Duelling eightbar twitterers – I “win”: sort of!

 The last few days fellow eightbar  Andy Piper had pointed out that he was approaching 1,000 followers on twitter and that I was a tad behind him. We ended up engaging in a “first to 1,000 though it does not really matter or mean anything, conversation is about quality… etc” competion.

Something happened somewhere, I am not sure what got out there, but I tapped into a network, or commented to some mover and shaker and boom, I hit over 1,000 very quickly. Andy has now topped that too so there was not a lot in it.

I pointed out this is a bit like gamer points on xbox live. They can mean something in context, and mini competitions and bonding experiences can happen, out of the main context of the plot of the game. So yes, a huge twitter following can be a bad thing, but equally it did not do any harm to recognize one anothers proximity to the “magic” 1,000. In fact its like watching your odometer on the car roll over to 30,000 miles or Andy SC’s unix time frame tick over a significant boundary.

Anyway you can find us both on Twitter and bask in what ever celebrity glory this is, Andy and me

Just thinking out loud – Metaverse snapshot

I moved offices today and having a bright new whiteboard I could not leave it clean for long.
Its not really a mindmap, just some association of thoughts and bits of linkages. I am sure it will alter, but right now this is what was in my head in a mad flurry. The underlying red part is really the substrate of the whole thing. Just my personal thoughts linked to some of the things I have seen and been involved with one way and another.

Thoughts on the metaverse
Note: edited to show smaller version of the board as it was cropping the right hand important side for those that did not click through to flickr. 3d printing FTW and high value professional social networks one there too !

Socially Warcraft is the new golf, but golf is still coached professionally

I mentioned in my 2009 predictions that there were some exciting things I had seen going on with both social media/web 2.0 and virtual worlds and specific applications to deal with something as a whole.
One such business currently in development, that got my interest, is around the sports coaching profession. Sports coaches all around the world in every sport from amateur to elite have mandated processes from their sport governing bodies and country governments to maintain their professional standards. Much of this can now benefit from the online tools and social interaction that we have seen grow the past few years.
Peter Meli is the man behind the formation of The Global Coaches Social Network, The Coaches Centre GCSN/TCC. A business currently building prototypes and expanding on extensive research into what coaches need, what their governing bodies require and how to improve and expand on the potential of a global approach to sports coaching.
Education, training and certification combined with professional directed social networks clearly make a great deal of sense. In addition the physical and spatial nature of sport is ideal to be represented with virtual world technology, as we have shown with our experiments with Wimbledon. That can range from the sort of simulations we see in todays high end games, to the more basic needs of a business meeting of a committee, to a convention for coaches, to a coaching masterclass from an elite coach.
The project itself is for the International Council for Coach Education(ICCE) and is in partnership with Pearson Learning and ECS.
coaches centre
Image from GCSN/TCC & ECS

This project is not about one technology, or one platform but about the set of people who can benefit from it. In this case the sports coaches and hence the athletes they motivate, train and grow. It is also about global partnerships, tailoring to local country needs and hence has some interesting challenges.
It is very ambitious, but the groundwork has been done over the past few years and its ready to take the next steps.
Peter told me “The objectives are straight forward: Build and organize an online community of coaches, transition offline transactions online, create new revenue streams to ICCE member organizations”
The last element is where I am sure many of you can see the potential here. The provision of services to a known community for sports coaches in a virtual world or social media platform has elements of both professional subscription, advertising, sponsorship, content distribution, physical and virtual product sales and also elements of entertainment (fantasy leagues, coaching games etc).
If you want to know more Peter is on Linkedin and keen to talk to prospective partners and share his very real passion for where his business is heading.
Given the online games and sports and the new golf what is World Of Warcraft whilst not yet having quite the same recognition professionally already by their very nature use all the online tools to both compete, train and communicate it makes sense that the old golf and all the other sports should get in on the act.

coaches centre
Image from GCSN/TCC & ECS

IBM’s “Sametime 3D” project – flowing workflow

A new video recently arrived on youtube featuring the voices of many of the people who work in the Digital Convergence/3d internet emerging business unit. It shows real integration between various elements of a regular workflow, including the realtime data feeds into a representation of a data centre.

It also shows some of the work done on various thought gathering tools. Its well worth a look as this is the sort of integration that should start to make sense to more of the business community.
There is of course a lot of opensim in there as its very flexible for these sort of applications.
Well done to all the team doing this and showing it at Lotusphere

Understanding the use of social media by the next generation

BoingBoing has an article linking to danah boyd’s now public PHD thesis on Teen Sociality online.
What I have read so far has been very interesting, I was looking forward to seeing it as I got to meet danah at the Handheld learning 2008 event where she made some great points around the evolving of the generations coming through with social media as part of their discovery of who they are in the world.
Why is this relevant? Well for anyone who is a parent understanding the difference and the dynamics of social media in the context of teenage development should be understood. Also for those in business the emerging workforce will have experienced what danah has researched. To look upon all social media (and include virtual worlds) as irrelavent friend gathering frippery misses the point that the socialization of these young people is occurring in these environments. To extrapolate some of the conclusions for the enterpirse audience. They are not places to be demonized (as were the physical spaces when we were growing up) fill in you own parents worst nightmare, snooker halls, discos, amusement arcades, shopping malls, skate parks. The reason being that these virtual places, and the skills to understand them, negotiate and establish social norms will also be the skills of enterprise 2.0.
danah also makes the point that people are growing up with these environments, it is how they establish their pecking orders and social mobility, as opposed to many adults who are busy trying to translate their current order into the current social media.
Anyway, just as with the byron report I suggest you have a look at this serious piece of research, combine it with tribes and Tapscott’s grown up digital. Then start to work out what that is going to mean for us all.
danah has been snapped up by Microsoft Research (which had already happened back when I met her), so I wish her good luck in her career there.

