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Community in a virtual environment

October 10, 2007
at 12:00 pm PST

So today I was at the virtual worlds conference in San Jose. Tomorrow our very own Christian Renaud is the keynote speaker!One of the topics that kept popping up during the various sessions I attended was community in networked virtual environments and the idea that 2D, 2 1/2 D, and 3D spaces help foster community.0927_001.jpgCisco believes this to be true. Since our inception in Second Life we have created a Cisco News Group which is now well over 200 strong. There are also many non-Cisco created yet Cisco related groups in Second Life for example: Cisco User Group, CCIE Group, Cisco Italy Group, Cisco French Group, etc. I couldn’t tell you the number of times I have helped out newbs in Second Life; Cisco fellows as well as non-Cisco fellows. It can be intimidating when you are born in a virtual world; I remember it all to well. You have this awful skin, bad hair, and not so great clothing…and as a recent NY Times article stated even in a virtual world stuff matters when it comes to status and acceptance in the community. It is truly groovy that people do help each other in these virtual worlds and more importantly they want to help each other. After all isn’t that what community is all about? To that end Cisco is using virtual worlds like Second Life to extend our community. We want to help our community learn about us, each other and how we can collaborate with one another. One of the ways we foster this is to hold virtual events on subjects that we understand to be top of mind for our community. Tomorrow we will hold a TechChat in Second Life at noon PDT on Application Intelligence on Your Router: A Technical Discussion of Performance Routing.During one of the panels today a speaker said, “We are a community looking out for each other.” Another panel speaker said, “These communities makes us more compassionate for one another.”I couldn’t agree more. If community exists, then freedom and security are enabled. This enables the community to morph, because members of the community feel free enough to share and secure enough to get along. The best avatar first name I have seen to date is, ivgoturback :-)As Cicero said, “We were born to unite with our fellow men, and to join in community with the human race.” He might not have been talking about a second birth but it applies none the less. Don’t you think?

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