Creating Real Readers from Virtual Worlds pt. 5

Atmospheric pondering...

Atmospheric pondering…

One of the best things I love about virtual worlds is the lack of limitations. I can see Paris, go skiing and visit a fictional town like Innsmouth all in a few hours. Studies have shown that what our eyes see, our bodies believe.

Big business like Gibson Guitars and 20th Century Fox recognize the potential and have gone ‘inworld.’ See the bottom of this post for an extensive list of specific examples and links.

Worlds like Second Life our great for inspiration and story development. I was halfway through End of Mae and I couldn’t quite get where Heylel, my antagonist, was coming from. The elements were there but the pattern didn’t make logical sense to me.

We found a virtual community of vampires and I learned all sorts of lore. Before that I had read Dracula and Anne Rice but hadn’t thought much more about it. One day I was mulling over my half finished book and suddenly the new things I’d learned came together in my mind, and the pattern emerged into plain view for me and I could move the story on.

Writers can meet the most interesting people inworld, and with the safety glass of a computer screen between, we can explore minds with abandon. I end this series where we began, at the mythical town of Innsmouth, and I hope some new territory has been covered.



  • 20th Century Fox held a premiere for X-Men: The Last Stand in Second Life.
  • ABN AMRO Bank has opened a virtual branch in Second Life.
  • Adidas Reebok have created a permanent presence in Second Life.
  • American Apparel opened a branch inside the virtual world selling digital renderings of clothing modeled after real-life merchandise.
  • American Cancer Society has held a version of its Relay For Life national fundraising event inside Second Life.
  • Axel Springer AG together with Build. T-Online, have produced a tabloid-style newspaper for Second Life, The AvaStar in December 2006. AvaStar Island was built by Aimee Weber.
  • BBC Radio 1 recreated the 2006 One Big Weekend event on a 64-acre (260,000 m2) virtual island in Second Life.
  • Bigpond has created 11 islands called “The Pond” for their Broadband, Cable & ADSL members. Bigpond’s Second Life
  • Centric, an advertising agency based in Los Angeles, opened its Second Life office in October 2006. Centric has also started a De-advertising campaign by buying adspace in Second Life and turning it into public parks.
  • Cisco Has a 4 sim’s presence in Second Life to promote products and demonstrations along with live presentations and was designed by SL Brand.
  • Colonius Colonius a direct replica of the telecommunications-tower in Cologne was created by rapidSL Development in Second Life.
  • Creative Commons is building a community in Second Life around Creative Commons licenses and standards through events and projects in the virtual world.
  • Crescendo Design uses Second Life to help clients visualize residential design concepts and to educate them about the value of sustainable design principles.
  • Dell sells PCs in Second Life.
  • depo consulting ltd, a management consultancy specialising in the Internet and new media, were notable in that they closed their physical office to run their business using a Second life office.[36] Their in-world services have included design, build and events for clients includingField Fisher Waterhouse, Informa and the BBC. They blog on their experiences in Second Life and social media.
  • Disney employed Second Life Resident Fizik Baskerville (and others in his team) to create content based on production designer’s specs for the films The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyPirates of the Caribbean Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest[38] and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Rheinturm Düsseldorf Tower was created in Second Life by Beatenetworks
  • Endemol has created a version of Big Brother in Second Life.
  • Enel launched its own island in Second life in July 2007, Enel Park, with power plants projects under construction in real life, moto and racing circuit, movie theater, contest and engaging games, commercial area and offices. Enel Park can show how will be the future of energy and the prospective of a real sustainable development. On the Hydrogen Park, thanks to Enel sponsor of Ducati Bike, all users can drive a moto with the real sound of its engine.
  • Faber Maunsell is an Engineering consultancy firm that is currently developing a space within Second Life to be able to display the buildings that they design. Faber Maunsell is also looking to use Second Life as a marketing tool.
  • Forward Together, the PAC headed by former Virginia Governor Mark Warner, is integrating Second Life into its campaign strategy .
  • Gabetti Property Solutions created the Gabetti Island containing the company Headquarters and a perfect replica of one of the houses they sell in Real Life (RL): the aim of the presence is communicate the brand in foreign markets and develop a virtual business strategy by buying, selling and intermediating digital real estate properties.
  • Giuseppe Macario conducted the first Italian experiment of social entrepreneurship in Second Life under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, and runs a bilingual Italian/English independent news agency, whose areas of interest include freedom of speech in Italy and the preservation of Italy‘s artistic and natural heritage.
  • Graphico are a creative digital design and development agency that works with clients at strategic levels for their direct digital marketingneeds with solutions that leverage web, mobile and Second Life technologies.
