Sunday, December 30, 2007


Since James asked, my personal and professional connections to the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California go back to May of 2005. Randy Farmer, of Lucasfilm's Habitat fame, posted to his blog that the USC Center for Public Diplomacy was creating a new project: Public Diplomacy and Virtual Worlds. This project arose out of research Doug Thomas and Josh Fouts conducted in Star Wars: Galaxies indicating that virtual interactions could generate opinion changes similar to exchange programs. Randy noted that Second Life would be a good platform for this and I agreed, so I emailed Doug and Josh, who were nice enough to respond. We met at the Hotel Fig during E3 '05, and after hours of discussion about Second Life, public diplomacy, working for the US government, hacking, and virtual worlds in general, I had two new friends and they agreed to go take a look at Second Life. In the years since, CPD has been central to some amazing projects in SL.

Along with the Berkman Center at Harvard and the Institute for Information Law and Policy at NYLS, Annenberg has been a regular source of knowledge and debate. So, I was excited when Annenberg asked me to co-teach a class back in August. I was originally planning to only spend one evening a week in LA, but now that I am no longer working at Linden, I may spend a bit more time at USC.

The class I am teaching is part of the Charles Annenberg Weingarten Program on Online Communities, an intensive 1 year Master's Program that pulls together a gifted cohort of students and a great mix of professors. As the class progresses, I will definitely be writing more about it.


Len Bullard said...

Will you be doing any work on interoperability standards for virtual worlds or are such standards realistic at this point in the market emergence?

cory ondrejka said...

Interoperability may come up as part of general discussions in APOC. I think it is quite likely that I will be working on projects related to interoperability separate from my time at USC.

A.T. said...

Hopefully you will have more free time - so we could get more on your future plans, e.g. via your (currently rather underpopulated) wish list ;)

Len Bullard said...

Thanks for the reply. It is a dragon's domain for Web 2.n in general. One problem encountered early in the markup community is to get a decent working definition for 'interoperability'. I favor:

Data is portable. Systems interoperate.

That is useful razor. It is relatively straightforward to move data, but as soon as the S-word (semantics) enters the conversation, so does probability. :-)

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