Archive for the ‘2.0 +’ Category

How Revolutionary Are Social Media

14 Feb 2007

There’s an upcoming event about the consequences and challenges for public relations, journalism and marketing which will be held on the 15th, 16th and 17th of March 2007 at the Artevelde College Ghent (Belgium). On the 15th, the event will be in the Dutch language, the other two days the main language will be in English.

A year ago, EuroBlog 2006 showed that interactive social media technologies – weblogs, podcasts, wikis, real simple syndication, folksomonies, social tagging, personal networks and other species of social software and services – were beginning to impact on communications in many different ways. The 2007 symposium will present insights from EuroBlog 2007, the second pan-European quantitative survey on the usage of social media by communication professionals, draw new theoretical insights and respond to industry feedback by identifying and presenting examples of best practice.

A must for every communication professional !

The EuroBlog conference, which will be held on 16 and 17 March of 2007, is to take place during a larger event, starting on the 15th of March already: the Chair Jos Willems, organised by the Communications Management and Journalism departments of Artevelde College in Ghent (Belgium) and named after the man who started the college over 40 years ago. Artevelde College and Euprera are organising the EuroBlog 2007 Conference together.

If you’re interested in social media and the impact they have on the field of communications (be it in pr, marketing communications as well as journalism), the EuroBlog conference is a must, especially considering the fact that on 16 March the results of the EuroBlog 2007 survey, conducted in co-operation with Euprera, will be made public.

Participants and top speakers from across Europe

Participants at EuroBlog 2007 are expected, as last year, to consist of researchers from all over Europe (including many involved in the Euprera network of academics from more than 30 countries) as well as communications executives from major companies, institutions, agencies and service providers specialised in the field of online campaigns, interactive media, digital communication and issues monitoring.

Speakers include a wide variety of top researchers and practitioners from nine countries. Keynote speaker at the Chair Jos Willems on Friday is Neville Hobson, managing partner of crayon (the first virtual communication agency), podcasting guru (For Immediate Release) and blogger on

Register today!

The number of seats at the Chair Jos Willems is not unlimited. So register quickly and make sure you do not miss out on this unique opportunity to sharpen your knowledge on social media as well networking with a fine selection of people with whom you share professional interests.

English speaking people, go to the page ‘Information in English’ on the site where you will find more details regarding the programme, the location, the registration fees and so on.

Keynote speakers on Thursday and Friday

  • Tom De Bruyne
    Senior Strategic Planner i-merge
  • Clo Willaerts
    Marketing and Communications Manager Skynet
  • Luc Van Braekel
    Entrepreneur and famous blogger
  • (pdw)
    Former journalist, tv producer and blogger
  • Neville Hobson
    Blogger, podcasting guru and co-founder of crayon, the first virtual communications agency

About Jos Willems

Jos Willems is the man who started the college which, almost forty years later, would bring about the Communications Management and Journalism departments of Artevelde College in Ghent (Belgium). He was also one of the founders Euprera, of CERP Education and CERP Education & Research.

See you there!


The Rabbit Hole

20 Nov 2006

I’ve been spending quite some time in Second Life already, getting networked and helping a number of people set up their business, building and landscaping their land. I’d offer my services (design, marketing) in exchange for their knowledge and I’ve been to many many places and met quite some interesting people who’ve all been really helpful in lining out the path to walk here. Pretty soon my partner and me will be releasing our very own clothing brand in a store I’ve created. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that you have to give something in return when you ask for something. It doesn’t have to be money, it can be an experience as well. If you want an audience to give you attention, you have to give them a reason to do so. That’s why we’ve created an environment where people can come and chill, with a gigantic waterfall where they can swim, sunbathe, dive or relax… where lovers can meet for a romantic get-together while enjoying some good podcasts, music videos or old black and white classic movies. Our store is located next to this very relaxing spot, close to the ocean border and surrounded by lovely neighbors. We opted out for an island, because that feels like a total waste of money and it would take all the regular traffic away. We’re also far from big enough to fill the island with ’stuff’. The store would look so lost on the large strip of land, and we didn’t want to go big at once. We want to be found and want to be IN the world, not on some remote island where half of the world never comes.

