Last week has been quite intense: meeting new people, catching up with folks over drinks, engaging in good conversation, and attending great panels at the SCMS in LA… One such interesting encounter occurred on the last day of the conference with Peter Ludlow from Northwestern University who is one of the very first embedded journalists of virtual worlds. He was in the Archiving and Researching Virtual Worlds panel scheduled on that day. He started his online newspaper, Alphaville Herald, in his days in Sims Online, before he got banned from the world. He later renamed the tabloid newspaper Second Life Herald after he moved to Second Life. His book with Mark Wallace, The Second Life Herald: The Virtual Tabloid that Witnessed the Dawn of the Metaverse, is an interesting account of the tabloid news that relate to griefing and other day-to-day activities that occurred in Second Life as the world was getting established. I tend to view it as an ethnographically rich research on the cultural activities of the virtual world. At any rate, over lunch (and if I’m not mistaken, there was champagne involved), I accepted being an embedded journalist for the newspaper: I’ll be reporting on griefers. My co-conspirators are Parker Pennell (reporting on SL fashion), Pixeleen Minstral (a long-time veteran in reporting in SL), and of course Urizenus Sklar (Peter Ludlow who is the co-founder of the newspaper).
All I can say is… let the madness begin! It’s going to be messy, it’s going to be provocative, and it’s going to be fun!