As Mayo Clinic (specifically our Center for Innovation) hosted its first event today in Second Life, it also was the first time I have attended a Second Life event. You can read about the event here on our Mayo Clinic News Blog, and I also have uploaded some screen shots to our Mayo Clinic Facebook Page.
If you haven’t experienced Second Life, here’s a brief video snippet from today’s presentation to give you a feel:
Second Life has a different value proposition as compared to the social media tools I have more strongly advocated. For instance, for an educational event like today’s lecture, it provides a neat way for people from all over the world to be virtually in the same room. I thought it was neat that we had room monitors available to help newbies like me figure out the controls.
Second Life is not a way to reach a large audience. There were several dozen people (or their avatars) in this event today, which I think made it quite successful. But it does seem like a good way to have more in-depth interactions than may be possible through Twitter chats, for instance. And for discussions of sensitive subjects and medical conditions, the anonymity of an avatar offers some value.
Back in 2007 there was a lot of hype about Second Life, and many organizations rushed in to have a presence there. I’m glad Mayo Clinic is exploring this through our Center for Innovation, and seeing what uses make sense for us.
I wrote a post about Second Life back in 2007 that was misunderstood as trashing Second Life, when that wasn’t my intent at all. My point was that organizations that had been considering spending on Second Life should think Facebook first. I think that’s proven to be wise advice: at the time Facebook had 40 million monthly active users, and since then has grown to 400 million.
But I still think Second Life is worth exploring, and as I said, I’m glad we have some people at Mayo Clinic who are seriously experimenting with it. I personally will probably not be a super frequent visitor because I have a lot of other things going on, but I’m keeping an open mind.
How about you? Have you visited Second Life? What do you think of it? How do you see it being applied?