My partner is making the designs for the clothing line from scratch, so we’re not only going to have something unique to offer, it’ll be fashionably sexy as well. I’m very curious to see how this experiment turns out. I’ve been talking to a few dozen of entrepreneurs and business owners and got a ton of good tips on how to approach the Second Life audience. There are a few other plans as well that are still being developed, I’ll get to those as soon as they’re starting to become more real, but it all looks very promising with a few very talented people ready to go at it.

I think there’s an opportunity here that just begs to be taken. If you handle it right and be very aware of how to position yourself in this world, things can actually turn out to be just splendid. I’ll post some screenshots of the location if we have our opening party. I met some in-game DJ’s who’ll come give a great show, some dancers to entertain and enough people to have a small crowd to fill the store and the yard. If all goes well and the designer stays on schedule… you’ll be updated really soon.

As for being careful about how to do things in Second Life, have a close read at this article from The Fast Company. It’s an interview with the puppet masters of viral marketing, the blokes from Campfire. The article is about many things, but also about the approach of Second Life for Pontiac. What follows is a quote that quite sums it up just perfect:

This is a new platform for Campfire, but the art, as ever, is to ensure that Pontiac makes the experience of Second Life better for the community that’s already there–then transfers that luster to its real-life brand. The strategy so far is to have Pontiac financially support virtual car-related businesses, such as racetracks and drive-ins, in an online universe where people can create anything but need real-world dollars to do it. (Pontiac won’t let us disclose the real-world twist slated to come at the end of the campaign.)

But before the group can get into hashing out specifics, the Campfire guys offer a warning to the ad team at Leo Burnett, Pontiac’s agency, about the sensitive socio-economics of this unusual microcosm. Another carmaker, Monello tells them, nearly committed a massive faux pas earlier this year when it started giving away virtual cars to Second Lifers, instead of charging the market rate of about $5. “People who had been on Second Life for years, building cars and selling them, would have immediately gotten pissed off because this big corporation came in and totally crashed the car economy,” Monello explains. Make a similar mistake, he says, and the only thing Pontiac would be known for is how its “marketers are f–king up Second Life.”

A sin I’ve witnessed happening and learned important lessons from.

Find me in Second Life: Coolz0r Courier.


Another Tabloid In Second Life

09 Nov 2006

*** Update: I thought the Second Life Herald was a Press Agency. But I was wrong. They’re also a tabloid. ***

Yes, in come the media. Reuters and BigBrother have made their moves, now it’s time for the another tabloids to follow. Axel Springer, the publisher of Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper, is poised to launch a weekly paper designed to sate the virtual population’s appetite for news and gossip.

Due to be launched in December, the paper will be written in English and is estimated to cost between 10 and 15 Linden dollars. It will likely be sold by subscription – posted into mailboxes across the virtual parallel universe. Mr Springer plans to construct an online editorial office for SL News. A real editor-in-chief will then recruit a team of roving reporters from among the avatar community.

It’s a good thing they’ll be scouting for stories within the community and that in fact a lot of the news will be produced by residents. It’ll be only a matter of filtering out the junk. Oh no wait. That’s exactly what a tabloid is going to publish. How long ’til we have paparazzi that’ll be stalking ‘famous’ avatars to take snapshots as they enter nudie bars?

“It will be a colourful tabloid, with snippets about showbusiness and human interest tales from the avatar world,” explained Dirk Meyer-Bosse, a spokesman for the German publishing giant.

