Call for participation: Web Monday, Aachen Euregio, Dec 3rd 2007

22 11 2007

On December 3rd we will be organizing again a Web Monday here in Aachen. We call it Web Monday Euregio because we would also like people from the surrounding countries (Netherlands and Belgium) to attend and make it more international.

So what is a Web Monday?

Basically it’s a meetup taking place on a monday evening with topics all around web2.0, internet and so on. It consists of a one hour of people arriving and getting to know each other, one hour of 10 minute talks (depends on how many we have) and then open end for networking and getting to know each other. The whole event is free of charge and drinks & snacks will be provided.

Everybody is also invited to give a talk. Last time I gave a talk on the new Second Life Grid Architecture and two guys from introduced their project.

This time we are also having a talk about Second Life as the guys from will be introduce their Analytics package (actually it will take place in their office :-).

So if you are interested in either participating (and you are in the area around Aachen/Aken/Aix la Chapelle) feel free to sign up on the Web Monday Euregio Wiki page. If you want to give a 10 minute talk feel free to add this to the list of talks which you can find on the wiki as well. You will find all further information such as location on that page.

I hope that some people from outside Germany will come as it would be great to connect also over the borders (which indeed are very close here).

[Web Monday wiki page]

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Carnival in Germany started today!

11 11 2007

So here is a little video from the last session. It was sort of finished all the time and as carnival started today at 11:11 I took the opportunity to finally finish and upload it:

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Webmonday Aachen/Euregio rocked!

23 10 2007

So yesterday we had our first webmonday in Aachen and the region called Euregio which consists of closer parts of the neighbouring countries Netherlands and Belgium. The idea was to get participants also from those areas but somehow we failed in addressing the right people. Nevertheless it was great for a first webmonday in Aachen. 25 people showed up while we were expecting 5 😉

We even had two talks, one about which is some nice event portal for organising dinners in a city and by doing that meeting new friends (each course will happen in a different place and after that there will be an after dinner party).

The second talk was held by myself and I was talking once again about the new Second Life Grid Architecture which seems a very important topic for me. We had quite a bunch of people in the audience who never have been in Second Life and have been somewhat sceptical about it but in the end they might see Second Life in a different light now. Which is cool! 🙂

You can find another summary in german on my german blog and you will find there also the videos of the two talks. Attached is the slideshow of my presentation:

[link to slideshare]

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Lessons learned from the Plone Conference streaming

11 10 2007

So doing the streaming for a Plone Conference is quite a stressy task at times. You mostly run around trying to get the right people, you are searching for a possibility to plug into a sound source and you are trying to get a good network connection. Sound was working in the end after I check the mixer myself and managed to get a long enough cable (wireless mic would be nice but is expensive). And instead of having a dedicated line I had to share the wifi connection. But in the end it worked better than expected and I had 2 streams running, one to for the website and one to for Quicktime to use it in Second Life.

So should you plan to stream a conference or any other event live, make sure you

  1. arrive early, 3 days in advance might not be too little time. Make sure, the technical staff is around, too.
  2. bring enough long cables with you (or buy some in the area).
  3. have a power connection. Make sure you have power adapters should you be in foreign countries.
  4. check in front if there really is a dedicated line for you (not sure how good a 3G connection might work but it can be better than nothing and especially not shared)
  5. setup a Second Life venue far before the event
  6. prepare a streaming website (basically showing a widget) also ahead of the conference. This should be announced early and should also contain up-to-date information. A CMS like Plone is of course quite useful for managing such things.
  7. announce the life streaming early on as many channels as possible. Prepare a text and send it out to your blogs, to news sites, as group announcements etc. (create a group ahead of time or use existing ones)
  8.  have a good enough Quicktime Streaming Server. You might want to look out for a sponsor which should be easy to find for interesting events. If there is a budget it is even easier of course. As for our sponsor, StreamGuys, I can only say that it worked like a charm.
  9. don’t forget to hit the Record button on also. This way you directly have an archived version of the video you can link to.
  10. you link to the agenda of the conference and eventually convert it to Second Life times (something which I hadn’t time to do yet).

Of course I knew some of these things before but you forget quickly 😉 Especially doing the website before leaving is a very good idea as you probably will have enough stress already on location.

