is a good way to disseminate information.  There is a large audience and it has been very helpful for other volunteers to work on kiva.org projects in here.  For example, one morning I worked from my home in California with Joe in NY and a volunteer in Belgium in setting up an information booth. We also had help from the preson who runs the booth and who is in South Africa.  It’s exciting to meet other people in world who care about kiva.org and work together.

What are your goals for having a presence in SL with an office?

Exposing the Kiva organization to new people in this interesting digital world and raising money to fund loans.  The strategy is kind of loose at the moment for us as we feel our way around this world.  We’ve set up a booth and got 15 loans (at $25 each), but donations really started pouring in when wwe got the first Life Aid booth.  Mostly we’re attending events and doing virtual guerrilla marketing.  There is another group that has raised $300 USD for Kikiva on Second Life and we also work with them.

Given your experience with managing kiva.org’s presence in other social networking sites like myspace, how do virtual worlds compare in terms of the ROI?

Second Life is 3-D and very interesting in things can be done in terms of virtual marketing. It can go beyond a standard web page and we’re taking advantage of that.  I think it’s been very good. Kiva has had it’s biggest year ever and our digital marketing has had a big role in that. Maybe not as big as Oprah, but still …

What advice would you give to nonprofits just starting off in second life?

Start a team to figure things out, invite your volunteers/donors to help and empower them as the Official Second Life volunteer, look for gamers who are already familiar with these virtual worlds.  Attend lots of meetings and talk to people and ask questions and get help.  There are lots of people in Second Life who want to help and there are many users here hanging out who would love to volunteer for a non-profit.

Written by: kanter


Photo by Peacemaker

According wikipedia:

A Griefer is a slang term used to describe a player in an multiplayer video game who plays the game simply to cause grief to other players through harassment. Griefing could be considered a malignant form of emergent gameplay.

Here’s some more about griefers in Second Life according to the Second Life Insider blog:

A griefer, is generally accepted as a person who derives enjoyment from
being obstructive, diminishing the enjoyment of others, preventing the enjoyment of others, wasting your time, and so forth. Depending on the environment, there may be a wide variety of specific behaviours (kill-stealing, blocking, training, player-killing, team-killing etc). They don’t enjoy Second Life the way you or I enjoy Second Life. They enjoy it when they make you sad, or unhappy, or frustrated. Especially when you show it. Face it โ€“ it’s easier to destroy than to create โ€“ and it requires comparatively little effort or talent.

So, in some ways griefers are the virtual world equivalent of trolls, cyberbullies, and hackers.

I first heard the term over a year ago when I first started exploring Second Life and we implemented the first TechSoup Nonprofits in Second Life event. What about griefers? someone asked at the meeting.   While everyone was a little nervous about the potential for these virtual bad people to show up at the event and be destructive, no one did.  At the Nonprofit Commons recent laugh party last month, there were concerns about griefers, particularly because of the experience of the honored guest

Today, the griefers arrived.  The Nonprofit Commons was one of many sims attacked with mutant ninja turtle posters.  Susan Tenby, on the Second Life and Nonprofits Blog, reports what it is like to be in the middle of a griefing event:

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.

Susan Tenby wonders whether the attack was from someone trying to get into a group called ‘The goons," 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 fraternity hazing activity.  Perhaps matching the age profile of griefers, although there is debate whether or not all griefers are 19 year olds.

It is unclear whether griefing attacks can be entirely prevented.  Like troll behavior and cyberbullying, it can’t be entirely avoided.   There are ways to minimize the risk as this Businessweek article recommends, but as Susan Tenby notes in her blog post, "It does also give me pause to think about how vulnerable SL is to hacks, though".

What do nonprofits need to be aware and be prepared for, if anything, of in terms of griefers if they are doing a project in Second Life?

Written by: kanter

Community Spotlight: Metrocake McLeod

Metrocake McLeod: Roe Bianculli, Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America

Why is your nonprofit doing work in second life? What do you hope to achieve?

Our mission is to cure Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. What we hope to achieve here is greater awareness of the diseases — that’s a priority. Our secondary goals are to start support groups, and virtual groups to support national event programs. Those are a little trickier, though, and may take longer to get up and running. For example, I need to see how “confidential” a support group here would be.
We would have HIPPA regulations to consider with a support group.

Is your work in Second Life a formal part of your job? Are you doing this during work hours?

I’m doing some of this during work hours, some of it not. ๐Ÿ™‚ This is not considered a formal part of my job.

What advice would you give to other nonprofits about going into second life ?

Determine your goals first — determine your plan and strategy before you start. Make sure to have someone who knows SL fairly well, or knows how to get support from those who do, so that you can get up and running quickly.

Written by: kanter

Nonprofits Launch Party Rocks The Sim!

That photo is from tonight’s opening launch party of the Nonprofits Commons in Second Life, TechSoup’s project in Second Life.   Ruby Sinreich did an excellent job of live blogging.   

Some interesting questions about Second Life and developing countries. I am bringing a couple of Second Life t-shirts to Cambodia, thanks to Jeska Linden.  Will also have an opportunity to show a little bit Second Life and it will be interesting to hear about the possibilities.