  • Hard To Find has launched the world’s first DJ Equipment megastore HTFR within Second Life. A virtual representation of its real world store, it contains a wide range of vinyl, DJ equipment and accessories for users of Second Life to not only look at but to also purchase. The aim is to not only bring HTFR to a wider world wide audience, who may not be able to visit their real world store in Birmingham, UK. But to also give like minded DJs a haven to meet up and chat in.
  • Harvard Law School and Harvard Extension School offered a course called “CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion” within Second Life in 2006.
  • IBM recently met in Second Life to discuss the effects of Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) on business. The initial forays into SL were driven by a group in the UK called Eightbar. A team of IBMers led by Ian Hughes (aka epredator) and algernon spackler (Andrew Reynolds) working out of IBM Hursley near Winchester. Recently other IBM companies joined SL, as for instance IBM Italia, founded by avatar Eadoin Welles.
  • Imperial College London (ICL) developed a virtual hospital and a series of documentary films (machinima) that describe what healthcare of the future could look like from the patient’s perspective. The design of the virtual hospital campus, Second Health, is based on the principles and recommendations outlined in the recently published Healthcare for London: A Framework for Action. This work was initially managed by Dave Taylor at NPL who subsequently moved to ICL, where the Medical Media and Design Lab continue to undertake research to evaluate the effectiveness of this new medium for public engagement, collaboration, professional education and patient information and safety in theNational Health Service.
  • ING Group has established a virtual community with a presence in Second Life, called ourvirtualholland.
  • Leo Burnett Worldwide has established a creative hub in Second Life for globally dispersed staff to interact within.
  • Lichtenstein Creative Media has set up a 16-acre (65,000 m2) virtual broadcasting facility in Second Life, from which it has delivered live radio broadcasts.
  • LTS Productions established a virtual machinima production presence in Second Life in 2006, called Machinima by Silver and Goldie.
  • Institute of Rural Health: Rameshsharma Ramloll, faculty at the Institute of Rural Health at Idaho State University has led the implementation of*play2train*, a 32-acre (130,000 m2) virtual environment for emergency preparedness training in Second Life. This project is funded by (Health Resources and Services Administration) HRSA
  • Market Truths Limited provides quantitative and qualitative market research services to both organizations in Second Life and organizations interested in Second Life. Research methods include surveys, focus groups, interviews, and observational and experimental research.Market Truths won the SL Business Plan competition run by The Electric Sheep Company and Edelman.
  • Max March Industries operates a popular radio station called MaxMarchRadio that plays inside the virtual world, develops high-end virtual estates and high-rise residences, and operates several businesses that operate inside Second Life such as STYLEMAKERS (avatar makeovers including skin, hair, and clothing) and The GIFT, a wildly-successful creator of virtual gift boxes and shopping bags that can package objects purchased elsewhere inside Second Life so they can be given to other users as gifts. Another site is maintained with blogs and news from Max March Industries, that is Max Updates
  • Mazda is giving away their concept car Hakaze on Nagare Island and is presenting kite surfing.
  • broadcast the Home Run Derby and a Red SoxYankees game into SL, with the help of the Electric Sheep Company.
  • MTV held a fashion show which was later broadcast on G-Hole, a show on MTV’s IPTV channel, Overdrive.
  • National Physical Laboratory, UK (NPL) Developed Nanotechnology Island in Second Life in the Science and Technology dedicated, SciLands, region. This work was initiated by Dave Taylor, one of the founders of the SciLands, who later moved to Imperial College London. Whilst at NPL he also developed a virtual hospital for and under medical direction from Imperial College London (ICL) and a series of documentary films (machinima) that describe what healthcare of the future could look like from the patient’s perspective.
  • The New Media Consortium, led by CEO Dr. Laurence F. Johnson, built a virtual campus in the spring of 2006 that includes a library, museum, planetarium, auditorium, classrooms, and a welcome center. In the fall of 2006, the community affilitated with the campus had grown to nearly 1000 educators, and the NMC Campus expanded from 1 sim to 7. Plans included a machinma school and a life sciences center. The NMC has hosted several events on the virtual campus including IBM’s Global Innovation jam, a Howard Rheingold keynote speech, and a Second Life artists event
  • Omnitel, the leading mobile communications company in Lithuania, has created a Lithuania-shaped island. The island offers oak-planting game, documentary “Flight over Lithuania”, other activities and events. On March 19, 2008 the first Lithuanian concert in “Second Life“ was organized – famous Lithuanian rock-star Andrius Mamontovas presented his new album to “Second Life” community. The island has become the meeting place for Lithuanians participating in “Second Life”.
  • PA Consulting Group have established a presence in Second Life. The firm uses Second Life to host virtual conferences, recruitment events and as a tool for its clients to simulate new product and service offerings.
  • Reef ball foundation has a site in Second Life, trying to create more online awareness for their ecological preservation activities.
  • Reperes market research institute, launches Reperes Second Life, virtual platform of watch and research thanks to the creation of a community: a panel of avatars which may be called upon to address issues faced by brands seeking to establish themselves or develop their offer on Second Life.
