Saturday, May 22, 2010

I think therefor I am – Second Life revisited


I usually write in swedish, since it is my first laguage, I like swedish and I'm lazy... but HEY let's spice things up a bit by doing a blog post in english. The reason for this is its content and contributor. The post is about the virtual community Second Life and as Esperanto never really kicked in, English is the language most users speak when communicating across the borders. This post also contains an interview with an American citizen and I thought it would be nice for her to see what the hell I'm babbling about :-)
Please note that this is a non commercial blog, I am not financially or in any way else supported by anyone except perhaps my dear boyfriend who brings me ice cream sometimes! Thus, the opinions and thoughts in this blog are my own.
I am a librarian by profession and this blog post will be about my thoughts on the spirit of librarianship in relation to the “new” social medias (such as Second Life) BUT I do NOT speak for every librarian out there and I do NOT claim to be writing a scholarly thesis. I have no specific disposition or conclusion, more general observations and thoughts around an area that greatly interests me.
And please excuse my crappy grammar. I can speak Swear fluently after having worked in an English pub, but I have little experience writing formal English. Don't hate me.


Easily put, Second Life is an online community. A fancy 3D-chat program, where you communicate via an avatar (they can be blue, yeah). This chat program has extended possibilities such as letting the user modify its avatar making it personal, creating clothes for it and also building it a “home” - house, flowerpots and all. Online computer games such as Runes of Magic has a similar feature of a "home", a starting point and where you well... brew your potions, so it is not a unique implementation. Second Life is however, not intended as a game even if you can do role-playing within the program. That is optional.
You can read about Second Life here and here. There are numerous private blogs too, just type in "Second Life" in your search engine of choice.
Second Life is FREE to use but you can chose to spend real money to buy other peoples creations, rent virtual land where you build your home and so on. The cost in real money is as high as you want it to be – the currency in Second Life is called Linden Dollar, after the creators Linden Lab, and 1 Linden Dollar is like... a few cents. 300 Linden Dollars is approximately 8 Swedish Kronor. You do not have to pay a monthly fee as you do with for example World of Warcraft, and you do not buy the "starting CD" in a store. In fact there is no CD, you just download the client.
You can get by just fine in Second Life not paying anything.


On November 11'th, I wrote my very first blog post on Second Life – it can be found here but it is in Swedish...
That post is about how I started with Second Life in 2009, mainly after having heard one of my tutors, in Library and Information Science, slag it off like a piece of wasted grid having started as a good idea on virtual communication but having degenerated into a place where people only have cyber sex.
The reason he talked about Second Life was that the course he was tutoring was about the ups and downs on digitizing our cultural heritage, and that the Swedish municipality Malmö has spent a quite eyebrow-rising sum of money on creating a sim in Second Life dedicated to public information regarding the city of Malmö. I don't know everything about this but as far as I have heard and read, the thought was that this virtual “copy” of Malmö would be an alternative route for people to get in contact with official institutions such as the university college, the library etc. Wanting to be in the frontier of IT and digital solutions, the city of Malmö wanted to test Second Life as a platform for public service, as the hype around Second Life was quite... well hyped! around the time of 2007. Malmö in Second Life was launched in 2009, however when the hype had faded a little, and Grethe Linde, project leader at Malmö public office, reported to the newspaper Sydsvenskan that the objective of the sim's existence gradually changed from public service to giving local musicians and artists in Malmö the chance to reach an international audience. In march 2010, Malmö in Second Life was shut down. The project plan was bound for a year from the start though, to test the terrain. I have no information on the success on musicians and artists having used the sim as a stepping stone.
Back to my class at uni, my teacher was very negative towards Second Life and Malmö's participation. I can see his point of view on spending taxpayers money and EU-subsidies to finance a web based service such as Second Life, when perhaps those money could have gone to improving the already existing web sites of Malmö municipality (I'm purely speculating... oh look, cookies!). However I got stuck on the combination of the words “library” and “virtual” and (perhaps the most) “digital” and I decided to create my own account to see what the fuzz was all about.
During the class, we never really got to hear his connection between the Malmö venture and the library as such. Did he mean that people were having virtual sex in the digital library building..? What sort of a library was it?! Was there a library or a... a... notice board? What was it!? Could it really be that bad, as my teacher was describing it? Considering the course he was leading, I don't think he was against digital libraries as such, just the form of the one in Malmö in Second Life – but what was it???
In September 2009, the avatar Sofie Snowbear was born and quickly went on a quest for the digital library. She landed on the grounds of the Malmö sim and was sorely disappointed I am very sorry to say... I really don't want to, but I was. In front of me really WAS the main public library of the city of Malmö – an impressive digital copy! But, when I went in and started looking around... there really wasn't much to do. Surely there must be more to offer than just a number of prims (digital building blocks) and a fancy design? Did I miss something? Was I not attentive enough? (I didn't see anyone having sex either by the way...)

