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Browsing Tag Second Life

I Was A 26 Year Old Blond Bombshell..On The Internet Part 1

I Was A 26 Year Old Blond Bombshell..On The Internet Part 1

(This is the crazy story on how I got involved in Social Media. It is too long to tell in great detail, but here are the key points to the history. If you are totally confused, check out the video below.)

It is true. Are you done laughing? Yes, I a 38 year old married father of 5, used to pretend to be a 26 year old bombshell on the ‘net. Want to  know the best part? It worked really well for networking and building my brand. Yep.  I would do my social networking under the name: Britney Mason. Here meet Britney-

Britney Mason

Britney Mason

Yep, she.. I mean I was a female avatar.

So at this point your totally confused, I know. Let me just tell you the story from the beginning, as I can best recall it.

In August 2005, I was up with my new born twins around 1:00 a.m. Doing my part so my beautiful wife could catch a few winks. I was reading TIME magazine learning about this new virtual world called, Second Life. (I’m not going to get into all the details of SL in this post, you can read more about it here.)

The first thing I was asked to do was pick a last name from a list and create my own first name.  As I looked down the list, the only semi-normal last name I could find was, Mason. As for a a first name, I had US magazine next to me with Britney Spears on the cover.  At that moment it all came together for me, Im going to pretend to be a girl in SL.

(Weird? Yep! Odd? For sure! Do you want to make all kinds of jokes at my expense right now? Yes, you do.  Done? Great)

Now I spent about 3 months in SL trying to figure out what the point was, what I needed to do to have fun, etc, etc. In the end, I got bored. I found really nothing interesting to do there.

Fast Forward to early 2006, I had been listening to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code podcast since 2005. On one show Adam had mentioned his discovery of Second Life and how he was so excited about this new way to meet and interact with people. He went so far as to invite people to meet him in world, giving out his Avatar name of  “Adam Neumann”.

currycastle

I thought to myself, why not log in and meet Adam Curry. Well that is exactly what I did.  Adam quickly responded to me, going so far as to invite me to his home. Over the next few days I would meet Adam “In World” and help him build out his avatar, Curry Castle and share tips and tricks. Now, Adam asked me point blank if I was really a woman.  I immediately  replied “Yes, of course!”

At the time Adam’s podcast was truly daily, so everyday he would mention something about SL, what we were up doing, who else was in SL.  As, we spent more time in SL and he updated listeners on his podcast, something interesting started to happen.  A community started to form around us.  I would get Instant Messages from people looking for Adam, or just wanting to chat. It was really exciting.

Then Adam approached me about a Second Life deal. What if we partnered up for a “Virtual Business”? A 50-50 deal.  He would fund it and I would run it. SL was just starting to grow by leaps and bounds, Real Life companies were starting to come in like Home Depot, Sears, IBM, and others. I was all in!

Now, a few other things were happening at this time. All sorts of Podcasters and also joined SL. They all would hang out at Curry Castle or maybe at a piece of virtual land they purchased nearby. There was Cali Lewis, Anji Bee, The Rumor Girls,  among many, many others. They in turn would go and talk about their experiences on their  respective podcasts.  The number of people joining the community just grew and grew because of this.

Seeing that we needed something more organized, I spoke to Adam, who agreed, it was time to purchase our own virtual island, PodShow Island. Podshow was Adam’s company which would later be called Mevio.

PodShow Island, in my opinion was a success when it launched. The sim was nothing but hustle and bustle.  Eventually many of us lost interest and moved on to Twitter. The island closed in March 2008

Yes, I have missed a lot of the details. Think of this as the cliff notes version if you will. So, please do not nit pick.   I wanted to give you this history so I can refrence it in future blog posts, when I discuss communities, networking and online branding. Oh, its also fun to go reminisce of where it all started for me!

Oh, so for those of you who are totally confused and wondering what is the point, check out the video below.

I think this video I did for CNBC somes it up really well.  Questions? Feel free to ask!

February 10, 2009 By : Category : Uncategorized Tags:, , , , , , ,
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Its Just A Virtual World With Real Money!

Its Just A Virtual World With Real Money!

virtual-theft

Would you pay good money for:

-Something you can not hold?

-Something you can not touch?

-Something you can not smell?

-Something you can not take with you?

What’s that? No? Me either. Yet we do it all the time. Let us review it in list form, people like lists:

-In Facebook people can give virtual gifts to friends by  paying real money for virtual credits.

-In Second Life people make a living by creating virtual clothes and goods. People also pay real money for virtual land.

-In World Of Warcraft there  is a whole secondary market where people who have set up businesses  selling virtual gold coins to people so they can buy virtual goods in the game.

The list goes on and on… crazy right?

This is bigger then playing games on line or networking with friends. Companies need to start thinking outside the box and starting embracing these new ways that people interact and consume products. Brands need to do more then buy  a commercial on tv, a radio spot, or a print ad. Consumers are more then ever interacting with brands directly and in different ways. People are spending real money on virtual items and spending real time in virtual environments with brands

Lets look at some examples of how companies use virtual goods and worlds to increase brand awareness and/or generate more revue:

- On top of the monthly fees World Of  Warcraft users are spending up to $10.00 extra for a limted edition virtual pet to use in the game. They sold out.

wow

-Facebook users sold out limted edition virtual New York Times newspapers that had the headline of Obama Wins.

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-Club Penigun has created its whole business model around kids paying a membership so they can earn virtual coins to buy virtual goods to decorate their virtual homes..(follow that one?) It is so successful Disney bought them. They paid with real money, not virtual.

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MTV has created entire virtual worlds around their tv shows. Even though MTV airs the same episodes 8 times a day, users want to spend more time with the brand. They log into a virtual world based on the show. They cant get enough. It is so successful they now have over 5 virtual worlds based on their tv shows.

promo_hills

Wells Fargo Bank create an entire virtual world and active community to help educate youth on banking called StageCoach Island This includes a community site and blog. It has been so successful it has been around for over 2 years.

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So have I made my point? Let me say it again. Companies, brands, businesses, etc need to think and market in new ways. Virtual goods and virtual environments is one way to do it. Wheather they are spending money to buy virtual goods that represent a brand or logging into a virtual world to spend more time with the brand, it is another way to build brand loyalty.

December 16, 2008 By : Category : Blog Tags:, , , , , , ,
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