  • Reuters has a news bureau which reports news in the virtual universe.
  • Simpson Millar LLP is a real life UK based national firm of solicitors. Simpson Millar LLP opened an office in Second Life during 2007 to help the firm better understand the use and practical application of 3D worlds, the legal implications of such worlds and to explore the opportunities to host training, presentations and other events in a 3D virtual world. The Second Life facilities of Simpson Millar LLP are available to other businesses wishing to experiment with internet technology such as Second Life.
  • Sky News has a virtual newsroom, where visitors can visit the newsroom and see how Sky News is made, reporters and presenters also can be seen from time to time. Also all visitors can take home a TV to watch Sky News.
  • SL-hosting is a Dutch company that helps other RL companies present themselves in Second Life.
  • Slacker Astronomy planetarium in the Carmine region displays audio and video shows about astronomical topics and hosts chats with professional astronomers.
  • SL Police is a law Enforcement type group that has a partnership with Linden Labs to protect the MMORPG from trolls and griefers.
  • Social Media is a consulting company founded by Gunnar Langemark (Second Life: Gunnar Langset) and is physically located in Denmark.Social Media is in Second Life to do research and to consult with clients who want to know about virtual realities like Second Life. Gunnar Langemark has 20 years experience with next generation computer media. You can find Social Media in Second Life by doing a search for “Social Media”.
  • Starlife Srl is a consulting company which provides a full- service of development in the virtual world. The company also opened its own bases on Starlife Island in Second Life where it has organized and promoted big events such as Festa del Cinema, Forum PA award and the Rome fiction festival. Starlife has realized Enel Park island for Enel SpA.
  • Starwood Hotels in conjunction with The Electric Sheep Company and marketing firm Electric Artists is premiering their new hotel brand, aloft, in Second Life via a virtual construction of the hotel before the actual hotels are built. The building process was documented
  • Sun Microsystems
    • Sun held a metaverse press conference at the launch of their Second Life region Sun Pavilion in October 2006.
    • Sun participated in a press briefing at the CNET headquarters in Second Life in October 2006.
  • Telecom Italia launched four islands in “Second Life” in July 2007, offering a football stadium, Formula 1 circuit, drive-in movie theater, beach party area and various offices. Telecom Italia also developed the “First Life Communicator”, a device allowing avatars to call and send SMS to other avatars and Italian telephone numbers (in limited beta period).
  • Telus Mobility (Telus) opened a Second Life retail outlet offering replica mobile phones with Second Life specific features. In the near future the store may be offering its real lineup of mobile phones with a twist, to Canadian avatars.
  • Text 100, a leading global technology PR firm opened its virtual office in Second Life in August 2006.
  • Toyota (via Millions of Us) have offered a virtual replica of the Scion xB
  • Union Island is a shared international community for trade unions with its own island sim as a base for events. The project was initiated in 2008 by Trades Union Congress, Union Network International and the New Unionism Network, with support from organisations including ver.di,UNISON and RSU IBM Vimercate.
  • Universal Motown Records Group created a presence within Second Life. The Universal SoundScape Music venue was created by InWorld Studios to promote the rock band Hinder and the hip-hop sensation Chamillionaire.
  • The University of Southern California‘s Center on Public Diplomacy owns its own Second Life island. The island is used by the Center’s Public Diplomacy and Virtual Worlds Project to host events and displays on the role of MMOGs, in public diplomacy.
  • Wells Fargo has created a game called Stagecoach Island within Second Life, in which young players earn virtual money by answering financial questions, thereby teaching them the basics of managing their money. Shortly after opening Wells Fargo closed down the site and re-opened Stagecoach Island in
  • The World Transhumanist Association has used Second Life to recruit and organise a transhumanist following within the virtual world and established a large island and conference centre called “Uvvy Island” to disseminate transhumanist ideas and provide unrestricted access to useful materials (including, among other things, videos and webcasts from WTA) to interested but geographically unrelated parties. Uvvy Island is organised like a regional Chapter, and even holds Chapter status within the WTA, holding weekly meetings, talks, and debates on various subjects.
  • YearlyKos Convention 2007 – this Net Roots based political organization simulcast their annual convention (at Chicago’s McCormick Place Convention Center) into Second Life. The event included 4 days of LIVE streaming video from the convention including the Democratic Presidential Candidates Round Table forum debate and was a groundbreaking event in Netroots political activism.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

Angela Yuriko Smith is an American poet, publisher, and author with over 20 years of experience in newspaper journalism. She co-publishes Space and Time magazine with author husband Ryan Aussie Smith. For more information visit
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1 Response to Creating Real Readers from Virtual Worlds pt. 5

  1. Woah—Impressive List !!! :-)

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