Permeability of Virtual Worlds and Online Social Networks

Within virtual worlds, specifically Second Life, I’ve been focusing on identifying and demonstrating where common social media tools (blogs, social bookmarking, and twitter-like services) have been able to cross into the SL platform and which tools can be used to facilitate the communication between platforms. Of course I wouldn’t suggest that these tools be used without reason. Technology should be implemented where it makes sense and and is most effective. I expect that the tools I’m sharing here will be most valuable for those of you already making use of Second Life or are using online social networks in your classrooms and are interested in exploring Second Life.

It’s nothing new to hear about developers integrating communities and conversations between online social network services such as Twitter, Delicious, Flickr, Facebook, and the list goes on. Many of these applications have opened their APIs to developers in the hope that they will make useful tools for users of those applications. As these services and associated tools become more useful, their users increase in number. In light of this, it is no surprise to see these same applications permeating virtual worlds.

So why when talking about the permeability of virtual worlds, focus on Second Life? The biggest reasons are that the world is highly customizable and has a diverse user community already building a variety of tools that connect to other online social networks. In many cases it is possible to either buy or find free versions of these tools for your own use. A handful of them are even made available as open source code so that you can customize or extend them even further.

As educators, why are we interested in whether or not social networks are able to cross into worlds like Second Life? The artifacts created when these tools are used can be valuable to instructors and learners for a number of reasons:

  • They move conversation/communication beyond the immediate community of the class and SL
  • They are mechanisms for aggregating and sharing student experiences (in SL) when a cohort isn’t meeting synchronously
  • They can be used to share teaching resources for other classes (promoting openness perhaps?)

Feed Display

Description: This feed display can pull information from websites and bring them in-world. If your website, blog, forum, or podcast has an RSS, Atom, or SSS feed, you can use it with this item.

Use: Open up the _config file in this object’s inventory and edit the default feed address to point to your own. You can also edit how often the script checks for new posts.

Creator: Dedric Maurac (L$19 copy/modify)

More Info: https://xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=164667

RSS Reader

Description: Display the latest headlines from your publication using RSS, RDF, Atom, or SSS (Second Simple Syndication). As residents come to your parcel, they can touch the RSS Reader to get a link to visit your publications main website. The original scripts for the RSS Reader are available with the Second Simple Syndication script and are open source.

Use: Open up the _config file in this object’s inventory and edit the default feed address to point to your own. Change the frequency the script checks for new content if necessary. You are also able to change the color of the floating text.

Creator: Dedric Maurac (L$39 copy/modify)

More Info: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=122338

BlogHUD Pro 1.06

Description: This HUD is able to cross-post from the BlogHUD Pro site to your own external blog (compatible with WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, Friendster, and Tumblr). It can also send snapshots to your Flickr account.

Use: Type /9 Your interesting message about your Second Life! For long posts (Title + More text/description) create a notecard in your inventory, type what you want to say then save it. Then drag and drop the notecard from your inventory to the blogHUD. It will then read the contents of the notecard and prompt you for a title to this post (type: /9 your long post title). To cross-post to your own blog add it to your BlogHUD profile and activate cross-posting on the HUD itself.

Creator: Koz Farina (L$1500)

More Info: http://bloghud.com

Slurlblogger v0.4

Description: The Slurlblogger is a device to enable one to easily keep notes of different locations that one has visited within Second Life, and easily send them to oneself for reference, or automatically to a blog. Each note will appear as a separate paragraph, with an HTML link to a SLurl for the location you were at when taking the note (or, as an option, you can turn SLurl display off).

Currently, the Slurlblogger supports posting to blogs that allow posting via the Blogger API, which includes those using Blogger, WordPress, and Movable Type. It has been tested with both Blogger and WordPress. Further versions of the Slurlblogger will support other systems such as Livejournal.

Creator: Ordinal Malprop (Free)

More Info: http://ordinalmalaprop.com/engine

RSS330 ZEND

Description: This RSS reader is fast and it is open source. It can be adapted to various non English languages if they are available in utf8 font. It can used to read anything providing some rss feed. Current version is distributed with pre-defined languages Portuguese and Esperanto, however, they should work well for Italian, French, German. Use the instructions found in this page: http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/XyText-UTF8 if you have other languages you have to produce textures for. This script is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, Share Alike license and can be found at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/RSS330-Zend

Use:
Select a feed:

  1. Just grab the RSS link from the page you want to be blogged in world (right click the RSS icon and then copy link location)
  2. Open the content of this Feeder the _RSS330 ZEND script
  3. Paste the address in the line where you read feed=”http://web.site/rss.xml”; be sure to not delete the ” ” and the ending; Remember to change the title=” “; with the title of this blog
  4. That’s all the board will refresh instantly with new feed

Use the board:

  1. Use the black arrows on the top line to scroll on older news and back on various pages
  2. When you are interested in a news just click on that row and the news will be expanded over the board
  3. Click on the board to open up the browser with the full news
  4. Click on the title to go back on the title listing
  5. Board will autorefresh every 10 minutes (change refreshminutes=10)

Creator: Salahzar Stenvaa (Free)

More Info: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=1665331

[Zone] Media TV

Description: Plays YouTube video and playlists, radio, Flickr photo streams

Use: This product does not ship with an in world instruction manual as they change often. When you rez your product you will be given a URL in local chat. This is your TV setup web page. You can find instructions, help, revision history and configuration settings on this page.

