Can the Third Sector use Second Life and Other Social Media?

A presentation I gave recently for a British charity. Ren Reynolds (no relation) suggested an alternative title for it, “Third Sector in Third Spaces”. That’s much better and I’d use something that next time.

SlideShare | View

I’ve trimmed it down to an hour, but included most of the Q&A/discussion at the end, which included:

My talk at Online Information 07

I presented on Thursday morning, followed by Ewan McIntosh (who was also chairing the session) and Mary Ellen Bates, who has a link to her slides online too.

It’s a slightly re-worked and reduced version of the Warwick one, with a (tiny) bit of the CIO 2010 Outlook mixed in for good measure.

SlideShare | View

I also recorded the audio for the rest of the session. I really like how the various parts fit together. Here’s the whole thing:

  • Enterprise 3.D – Roo Reynolds [slides and audio also embedded above]
  • The Bebo Boomers – Ewan McIntosh [audio]
  • Connecting with the Millennium Generation: how will information centres respond? – Mary Ellen Bates [audio] [slides] [blog]
  • Panel Q&A with the three of us [audio] [blog]

Ewan invited questions from audience via a roving microphone, but also while the event was still happening, via Twitter and comments on his blog. Ewan was, I think, the only session moderator to try this, and as far as I could see it really worked. It was fun, and I’d like to do more of that sort of thing. Thanks Ewan.

IBM’s CIO 2010 Outlook

I’m going to be in Zurich for a few days, presenting at the 6th Innovation Forum. I’m actually giving two presentations. On Tuesday I will (of course) be sharing IBM’s interest in virtual worlds, but on Monday I get to deliver the IBM 2010 CIO Outlook.

SlideShare | View

I’ve never given this pitch before. It’s IBM’s CIO 2010 Outlook, written by Dave Newbold. It’s a great presentation. I say that with absolute modesty because Dave made it. I’ve modified only slightly, jiggling some fonts around and adding a few more examples to keep me on my toes.
What does it cover? Well, the main trust is on overview of current technological and social trends and their impacts, and It’s heavily focused on the employee. Here’s a snippet from the speaker notes (slide 4).
“IBM’s workforce is transitioning to a new network generation that is facile with email, IM, blogs, feeds and social software like Facebook and My Space. This generation assumes transparent and accessible data, fluid connections with colleagues and a commitment to their work above that of the organization. We also face the loss of institutional and process knowledge in the heads of retiring ‘Baby Boomers;’ many of whom are not as comfortable with collaboration and sharing.”
Exciting stuff. I feel better about the company just thinking about this. It’s true that the workplace is changing, and while my relative youth means I’m not going to push the angle that it’s generational (I still believe you get early and late adopters in all generations) there is something to this. People do increasingly expect openness and highly connected ways of working, and knowledge that would otherwise be lost at retirement does need to be captured and shared. ‘Handover’ to a new subject matter expert is not the answer. Living in a culture of ongoing openness and sharing, that sounds more like it.
It’s great to be able to deliver what IBM is up to in this area. To quote from the speaker notes (again, Dave’s work. I rarely write such comprehensive notes myself…)
"It sounds obvious, but we continue to communicate permission to experiment and extend our environment. … For most it is an opportunity to let our early tenure employees show us the way towards more natural collaboration."
I’m not sure if I still count as early tenure, but if that last sentence doesn’t make me grin from ear to ear about where IBM is going in this space, nothing will.
The majority of the presentation is an explication of Enterprise 2.0, pulling out some of the key themes including participation, software as a service, simplicity, tagging, etc. I’m going to illustrate tagging with an in depth look at IBM’s next-generation internal employee directory, Fringe (slide 12 to 15), previously known internally as BluePages+1. This makes extensive use of tagging and feed aggregation, as well as exposing a nice API allowing other stuff to be built on top of it, so I’ll show some examples of that (slide 16). Also, I wanted to show two other examples of fun mashups which have already created by employees (um, that makes them sounds like resource. I actually mean friends). They did this for fun, in between doing their "real work". The first is Sacha Chua‘s tag cloud (slide 17), which his not only beautiful but makes a great anecdote: people spotting which of several bookmark tagclouds on a wall belong to which colleague. The other example is Darren Shaw’s blogometer (slide 18)  which first started life as a hard-to-read graph and morphed into a much easier to interpret visualisation.
Towards the end (slide 19 to 20) there’s a vision of what a future employee desktop would look like, with feeds tying together catalogs, tags and activities, all mashable, allowing people to develop their own applications from components, as well as delivering them to mobile devices. It may sounds like a pipe dream, but the direction we’ve been moving in is the right one, and the underlying components required for this are increasingly already there and it’s only a small step from where were are now to pull those components together. It’s relying on the community, and aggregating (and continuing to open up) various services and data sources, rather than cranking out some monstrous new thing.
In short, as you can probably tell, I’m looking forward to this giving the CIO 2010 Outlook on Monday. It’s to a mixed audience of IBM + non IBM, so I’ll try to record the audio and add it to slideshare on Monday night.
Then, on Tuesday, Luis Suarez will be giving a presentation on social computing, followed by me talking about virtual worlds (probably something quite similar to what I did at Warwick recently). After me is Prof. Charles Woodward of the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, talking about augmented reality. The sequence of social computing -> virtual worlds -> augmented reality could not have been planned better. I can’t wait.
Luis already blogged about the event, and it looks like we’ll be in the same hotel, so I am looking forward to geeking out with him over a beer or three and catching up. If you’re in Zurich and want to join us, do get in touch.

