Journalists have never been ones for press conferences - that's why this whole "lets hold a press conference in Second Life" thing has been kind of baffling to observe. First, it's really hard to serve good food and alchohol in Second Life (the only real attraction of a press conference). Second, most journos can't abide PR people, let alone virtual versions of them. Third, what journalists really want is a combo of utility and speed - "give me the news now - in a really simple way (phone or paper will do) and let me get on with my day". Bottom line is that if the news is strong enough, it will move itself. No gimmicks needed.
Larry Dignan writes at ZDNet, "It's all a bit much. Yes, we all know Second Life is interesting. It must be since every PR/ad agency/news-outlet-that-wants-to-look-hip/wannabe-kewl-corporation is setting up shop in Second Life. Second Life has gone from zero to cliche in record time as people sit around admiring their avatars. The dirty little secret: It's a productivity drain." He goes on to lash out at Sun:
Memo to Sun: Stop trying to be so damn trendy. Taking Java open source is a big development, but then you muck it up with having a developer Q&A in Second Life. No parallel Webcast. No conference call dial-in. No alternate means to drop in. Ask yourself the following: Would any of your peers (grown-up IT companies) have held an earnings call only in Second Life? How about a merger? New development platform? Didn't think so.
Ross has the best response:
To further advance the state of the art, the next Socialtext press conference will be held in World of Warcraft.
- Time: December 1st, 5pm server time
- Location: Goldshire, Elwynn Forrest, Eitrigg Server
- Rules of Order:
- No ninjas.
- Questions will only be taken from journalists in PvP mode
- We have developed means of determining if you are a Chinese Gold Farmer, so do not outsource your participation
- Safe passage will be provided to Horde characters, but your questions may be lost in translation
- Keep your armor on, do not /dance unless you are an orc, use of other emotes are encouraged
- If the spokesperson is not forthcoming, you may duel for information
- Those that survive the experience will gain 1 gold piece and a Socialtext tabard
Dell participating in Second Life is one thing - pretty smart actually. But companies continuing to use Second life as a vehicle for self promotion and press conferences is something I'm not so sure about. At least Dell had a reason to be there.