So if you want to join today’s streaming of the conference (starting in about 1 hour), join us via web or Second Life.

(photo by Aaron van der Lip)

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Plone Conference News

10 10 2007

So after a stressy day yesterday to get audio etc. working for streaming we now have a live stream going on from 2 rooms. One is Newton and one is Archimede. The latter is also going to Second Life (thanks to StreamGuys again for making this happen).

I also did my talk by now (Marketing Plone the Web2.0 way) which was quite ok but we have to see if I really encouraged people to just try something new, like doing a blog. I was faster than expected though 🙂 (maybe better than the other way round).

If you want to join the Conference virtually either by Web or in SL, please visit the Streaming Page.

There are also calendars available for the program:

(Thanks to Alexander Limi and Vincenzo Barone to make this work)

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SLCC: The Coca Cola/Crayon presentation

30 08 2007

CC Chapman, Mike Coulson of Crayon and Mike Donnelly of Coca Cola did this presentation together in which they talked about their project “Virtual Thirst“. In the first part they explained the process behind it and in the second part Mike Donnelly got into all those myths cerated by this Wired article.

The Virtual Thirst campaign basically consisted of 3 phases. Phase 1 was about listening to people. Crayon and Coke created a focus group/advisory panel of a bunch of community experts and discussed ideas with them. They are after all the ones who know how to approach a specific audience (although Crayon actually also does know that quite well IMHO).

Phase 2 was about getting the project started. Britney Mason was e.g. looking for builders to build prototypes of vending machines. Coke also rented a temporary space from Crayon because it was meant as a temporary project with a beginning and an end. A separate sim wouldn’t have made sense according to Mike Donnelly.
In this phase they also made it easy to participate by providing quite a bunch of different ways to do so.

Phase 3 was about celebrating the creativity. This phase is where we at right now. The winner is known and the final product is being created right now by the people of Millions of Us. With that comes a virtual launch party and the goal is to let the winning product spread virally by providing free copies.

Mike also talked about how they gauged success. First of all there is of course the number of entries (which he did not really tell us unfortunately), then there is also the reactions and responses of the community. As they said in an earlier panel they also researched the tone in which articles have been written. Moreover he stated the following facts;

  • 300 blog posts about the contest
  • 33,000 links
  • 150+ photos in Flickr
  • 31,000 Youtube views with 160,000+ comments

Another thing they did was the Second Life movie premiere of the Happiness Factory Movie. This was done in collaboration with Rivers Run Red. This again is a project with a defined lifetime and thus only temporary space is used again.

He then talked about their marketing plan to be integrated. They use online as well as offline media and all this around the world. Which brought him to talk a bit about the recent Wired article in which Wired claims that their campaign wasn’t a success. He said the contrary and answered some of the claims Wired did. Thus there haven’t been millions spent on that project, Coke is not pulling out but instead this is just the beginning (and it was supposed to be a timely limited project). Moreover they had a full series of events and altogether that was a total new media approach to Coke. All in all it wasn’t about selling cans of soda but instead about branding and experience. And this is something you cannot really measure (but this is true with offline projects like this, too).

Now there has been some criticism of these statements in the blogosphere which started with Tony Walsh’s article that it might not have been such a big success as stated. He especially mentions:

  • 175 MySpace friends with 13 comments.
  • 26 subscribers to the Virtual Thirst YouTube video channel with 12 videos and 2,589 channel views. Most of the videos appear to be created by Crayon, not contestants.
  • How many entries were received?

Now this is probably something to debate further and I’d really would like to see Mike Donnelly come in-world again to carry this discussion on. But all in all I think that however you look at it this is still a great example of how to do a campaign in Second Life. It also is a great sign of a big brand that experimentation is key. I am not sure that one can expect complete success with the first try on that. It will be interesting to see what will follow it.

