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Monday, September 17, 2007


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Jaymin Carthage

I used this as a topic discussing how companies should consider handling protesters in my own blog.

Hamlet Au

Thanks Jaymin, I added a link in an update.

Mark Blei

It would probably be slightly more effective if Second Life allowed you to have more then then 70 avatars at any one place at any given time.

This is also why much hyped Second Life events like Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Virtual Second Life Town Hall meeting went bust. Even Second life's own hyped events when they had Anshe Chung, that avatar that was supposed to have earned more than $1 million on virtual real estate deals got assaulted by 70 griefers throwing flying penises at her.

I wonder if IBM is really going to be concerned about a "flash-mob" of 70 peeved IBM workers.

I wonder how worried IBM will be about a virtual event at all if only 70 people are present. I have sympathy for the folks who are striking on IBM. But surely they could find something more effective then being in a virtual room with 70 of their own cohorts. It's like the lazy man strike, don't leave your house and you can drink beer and be in your underwear AND stick it to the man

For virtual anything to have an effect they have to use their funding to move past the V1.0 of their platform and make it easier for mainstream people to use the product en mass. I've had a Second life account for a year , I'm an early adopter a techy and in media research and so this would be up my ally if there was anything to it ,I'm not interested in weird sex with anime characters or gambling and even if I was I'm not sure that I could find out how to access those things without doing an hour of research.

Frankly I've not spent more then an hour there in all that time and I have never communicated with another avatar. Worse when I have visited businesses with a second life presence they haven't even been staffed . Good Luck .

Hamlet Au

Actually, IBM's campus is huge, about 30 sims if not more, so in principle it can accommodate thousands of visitors at once.

Mark Blei

So at 30 sims would that be each sim holding 70 avatars? Bringing a total of 2100 possible avatars? Ok, that increases the chance of having a crowd. But again I stand by my words that even if they have room for 2100 people. How on earth are they going to even get 100 people outside of those already in the know to become aware. I mean a protest means nothing if no one sees the protest. From a press perspective your the only press I've seen covering this. I've been on Fark, Digg and Reddit today and maybe it's there but It didn't catch my eye until it was sent to me.

I still say that Second Life is flawed in that It's virtually impossible for people not significantly invested in the game to find stuff other then the main island where you begin your journey and if second life wants to be a force they have to make navigation easier and make it possible for not just large corporate entities to have the ability to have more then 70 people at one place at one time but for the average person attending the average event and that I don't think has happened


One way that SL is addressing Mark's issues is by having multiple ways of getting oriented to Second Life distributed among different interests and communities. Thus, the "L" Word orientation sim, the Brazilian orientation sim, and an upcoming non-profit orientation sim.

So that people who have a specific interest in mind can quickly get to the places and content and communities that they would likely care most about.

I've actually seen a good bit of real world press about the impending strike, so it's likely already getting more attention than normal. Because of the uniqueness of it, the strike is likely to garner lots of media attention even if there are only 70 avatars there.

Mark Blei

I have actually created a blog post of my own about this. Please feel free to leave comments there http://marksmediamadness.blogspot.com/2007/09/italian-labor-union-protest-ibm-in.html

Sorry I don't know how to use HTML in a type pad comment section and don't know how track back works on Type pad either.

Great Blog Wagner, I'm learning allot about SL.


Thanks James. One of the reasons I'm most interested in this one is the potential linkages between IBM workers in different countries. People working for multinationals have a lot of the same issues, but until now dealt with them somewhat in isolation.

Now, through initiatives of global union federations like the GM workers' blog (www.gmworkersblog.com) and hopefully more happenings like this SL event, ordinary union activists can meet their colleagues in other countries. They can find out about others' issues, support them directly, and then see how the situations impact in their own countries and what they can do about it.

International unions could pose a good check to multinational companies, in a way that national governments can't, and that effectiveness will only be strengthened if the links exist at the bottom of the movement as well as at the top.

I take Mark's points that this kind of thing will be bl**dy hard to organise, given all the technical and social hurdles in the way for most unionists, but it's early days yet, and good to see unions open to learning new tricks - Let's hope they stick at it through the early attempts.


how does this achieve ANYTHING? Griefing a site would have more effect than avatars holding signs. If sabotage is unpalatable, then perhaps an actual strike with a real picket line with actual people would be much more useful. Signing on to second life and outfitting your avatar with strike paraphernalia is hardly comparable to actual picketing and striking. Those involved with this should close second life and organise in the real. As for getting attention via the media for this action because of its novelty, any attention you get will be negative for a couple reasons: second life has been quite widely recognised as overhyped in both membership and importance and ibm managers and executives will be brought out to assert (correctly) the meaningless and irrelevance of this action.

christine revkin UNI

Hi guys, please note the protest will take place between 25 and 30 - now between 26 and 30 September. A little hint? it won't be on a weekend ! :-) so be ready!

Nobody Fugazi

What was most interesting was the fact that this was an international strike. The efficacy is something which has yet to be determined, but - it was an international strike in a virtual world, and one where the lead up was interesting. In my own entries on the topic, I found it very interesting that the level of contingency planning.

I couldn't make it to the protest, but hey - I wouldn't have made BoingBoing if I did either. They only read certain people. :-)

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