The Level Playing Field:
From Web 2.0 to World 2.0 and Virtual Life

Tue, May 29, 2007


Fizik Baskerville (a.k.a Justin Bovington) says:

“Web + TV + Print + Virtual Worlds = Powerful”

This week Virtual Life and World 2.0 entered a new era with Destroy TV and virtual lifelogging in full swing, and the opening of the Sky News sim on Second Life. Sky News launched with a live event and live simulcast from the Guardian Hay Festival. Sky News has partnered with Rivers Runs Red on this watershed project for Second Life. And, the impressive Second Life replica of the real life Sky News headquarters was packed for the launch.

Web 2.0 is a mindset that leaves behind the negative forces of monopolies, and one-way communication. Web 2.0 is not a new version of the internet but the coming of age of the original vision of the internet to serve the interaction and cooperation amongst people (see Daniel Orsolic). And, it will be very interesting to see how Sky News develops 2.0 concepts, e.g., citizen journalism, user generated content on Second Life. For a good round up of a range News 2.0 phenomena see, “What is news 2.0 to you?” It is very exciting to see mainstream news media beginning to explore the collaborative potential of Second Life.

The 2.0 view has now been expanded to all aspects of our world – you can google news 2.o, sex 2.0 (I didn’t actually check the links on this), and enterprise 2.0 – lots of buzz about that (and if you want an inside view on what enterprise 2.0 is about check out IBM on Second Life). And, then there is World 2.o to encompass all the 2.0ed phenomena.

The 2.0 movement can be understood as a drive to revise the world into something better (Orsolic). And, part of the magic of Second Life is that the social and immersive qualities of SL are the quintessential expression of the 2.0 principles of user generated content, community, and collaboration – the heart and soul of 2.0 culture.

I was fortunate to log on, Sunday, at almost the exact same moment that Fizik Baskerville (a.k.a. Justin Bovington), CEO and Executive Creative Director of Rivers Runs Red, arrived in Sky News on Second Life after a 5hr road trip back from the live event (picture above). And, despite being, “at it for 48hrs,” he took the time to talk to me. Also, I saw on my Twitter stream that he even visited Destroy TV later! As the live event was held in the morning, UK time, I missed it. I am a New Yorker, and while virtual worlds herald the death of geography, I am not ready yet for the end of sleep!

But, Epredator, Andy Remblai and Aglernon Spackler from IBM (see Eightbar ) were all there, and three Lindens. And, you can catch up with what happened at the event on Second Life on the
Eightbar blog.
Also see a very good post on MindBlizzard, and Sky New’s own advert/machinima for the event. The video grabs below are from this. On the right is Justin Bovington.


Rivers Runs Red now has a team dedicated to Sky News 24/7. Justin explained to me:

a dedicated content team will be on hand for updates – just like breaking news it need to be a 24/7 approach. We’re going recreate scenes when needed. We could in the future reproduce courts etc. Augmented reality – we are really into that. We have partnered with Sky News because they want to explore it too…..adding value, as in Second Life compliments, not detracting from another medium.

We can now step into the news room as it happens. The headlines are specially updated 5 times a day. Future events like the Hay Festival will also be incorporated, plus a lot of surprises to come. Sky News is very excited you just had to watch Sky News over the weekend to see the enthusiasm for all this [also see Adam Boulton’s Weblog].

The Level Playing Field and The End of Geography


On Thursday of last week, I went to hear Mitchell Kapor (avatar on the right) and Philip Rosedale speak about The Level Playing Field Institute and Second Life. Philip Rosedale described how:

He was lucky enough to find Mitch at a time when no-body really would have gotten behind what we were doing – the idea of Second Life itself was something that was just outright crazy at the time that Mitch first made his investment in Linden Lab. And, for several years to follow, when Second Life was but a few hundred people using it, Mitch and a small group of angel investors that he inspired were the ones who believed.

Philip Rosedale spoke on the role of Second Life in creating a better world.

Second Life is changing the world, at least in part, by lowering the barriers to doing things for a lot of people around the world. There are people who are able to learn new things, and make new careers for themselves, to change their lives fundamentally because they have access to this environment in which the costs of doing things are reduced to almost zero. And, the barriers between people and the kind of reasons and judgments that people make about each other are virtually eliminated. And, we are left in this new world in which we all have the same opportunity. And what we are seeing in Second Life is that if you give everybody the same opportunity everybody does well. And that’s something that is very exciting and maybe surprising to some people out there in the world to see. But, it isn’t surprising at all for me. And, I really know it isn’t surprising for Mitch, and for The Level Playing Field Institute.

Mitchell Kapor spoke on the “death of geography”

We have lived under the tyranny of geography for all the millennia of human history. And, if you wanted to get together with people you really had to be in the same room. I am in a room full of people and I am part of an event on Second Life………..this is the future that we are making together. You are all pioneers in how we will make this new world.

Then, via IMs to Brainy Aleixandre of the Levelers (the LPFI’s Second Life group), Mitch Kapor fielded questions about the work of The Level Playing Institute. To learn more, please go to the web site. Mitch Kapor presented an open invitation for dialogue and collaboration. Also, see The Levelers blog.

In response to a question that came in from Real Life from a student in SMASH (see picture below from Smashcast blog), “What was the spark you saw in Philip?” Mitch made some interesting comments. Some things he mentioned were:

passion, determination and creativity …… and in addition [Second Life] has never been just a business, never been just about making money, building something bigger, or being successful. Integral, and we saw this very early on, was that it was about making a difference, about making a better world. And, we also see that from our students [in SMASH].

