Friday, 25 July 2008

Bloher08, Belated

Days since last posted: 7 (bad)

Will belatedly try to wrap up on Blogher08 conference. Am looking back on notes and again as in RL often not obvious how to make sense of them, ahem. OK - was a session on day 1 about links between SL and blogging. Panellists included Patty Streeter, Gidge Uriza and Cybergrrl Oh. One speaker said that "we are the revolution" - that future is one giant mashup and so mixing SL and blogs is very much being in that happening place (I paraphrase). Patty Streeter "social networking on steroids"
In terms of being a woman blogger things mentioned were: blogging more about emotions etc and also that in terms of fashion blogging there is more to blog about compared with what is available to chaps ;-)
One of the questioners saw a conflict between the visual side of SL and writing - doing less writing because of SL. I'd observe that am not doing less writing, but AM spending more time doing informal writing and less doing formal writing which in my job is Not a Good Thing in career terms.
Other phrases I jotted down about SL and blogging were "whimsical", "self-actualisation", "extend your creative horizons", "problem of SL stalkers", "it stimulates all my creative juices".In fact part of Blogher08 that enjoyed most, have to confess, was the motor racing that indulged in, on 2nd afternoon, kindly arranged for us by Patty Streeter.
Got dropped firstly small stock car and then larger one, and operated in using arrow keys. Was pretty much rubbish at it, but great fun, and had satisfaction of coming not-last i.e. 5th of 6th, in race. Has to be said that person who was 6th had only been in SL one week, but still, honour was preserved. Picture show car after spectacular crash flying through the air before landing OUTSIDE the racing stadium - fortunately I didn't land on anyone and could step out of the car unscathed.
After this excitement there was an open mic session where people read out favourite blog posts. Unfortunately not many people turned up for this. Other speakers had entries about important experiences from their lives, or one person read out a blog post where she'd remembered a SL person (The Sojourner) who'd died in RL.
Felt a bit awkward. Just don't write blog posts like that. In that context a wry Yoshikawa-type entry would have sounded shallow. Am I a shallow blogger? Is it cultural difference? Would people think I was really a chap because I couldn't come up with something emotional enough??
In the end, due to paucity of people (i.e. three of us at that point and the other 2 had already spoken), was suggested that people could just talk about their experience (didn't have to be a blog post) so rambled on somewhat incoherently about joy of being in SL. At least people liked my dress, which was the Rez-day Digit Darkes item.

Following THIS there was a dance at Callie Cline's beach resort. She herself attended, looking v. splendid in her Black Swan creation.
Day 2 of Blogher08 in SL and the Education panel was, oddly perhaps, focusing on the use of SL in education and training, rather than on blogging. In fact my only criticism of the conference (which was v. well organised and had a lot of interesting stuff) was that it could have had more about blogging and less about SL.
The panel was Dannette CiscoSystems, Fleep Tuque (educational technologist at a US university), In Kenzo (working with non profits with events, SL creations etc), Lila iReport (with CNN iReports), and chaired by padlurowncanoe Dibou, so people from a range of backgrounds. CNN iReports is CNN's citizen journalist initiative, so one thing they do is train people about "telling their story". As a sidenote, am glad that am unlikely to be forced to become Sheila SheffieldUniversity or Sheila InformationStudies by my institution. Some points from discussion
- Still need to "handhold" with all kinds of admins, producers, various people who hold the pursestrings and who don't see benefits of SL
- Opportunity for journalism students to participate in iReports - Lila iReports said they would be interested ;-)
- Nursing programme at the University of Wisconsin was mentioned as one moving to a SL approach - one issue was of people wanting to take credit bearing modules or programmes (personally think this will always need to be handled by institution itself, although a central directory would be useful)
- Backchat was highlighted as feature of SL conferences - indeed this is interesting and changes the dynamics. You can have "backchat" at RL conferences in that now people may be liveblogging, twittering etc, but a speaker might have to follow multiple streams to follow it and react, whereas in SL it's far more part of the experience (asnd possibly discvoncerting for those not used to SL?)
- CiscoSystems said that SL "comes down to content" - people also wanting to "express their personal brand" eg. not having overriding anmations. But does do powerpointy stuff. Using SL "brings a level of intimacy to it" and they can use globally dispersed people, even though they are basically, from what she said, wtrill doing rather powerpointy stuff. This was contrasted with the less intimate channel of a webinar.
- Educators were criticised by one speaker for not doing enough non-transmissive stuff - but I thought perhaps she hadn't been around enough, because there is certainly much creative education out there. I haven't ever used ppt with my students and we haven't used aything that looks like a RL classroom - North's work as reported a couple of posts ago is another example.The last SL session was on using SL for good. I learnt a lot from this about some of the projects going on in SL and there is a "liveblog" about it from Amy Sample Ward (when you get to the post you have to click on the liveblogging link). The panellists were (in RL) Susan Tenby, Connie Reece, Jennifer Cole and Aleja Ospina and Amy says that there is a transcript on the Gimpgirl website
The final thing I dipped into (by that time it was very late - early hours of the morning for me) was a relay of the final session at the RL Blogher. There is a good liveblog from a RL delegate here. I didn't know who the bloggers were (their blogs or them) but
Apart from the extra knowledge I picked up from sessions such as the last SL panel the main thoughts I took away were
1. Blogging could make a good discussion in the Infolit iSchool series
2. What kind of blogger am I? I got a feeling that blogs didn't seem "female" enough for me to feel altogether at home in the RL Blogher conference - it looked rather intimidating. There are all those bloggers out there that I'm not much aware of at all , like mommybloggers and food bloggers and knitting bloggers. My information literacy blog is a professional blog and I'm aware of the blogging community relevant to that. I SL-fashion blog a little (see here the pic of one outfit I blogged from the conference)and read the SL-fashion blogs so I am very aware of what happens there, though I wouldn't say I was part of that community, really - I don't really know any of the other fashion bloggers in SL (Gidge, a SL Blogher08 panellist, also posts at iheartsl blog, like me, and we didn't even say Hi to each other). Not sure what kind of blog this is... not an education blog as such, though I blog about educational things ... hmmm
3. (To finish on a practical note) Also as usual picked up some tops about running a SL conference.

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The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.