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Developers in Second Life, a Virtual Community

Posted by dnourie on August 27, 2008 at 10:49 AM PDT

I've written a little about virtual worlds in some of my previous blogs, and this morning I'm excited to announce I'll be working more with the developer community in Second Life for Sun.

In the past, I have given chats to developers on various topics of Java programming, especially to beginners. These are always fun events for me because the developer community in Second Life is so enthusiastic about learning the Java platform, and they are so appreciative of the time Sun employees spend talking to them in SL.

This brings me to why I found environments like SL so valuable to our company and the community at large: communication. Most of my interaction with developers is in the form of email: responses I get directly from articles and blogs, and comments we get in the feedback form on the site. Occasionally, I speak with developers at conferences, like JavaOne. But the atmosphere of a virtual world is quite different, and in my experience, encourages dialog in a wonderful way.

While it's true we are not person to person in the material sense, we are avatar to avatar, which brings in new dynamics. Some might argue that this is so artificial as to be considered ridiculous, but I have to argue that it brings comfortable anonymity to those who might otherwise be shy, uncomfortable speaking in large groups, sneaking in Java technology on the sly outside of their current jobs, or just otherwise not social. In addition, those who are more social and comfortable are not held back in anyway. Lastly, virtual worlds are just darned convenient and bring people together who otherwise would never meet because of geographical distance, time constraints, etc.

Sun's space in Second Life provides us the opportunity to share our technologies and programs with a wider audience of developers, but even more importantly it allows us to talk to you directly, or at least avatar to avatar, to get your feedback and thoughts on what we're doing, how to use our technologies, and how we can help you grow your business and careers. I personally have found it exciting and enlightening to talk to developers in this way and get your feedback, hear your questions and concerns, and have the opportunity to respond in kind. These interactions in Second Life are two-way with synergy. I believe we all benefit from the interaction.

As a new representative of the developer community in Second Life, I want to hear from you about what kind of interactions you hope to get from Sun in the future, what types of chats and events you'd like to see us have, and how we can improve your inworld experience. My name is Dana Oceanlane in Second Life, and that is my avatar in the pix here in the blog.

I'll look forward to seeing your avatars inworld!

Dana Nourie aka Dana Oceanlane

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