As I have blogged about previously, I am working on a report for the youth technology group Global Kids on "best practices" for non-profits in Second Life. Having spoken with dozens of non-profit organizers and activists and read through several panels, reports, and web discussions on the subject, I am slowly starting to suspect that we might be asking this question too early. It’s like asking what are "best practices" for non-profits to use the World Wide Web in 1993, when the web had only been around for three years.
We simply haven’t had enough collected experiences of various kinds of non-profit activity to even talk about what is "best" or "worst." Most of the groups that I have spoken to are in the exploratory, experimental, just-putting-our.jpgnkie-toe-in-the.jpgxelated-water phase. Much of their "best practices" might be something like, "It’s not effective to wear a box on your head," and "Don’t call Second Life a game," or "Slider hair is for dorks." Not exactly firm grounds for moving your entire non-profit operation in-world.
I think it might be more useful to ask for "intial lessons learned," "tentative hunches," or "Things I Wish They Told Me on Orientation Island." Okay, I exaggerate. But truthfully, SL is such an evolving and inchoate medium that making any firm assertions about what works best is always subject to revision.
Hey, how about "Non-profit Best Practices in Second Life, Beta Version 0.53"?