Fresh as a daisy! Sofie Snowbear ponders... Nope, no sex here. Bit disapointed actually...
The rest of my story in Second Life has little to do with the sim of Malmö as I formed a question to myself to see what other options there would be, but I guess I owe thanks to my uni-teacher and Grethe Linde with crew for getting me curious enough to start!
You never really know the outcome of a project and in some ways you have to try the near impossible to see. Brave or foolish? To me, the question reaches beyond the grid – for me as a librarian, it is not just about the fact of being represented on the web just “because” as I'm sad to say seems to be a little trend right now with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and... blogs... It is about what you make of it! Why should a public institution go digital? What is the purpose and the need and the benefits for the users? Especially, about the users. 


No, I haven't spent all of my time in Second Life hunting for digital libraries. There is far too much funky stuff to do :-D

The dedication of the users of Second Life is impressive as hell! You don't really have to “do” anything or have a grand purpose with your ava, you can just teleport around and enjoy the creativity. Or, if so inclined, create the hell out of yourself :-) Some spend their time on creating beautiful, scary or/and funny environments intended for the pure visual experience.

Big scary monster! A virtual "copy" or interpretation of the town of Innsmouth from H.P. Lovecraft's short stories.

Bentham Forrest. A truly enchanted forrest full of mystery and unhealthy glowing stuff.

Some DJ at clubs – meeting spots where you spend time listening to music and chatting. Some establish stores, selling their own creations – be it clothes, trees, scripted vehicles, earrings or buildings.

PJ's jewelry shop - get your bling ON!

Some promotes themselves as musicians, actors or comedians playing live via streaming. Some create art, like the CARP project's audio-visual show “The Wall”.

Snapshot taken from a scene from CARP's The Wall. 
The use of audio and visual media in Second Life just amazes me. I regularly return to some places which makes great use of this, one is the beautifully crafted sim Third World Asylum, gently ruled by the person behind the avatar JennyJenny Lauria. When thinking about composing this rather lengthy blog post, I asked her some questions about her sim, as it in my opinion has good connections with the idea of the digital library in Second Life – perhaps the solution my uni teacher was looking for? Her answers will be interwoven in the post.

Landing spot of the sim Third World Asylum.

Third World was named by (the avatar) Korto Stransky, and he attributes it to this concept, from a quote by Mira Alfassa - "There should be somewhere on this earth a place no nation could claim as its property, a place where all human beings of goodwill, sincere in their aspiration, could live freely as citizens of the world."


So, what kind of libraries have I come across then during these 9 months not actively seeking every little corner of the grid but more letting myself stumble upon it? Can you even talk about digital libraries in Second Life or is it more accurate to talk about portals? Well, as the lose definition of a Digital Library is that the contents of the collection should be available “on site” and not via links (thus making it a Portal), it gets a little tricky. We do have a server-issue there... but I guess MY own definition is that if you can still be IN Second Life while you take part of the content, it is a digital library and not a portal. Another interesting question of definition you can ask is, is it a LIBRARY as most material offered you get to keep in opposite to borrowing? However, as it is non-fee material I'd say... yeah, lets call it a bloody library.
I suppose you can differentiate between at least 3-4 types libraries in Second Life – the ones that offer information written in notecards, the ones offering prims and textures and the ones offering audio and visual material (or a combination of all). Fused into these we have the links, so most digital libraries in Second Life seems to have a character of being a portal too.
Covenstead University Library is an example of a notecard vendor (special) library, offering information on spiritual matters in plain text.

Covenstead University Library

Click the shelves and a notecard on the subject will appear in your inventory.
The Ivory Tower Library offers the Second Life-user help with prims,textures and tutorials, for creating clothes, buildings and stuff in general to improve on the Second Life experience.

The Ivory Tower

Alliance Virtual Library and the American Library Association (ALA!) presents audio books and notecards and links plus has bulletin boards for upcoming events on artists in Second Life.
American Library Association (ALA)

Alliance Virtual Library
Third World offers audio and visual material in the form of streaming radio theater and an “out-door” cinema where you can chose from about 170 different titles.