At the end of his talk Mike was also giving a list of lessons learned, which are:

  • Listen and communicate with the community, not at them
  • Partner with pros (in this case Crayon and RRR)
  • SL is community driven, not location driven, people are more improtant than prims
  • Success is organic: Flexi = good
  • Embrace Critics and Learn from them
  • Max. success by using multiple channels: Don’t ignore RL
  • Strike a Balance between Art & Science

He again stated that this was a huge success for Coke. One might say that this is easy to say for a field in which you cannot really measure success but nevertheless I think that other companies can learn a lot from esp. these lesson where I actually would add another one:

  • Experiments are king

(oh, and open it up for german residents to also be able to attend next time 🙂 )

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SLCC: Business Track Observations

28 08 2007

One track I have been following here and there at the SLCC was the business track. While there have been some great presentation by e.g. Crayon/Coke or Jeff Barr there also have been some where I wondered if they really got Second Life. Let’s give it a name and let’s say that I think the “cluetrain factor” is somewhat missing.

So here are some examples of ideas which are mentioned a lot of times when it comes to marketing in Second Life:

Product incentives: give out freebies or lower priced products which are branded so people have a reason to come.

Money incentives: give out money to people in order to attract them to the location. This can be in form of simple camping chairs or some more elaborate method of winning something.

Location experience: The guys from Involve were talking a bit about that. It is about making your build not just a build but an experience by adding atmosphere, a central theme and a clear message. This might also include inviting other people to do that with you. While I do think this is very important I also do think that even this can only set the stage for what needs to come.

Call to Action?

There are also some things which seem to be missing in several coporate builds these days, the most important one a clear call to action. The resident comes and visits your site but all he can actually see is a shiny build and maybe some interactive goodies. This might keep him happy for 10 minutes and then he’s off. What is missing here is a goal of what you want the resident to do. Is there a product he maybe should buy? Should he at least sign up in a mailing list for further marketing? And so on. Just giving a link to your webpage and some video kiosk is not really enough.

Traffic is god

Now I made the experience that the main goal of many companies coming into Second Life is to have a lot of traffic. If they notice that traffic is not that good they usually want to change this by either using product or money incentives to make people come. But what does that actually mean? Don’t you think you have a problem if people do not come just because they want but because you pay them? IMHO this sounds very much like lying to yourself. You pay people to come and you have traffic but the final result has probably not change at all. Your brand will still stand for a boring SL presence, for quick money and people will surely not really interact with it. And the goal of an SL presence apparently should not only to have traffic.

The missing piece

People who have read the Cluetrain Manifesto should have guessed what is missing here: Conversation. The internet these days is clearly about conversations about all and everything. You wanna buy a new camera? You probably don’t head to the website of the creator but instead google it and search for some reviews online. You migh also ask in forums or blogs. The original creator is mostly left out of the equation. Sometimes you don’t even find complete specsheets on these websites but only on third party offerings like shops.

Now Second Life is a great chance of changing that and finally get in touch with your customer again. And even not only Second Life but the whole web2.0 world. Be it blogging, podcasting or videocasting. All of these things can help to create a conversation and get a bit more personal than your average brand these days. One good example here is proabably Jeff Barr who even without having a build in Second Life was just all over and is well known by now. And while this was simply impossibe in the pre-internet days it is possible now. And this is a big chance to finally get in touch with your customers again.

So if you build something in Second Life, don’t think so much about the build, think about a conversation with residents!

What is the result?

If you do it right then you will simply have more loyal customers. They feel that you care about them and they will go out and spread the word, defend you in difficult situations and maybe give you valuable tips on what you can make better (ask Linden Lab about that 😉 ).


The main problem here is of course metrics because measuring traffic is not really the key metric here. You somehow have to measure how good word of mouth is working and it also very much depends on the campaign. One possibility is of course to measure blog mentions and the like. But if you look at what you do you certainly can find more usefull metrics. For Virtual Thirst for instance it could have been number of entries.

This sort of also renders most of the traffic tools useless. They might help in analyzing where you can improve your sim maybe but I doubt that they really can measure the success of your presence. Tools developed for the web might not really work in Second Life. And also tools created for old school marketing like conversion rates and the like are not really applicable 1:1 to Second Life. I guess some research needs to and will go into that.


Some brands might have moved out of Second Life again because all those effects promised by mainstream press have not become true. They now might blame Second Life for that but the truth is that they need to blame themselves for that. The hope is now that some companies start to understand the potential a virtual world like Second Life has and that they learn how to utilize it. Once this has become a critical mass of it’s own companies and customers a like should be happy to talk again to each other.

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