Warwick University – What’s IT All About?

I presented at a careers fair at Warwick University yesterday.

SlideShare | View

I actually gave the presentation twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The audio on the above presentation is spliced from the two, partly to aggregate the questions from both versions, and partly because the first time through the battery on my laptop died halfway through the talk, which meant I improvised the second half and went remarkably off script. This was actually quite a lot of fun, and made me realise how little I need the slides at all, other than the obvious reason of keeping people’s eyes entertained. SlideShare (or the Internet Archive, I’m not sure which) has, as usual, truncated the last few seconds, but you only miss me wrapping up.

It’s blatantly a merge of my 2 or 3 recent presentations, but combines things in a new order and is probably an improvement on what I did for the IET. I’m wondering if I have tome to come up with something totally new for the IBM iForum next week (and Online Information 2007 the on the 6th December).

Talking with Rob over tea today, we got rather excited about the idea of a camera pointing at a whiteboard (streaming live video to a screen rather than pre-prepared slides), with physical props, and bits of paper, and ARTag style augmented reality, and and and…

Now I’ve said it, I have to make it happen. It may require buying a better webcam though, so perhaps it’s something for next year.

Mountbatten Lecture video up on

That's me on that is

The video from my recent IET lecture is now (update: new URL…) online at That is all.

IET Mountbatten Lecture 2007

Last night I deliverd the 30th annual Mountbatten Lecture for the IET. The Mountbatten Lecture has been around for 1 year longer than I have, so it was quite an honour to be invited to speak. It was lovely to have some friendly faces in the audience (thanks to IBMers Ian Smith, Andy Piper and James Taylor for coming along) and I was pleased to see they met up with Adrian Trenholm. I was also able to invite Ren Reynolds (no relation) and my wife Rachel, both of whom also came along to the formal dinner after the event.

Here are the slides I used for the lecture.

I covered how people are already using virtual worlds to work, learn and play.

I quite enjoyed it (with the exceptions of a couple of brief moments when I totally lost the thread of where I was going). A few things I’d have done differently:

  • I could have used some live demos, rather than just pre-canned video clips. This is a tough call, but by avoiding the risk of live demos I probably missed out on people really getting a sense of how a virtual world really feels. (The other reason I didn’t give a live demo of a virtual world was not wanting to show just one, and not having enough time to show 3 or 4. Hmm.)
  • I spoke for (I think) about 55 minutes, and had about 10 or 15 minutes for (encouragingly lively) questions. I wish I’d left even more time for questions, because that is usually the bit I enjoy more, but also the way that people get to hear what really interests them.
  • I totally forgot to record the audio (something I’ve become quite good at recently). In the rush to get ready, I forgot to even take the mp3 recorder out of my jacket pocket. D’oh. Oh well. At least the IET captured the video. It will be avilable via in a few days (I’ll update with a direct link later).

Given how broad the audience was, it was always going to be quite a basic introduction to the space. The best feedback I recieved afterwards was from non-technical people who enjoyed hearing an introduction to virtual worlds they could appreciate. That was always the aim, so I was happy with the evening.

Update: video now available via

Walking the Digital Dog – Work, Learn and Play in Digital Worlds – The IET 30th Mountbatten Memorial Lecture

Andrew (Roo) Reynolds

Andrew (Roo) Reynolds, IQ Collaboration Development team, IBM – Metaverse Evangelist:

2007-11-08 05:52:46.0 IT Channel

>> go to webcast

Virtual Worlds Forum 2007

The Virtual Worlds Forum is in full swing. There was a pre-event workshop on Tuesday, at which I presented “Building a [virtual] community within a (big) company” for the first time. The audio is now attached (lots of background noise, sorry). For your viewing and listening pleasure, here’s what you missed.

Of course, with it being the first day back, I was still pretty tired, and there were definitely a couple of things I missed, but I think I just about managed to share the points I wanted to get across. It included some holiday snaps from Iceland which I slipped in on the train on the way to the workshop. Some of them (such as slides 9, 22 and 23) were pretty subtle, while everything from slide 26 onwards were shoehorned in around some points I thought I should make (under construction and controlled vs freeform particularly).

Yesterday’s agenda consisted of an impressive array of speakers, but unfortunately I only managed to catch the very last session, an interesting panel on “social networking meets virtual worlds” consisting of Adam Pasick (moderating), Meg Pickard, Cory Bridges, Aleks Krotoski, Cory Doctorow and Giff Constable.


