Yesterday was a Webmontag (Web Monday), a German series of events started by Tim Bonnemann. In different German cities webdesigners, coders and others gathered to discuss different internet related issues and topics. One of the meetings this time took place in Second Life.

The venue was the Corecon Convention Center (SLURL), newly built in Second Life by Sebastian Küpers in the past week. Corecon intends to schedule regular events there, starting with a number of basic SL courses. The Webmonday was a good experiment to see if the space worked well.

The ambiance was certainly good, and the number of people wanting to attend exceeded the number of avatars the sim could handle. However the meeting itself went pretty poorly, because of failing technology and the audience knowing too little about basic functionality in SL to handle themselves with confidence. Nonetheless we all had good fun, and the conversations afterwards were interesting and useful. And even the fact that the meeting did not go as planned is a very good source of lessons learned. This is what I took away from the meeting:

  • Expect different levels of maneuvering/camera skills by participants. Some will be completely new to the environment
  • Expect yourself to be less proficient in the environment than you think
  • Check what the limits on the number of avatars are for the location you will use
  • Check whether that number will have an impact on the live streaming server you use for presentations/video
  • Make sure that displays in-world can only be manipulated by people doing the event, not by participants
  • Create different channels for different types of communication (general chatter in chatmode, group IM channel for questions, not discussion)
  • Second Life puts both the IM window and general chat in the same corner of your screen, making it impossible to follow and contribute to both at the same time

  • Group photo by Pixelsebi
  • For each channel have somebody moderate (and make clear up front what each channel is for, as well as making sure that people understand that)
  • IRL roles like facilitator, moderator, mediator and supportcrew for tech apply in SL as well. Don’t think you’ll be able to handle all on your own. You cannot moderate while you’re busy fixing the video stream
  • Being able to automatically log IM and other chat channels in SL would be very useful
  • Have different rooms available, and designate them as such for the event, for different modes of interaction. Main room: broadcasting, side rooms: 1 on 1 and group conversation, or poster presentations, general conversations and displays that can be manipulated by participants
  • Do not underestimate the effort it takes to create an event, just like IRL
  • Even if you are aiming for a low key event geared towards conversation mostly do not underestimate the effort. Because the audience will not immediately ‘get’ what is going on, as we do in more usual surroundings. The SL environment triggers culture shock like responses. So script much more ‘accepted and expected’ behaviour into the event location.

In conversation with Sebastian Küpers and Tim Bonnemann

4 reactions on “Webmontag: Lessons For Organizing Events in Second Life

  1. I think you have highlighted some very important points for anyone involved in events to consider, most particularly companies or groups which may attract a lot of new people to them.
    Really, 50 is the limit for any event at present – and this still means that you will not see 20 of the avatars present. Testing and stress testing the facilities is essential before an event. It is the equivalent of learning where the light switch and power points are when giving a presentation in RL.
    You can choose not to have IMs displayed in the corner of your screen – this is a preference setting. You can also quickly and easily store the chat from the history window by clicking into it, choosing edit, select all, copy and then pasting into a notecard or into a text document on your desktop. This of course makes a lot more sense without the IMs included in it.
    If I can help at all in future, please IM me. I have run events in SL and know how stressful they can be – and how tiring.
    Caliandris Pendragon

  2. Secondlife!!!
    WOW… Thank you for the information about Secondlife.
    Two days ago I saw an interesting report on the German TV about the internet game Secondlife. I haven’t heard about it so far. It’s a wonderful idea to have the opportunity to create a second life, isn’t it? It has touched me very much. Unbelievable that people all over the world are playing this game. Hope to read more about it…
    Best wishes from Hamburg in Germany.

  3. Morgen: Webmontag in Second Life

    Nachdem im letzten Monat das erste Webmontagtreffen im Corecon Center (SLURL)zwar lehrreich aber nicht unbedingt erfolgreich war, gibt es morgen ein nächstes Treffen dort. Unsere Erfahrungen beim letzten mal wurden berücksichtigt bei der Gest…

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