Entrance to the audio and video area in Third World Asylum.

Third World Asylum, out-door theater

Second Life Comics? Why not?
All these places got in common the library spirit of offering literature (audio or visual), for information and/or leisure. Something that got me thinking though was that Covenstead, The Ivory Tower, Alliance and ALA are very traditional libraries, looking like “libraries” if you see what I mean... but Third World got my attention because it DOESN'T look like a traditional library even though it fits the lose profile.

View on the sim Third World Asylum - If up is down and down is up, where did I put my keys?

View on the sim Third World Asylum - I'm glad you brought the umbrella, I forgot my parachut.

According to JennyJenny when asked; “Third World is a place for stimulation of the mind and heart. It's a beautiful, peaceful sim, where many come to take photographs, sit and think, relax with a friend, or take in a movie or audio story. We strive to be different than most of the other sims in Second Life. Even our gathering area, Korto's Bar, is unlike the other "clubs" in SL. Once a week we feature live stand up comedians and live musicians to enrich your experience here. People from all nationalities and all walks of life come to Third World and spend hours here, alone, just taking it in and enjoying their time here, and we love that.”.

View on the sim Third World Asylum - Ummm are you ok there, Mr. Vase?
The words strive to be different is very interesting in this context as Second Life offers you to be virtually limitless in what you build and what your avatar looks like, but most of us users seem to be quite content with looking like... well, people. I'm not saying it is wrong to look human now, but rather how interesting it is to see how easy it is to stick to the old familiar form. Is that perhaps something to take into consideration when planning a public environment? To think outside of the box just on the edge of scaring people off? Not by creating a scary looking environment, but by bending the standard of what is “normal” - the first time I landed in Third World, I found myself standing ankle deep in water and my real life reaction was waaa I get wet! How used to the “ordinary” am I when I think WELLIES I NEED WELLIES! When my AVATAR is standing in water? Totally sold on the concept of wet feet, I asked JennyJenny Lauria about the design and if there was any thought behind it, the answer was as simple as it was brilliant - “No, I just wanted to do something different. Something beautiful, yet enriching at the same time.”

View on the sim Third World Asylum - Guess I don't need wellies after all!

3.3 The point of digital libraries and Second Life Libraries..?
3.3.1 Theoretical library rant... just because I can!
If I got a penny for every time I have heard that there is no need for libraries since we have Google/the Internet, being a librarian is not a profession for the future, why study when all you do is carry books... waaa waaa... I'd be rich and I'd buy everyone a drink! But I haven't. According to “a lot of people”, the library as an institution is dying. I don't think it is, but I do think it is changing and that it has to make a habit of checking up on its values and goals and see how they fit into modern society AND what the benefit would be to make a change – for the users.
There IS a library-panic going on and has for quite some time where the digital media is gnawing its way into the area the librarians and scholars have previously had almost a patent on – the distribution of knowledge. OMG don't get me started on Google Books... geez. Technojoyers (is that a word?) scream “THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION!” as more and more archived and fragile material is made visible on the Internet, available to everyone with a connection to the huge sticky web (thank you CERN).
I wrote a paper on a digitization project this fall, about the digitizing of old womens rights movements newspapers at Kvinnsam, the collection of womens and HBT-movements literature located at the University Library of Gothenburg, Sweden. There, the librarians told me that the point of digitizing matched the good ol' availability/preservation-argument – protecting old and fragile material at the same time as it was made usable to more people as they would not have to travel to the physical location or risk destroying old acid paper. Educating the people, keeping an eye on history has almost always been the goal of the library and it still is. Now more than ever, the libraries are also meant to be in the frontier of new technological solutions as to service the population with tools to reach this digital storm of 10101010101 (what did I say there, anyone speak Binary?).

