Any enterprise that can use tools to save money will. Most people call that progress. Yet, innovation is always met with resistance. Perhaps the potential impact of a new idea can be measured by how much resistance it receives. Examples of this are legendary.
So the more innovative the new development, the less those potentially most affected can understand it. The internet has taken thirty years to become pervasive.
As a publishing professional, i have witnessed how the internet opened global competition. I work with clients I will never meet now. So new communication skills are needed. This has become a preoccupation in itself.
My career has taken a turn to the virtual. This can really look deceptive because, on the one hand I am more stationary sitting in front of two computer screens (one Mac and one PC), yet I am walking around the world.
In my usual manner, to understand anything, I naturally start interviewing people. That has well sustained a writing career!! And it is time to do something I have always dreamed of doing: publishing a magazine.
As a perpetual student, those who are the most successful use tools to best advantage, and they all find convergences in their talents/circumstances. A business book author and corporate identity designer with a client list from lawyers to manufacturers to restaurants to nonprofits, how can I build on such a rich general insight? What are others struggling with in my field of publishing? It is the very use of the tools available. i
My convergence is Sim Street Journal and my avatar blog. The virtual world is a tool development few publishers understand. Few entrepreneurs do too. These are the myths that hold back the inevitable, sadly, because to not use a virtual world platform is missing out on the most enriching educational experience ever.
The myths abound. Now, with three years of experience on the business end of Second Life®, I can address these myths with authority:
1. The learning curve is not the big deal proclaimed—that is covered by some good tutorials, user groups, and help from friends.
2. It is lawless, like the wild west—which is true. Exploring cyber crime, and virtual worlds as tools for criminals, is essential.
3. Gamers abound—those who view virtual worlds purely for entertainment are about half the population. The other half is there to be creative, learn, share experiences, market test, teach, publish, and explore. Many people role play sexual fantasies, and they have their own society. Like any big city, the groups cluster and make their own territory.
Understanding the relevance of the virtual world means I, again, am on the cutting-edge of tool evolution. Being a desktop publishing pioneer, embracing the internet for creativity, and now supporting the use of virtual world technology, it just seems my fate or my karma to keep doing this. But, now, for the first time, I can use those very tools to publish completely within my own capability. I am not the tech person with the machete cutting new technological paths through the jungle of the unknown. But i follow right behind that leader with notebook and pen, drawing a map, learning about dangers, and documenting progress.
Sim Street Journal portrays all of business, as exemplified by the virtual world platform. The ways business is the same enhances skills cost-effectively. The ways they are different means new opportunities to engage constituents. Behind the avatar’s keyboard are real people—and a mix of about 80 countries. This echoes the international mix of the internet itself. But most significantly, people like to be avatars. They can always look good fast, and it is enhances, even accelerates, real experience. SSJ uses virtual worlds as a metaphor to learn from that experience in ways that apply to all business.
It also gives glimpse into avatar use—as a form of self-representation. The avatar is the new business card. It is 100% an expression of who it represents. It is a new way of making first impressions.
The fact that the business world is shy to use this new technology is both no surprise and is testimony to its potential impact. As I watch people take trains to their jobs, drive on highways for an hour each way, or fly to conferences that cost thousands of dollars to attend, I am just amazed. It may not be in my lifetime that I see virtual worlds allowing more people to work at home, to save on fuel costs, to be more efficient with their time, and to find new ways of belonging to social circles, but anyone who does not see that progress always follows what saves time and money is in denial. I would rather be part of the future than part of the past, though I study the past to project the future. There is no greater learning tool ever invented than virtual reality.
Now SSJ is about to release its 8th issue. It has a roster of expert contributors, a small staff of producers, a cluster of loyal advertisers, an active Facebook community, and 10,000 readers.
SSJ has grown with those who love virtual world technology. My goal is to rise above that and identify what is learned there that applies to all business. SSJ is a metaphor, a place to discover what can advance marketing, management, and media. It is happening with or without being embraced by entrepreneurs in real life. The ways that I learned about the world, about psychology, new kinds of collaborations, interacting directly with readers, and feeling the success of a dream realized can’t be measured in just money. But without money, the effort can’t be sustained.
Bringing relevance to the general online virtual worker is a logical next step. I am seeking to bring a new audience to those companies with products and services are sought by the technologically savvy. I hope to introduce and relate many of the tips and techniques that apply to all ventures, whether virtual or not. And, while doing this, I am an example of working virtuality by showing new ways to use the tools. My product is my portfolio. I do wish to collaborate with clients on their own virtual publishing and marketing. This is a convergence that can sustain.
PUBLISHING: articles and samples:
BLOG: Publishing Pioneer highlights and perceptions
PORTFOLIO: Liane Sebastian Illustration showcases recent projects http://www.lianesebastianillustration.wordpress.com
Sim Street Journal presents recent issues, critiques, and archives