event, a naked avatar ended up in front
of a projector. Quick clicking combined
with slow response time can cause a
well-meaning resident some embarrassment, but there are a small number of
unsavory residents who purposefully
engage in lewd conduct in the shadows
of the virtual world.
Although Second Life has been
around for a little more than five years,
it did not gain the level of popularity it
currently enjoys until two years ago. The
program has about 250,000 average
daily users, 100 million user-created
objects such as articles of clothing,
chairs and instruments. English is not
the primary language for about 70 percent of Second Life’s residents, and
many of those people live outside the
United States. For associations with international members, Second Life presents
an inexpensive opportunity to engage
with that segment of their membership.
PREPARING TO EXPLORE THE
For associations thinking about working
a Second Life-centered program into their
schedule of member events, West rec-
ommends working your way up to more
elaborate, multi-faceted events. "There
is nothing wrong with starting small,"
West says. To encourage attendance by
members who might otherwise have
been intimidated or disinclined to learn
the program, West and his staff offered
virtual orientations. Members can be
sent a SLurl, a special Second Life link,
to a particular event — in this case an
orientation — and be shown around by a
resident tour guide.
Here are some steps to get you started:
1. Assess whether or not your members
will embrace the new technology.
If your prior technology initiatives for