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.

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.

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.

Society of Information Technology Management

Socitm is the professional association for ICT managers working in and for the public sector. I was invited to speak at today’s regional meeting in Guildford. The agenda:

09:30     Coffee and registration
10:00     Welcome and introduction (Nick Roberts, Chair Socitm South Region)
10:05     Visual Communications, Saving time, Saving Money and “Saving the earth”, is it too good to be true? (Nick Daman, Tandberg)
10:35    Webcasting – Engaging with the community – is it virtually a reality? (public-i)
11:15     Refreshment break and networking
11:45     Teleworking – Green or Mean? (Tim Dawes and Andrea Claire Smith, Nineveh)
12:25     Socitm Business
12:50     Lunch and networking
13:50     Work, Learn and Play in Virtual Worlds (Roo Reynolds, Metaverse Evangelist, IBM)
14:30     Audience / Panel discussion
14:50     Closing remarks (Nick Roberts)
15:00     Close

I’d already put some thought into what I was going to say, and prepared myself to not just (hopefully) inform and excite but also challenge.

I have always been struck not just how risk averse the public sector tends to be, but also how negative and almost unprogressive is can be. A good start was when the chair introduced the agenda, talking about all the exciting talks coming up. When pointing out that the meeting would be hearing about virtual worlds later in the day, he rather set the tone by saying “you hear that and you think at the moment, what likely use is there for that? Imagine us having council avatars. What a frightening thought.”

My scene was set. But before me, there were some other rather interesting topics to be covered…

Continue reading Society of Information Technology Management…

Society for IT Management – sneaking the message in through the back door

I’ve been invited to speak to a regional meeting of the Society for IT Management on Friday. Without being confrontational, here are some issues on which I might challenge them:

  • What is your attitude to social networking (including blogging, the use of Facebook within the company, etc)? I plan to share the background to the current controversy as well as what the benefits are. IT managers are in a position to make life better (by allowing people to be innovative, open, collaborative, and therefore more productive…) or worse (by implementing closed information silos, in which nobody knows anything or anyone).
  • How are your firewalls set up? Do you care? I’ve been interested recently in IT departments which work for a company rather than against it. If IBM’s firewalls had prevented IBMers from connecting to Second Life at work, we probably would not be where we are now. Are your staff enabled and empowered to make the right choices and try new things?

I know what I want to say to them. Much of it came out a bit early on a more academic crowd last week. Yes, as you can probably already tell that I’m planning to re-use a fair bit of the presentation I gave last week. Since I’ve got an extra 10 minutes I’ve thrown a few new slides in for good measure and will, as ever, adjust the message according to the audience.

Other people at the event are speaking on webcasting, and teleworking and, as usual, I’ve been asked to speak on is virtual worlds. Since virtual worlds are really just social software though, my cunning plan for the past year or so has been to help people understand social software, social networking, user generated content and indeed the whole Web 2.0 malarkey. I can either do this purely in the context of virtual worlds, which may risk confusing the medium with the message, or I can step back and introduce them properly, in the context of Web 2.0, and start from there. Depending on who I’m talking to, I don’t even have to use the words “Web 2.0” at all. With a decent grounding in that, the realistic and instantly useful benefits of virtual worlds become apparent much more easily.

What do you do again? My Serious Virtual Worlds presentation

A number of people have asked me recently “what is it you do again?”. When I tell my friends and family that I’m giving a presentation at some conference or another, they very rarely have any idea of what I mean. So, if you’ve always wondered what sort of nonsense I’ll stand up on stage and spout at a captive audience, here’s your chance to find out.

This week I was at Serious Virtual Worlds in Coventry presenting ‘virtual worlds for corporate collaboration’ where I mostly talked about social networking and why it’s important.

If you have 29 minutes to spare, and if SlideShare is feeling friendly, you can hit the play button to start the audio and, thanks to the magic of technology, the slides will progress at pretty much the right time.

Continue reading What do you do again? My Serious Virtual Worlds presentation…

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