Mashing Virtual Reality & Social Computing – When Virtual Reality Becomes Real?

We read an interesting article from eWeek that analyzed the impending mash up of three-dimensional virtual reality worlds such as Second Life and social networks such as Facebook.  We’ve discussed this previously, but found some the examples of initiatives being undertaken by IBM, Unisfair, and Second Life Link to be a good measure of the progress (or lack thereof) to date.  As the article notes:

“…avatars would pop up filled with content from real employees’ Lotus Connections profile, displaying their experiences, skills and interests, as well as the projects they worked on. A Lotus Connections blog expressing a user’s opinions would be exposed on a billboard or a wall in the virtual city.

….the virtual reality-social network crossover isn’t limited to the enterprise…. Second Life Link, an application built from the Facebook platform, enables users to display their Second Life avatars to their Facebook friends. With this application, users can search through friends on both social networks.

Gartner analyst Adam Sarner described this paradigm shift as the move to the Generation Virtual, where people aren’t connected by age or gender as much as they were in the past, but by common interests.

Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li has two views of virtual worlds: While she believes virtual reality is fine for companies such as IBM to use as a virtual meeting place for workers to collaborate on tasks, she is less sanguine about the potential for virtual worlds in the consumer space.

Li said Second Life and others of its ilk haven’t gained the traction of text-based social networks because they involve more time and creativity-crafting an avatar and profile than most people want to deal with.

“Many people, as you can see with Facebook and MySpace, want to get in, talk to their friends, stay in touch and leave multiple times a day,” Li said.”

This entry was posted on Friday, November 30th, 2007 at 1:32 pm and is filed under Blog.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. 

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