Saturday, April 30, 2011

Second Life and Social Networks

It was a real kick to see the #SLBumpersticker craze take off this week. It was a great affirmation of two key ideas I've been trying to promote over the last couple of years:
  • Transworld Identity. Thousands of avatarians communicate and build community each day over social networks such as Twitter, Plurk and Facebook. Social networks are not only used to to interact with those we know from prior contact in a virtual world, but are now one of the main mediums used by avatar-identified beings to meet and get to know one another. Although there's nothing like hanging out with friends while rezzed in the virtual flesh, the virtual world paradigm is not conducive to the pervasive loosely-coupled contact we enjoy on social networks. 
  • Twitter as a platform for creativity. The challenge of formulating a funny or thought-provoking idea in < 140 characters can be a very satisfying and productive creative exercise. I've found it to be such a fertile source of ideas that Twitter has become a core part of my standard creative workflow. I usually write immediately after waking in the morning. I start with a #hashtag topic and then spend half an hour or so writing tweets. I use the Tweetr iPhone client to schedule each tweet for later delivery. That's how I can post a micro-rant over the course of a day even when my human counterpart is tied up in meetings for hours at a time. Tweets can then be used as the basis for blog posts, videos and graphics.

Here's one of my first comics on the topic of social networking, from January 2009:

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