Written by: kanter

Transcript from Bluewave Ogee’s Talk from Jully 20th Meeting

Talking Point Notes for Bluewave Ogee’s Brief Talk on Friday July 20 at Weekly Meeting of the Nonprofit Commons:

“Thanks, Everyone, for letting me talk a little about what’s still an
emerging effort with our group, the Non-Profit Global Network (NPGN). Like many of you, it’s taking longer than anticipated! ๐Ÿ™‚

In retrospect, the easy part (ha!) was setting up the space, although it has taken some time, and then summer happened. And we had a great booth with other non-profits at the Best Practices in Education in SL Conference (a terrific 24-hour conference that we were proud to be a part of!).

There are 2 most important projects in the pipeline. The first is
connecting our presence here with some of the organizations
participating in the global “Design for the Other 90%” effort.
Currently there is an amazing exhibit of award-winning
designs-for-the-people at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. http://other.cooperhewitt.org/

These are designers working in relationship with global/local
development efforts, so it’s a natural fit for many of them to begin working in SL where they can use this virtual world environment to design, build, test, and most importantly, join in co-present conversation with their partners from around the world….at a fraction of the cost. That connection with us is in the early stages.

More importantly and closer to fruition is connecting our presence
here with the global Development Gateway Foundation, office in
Washington D.C.. DevGateway is one of the largest and most active on-line portals for development practitioners around the world to share and exchange their latest news, information, and best practices on an almost daily basis from around the world! They have active participants from 336 countries! http://www.developmentgateway.org/

We have been in conversations with them now for over 2 months, and I am presenting our SL Non-Profit Global Network to them on July 31 in Washington.

They have 673 active blogs and online communities from around the world — so the vision here is no small thing! Critically, the fact that many of the local practitioner groups have Internet access and are online through the DevGateway portal means a significant number of them will be able to make a transition into SL with existing resources.

Interestingly, it’s building real world credibility that takes the
most time, largely because you find yourself not only describing the vision of the group, but you have to first describe what SL is!
“Sooo….Second Life is…well… joining a virtual conversation, a
virtual world environment…”. And you see their eyes start to glaze over…:-)

The incredible machinima movies now available filmed in SL are
helping a lot to communicate a sense of the breadth and potential of creating a presence and, more importantly, a “site for interactions” in SL/RL. If you’re not already, I encourage you to use them. The old “show-and-tell” method is very effective. ๐Ÿ™‚

Written by: kanter

BlogHers in Second Life

The BlogHer Conference is taking place in Chicago on July 27-29th. There will also be a conference in Second Life.

Here’s the schedule

On Friday, July 27th, there is a session that is of interest to those who work with nonprofits and second life:

Session #3: Getting It On(line) for a Cause
Audio to be streamed live from Chicago into Hyperstring.net island with Second Life discussion and panel to follow

Description for BlogHer in RL session: Using technology as a distribution channel for the greater good. Galvanize personal action or bring awareness. Rochelle Robinson moderates the presentation and discussion of two case studies, including Green L.A. Girl (aka Siel)’s amazing Starbucks Challenge project. Walk away with a fistful of practical ideas. Then, with Cooper Munroe and Emily McKhann facilitating, we pick next yearโ€™s case study! Learn about how you can help choose the issue we rally around. Introducing a new BlogHer community activism initiative: BlogHers Act!

The conversation continues in Second Life to discuss Second Life’s role as a platform to do good. Second Life Panelists include Susan Tenby (avatar glitteractica cookie) of TechSoup โ€“ with the help of her volunteers, she recently launched a community of over 300 nonprofit staff members and volunteers in Second Life – and Ruby Sinreich (avatar Ruby Glitter) founder and editor of OrangePolitics.org, Web Maven for Netcentric Campaigns – which provides consulting on network-centric organizing strategies to leading progressive organizations and coalitions.

Written by: kanter

Dutch NGO opens “Good Causes Island”

via the Mind Blizzard blog There’s again news from the Dutch NGO front:
Yesterday saw the opening of a Dutch NGO island, called “Goede Doelen eiland” (good causes island). The island is a presentation of the Dutch Red Cross and the Dutch Fund for Disability Sports. The island is sponsored by Dutch bankers ABN Amro and the Free University of Amsterdam (VUA) and was build by students of the VUA.

The ‘fun’ part of the island is the Stadium for the Dutch Fund for Disability Sports. In the stadium it is possible to go for a wheelchair race. Both organisations are looking for new ways of fundraising and are looking into the possibilities in Virtual Worlds.


Written by: kanter

Videos, Podcasts, and Post-Event Analysis at MacArthur Foundation Blog Available!

On June 22, MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan Fanton and Linden Lab CEO Philip Rosedale (a.k.a. Philip Linden) had an historic conversation about how virtual worlds could revolutionize philanthropy. At the event, Fanton also announced that the foundation would begin a year-long investigation into virtual worlds, including making some in-world grants through the USC Annenberg Center on Public Diplomacy.

The MacArthur Foundation blog has recently posted the complete event documentation, including pointers to articles and blog posts, podcasts, and videos.

Check it out.

Written by: kanter