Rivers Run Red’s Retail Planogram in Second Life

Thanks again to Malburns for spotting this and tweeting it. Rivers Run Red have released an example of an application layered onto immersive workspaces in Second Life. In this case it is around retail planning and visualization.

This is an example of the next layer of toolsets that we can expect to see across virtual worlds, as those virtual worlds become a platform not just a place.
Producing what if scenarios, or mirror world scenarios does need the ability to simply sketch and examine the possibilities whether its a retail store, a machine room or an intricate business model that cannot normally be visualized.
The exciting thing about this for us here at eightbar is that it makes it a step closer to be able to then instrument the model with real live data via publish subscribe methods such as MQTT. Merging the data from a smart planet into immersive visualizations that can be explored together, not stand alone clearly is a direction we have been pushing since even before the 2006 Wimbledon. Hursley is (for those who dont know) the home of messaging, pub/sub reliable MQ messaging.

An odd comment to make on virtual worlds Leo Laporte?

Andy Piper was telling me that he was listening to a podcast with Leo Laporte where he basically dissed Second Life as a gimmick and suggested it was not all that. Well I did have a listen to the end of this podcast and sure enough both Leo and Amber Macarthur made some throw away comments about the value of Second Life. Now to be fair, it was not a rant. In some ways this was about the time and effort required to engage, and they did give a shout out to the great communities that have formed. Though Leo did use the word gimmick.
Clearly they only said Second Life, they did not say virtual worlds in general, so they may have been dealing with a specific experience and press bubble, but it is a little odd position to take when someone has a reputation for transitioning across media. Yes it can take a little bit of time to engage with people in virtual worlds, but that is the point in many ways.
There is room for text, for twitter, for podcasts (that I sometimes find very time consuming to have to listen to), for virtual world events and for whats next.
Without virtual worlds we have no place to take this further, no mirror worlds, no augmented reality, no 3d printing/rapid fabrication.
It is of course different horses for courses, but I dont think any of us in any field should consider excluding any of the others or writing them off out of hand. Text and voice still work of course.
The journey of discovering good ways to interact with one another is one I think we are all on so I am just let them off this time 🙂
If they want a metaverse evangelist on the show to explain…. well happy to help.

So there’s nothing going on in Virtual Worlds?

I did seriously have someone (in fact more than one person) suggest that there was not much happening in virtual worlds these days. I think they may have been referring to less press based “me first” stories. Of course I should not mock as if people’s touch points dont see whats happening and if they dont engage with the mass of social media it pretty unlikely to know anything.
It is therefore good to see such a bug roundup, even of one week such the last one just past as the one Caleb Booker has done on his blog.
You will see in there small, medium and massive funding announcements, things new to PS3 Home, Nortel’s elounge/Lenovo project, Entropia spin off etc etc. Obviously many of you reading this are in the know on many of these, but its the breadth and depth of all this that we need to share to help push the industry even further.
I just twittered “I do wish I was an investor. seen some great opps for business that need a little push and look very profitiable, worthy and interesting!” as there are obviously projects that have not made it to the light of day yet that that will add to this list over the next year+. Though clearly with the starting premise of this post being some people not realizing this my/our work is cut out still evangelizing all this to people who dont know what they are missing out on!

Dogear-nation podcast takeover

It may sometimes seem as if eightbar is taking over dogear nation, but the founding two Michaels(Martine and Rowe) are honoury eightbars anyway, so Andy Piper doing the recording and editing for the show is not quite so bizarre.
Anyway this weeks show features your truly as a guest. I almost missed out the podcast in my web evolution, but I am circling back around and finding it a very good way to explain my passion for all things. The only fly in the ointment being my broad Norfolk accent, but the other guys sound great 🙂
Yes I did do a Clarkson impression, and I did mention my disdane for Vista so it was not all virtual worlds!
So thankyou Dogear-nation for having me guest. Enjoy the programme let us know what you think its on itunes and everything :).
For those that don’t know tag things of interest on delicious.com with dogear-nation and it can become part of the running order for discussion on the show.

Metaverse Evangelist hits Private Eye

This was some fantastic news from eightbar alumni Roo Reynolds. He has made it, along with our shared job title of Metaverse Evangelist, into the Private Eye magazine. Private Eye is a satirical master piece and hugely respected here in the UK and around the world.
Twitter was full last night of the link flying around. Roo has it fully documented (of course) on his blog here. I fully expect an appearance on Have I got News for You next.
Metaverse Evangelists FTW