Read more on The Guardian | via SmartMobs


BigBrother In Second Life

07 Nov 2006

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all… the television companies are starting to invade Second Life. In the lastest poohah of press attention, BigBrother (thé reality tv show) opened up a house in the game. The last visitor that’s left in the house wins a tropical island. But, and here’s the but… the participants need to spend at least 8 hours a day in the big brother house… so you got to be unemployed or shifting day and night between the 1st and the 31st of December. In case you were wondering: yes, that means you’ll spend Christmas online. Nice change instead of being with your real life relatives. I’m sure they’ll understand that you would like your virtual character to live on a virtual island. Figures. So, Jerry Springer? David Letterman? C’mon guys, the virtual audience is waiting…

BigBrother Second Life

Check out the “BigBrother in Second Life” site


Virtual Goodness

27 Oct 2006

Marketers at Procter & Gamble are testing a revolutionary marketing tool that, through the power of computer-generation, is saving them years of traditional research. The reactions, behaviour and experiences of consumers are being played out for them to see thanks to "the Cave" – a walk-in three dimensional room that projects the visitor into a virtual world.

Given P&G’s clients comprise A-list supermarkets like Tesco, J.Sainsbury Asda and Boots, the cave is able to recreate, in every detail, the interior of these high street stores, The FT reported.

Cave visitors can walk through and explore the aisles, ‘picking’ products that catch their eye, or turning them round to read labels or sell by dates before they proceed to checkout to ‘buy.’

As consumers explore their familiar shopping worlds, albeit virtual, watchful marketers at P&G are tweaking the store layouts, displays, product design and overall packaging.

Interesting as that sounds, P&G is once again giving it’s own interpretation on the theme that has been proven to be succesful for other web services. Just like the launch of Tremor, their own word of mouth network, The Cave is very similar to what is now going on in Second Life. It’s the idea that counts, but rather than following the other brands into the Second Life saga and creating the experience on location, P&G fights swims against the stream and chooses to create it’s own virtual world, of which they’ll have full control.

“In three months we have done work that would previously have taken us two years,” Gianni Ciserani, P&G’s general manager for UK& Ireland said in an interview with The Financial Times.

He added that before the virtual cave, the company would need to persuade one of their retail clients to overturn one of their stores for a pilot – an experiment that means time and money for both parties. (read more via CustomerWorld)

That said, the industry in Second Life is booming as never before. Three months prior to the targeted date, Second Life welcomed it’s 1.000.000th visitor. With all these new people streaming in to share the experience, it still requires quite some pc-savvyness to move around and explore what Second Life has to offer.

Very often, newbies find themselves lost in a place with no directions and they don’t know where to go to participate in social events or gatherings. That’s why an online travel agency sees its business booming by offering guided tours to new citizens of the virtual life.

Synthravels is based in Milan, Italy. The concept of Synthravels is by Mario Gerosa and by Matteo Esposito of Imille. Mario Gerosa is a journalist who has a long experience in travel. He has worked for many years as senior editor of Condé Nast Traveller Italy and for the most renowned travel magazines. He is a member of the GIST, the association of the Italian Travel Journalists, and of the OMNSH, a French association of video games researchers, and he has been organizing in-world meetings with famous Second Life residents for a project of the Indiana University. In July 2006 he launched the project for the preservation of Virtual Architectural Heritage.

After a quick registration procedure, you’re invited to list the parts of Second Life you wish to explore and one or two dates/time settings that best suit your schedule. Synthravels then promises to contact you and arrange the guided tour of your choice.

Apart from travelers, the organisation is also looking for guides, so if any of you know some nice spots and cares to make some money touring around newbies, sign up at Synthravels. Your digital red umbrella is waiting for you. So are the tourists.

If you think the story ends here, no, we’re not even getting started.

Dutch politicians Arda Gerkens (SP), Zsolt Szabó (VVD) and CDA-candidate Ad Koppejan (CDA) are following the footsteps of the American presidential candidate Mark Warner – who got interviewed in Second Life by Cory Doctorow from BoingBoing – and are trying to run a part of their campaign in Second Life.

