It was really interesting to be a part of our meetings in Second Life. We had 2, and one was entirely different from the other. In our first meeting, only 2 from the FOC08 course made it, myself and Amy. But it didn't take our host Jo long to fill the space with her contacts and before long we were having a rich discussion about community in SL and techniques for facilitation on SL. The chat log was recorded and is available here. I did the best I could in minuting the voice discussion.
Later, I asked Jo what location was the hot pic in SL at the moment. Jo took us to the amazingly romantic Tempura Island which could well represent an emerging culture in Second Life coming from Japanese developers. Jo explained that the space was developed by a couple of Japanese guys and it had attracted a lot of attention in SL recently. We could see why - it was a truly mesmerizing and immerse work of art, and it was wonderful to experience it with real people joking, laughing and talking through their avatars.
The second meeting saw a much larger group from FOC08.. I think there were 9 of us. I could only stay for 30 minutes so can't really say how it went entirely. Jo was a great help once again, as we had a lot of "newbies" - people new to using SL and needing a bit of help with the controls. Once everyone was reasonably up to speed with using their avatar, we all went to the Online Therapy Institute, where therapists are using SL to counsel people and to display information about mental health and other aspects of therapy.
In all, I felt it was the first meeting that more truly explored ideas of community in SL and techniques for facilitating, while the second seemed more focused on developing skills in the use of SL and legitimising the platform with an obvious example. I hope we will see posts on participant blogs that will go past the use and legitimisation issues, and look more deeply at the very real existence of communities in Second Life, and the strategies for facilitating such communities. You really can't get anyone more experienced in this than Jo Kay (Jokay Wollongong) who facilitates the Jokaydia sim.