A virtual space to play in…

I got a bit over-excited with all the talk of spaces and what we do with them, so I have created a virtual world for PR Conversations if you want to grab your avatar and come on over to play.

If you haven’t had a go already, Google has a beta version of Lively operating and I have used it to create a space for some real-time conversation. I shall hang around there for an hour or so most NZ evenings – which would be a Northern Hemisphere morning/afternoon if you aren’t too pushed – and I thought it would be fun for those who haven’t played around with avatars to come along, enjoy a virtual coffee and try moving the furniture around.

I was going to embed it into here, but sadly, couldn’t get the embed to work on this platform. Also, it doesn’t work with Macs yet – a bit of a downer for Mac-lovers like me – but if you have Vista or XP you can download, open an account, create an avatar and come and play (all free). Have embedded it into one of my test blogs here and if you can get it to embed Markus, we can drop it in here which would be my preferred option : ).

As an aside, my 15-year-old son spent a wet and stormy weekend afternoon with me ‘moving the furniture’ around in The PR Conversations’ Loft so you would all be comfortable and as a by-product created a few more of his own worlds in which he could connect with his friends. He is a wiz on Google’s Sketchup and his mind started to work overtime on the stuff he could create and start importing in to his new environments. We had an interesting chat about some of the more unsavoury worlds that were appearing as we worked, but the thinking on the impact of these worlds was that as each is self-contained there was less likelihood of stumbling by accident into the type of ugly situations you can encounter on Second Life. You also have some control as to who comes by (though not much), and it is very much the start of the scenario I talked about last year where we create our own virtual worlds to meet, work and trade in. I would compare the ‘status’ of today’s virtual worlds to that of the black and white movies of the 1920s and 30s – evolving, entertaining and very influential in the future. I think Google will have to do some fast thinking on children’s access to some of the worlds that are appearing though. There is certainly an urgent ethical discussion for them to have.

Anyway, come by and have a play then tell us how you found it. I would, as a PS, advise that the choice of avatars is still fairly limited on this platform with the female avatars constructed in such a way that they bear little or no relationship to the reality of womanhood. The mad grey hair is probably the only accurate reflection of the real me! I’ll look forward to seeing what you turn up as…

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