The YearlyKos Convention has started in Chicago and in Second Life (teleport SLURL) It's amazing seeing the parallel tracks being broadcast in the different meeting areas they have set up in-world, and the avatars gathered to participate virtually. Unlike real conferences, you can instantly teleport around to the different sessions, checking in on a panel on labor organizing, another on Net Neutrality and a third on health care reform.
I fired off some questions to the organizers about YearlyKos in SL and got some interesting responses, which you can see after the fold. Apparently, it's all about partying...
How did you get involved in organizing YearlyKos in SL?
Jimbo Hoyer: When I joined InWorld Studios, the first thing I thought about was YearlyKos. I remembered last year, sitting in my living room in front of my TV and watching the Valeriie Plame Panel - with Jane Hamsher (of FireDogLake.com) and (Ambassador) Joe Wilson. It was great, but I remember feeling alone, and feeling that I wanted to be there! It seemed to me that Second Life would be perfect for something like this. I was speaking yesterday with David Grossman of PoliticsTV, who said that in their livestream experience even the most popular subjects attract something like 500 viewers. The interaction with other attendees is still the major motivation for attending inworld.
Jane2 McMahon: The biggest difference is the social or shared experience...I've heard from more than one registrant that watching it on tv last year was unsatisfying. What I'm finding is that people are doing what people everywhere in SL do...form relationships, discuss "live", make friends, explore...that's the added value of the SL event IMO. Not to mention the fact that they are all of a sudden perfect dancers... CSPN can't do that!
Nike Lazlo: Right now, everyone is dancing up a storm. The thing I love about Second Life is you can multitask - dance AND chat! You can't do that in RL clubs; can't hear the person right next to you, never mind across the room.
What kind of response have you gotten from the official event organizers?
Jimbo Hoyer: Incredible! They really got it. Not only were they totally supportive, but they brought me onto the organizing committee so that I would be completely in the loop. I was welcomed with open arms.
Will this be an integrated mixed-reality event, or two separate but parallel events?
Jimbo Hoyer: Totally integrated. We're streaming panels and keynotes from the convention, with participants here able to type in questions that are IMed back in to the RL convention for the panelists to answer. Plus, we have our own stream of programming.
Related question: Will there be much interaction between SL participants and participants in Chicago? How will you facilitate that?
Jimbo Hoyer: See above. Also, most or our organizers are there in Chicago, so we're interacting on that level. And we've got people posting to the DailyKos blog from both forums, so there's third-level interaction happening there between those participating at both events and those who are just checking in from the outside.
What do you hope will come out of YearlyKos in SL?
Drew Frobozz: Second Life offers some great organizational abilities. Meeting inworld, networking inworld, testing things out. I hope this leads to more use of progressive organizers, campaigns and not-for-profits setting up shop in-world and building on what we've done here.
Thanks, Drew, Jimbo and Jane2 for your responses! Good luck with this ambitious experiment.