Second Life Falsely Touted as a “Business Tool”, Part II

In my previous post, I outlined some common business communication tools, as well as some newer solutions that have been developed thanks to recent technological advances.  For each of the tools discussed, there were obvious advantages and disadvantages, however, for the most part the tools serve businesses well in their communication needs.

An emerging trend on the outside of the primary business communication tools is to utilize SecondLife as a tool for business oriented meetings. SecondLife, a free online software in which users navigate an avatar through an virtual world, is an interesting concept with its own niche subculture. Avid users of the program invest massive amounts of time and money on developing their online presence in the virtual world, and have even made a profit by selling their own virtual creations to other users.

The conundrum of SecondLife for many business-minded individuals is whether or not using the virtual space provided within the program is worthwhile for professional communications. The fact that the software is a free download is an enticing factor in itself, but are businesses that use SecondLife as a form of internal communications really gaining from the experience?

The limitations of the software would suggest that using SecondLife for business communications could be more distracting than it is beneficial.  Although global companies can conduct meetings in which numerous attendees from different locations can meet and discuss important information, the limitations lie in the inability to add value to the conversations being had.

With telepresence and videoconferencing, face-to-face communications becomes a valuable tool. If you strip away the video aspect of these two tools, you would simply have an audio conference.  Without any face-to-face aspect, does SecondLife add any value that an audience would not receive from a normal audio conference call?

The answer is yes – but what is added is a distraction of virtual reality that often takes away from the efficiency of a quality business communication.  While there is no argument that it is fun flying around, moving around a 3D space and dressing up an avatar in interesting ways, all these aspects of SecondLife act as a distraction when conducting serious business conversations.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that there is some value to SecondLife as a leisure activity. But when you go to work, you should probably be leaving your second life at home.

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~ by dparsonsmedia on May 10, 2010.

One Response to “Second Life Falsely Touted as a “Business Tool”, Part II”

  1. Well said. There are plenty of free video conferencing tools out there like Skype and Gchat’s video capabilities that SecondLife isn’t needed. To me it is just strange. Why would I make up an avatar to have a work meeting? When you’re meeting with people in a work environment you should be yourself, not a fake person in a fake world. I think mixing the two worlds is an experiment gone wrong and I think that successful business are abandoning this practice if even considering it all.

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