For those unfamiliar with Second Life, it’s a virtual environment in which users interact with each other and a world they create. Think of it as a social platform on steroids. It’s also a platform for enhancing the way we work together. My goal with the virtual environment I helped create and continue to build upon is to allow visitors to learn about community, mindfulness, and best practices in regenerative lifestyle and business.
I know those are all buzz words, but it is a focus I work with clients on adopting and applying to their organizations. There are many things that go into building a business whether it’s a brick and mortar operation or solely Internet-based. Green infrastructure considerations apply to both. Increasing efficiency while lowering negative impact on the world around us benefits the environment and everyone in it. Etopia has been my way of demonstrating what we can do to create community, live well, and work successfully. The nonprofits and professionals that call Etopia home in Second Life not only appreciate this, but contribute to it.
How does all of this translate into real world benefit? Visitors not only learn about, but interact with, the ideas I’ve touched on above. For example, when someone is interested in lowering their carbon footprint, but isn’t sure how to go about it they can experience it at Etopia. They might ride a bike around the Plaza or walk between shops. These are activities that can be done in real life as well.
Visitors can learn about and interact with how a cooperative works, what goes into building a tiny home, setting up a solar array, or how to grow their own food in an apartment. Visitors also get to see how businesses utilize technology, some smart planning, and an enthusiasm for the environment to lower their impact and save money.
One great example is how I work with teams in Second Life and through online forums to build their organizational capacity. This saves money and gives participants an opportunity to experiment with imagination to meet their objectives. Whether creating a vision statement for a new nonprofit or creating a project plan, using a platform like Second Life offers flexibility within a robust workspace.
Virtual environments aren’t for everyone. There is a learning curve. There are those that see Second Life as another online gaming platform like World of Warcraft. However, when evaluated in context of a changing business world and in light of the educational opportunities inherent in immersive experiences, Second Life, and by extension Etopia, offer limitless possibilities.