"Yes I see what you mean with Bourdieu's thoughts on cultural capital in relation to the digital and very global age, my fellow avatar PJ, but it still doesn't explain why I am wearing a bow and cupid's wings! "
Is there a public library today in Sweden that hasn't got a computer the users can book for an hour or two? I spoke about this with a colleague the other day and she told me she was a little worried about the digital explosion as it seems to have little thought about the material in itself apart from protecting the original. Censorship is still a hot potato in use with printed material too, but really... in the age of Wiki, who makes sure the digital material stays intact? And also in the world of Wiki, is there a discussion on the peer-value of information?
Just for a laugh... When Doris Lessing won the Nobel prize in literature, a newspaper took the information about the author from Wikipedia, not checking the titles before hand and ending up with an article where they thus claimed that Lessing had written a book in 1979 called “Bajs” (Poo). I looked for the article and found the “original” as a clipping on private sites and the official, now apparently edited one...
A visitor told his little daughter the other day in the library where I do my trainee job, that this lady (being me) works here and she has read EVERY book in the library! Ok so it was a joke, but it still made me think about all the things on the shelves that I don't know about. And what it claims to be representing as facts. In the digital age it is easy to get what my teachers at uni. called “information overload”-symptom. What it means is that you have this huge well of... stuff! You need to keep a cool head and sift the contents until you find the info that seems correct for your purposes, not just swallowing the first bit of wiki that comes across as sorta right. As librarians, we don't know every word in every book and on every website, but we do know how to be critical and we can be of help there.
My point is, librarians still need to focus on their mission when adopting a new technology into the organization. Do we need it? Can it be of use to our visitors? As a public library, we want to be of use to as many citizens as possible, can we attract new groups of visitors with this new technology and how do we keep ourselves updated with it so as be of long term use? And, perhaps the most important issue of all – NOT all solutions work for every user. At the same time as the 5 public computers at work are nearly constantly booked, a woman told me the other day that she feared that the book, the stuff made out of paper, would disappear from the library altogether. She was actually really worried!
3.3.2 So your point is..?
I love technology! I Facebook, blog, use Google every day and I'm sure I'd twitter too if I didn't spend so much time decorating my flowerpots with pieces of mosaic and needed sleep. I regularly use YouTube and VideoJug and such to find bits of every day information. I held an Ipad in my hands a few weeks ago and it was just wickedly cool... I am a TOTAL radio and audio theater junkie and I can see from the loan statistics that the CD-books and DVD's are high in rotation amongst the users of the library. There is quite a large section of shelves in my trainee library containing DAISY-books (english click here)– CD-books for users who can't make use of the “regular” media, such as handling a lot of CD's or lifting a book. For example, a CD-book might be 10 CD's, a DAISY-CD is in another format so only 1 CD is needed. They need special players that usually have larger buttons and a simple design, so as to be as easy to use as possible for people with for example bad eyesight, Parkinson's disease or/and Multiple Sclerosis. There is a great circulation of these books too, showing there is a need and a use for them. CD-books are widely appreciated by users with no disabilities at all as it offers literature enjoyed in new forms (different readers putting there character on the text, for example) and “on the go” when driving a car, taking a walk etc. But, the REALLY cool bit about the digital format is that it HELPS people with disabilities or illness to enjoy literature. Imagine never being able to read a book again? Just wham, one day, you can never again enjoy a book. I couldn't stand that, I tell you. It just goes against everything a library stands for – excluding a huge group of users because they can't use the regular format of literature, the book. There, we MUST be in the frontiers of new technology. For the sake of our users.

OK so I lurve digital media. What has that got to do with digital libraries? Well, lets get down to the question on mobility. I took part in a very interesting seminar, held by Helen Andersson and Eva Johansson from the Regional Library of southwestern Sweden, on accessibility and the library. It was very educational because even if I think I know what it is like to have a disability preventing you from taking part of every day society... I don't. Even so, apparently the Swedish municipalities have been in a program for the past 10 years where they are meant to take action on making the society better fitted for people with disabilities. The goal is to make a transition from “patient” to “citizen”, which seems like a good plan in my ears. Why call it a “ramp for wheel chairs” and make it an extra feature when it IS just a ramp and can be used for perambulators, transportation carts for groceries and such? Why make it special when in fact... it doesn't have to be, just ordinary and functional. However, this 10 year project ends this year and not many of the municipalities have yet take any action on the matter! Bit scary, if you ask me.
Johansson and Andersson presented some definitions on the groups of people with disabilities – difficulties with substances, difficulties with sight, difficulties with mobility, difficulties with hearing and difficulties to interpret and mediate information. It is not hard to make certain adjustments to make the public room, such as the library, better suited. Don't wear strong perfume, check up on the potted plants so that they are ok for people with allergies, use environmental friendly non-smelly detergents, good ventilation, good lighting, plenty of places to sit and rest, spacious paths between the shelves good for a wheel chair, bold easily read letters and information in plain language on the signs, handicap-toilet, information in sign language and staff available for personal help (Google can't do that, hey hey???). Sounds kinda nice, doesn't it? Going back to what I said before, it is important to keep in mind that not ALL solutions work for ALL people. Regarding the 10-year plan, apparently these solutions have not been on the agenda at all...
Digital libraries can actually be of use as part of the transition from patient to citizen as audio theater and visual media is kinda, in a way, an extension of the DAISY-books and the DVD's in the physical library. Not a replacement but an addition to the services offered to reach out to as many groups of users as possible.
Advanced Second Life-graphics might not be the solution for everyone but there can be different levels on complexity. A digital library can also be presented as a graphically simplified website, compared to the easy to read in plain language information signs required in the physical library. If you can process complex graphics, Second Life is a fun alternative. An acquaintance of mine is in a wheel chair and can't get out of her apartment much, but she fully enjoys Second Life as a platform for meeting people, chatting and experiencing the digital environment (music, art, etc).
Digital environments can thus not only be fun but beneficial and educational in a user-perspective.