SMASH (Summer Math & Science Honors Academy) is one of the innovative projects to come out of The Level Playing Field Institute.


World 2.0 and Virtual Life

The virtualization of life – the joining of physical and virtual space in meaningful ways – begins to manifest the full possibilities of a 2.0 world. Something that is quite unexpected to some people is that this, the linking of the virtual and the physical, is the key to creating a sustainable future.

Bruce Sterling imagines how computers can help us find a way out of an industrial society that is not sustainable and is thoroughly inequitable.

The Emergence of Virtualized Communities

Many projects are still in the research stage. See Ian Hughes’s report on his visit to Tweakfest, and the IBM Zurich Lab, for some interesting examples of research into linking physical and virtual space. The work of Jeffrey Huang and his Swiss House project seemed particularly interesting to me.

The aim here to connect swizz ex-pats with their home country and fellow swiss in other countries. This ‘house’ is in Cambridge, MA between Harvard and MIT. The aim is to create a physical space but have the presence and linkages to other spaces, not by one video conference screen but lots of types of walls, projections, virtual/real world tools.
There are some pictures here of the sort of space created.


Uber Lifelogger

Then there is MyLifeBits, the ultimate lifelogging project from the legendary computer scientist Gordon Bell.

For the past seven years, Bell has been conducting an audacious experiment in “lifelogging”–creating a near-total digital record of his experience.


For an excellent report and a guide on How To Build Your Own MyLifeBits see Fast Company. And, if you really get inspired, you can follow some links in earlier posts on Ugotrade that will give you clues on how you could virtualize your data on Second Life in meaningful ways!

Virtual Space is the New Infrastructure:
Africa Pioneers Mobile Banking.


The development of mobile banking in Africa is showing that economic obstacles created by lack of physical infrastructure and difficulties with currency exchange can be overcome by innovative use of the mobile virtual space. Trading in minutes is so successful in Africa that major banks are setting up m-banking divisions (thanks Neil Caudwell for this link).

GigaOM writes:

While, most in the developed world fret about developing elegant and complex mobile transaction systems – folks who need mobile banking figure out things on their own. Using a little bit of common sense.

Read the full story over on

Enterprise 2.0 meets Sports 2.0 for a Virtual Tennis Match


As Tara5 Oh, I went to IBM 7, Monday morning, where I met Andy Remblai, Laronzo Fitzgerald (builder and scripter), and Iorek Rasmuson – a tennis fan interested in technology who said he’d come to watch another Second Life first:

I’ve used the IBM online scoreboard for Wimbledon before and I guess this is the next generation.

Andy and Laronzo were working on the build which is open to the public, but still in an early experimental stage. Iorek and I were enjoying virtual tennis despite the appalling weather at Roland Garros. And, it was very interesting meeting the IBM virtual architects (see the IBM on Demand Scoreboard here).

Ian Hughes, who has pioneered this tennis project with others at IBM, sent me a message from Second Life earlier, in response to my questions about when tennis on Second Life would open to the public:

The tri board has schedule, completed matches and matches in progress, the main court will be showing live current match (all being well) or a replay of a match some videos and other things around. We are doing this quite gently as its the first tennis one we have gone public with.

Ian Hughes now has a post and video up describing Tennis in Second Life – Roland Garros. And, 3PointD has an interesting interview with Epredator (Ian Hughes). Virtual journalist, Walker Spaight, does some participatory exploration. Epredator invites you to come on over and take a look.


I mentioned earlier in this post that if you want experience enterprise 2.0 from the inside you may want to visit the IBM sims on Second Life. The IBM Impact 2007 SOA (Service Oriented Architecure) conference (see my earlier post) was an extraordinary example of the convergence of enterprise culture, 2.o thinking, and virtual worlds. SOA is particularly interesting re an understanding of Enterprise 2.0. SOA might be described as IT solutions with a Web 2.0 attitude. Although, there are convergences and divergences between SOA and Web 2.0 as Dion Hinchcliffe explains.

Be there!


The Destroy Television project continues, and it seems anything can happen and does. I dropped in this weekend and found out that hanging with Destroy seems to be a good way to meet interesting people.

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categories: Africa, Augmented Reality, crossing digital divides, Metaverse, Mixed Reality, Mobile Phones in Africa, Mobile Technology, Second Life, social media, The Dirt Road To The IT Superhighway, Virtual Worlds, Web 3D, Web3.D

1 Comments For This Post

  1. VeeJay Burns Says:

    Excellent piece Trish.

    Here’s a few shortcuts to my site: The Skynews article is at:

    And as for Justin, he’s an SL addict I guess. After the Skynews gig he was reading my blog, right at the time I was blogging the other RRR build ING Renault F1. He also gave some hints to where the Channel4 sim was going (since us bloggers critized it heavily). And that was just before he went on that 5hr journey home.

    Read Justins remarks at:

3 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. eightbar Says:

    More Tennis in Second Life – Roland Garros…

    French Open tennis live in Second Life @ IBM 7


  2. Says:

    Can Sky News Rise to Second Life?…

    Sky News, the leading satellite news broadcaster in the UK, assisted by brand consultants and SL builders Rivers Run Red, recently launched »an island« in the virtual world of Second Life. The launch event was tied into a broadcast from t…

  3. UgoTrade » Blog Archive » IBM’s Virtual Wimbledon: Web Rendering in Second Life Says:

    [...] Epredator noted did much of the work on the build this year. Also there was Laronzo Fitzgerald who worked on the build last year. Even the legendary Jessica Qin (one of IBMs most talented architects in SL) flew in briefly to [...]