Creator: Zone Brand (L$849 modify/transfer)

More Info: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=775842

Blog Reader V2.0

Description: The Blog Reader will parse and display most RSS feeds.

Use:
Rez the reader (Blog Reader V2.0) – it will show the default blog
Use the forward and back arrows at the top of the screen to move between blog posts
Use the read button at the bottom of the screen to open a web browser and read the entire post.

Note that this Reader is free and runs a PHP script on the creator’s server to parse the blog feed. If their server gets hit too much or otherwise inconvenienced then this service may be discontinued. However, the scripts for this Blog are open source, so if you want to use them, please feel free to contact him and set them up on your own server. You will need a PHP-enabled server and suitable feed parsing scripts – this Player uses MagicParser (www.magicparser.com – US$38)

Creator: Dudeney Ge (Free)

More Info: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=503315

Ping.fm HUD v0.91

Description: With this little HUD you can post from Second Life to most social networks. Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, FriendFeed, Myspace, etc. All you need to do is sign up for an account on Ping.fm – http://ping.fm/ and you can Ping away from Second Life. SLURLS can be optionally automatically added to posts.

Use:

  1. Sign up for an account on http://ping.fm/ and connect one or more of your social networks into your Ping.fm account. Make a test ping from the Ping.fm website to make sure it is working and that your ping appears on the social sites you have configured.
  2. Get your application key for your account. Go to this page, http://ping.fm/key/ Copy the key with the long set of numbers into your clipboard.
  3. Attach the HUD. Default location is top left, but it should attach anywhere. The top of the HUD will be black indicating your key is not valid yet. It will turn white once you have put in a valid key.
  4. It will say your account it not validated. Enter this command on the chat line: /47 key [paste in your key here without the brackets]
  5. If the key is correct it will say User ID Validated. If not, check your cut and paste and your Ping.fm account. You should only need to do this once unless you reset your HUD.
  6. Make a ping: /47 ping [text I want to send but you don’t have to put in the brackets] or activate the Ping.fm gesture, then if the channel is still set to 47, you can do a /ping [text I want to send… but you don’t have to put in the brackets].

Supported Services:
Bebo http://www.bebo.com, Blogger http://www.blogger.com, Brightkite http://www.brightkite.com, Delicious http://delicious.com, Diigo , http://www.diigo.com, Facebook http://www.facebook.com, Flickr http://flickr.com, Friendster http://www.friendster.com, hi5 http://www.hi5.com, Identi.ca http://identi.ca, Jaiku http://jaiku.com, Koornk http://www.koornk.com, Kwippy http://www.kwippy.com, LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com, LiveJournal http://www.livejournal.com, Mashable http://my.mashable.com, Multiply http://www.multiply.com, MySpace http://www.myspace.com, Plaxo Pulse http://www.plaxo.com, Plurk http://www.plurk.com, Pownce http://pownce.com, Rejaw http://rejaw.com, Tumblr http://tumblr.com, Twitter http://twitter.com, Utterli http://utterli.com, WordPress http://www.wordpress.com, Xanga http://www.xanga.com, Yahoo 360 http://360.yahoo.com, Yammer http://yammer.com, YouAre http://youare.com

Creator: Overthruster Heavy Industries Online – Veyron Supercharge (L$150 copy/modify)

More Info: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=1067816

SLare Board

Description: SLare stands for ‘SL share’, so the goal is to share something from SL to RL. People can share your place in this case, with this ‘SLare Board’ to RL Social Network. Right now there are 20 popular social network in SLare Board : blinklist, blogmarks, delicious, digg, diigo, linkedin, furl, mr wong, myspace, newsvine, reddit, simpy, stumbleupon, technorati, twitter, g bookmarks, netvibes, y! bookmarks, live, facebook

Use: Rez on your land. Residents can click on your SLare Board and post the location of your place to their favorite online social network.

Creator: Arjuna Nirvana (L$250 copy/modify)

More Info: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=1562837

diigo SLare HUD v0.1

Description: Post SLURLs to your diigo account while in SL

Use: Wear as a HUD and click the icon when you want to bookmark the location of your avatar.

Creator: Arjuna Nirvana (L$25)

More Info: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=1574272

Yummy

Description: This HUD posts SLURLs to your delicious account while in SL.You may optionally add a description and tags, and may mark the post either ‘not shared’ (default) or ‘shared.’

Use: To post a slurl to del.icio.us chat: /111 description, tag1, tag2, …
description (optional) can be any text EXCEPT a comma and tag1, tag2, etc. (optional) are single words to use as tags.
For example: ‘/111 Great store for clothing and hair!, clothing, hair, shopping’
The tag ‘slurl’ is automatically added to all posts.

Creator: Bill Hax (Free copy/modify/transfer)

More Info: https://www.xstreetsl.com/modules.php?name=Marketplace&file=item&ItemID=244301&random=94326

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