First Event in Second Life

As Mayo Clinic (specifically our Center for Innovation) hosted its first event today in Second Life, it also was the first time I have attended a Second Life event. You can read about the event here on our Mayo Clinic News Blog, and I also have uploaded some screen shots to our Mayo Clinic Facebook Page.

If you haven’t experienced Second Life, here’s a brief video snippet from today’s presentation to give you a feel:

Second Life has a different value proposition as compared to the social media tools I have more strongly advocated. For instance, for an educational event like today’s lecture, it provides a neat way for people from all over the world to be virtually in the same room. I thought it was neat that we had room monitors available to help newbies like me figure out the controls.

Second Life is not a way to reach a large audience. There were several dozen people (or their avatars) in this event today, which I think made it quite successful. But it does seem like a good way to have more in-depth interactions than may be possible through Twitter chats, for instance. And for discussions of sensitive subjects and medical conditions, the anonymity of an avatar offers some value.

Back in 2007 there was a lot of hype about Second Life, and many organizations rushed in to have a presence there. I’m glad Mayo Clinic is exploring this through our Center for Innovation, and seeing what uses make sense for us.

I wrote a post about Second Life back in 2007 that was misunderstood as trashing Second Life, when that wasn’t my intent at all. My point was that organizations that had been considering spending on Second Life should think Facebook first. I think that’s proven to be wise advice: at the time Facebook had 40 million monthly active users, and since then has grown to 400 million.

But I still think Second Life is worth exploring, and as I said, I’m glad we have some people at Mayo Clinic who are seriously experimenting with it. I personally will probably not be a super frequent visitor because I have a lot of other things going on, but I’m keeping an open mind.

How about you? Have you visited Second Life? What do you think of it? How do you see it being applied?

Personal and Professional Personas in Social Networks

In the Facebook 210 course I describe a way to use Facebook’s Friend lists to create a “work-safe” profile that is less likely to cause professional problems, when that high school classmate or college buddy tags you in a questionable photo or writes on your wall. This led to a thoughtful comment from Erik Giberti:

I’ve sent you a friend request and of course your on my limited profile. I find this discussion interesting because there’s a fine line between having a personal persona and a professional persona. I go back and forth on this idea, but I believe that they are really one in the same. The way I am at work is often reflected by the way I am when I’m not at work and vice versa. The reality is, many folks create an artificial “professional” persona that masks who they are in the “real world”. It has been my experience that employers and co-workers can usually tease out trends in your real life personality and spot the fake portions of the professional persona. What’s left is really something closer to your personal persona. So why not just present that first and save everyone the time?

I think Erik has a good point, and personally I don’t have a problem with anyone seeing my whole profile. My life is an open book. And I think the ethic of transparency we are coming to expect from corporations also has some implications for personal life. In fact, that’s why I like Facebook as opposed to MySpace or Second Life. In Facebook people almost always go by the name their parents gave them; in MySpace that’s not necessarily so, and in Second Life you are represented by an avatar and aren’t allowed to use your real name. (I did recently try Second Life, I think my name is Allen Atlass.)

On the other hand, even aside from the potentially problematic posts and tags from others, many people put their religious beliefs and political leanings on their Facebook profiles, and many businesses want to keep politics and religion out of the workplace. You don’t typically put that information on your business card.

LinkedIn doesn’t have anything in its personal profiles that would indicate religious or political persuasion, unless of course you have worked vocationally in religious or political pursuits. For Facebook to be an effective business alternative to LinkedIn (I use both Facebook and LinkedIn, but Facebook to a much greater extent), it needs to duplicate this functionality.

That was the point of Facebook 210 and the subsequent SMUG Research Project; creating an example of how you can avoid broadcasting this personal information to co-workers, customers or clients, but yet share it with your non-work friends.

SMUG students who read my post on religious podcasting have a window to my theological beliefs, and because of my previous career information (which is available on both my LinkedIn and Facebook profiles), they would correctly infer my political sympathies. (Hint: I don’t have a direct psychological stake in the outcome of tomorrow’s Pennsylvania contest between Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama.) Which leads me to reiterate that the views expressed on this blog are mine, not those of my employer.

So Erik is right to a point; maintaining a sanitized professional persona may not be consistent with the ethic of transparency. One might even call it a matter of integrity in the literal sense. Integrity means being a single person, not having a compartmentalized life. If you’re maintaining a professional profile on LinkedIn and a personal one on Facebook, with completely different friends, you’re already creating this division. Facebook 210 just tells you how to create that separation on a single platform.

I think the key to what Erik says is that a professional persona shouldn’t “mask” who you are in real life. But there’s a difference between hiding information about yourself and not actively promoting things that might be stumbling blocks for some acquaintances.

What do you think?

Mike Moran, Paula Berg and Viral Marketing

I’m getting another dose of Mike Moran. Now he’s talking about different types of viral marketing:

Content-Based social media marketing. Focuses on the content to be posted and passed around (e.g. Blogger,,YouTube,,digg, StumbleUpon). Does your organization have content that might be passed along?

If you think YouTube isn’t for B2B, you’re wrong. YouTube lets potential IBM customers get a product demonstration in a low-stress environment. No pressure. Very cost effective. Here’s an example from IBM:


Squidoo is another example. Some might find it helpful.

Don’t launch big new projects. For example, don’t say you now want all of your releases to be social media press releases. Try one. Then try another in a different way.

Personality-based social media marketing. For example, LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace. It’s a way for people to find consultants directly.

Continue reading “Mike Moran, Paula Berg and Viral Marketing”

Connecting With Your Audience Using Social Networking

J.C. Bouvier of the International Fund for Animal Welfare and Kevin Reid of Issue Dynamics presented this case study. In his previous career, J.C. started Avid’s podcast series.

He took the job with IFAW, a more pragmatic organization than PETA, to  promote the Stop the Seal Hunt campaign, aimed at getting the Canadian government to take action.


  • Recruit thousands of new users into IFAW’s existing
  • Generate 10,000s of new messages to the government of Canada
  • Increase fundraising
  • Provide a range of engaging, meaningful activities for new and old users

Campaign Components

Goal was to get 300,000 actions taken.

Evoca is a way to upload and share audio…like YouTube for audio.


  • Community Members: 98,000+
  • Subscriber List: 5 percent increase
  • Actions taken: 346 percent increase
  • Donations: 56 percent up over previous year
  • MySpace: Doubled number of Friends
  • YouTube: Over 60,000 views

IFAW also has the Stop Whaling campaign, with similar elements.