Posted November 8, 2009on:
Today I read an article on CNN about “Going to the office . . . in Second Life“.
“As travel budgets are squeezed and slashed in the recession, companies are increasingly seeking innovative ways of bringing employees together for conferences and meetings remotely.
Virtual community Second Life is seeking to tap into that market by creating a new tool that allows businesses to have virtual meetings on their own computer networks.
The company’s Enterprise tool will let employees’ avatars — animated alter egos — meet in virtual worlds from the privacy of a company’s own network, rather than the public networks used in standard Second Life. That extra security could encourage more companies to take up the technology.”
Recession or not, I think this is an interesting way of having colleagues commute. As a current “student commuter” I often fantasize about leaving my hours on the road behind in favor of virtual commuting or online classes. I think about the environmental advantages, the money savings from car repairs and gasoline purchases, and sleeping in just a little longer (in fact, if Second Life were to catch on, I might not even have to wake up early enough to get out of my pajamas).
Fantasy aside, as a communication student I can really see the value in face-to-face interpersonal communication. I think, at this point, there is nothing online that can compete with the ability to understand, persuade, and inform interpersonally.
My ideal would be some equitable middle-point. To me that means people can, on occasion, meet virtually (perhaps on Second Life) for certain meetings and other gatherings, but still meet in person more often than not.
What do you think about new, emerging uses of online media?