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.

5 replies on “Using Virtual Worlds to Reach New Audiences and Increase Participation”

  1. Hi Roo
    Thanks again for your presentation at our group. I found your talk very inspiring and definitely sparked a few ideas about how we can use social networking to connect our audiences. It was also great to think about the opportunities for artists to do work in virtual worlds. Thanks for giving us your time and thoughts! Our challenge now is to start using the tools within our resources and I’m working on how best to use facebook as a starting point.
    Cheers, Taryn
    Senior Marketing Manager, Shape

  2. Thank you Keiko. It seemed really important to point out the realities of creativity in SL (and other virtual worlds). It’s too easy to get caught up in the press released from big RL artists and assume that’s what it’s all about.

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