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Monday, January 29, 2007


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I clicked "depends on the celebrity."

What do I care if the CEO of EasyGroup is actually moving around his avatar and typing to the audience? What matters is getting his ideas out most easily and accessibly to a lot of residents. That usually means voice chat, not text chat.

But for performances or other interviews where the actions of the avatar have some communicative meaning, then I would like to know that the person is actually controlling the avatar themselves.

In general, I prefer voice chat over text chat for interviews, because its more efficient at getting out content in a timely manner, and it expresses more of the personality of the interviewee.


I'm with rik on controlling the avatar — standing still isn't very interesting. I'd especially like to see some celebrities who can show us their dance moves and emote expressively via Gestures and the like. Even subtle twitches, or style of walking; we've had people paid to customize celebrity avatars, but surely there's a market for matching their hand motions and gait! We can discern body language from avatars.

I can imagine literarily-focused types like being very strong through text. Gosh, I hope Alvin + Heidi Toffler, or Malcolm Gladwell, or Michio Kaku come in here! (Altho I've also heard very entertaining + education speeches by all three too.)

Part of the problem at present, of course, is that voice feels disconnected from Second Life: it's not generally spatialized — altho I've seen some go's at it, or if it is, it's difficult to set up... and that's a biggie for sound.

Taco Bandit

I haven't yet seen an efficient or wholly relevant use of the live interview in SL, at least from the perspective of someone who watches it afterwards. Take Adam R's interview of Arianna Huffington, which is the one I just happened to watch. As a post-event viewer, I found it unnecessary and irrelevant that her avatar had been made to wiggle its head as she spoke. And the awkwardkly timed and unnecessary belly-laugh gestures were... awkward and unnecessary. In an audio interview like that, there just isn't much need for a visual of the two people sitting there. It doesn't add anything and grows tiresome quickly.

If the audio interview were instead laid over relevant images from RL and/or SL, that might add something. Seems like a lot of work.

The text chat log plus a few screenshots is about as useful as I've seen it for post-consuming. And the screenshots are really just an optional curiosity at that point. It's fun to see that someone did a good job of making a Posner av, for example, and fun to know that he played along with it and is "hip" to the SL concept. But it's not actually relevant to the content after the event. A nice-to-have in my opinion.

For live events where I'm in the audience, I don't mind the sit-there-do-nothing setup. And in that case I prefer live audio streaming to text. The avs still aren't doing anything but there is value in the sense of place, of being there together. As for live-but-typed interviews, it is just interminble to wait for people to type their answers. It's the reason class instructors use an iBuddy or whatever those things are that automatically spit out pre-typed, green-text messages. I took a discussion/class where the guy didn't have one of those and was also thinking up his stuff on the fly and I wanted to open my veins. Aaagh! Takes an hour and a half to have what would be a 10 minute conversation or lecture. Not yet an efficient model, but that's a wider issue in SL communication.

Barry Joseph

Global Kids put together our own best practices for presenting in Second Life. It can be donwloaded from:
Barry Joseph

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