Ok let's do the legal stuff, just because we have to!
The first time I went to Third World Asylum, apart from panicking over my wet pixel-feet, I did wonder a lot about the movie list presented, with very recent releases amongst the titles. As my pet-peeve Google Books did a Braveheart and claimed bloody freedom when digitizing works protected by copyright law and put the mind-boggling issue of solving the property rights to someone else in the future, I was smelling a pirate... Or not? Was it possible to keep such an advanced sim “hidden”? JennyJenny Lauria, who is not representing a public institution or organization or work with library related question in any way but is an emergency room nurse in real life, explained it to me that nope, here be no pirates; “LL (Linden Lab) checks up on us frequently. We adhere to the TOS (Terms of Service) rules regarding media. The stream from for the audio stories from the 1930's and 1940's I rent from shoutcast and use a streaming service provided by SL (Second Life). As for the movies, I buy them from a movie store in SL, and as long as I don't have more than 12 people watching at one time, it's considered "private" use and not "commercial" use, therefor I can provide them for free. It is against TOS to charge to show the movies. And I never ever charge... You only need the latest version of Quicktime (free on the web) to view the movies. The movies are download from an external server by XL Movies (the movie store in SL) and are viewed here on my sim... The radio stream was easy, there are hundreds on the internet, and we chose OTR (Old Time Radio) for the nostalgia effect. As for the movies, I like to have something that appeals to everyone, so I have about 170 now, all kinds, Horror, Drama, Romance, Action, Comedy. We do NOT show pornography.”
As libraries are in the cultural section and the cultural section ALWAYS gets hit when the municipality needs to save money as it always does, statistics is a fun thing to hate... The problems with statistics is that they a lot of the time catch the “wrong” numbers. A while ago the statistics screamed bloody murder as the number of loans plummeted. Ooooh noooo people don't go to the library any more oooh noooo... Ummm yeah they do, but the structural landscape of the library has changed, as it is required to, and ummm that sorta does change the numbers? DOH! First the library is required to change but then the statistics don't add up and what not... tires me, I tell you.
In my very limited experience of actually working in a library and not just write papers of how it should be according to the fancy-pants how does all the thinking (ouch?), the library is used just as much as a room as a service. During Andersson and Johanssons seminar, there was an expressed wish to see the library as a safe haven, a place where you don't have to worry about tresholds, narrow openings and strong scents. A place where you can relax and just enjoy a good book or newspaper or magazine, never mind the format. While strong scents will always be hard to avoid, the library as a safe haven is kinda what we should strive for, in my opinion. Some libraries have taken steps to extend the features of the public room, for examples with cafés and upgraded areas for the youth with video games. Art exhibitions is a frequent input, established artists or the local lady on the corner who draws portraits of her cat (seen them – ace!). Book clubs, seminars, poetry nights/slams, music and other cultural activities take place during and after opening hours. The library is more than a reading room, it is a cultural room and culture is a wide concept. The question on implementing the social medias is a question of extending that room. Something I guess Malmö tried doing, but didn't quite get hold of. One of my reasons for chiseling Third World Asylum into the library section is because it, to me, is a good representation of an extended public cultural room, apart from having library functions with its audio and visual media. The landscape in itself is part of the experience. When asked about the finishing touches on her creation, JennyJenny Lauria laughed and told me that; “Sims are never "finished". When you feel it is "finished" then it's time to leave SL.... ”

