Old World Meets New World
July 26, 2007 2:23 PM   Subscribe

As it builds a presence and invests in virtual worlds, IBM is hoping to avoid potentially embarrassing incidents by establishing official guidelines for its more than 5,000 employees who inhabit "Second Life," Entropia Universe," "Forterra," "There" and other virtual worlds. "IBM, whose 20th century employees were parodied as corporate cogs in matching navy suits, doesn't have an avatar dress code. But guidelines suggest being 'especially sensitive to the appropriateness of your avatar or persona's appearance when you are meeting with IBM clients or conducting IBM business.'" Other directives: "Don't discuss intellectual property with unauthorized people." "Don't discriminate or harass" and by all means, "Be a good 3D Netizen."
posted by ericb (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does this mean IBM won't be participating in Second Life Safari?
posted by mullingitover at 3:06 PM on July 26, 2007 [2 favorites]

Actually, I don't really see anything wrong with this. It seems like all they are asking is that when you are representing their company in a virtual space, not to act like a complete fucktard.

Seems pretty reasonable.

Now if they are telling them how to behave when they aren't acting on behalf of the company, that's kinda suck.
posted by quin at 4:13 PM on July 26, 2007

I tried Second Life once. It's crap. World's Chat and Active Worlds were better, and that was like ten years ago.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:15 PM on July 26, 2007

I was going to write a witty response to ZachsMind, but I have Second Life running in the background and it somehow manages to make typing in webforms excruciatingly slow. And, uh, I don't want to quit it because I'm working on something fun. So I guess that makes for a very lukewarm recommendation?

Seriously, though, IBM is playing its cards well here. It's not yet clear to anyone, as far as I can tell, what virtual worlds will be good for, but you only figure it out by getting dirty in them, not by waiting 5-10 years to see how it all shakes out. Worst case, VW's bomb and they'll have a really clear idea what didn't work about them.
posted by heresiarch at 4:48 PM on July 26, 2007

Lotta hype about Secondlife these days, and it just plain does not live up to it. Even the people who make it admit that the code/design is pretty much crap.
posted by nightchrome at 6:02 PM on July 26, 2007

I never got past that first zone it puts you in with all the attempts at coding tutorials and there was a lovely harp in a building that was playing a song by Gypsy Soul which I hadn't heard since the heady days of Napster & mp3.com. Gypsy Soul is beautiful.

But as for why Second Life sucks:

* The movement functions were clunky.

* I wanted to be "ZachsMind" because that's me. Wherever I go online, that's who I am. The name I ended up getting was something like "Reynolds Murphy" or something dorky like that which I so didn't want to be.

* I couldn't get my avatar to look remotely like anything I'd wanna pretend to be.

* A lot of things apparently cost 'fake' money which I didn't have much of.

* In order to make more fake money it looked like I was gonna have to do stuff that if I wanted to do in real life I'd be making money that way.

* I could buy more 'fake' money with real money, which somehow sounded like a SCAM (and again if I had that kinda money I wouldn't be online).

* Even though I have a respectable system, apparently my system wasn't sufficient enough to see everything - or if I was seeing everything, the environment looks like it's very much not finished.

* The download times (on a DSL mind you) were sporadic and taxing and the end result on my screen would then be meh.

* I couldn't get the hang of the tutorials, and it made me feel like an idiot. I already feel like an idiot most of the time. I don't like purposefully going anywhere that reminds me how much of an idiot I am (except MeFi of course =).

* There were other avatars around but nobody was talking much and when they did, the conversation was reminiscient of IRC, and the people seemed like the kind of people I'd avoid in every day life. I'm stunned that people still start conversations in a virtual online environment with "a/s/l?" Only they don't even bother to put the slashes in anymore. "asl?" Heavy sigh.

* If I had questions, I couldn't figure out how to get them answered. I presumed there was a message board or some online help system but aside from what I could find in the client, I was kinda stumped in a few areas.

* The 'radio station' that it defaulted to when I logged in was apparently a recording with 'helpful' advice and very soothing elevator musak.

There's more reasons but I gotta scoot.

So the only good thing I found when I logged in that one time was that someone before me had the presence of mind to link a Gypsy Soul song to a harp. As good as that was... all the other things kinda outweighed that one cool thing.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:53 PM on July 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

IBM's Implicit Rule #0: Don't antagonize the furries, they are our only neighbors.
posted by blasdelf at 4:58 AM on July 27, 2007

If only IBM had such guidelines when canoodling with Nazis.
posted by dhartung at 9:09 AM on July 27, 2007

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