As you've seen, things have been quiet with the Second Life Future Salon for a couple of months. I'm working on changing that. Please never mind the site holes as we update.
The situation is pretty classic, though this was my first time going through it: A community forms, momentum builds, it takes a lot of effort, way goes on to way, some entropy sets in, it's tricky to clean up, other sirens call, updates seem daunting, attention goes elsewhere, things go on the back-burner. But I've got a solution that seems to fit.
For me, most of the dauntingness grew out of SL Future Salon's early hybrid role as a multi-gadget SL and virtual worlds site, trying to do a lot of different things and developing a lot of blogly "spaghetti code" while doing them. We started the blog and monthly meetings back in April 2005, which for those following Second Life's growth is an absolute eternity ago. Now there are so many great SL voices and news sources out there that we don't have to sweat that hybrid role and can clean things up, pair things down, get fun and sustainable again, and focus entirely on the monthly inworld audio conversations and podcasts with invited guests about the future of virtual worlds.
Look out for some updates on the blog soon and an announcement about a meeting in September. Here is what I'd like to see SL Future Salon become:
A very simple, clean, and clear blog that:
*Announces a new meeting with invited guests at the start of each month
*Pushes a few posts with links and ideas directly relevant to the meeting, with background on the guests and related issues
*Hosts pics, podcasts and transcripts of the salons
And that's it!
We could still use some help, so please let me know if you're interested in assisting in:
*Basic podcast editing
*Event wrangling (teleporting people in, taking and prioritizing questions for Q&A)
For those who aren't familiar with the SL Future Salons they are monthly gatherings inside Second Life where up to 50 people get together with invited guests to listen to (in audio) and discuss ideas relevant to virtual worlds in all their forms, not just SL. I started them while I was working as a community director with the Acceleration Studies Foundation as a node in their Future Salons Network of monthly meetups in real world cities. In December 2005 I joined The Electric Sheep Company as their futurist in residence and haven't had a lot of time to do house-cleaning on former projects.
Examples of guests we've had over the last year include Babbage Linden (Linden Lab/Second Life), Richard Bartle (co-creator of the first MUD), Thomas Barnett (author of the NY Times best-selling The Pentagon's New Map), Amanda Congdon (formerly of Rocketboom), Peter Ludlow (founder of the Second Life Herald), Paul Marino (machinima.org), Howard Rheingold (smart mobber), and a bunch of other interesting folks.
Stay tuned and drop me an IM inworld or an email at jerry[at]electricsheepcompany[dot]com if you're interested in participating, learning more, or passing on ideas. We also have a Yahoo group with over 100 people and a group in SL called SL Future Salon. Join those and subscribe to the blog to stay in the loop on meetings.
Thanks for the patience and support and see you again real soon!
Jerry Paffendorf/SNOOPYbrown Zamboni