Second Life is many things to many different people. It has gaming areas, adult areas (which I avoid), music areas (where I tend to go, I like to listen to new music in the background while working), and even areas celebrating some pretty amazing digital art.
Second Life recently advertised a different kind of area I hadn’t seen before — one for cystic fibrosis. I was curious and I decided to check it out.
Cystic Fibrosis University on Second Life is connected to the Boomer Esiason Foundation. Boomer Esiason, a former NFL quarterback and now a football analyst on CBS and a CBS radio commentator, has a son, Gunnar, with cystic fibrosis.
The intent of Cystic Fibrosis University seems to be mostly to use Second Life as a platform to steer people toward plenty of other online resources about cystic fibrosis. There’s a “wishing well,” where you can donate to Cystic Fibrosis University; there’s also a ton of links to Facebook and Twitter where you can connect to the Boomer Esiason Foundation. There’s plenty of links (disguised in Second Life as desktop computers or plaques on the wall) where you can get lots of information about cystic fibrosis, what it is, how it can be treated, what the symptoms are, etc.
Cystic Fibrosis University even had a dance floor where perhaps they host live events like a lot of Second Life areas do, but the two or three times I visited, it was pretty quiet. It’s a very well designed area; lots of time and energy went into it, with apparently some grant help.
I joined the group on SL and the Facebook page. Cystic Fibrosis University on SL seems to serve mostly as a conduit to other online resources, designed I’m sure to a degree to attract people who are into SL and spend a lot of time gaming or listening to music there. It’s an interesting idea and I wonder how many other charities have tried using Second Life as a means to attract followers and get out information. I continue to be fascinated the different ways that people find to use Second Life. Up to 150,000 people are on Second Life on any given day and more than 550,000 regular users in monthly log (those numbers pale by comparison to Facebook and Twitter, obviously, but the 3D world of SL has much more potential than Facebook and Twitter), but it remains a valuable resource in getting the word out about your cause.