Third World Asylum out-door theater a few months ago...
... the same out-door theater now!
The thought of Third World as a process is interesting to me, because to me the attempts to get involved in social medias requires a lot of work to keep in interesting. Actually, on this weeks seminar on availability, we were told that generally when we read a document on the web we read 25 % slower than if we read the same text on paper BUT as users we have a lot less patience on the Internet than in physical life situations! That's one to think about...
About the love of statistics... extending the public room to a digital area does comes with a plus for the ones dealing in digits. Everything in cyber space leaves a mark, it is not that hard to track user numbers down. “I do have a visitor tracker, a basic one, that shows who lands on the sim and where and I check it each day and clear it so I can keep tabs on the traffic. On average, the sime gets about 120 visitors per day, and the movie/radio parcel gets about 40.” says JennyJenny Lauria.
For a privately owned sim where you can't show movies to more than 12 people at the same time and considering the amount of STUFF to do in Second Life, I'd say those figures are not bad. My uni. teacher had one argument about statistics in relation to Malmö – that only about 40 avatars showed up at the release party. However, after having been in Second Life for about 9 months, 40 avatars at once apparently is quite a lot of people as the sims can't support too many avatars at once. I “normal” radio stream allowes around 20-30 people at the same time. So the numbers gets a little fuzzy depending on the perspective. One thing that also is a good measurement of quality of a place is regulars – is it worth to come back!? - something that JennyJenny Lauria has and values; “I take requests from repeat visitors. I have many 'regulars' and I always take requests from them. The most popular movies watched are horror films.”
I know I know... Statistics has important value for the ones holding the allowance. I started of saying that didn't I? Financing a project is a real pain... it caused quite a stir around Malmö, for example. In Second Life, you can finance and transfer money in a number of ways. Simholders pay their landlords but they can place “tip jars” on the sim, asking people to donate a sum of choice if they want to. If you have an open sim, I can see the point to this but as with everything having to do with money there is the political aspect of influence to take into consideration. Some people can handle this, some can't. I have experienced someone coming into the library “tipping” the staff with a potted flower or a bag of cinnamon rolls (I got an orchid on my first day, from a man I helped with a computer! An orchid! I mean... score!). Some people do it as a token of appreciation for the help we provide which is very sweet, but apparently some users also wants the librarians to kinda “forget” about fees for overdue books and such... Not sure... is it one cinnamon roll, one book or..?
JennyJenny Lauria has her thoughts on financing a sim; “We do not take donations on Third World. Period. When we have live entertainment, the entertainment may set out a tip jar and people may tip them, but any tips given to us are returned. We feel people should tip talent, and not have to divide their tips between talent and venue. Third World is financed by Korto Stransky and I pay the fees to hire musicians, comedians, hosts, and pay for movies. I personally feel that if a venue has to rely on tips/donations to survive, perhaps the owner shouldn't own a sim...”
Ok so where am I going with this... ummm no where special, I think. I am surely NOT saying that every library out there should rush to Second Life and start up an account and create a funky yet delicate digital library. Well if you want to, I'm not gonna say anything against it... or yes I will, that is what I have done all this time in a way.
I think the social medias are fun fun fun AND can be of good use to some groups of library-visitors, but NOT all of them. Once again, an organisation must ask themselves - can we do this? Are we meeting a need of our users by implementing this feature in our every day avtivities? Just because a feature of some sort is "there" it doesn't mean that everyone can or should use it. If it would be of greater interest to improve on other parts of an organisations services, then please do. No use in neglecting a functional part just to implement a new one that seems fresh and groovy but quite... useless. I kinda like to stress that - think before you do! But don't let it stop you from trying, hell there are lots of good recipes out there that comes from someone only having a bunch of carrots, some nutmeg and watermelon laying around... if you get my drift.

Now I'd be the first to say don't change something just for the hell of changing it, maybe more so in care of the groups of users with disabilities why rely on the security of old, familiar places and signs. But you can still upgrade, touch-up, gradually entertain.

What I would like to leave you with though, is that even if you don't feel like or can or should implement the social medias into your organisation - do visit them sometimes just to be inspired! If you stop being curious then life tends to get quite boring.
I asked JennyJenny Lauria what she does when she isn't running Third World Asylum and was given the answer; "I am an avid explorer. There are so many fantastic sims in SL. I am always astonished at the creativity produced by the artists and builders in Second Life. I do not club. I watche movies, I go listen to the fantastic RL/SL musicians at concerts. I go to tribute band shows. I go to venues that host stand up comedy and live story telling. But most of all, I love meeting people from around the world. Second Life has given me the opportunity to meet people and learn about different cultures that I would never learn about in my RL."

View on the sim Third World Asylum - Oh well time to go home. I can't decide... train or boat?

Visti the Third World Asylum blog