SL Relay for Life: Second Life success!
The Guardian Gamesblog’s magnificent team of many dedicated members ran tall and proud in all manner of avatars this weekend as part of the third Second Life Relay for Life. I don’t think I can thank Clarence Kamachi, JoannaTrail Blazer, Helter Alexandre and Stigsson Lundquist enough for their support and time and for the hours they spent running around the track during the 18 hour race! In total, we raised L$101,435 – that’s US $485 – for the American Cancer Society, ran 10 laps on a track that took a full hour to run without stopping (it took me 4 hours to run my first lap and I didn’t get to see half of what I wanted to!) and clocked over 120,000 virtual metres. Pictures here and here.
Our efforts, in conjunction with those of the other teams, helped to raise over US $115,000 in total – 1.5 times 2006’s record. WOW.
This event showcases the virtual world as a place for successful awareness-raising and fund-raising, and poo poos the recent spate of negative publicity surrounding Second Life for real life benefit. What the efforts of the SLRFL organising committee and those taking part demonstrate AGAIN is that businesses and organisations MUST maintain their involvement with the world and its community in order to prosper and succeed.
As Ren, Tony and others have observed, going into the virtual environment – any virtual environment – purely for offline publicity is going to guarantee commercial failure in online ventures. Sure, SL is a space with trends and memes, but any advertising or non-profit initiative cannot survive on a model that drives an audience to one place at one time. Instead, it needs to prove it is dedicated enough to provide a service over a long period of time.
Why should I bother to go to, for example, the in-world Playboy mansion? Vodafone island? Samsung? There’s nothing going on! These places are dead because the offline organisations have given up and moved on, in search of the next digital landscape to populate.
Hey folks, we’re not dealing in a so-called “Web 1.0” static internet environment anymore, where a webpage is a sufficient placeholder for the forseeable future. The modern landscapes of Social Softwares (from blogs to facebooks to virtual worlds) take me to living and breathing places. I return to them to see what’s been updated, what’s new. I expect to be constantly surprised, engaged, taken on an adventure, a journey. This year’s SLRFL track was designed and created by both the official crew and the fundraising teams and by harnessing in-world creative talent (the people who GET it), every corner was filled with things to play with, to discover and to engage with. Clever clever: all proceeds from everything that was purchased (objects and experiences) went to the American Cancer Society. Now that’s what I call in-world marketing.
So. If you can’t write a regular blog post or be bothered to update your twitter feed, add new things to your upcoming, post a new video, hold regular events in a virtual world/on a forum/in a chatroom, or provide a consistent and deep service for as long as people want to drop by, you need to figure out some other way to engage with the public.
And that’s what the SLRFL has done. They are organised around one big event on temporary holdings that has a run-up of in-world and team-led activities for several months prior to the actual event. Like the Edinburgh Festival, the event was hosted on borrowed or short-term land, which means that the organisers do not have responsibility for filling in the events schedule for an empty building for 11 months out of the year, but can stand back from in-world activities to develop ideas for 2008. They have a long view of how to use this space successfully, and that is the key.
The SL Relay for Life has consistently offered a template for successful engagement with the new digital consumer. May it continue to succeed until we have found a cure.
~ by aleks on July 30, 2007.