Oxmust and Second Life

It seems you can scarcely open a magazine these days without reading something about Second Life, the online virtual world, where politicians campaign, universities (including Harvard and Oxford) set up virtual campuses, and tabloids dig assiduously for scandal.  But what is Second Life?  Is it all hype, or does it have potential as a valuable tool?

Oxmust is leading the field in advising British charities and Not-For Profits on whether - and how - to become involved successfully in Second Life.

Pauline Woolley (or Polly Widdershins as she is known in Second Life) is part of the team setting up the Oxford University Second Life campus and also runs a popular virtual magazine in Second Life with a strong commitment to working for charitable projects within the virtual world.  In her role as one of the moderators of the CharityWebForum (the online group with over 600 members from UK charities, large and small), she is running a day school on Second Life within Second Life on June 1st, the second conference in Second Life she has played a key role in organising. She will also be speaking on Second Life at the nfpSynergy Internet Seminar for Charities on May 31st 2007.

Second Life is an Internet-based virtual world, developed by Linden Lab, which supplies a downloadable program that enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other through avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse - an alternative world . Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another. The stated aim of Secoond Life is to create a user-defined world of general use in which people can interact, play, do business, and otherwise communicate.

While Second Life is sometimes referred to as a game, this description is erroneous. It does not have points, scores, winners or losers, levels, an end-strategy, or most of the other characteristics of games.

In all, nearly seven million accounts have been registered, and the opportunities for work in education, health care and non-profits has bveen recognised and accepted. Many charities are now considering whether they should become involved - and how they should go about it. Oxmust is one of the few organisations that can offer expert, experienced guidance on how Second Life works, and thus help organisatiions to become involved, if they choose to.