In the next couple of weeks they’ll teleport theirselves to places which are frequented often by Dutch people, according to EPN’s director Tom van der Maas. On these hotspots, they’ll be flyering digital campaign brochures in the hopes to win the hearts of the geeks and somewhat more regular Second Life citizens.

Politics is one thing, you can also decide to move your social benefit organization to the world of Second Life. Why shouldn’t you? After all, Second Life has its own U.S. $64 Million annual economy, an independent media, its own currency, and a thriving virtual real estate market that allows you to purchase land and structures. It is reported that over 3,000 entrepreneurs are making more than U.S. $20,000 a year, selling not just real estate, but coding and distributing everything from clothes to body parts for your avatar in Second Life.

Social projects have found their way into the virtual game, like the American Cancer Society who has raised over $40,000 this past spring by conducting a virtual walkathon in Second Life, just by strawling around and making people aware of the organisation, asking them for donations.

To get a bit of an introduction, have a look at this short YouTube snippet of a visit to Better World Island, where you will find Camp Darfur and other social benefit organizations. These organizations are interacting with online visitors to provide education, raise money and offering an alternative way for people to learn about their efforts, all online.

Susan Tenby, the Online Community Manager at Tech Soup, has taken the lead in involving her organization and in forming an ongoing non-profit discussion group on Second Life. She is currently in discussions on an effort to setup a free nonprofit office complex, and is developing a directory and Frequently Asked Questions for nonprofit newcomers in Second Life. (read)

That’s quite a remarkable twist, but not at all unexpected. Where people flock together, a social feeling always occurs, and online communities are very well known for their cooperation to benefits and social events.

Posted earlier on i-wisdom


Second Life Tour

25 Oct 2006

I’ve been collecting some news items about Second Life to use them in a presentation, and I figured I might as well line them up here too because it’s an attempt to capture the situation as it is today. I realize that this post will only be a snapshot of the moment, but I needed a list of ‘things that happened’ in Second Life for myself so I’d no longer have to remember them by heart. It’s also becoming quite impossible to refer to all the known cases of companies that have started something in the virtual world because it’s growing out of its proportions. So, here goes the run-down of the remarkable things that happened:

Read the rest of this entry »


A Digg For Ads

16 Oct 2006

Ivan, the guy who runs AdsOfTheWorld, came up with a new concept called It is a site like, but focuses on advertising related content. People can vote on ads and the highest votes obviously show the most interesting campaigns or stories. Check it out and join the Advert Lover community to participate in the madness. I’m waiting for someone to write a WordPress plugin like ‘digg this story’ but then for Advert Lover. A ‘love this ad’ plugin, so to speak. Anyone?

Advert Lover



DIY Cheerleader Commercial

11 Oct 2006

Entirely 2.0-ified, CMT wants you to create the commercial for their show “Making The Team” in which the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are looking for new talent. Using film snippets, voice overs and various music samples they provide, you’re invited to have some consumer input. There’s 18 pieces of movie to puzzle with so I guess you can try to make something cool out of it. As to the ‘why’ of this action, I refer you to the text on the right side of the page: “Create your own commercial for a chance to win great prizes PLUS a trip to Dallas to meet the cheerleaders.” As if meeting the cheerleaders wasn’t a big prize already for almost every guy out there. I’m not quite sure they’ll pay your ticket if you have to come from outside the US, but at least you had your chance of being a director for just a little while. The subject of the commercial isn’t the Dallas Cowboys Football team, despite what you might think. Who cares about the football team anyway? It’s in fact ‘the story’ of 50 girls wanting to become a DCC (Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader) that really matters. Emo-reality TV all the way with laughs, sweat and tears. 1004 commercials have already been brewed. The voice-overs are the most typical man chatter you’re probably already heard, going from “Football isn’t for girls, unless you look like these girls” to “Not everyone can wear the uniform, but it’s fun to see ‘em try”. *Yawn*

Cheerleader Fun.

Create your commercial here.
Visit the website from the TV-show.