As well taking part in lots of press interviews it was a great chance to catch up with old friends, make new ones and (significantly) physically meet many people face-to-face in the real world for the first time. David Orban, Chris (‘Satchmo’) Carella, Alice Taylor and Aleks Krotoski have all been internetfriends for a while, so it was wonderful to put faces to names. There’s something quite exciting about meeting people you already know. Lots of people commented on the excited “it’s you!” moments, and Aleks wanted to check I really was as tall as she’d thought. I really am.

I’ll be leaving a little early today to get to Derry (via Belfast) for the Serious Games conference there tomorrow. Reykjavik, Southampton, London, Belfast, Derry all in one week. I am really looking forward to Sunday.

IET Mountbatten Lecture 2007 – that’s me that is (and that’s Darren’s lovely photo)

When the organisers asked me what photo I’d like to be used in the printed adverts for the Mountbatten lecture, I instantly thought of this one by Darren. I’ve used it in presentations for a while now (for example, here and here) and from the first moment I saw it it struck me as a great illustration of social, participatory stuff. Unsurprisingly, it ends up looking really good in print, and Darren’s pleased that he’s finally been published by the IET (kind of).

IET Mountbatten Lecture 2007 - that's me that is (and that's Darren's lovely photo)

This is page 46 of the October edition of the IET‘s Engineering in Technology magazine and in case you can’t read it the text the advert is for this lecture which I’m giving in November. The 30th IET Mountbatten Memorial Lecture, no less. It’s on Upcoming too, but to reserve a seat you’ll still have to book via the IET website or call +44 (0)1438 765 657. The talky bit (about 50 minutes of me blathering plus maybe 20 or 30 minutes for questions) is free, and is followed by an optional, and reasonably priced, dinner. There. I’m not going to sell it any more than that.

Now I just have to finish preparing the talk. It needs to be quite high level, but include stuff about the importance of social media for work as well as education and learning through virtual worlds. Plus I want to show a wife wide selection of virtual worlds (I’m thinking: EVE Online, Kaneva, Second Life,, Qwaq, …) maybe live but more likely as pre-canned video clips. As is often the case, my biggest problem is not finding stuff to include but rather picking what to leave out.

Happy Birthday (and thank you), SlideShare

It seems my presentation from yesterday’s talk at IT4Arts has been selected, by whatever selection process exists, to be the “slideshare of the day” on SlideShare. I’m glad I added the audio track last night.


In other, related, news: SlideShare is one year old today. Happy birthday, (and thank you), SlideShare.

Using Virtual Worlds to Reach New Audiences and Increase Participation

I’m presenting at IT4Arts on Thursday. IT4Arts is a community for the IT managers of arts organisations in the UK. Mine is the opening presentation for the event, and I’m intentionally not talking about the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in Second Life (because they’ll be on after me) and there are lots of other things I’m leaving for exploration later in the day. I want to hint at some of them though, and I plan to get people thinking about participation. If that’s all I do, I’ll be happy. Here are the slides I’m planning to use.

As has been my style recently, I have gone for an image-heavy/text-light presentation. This means flicking through the slides will give you only the vaguest hint of what I’m trying to get at. If you open the slideshow itself and click the “comments on slide x” tab you can view the speaker notes (which are a hint at what I’m likely to say). For the ultra-compact version, here’s the rough structure:

  • Introduction [1-2] Hello!
  • The web [2-8] the web is full of examples of social networking and user generated content.
  • Art [9-17] Art is quite interesting and diverse. Interestingly social, too.
  • Television [18-23] My friend Guy has a theory. Participatory stuff is not new at all. We’ve been telling stories around campfires, writing journals and creating art together for a very long time. It’s impersonal, broadcast media TV that’s (relatively) new, but is gradually being rebalanced.
  • Games [24-26] games are increasingly opening up to user generated content (think: Spore, but lots of other examples too).
  • Virtual Worlds [27-33] Lots of virtual worlds. Some examples (including Qwaq and Home) plus brands in SL and There. I’ll mainly focus on projects with an emphasis on participation (Starwood Aloft hotels, Scion, Pontiac, …)
  • Music in Second Life [34-39] Ben Folds, Suzanne Vega, Rekina Spektor, Hedrons, Chamillionaire, (etc).
  • Native talent [40] Second Life has lots of ‘native’ talent too: Keiko Takamura, Jeremy Works AKA Frogg Marlowe), Melanie Fudge AKA Mel Cheeky, (be sure to read Andy’s interview of Mel) to name just three.
  • Demo videos [41-42] Two video clips: the work of Robbie Dingo and AM Radio.
  • Conclusions [43-46] – People want to feel connected. They want to share content. They want to be part of the story, not just watch (or even control) a story. They are the creators too. You can make this happen.

That’ll just about do it I think.

Oh, and of course I plan to record the audio too, so assuming that works out I’ll be adding the audio track to the SlideShare presentation shortly after the event.

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