We are just getting started in Second Life and the learning curve is definitely a challenge. We factor that in to our exploration of new technologies, but we also look to engage volunteers who have particular interests and skills – to flatten the curve. Managing this brings its own challenges, but the benefits far outweigh the costs.
We don’t know what we don’t know.
Our focus on innovation and looking for ways to leverage new social networking and web technology tools helps to increase awareness and engagement of stakeholders and to drive down costs. The opportunity to find hidden value in untapped veins drives our literacy progress forward. If the spaghetti sticks on the wall, we go deeper… if it slides off, we clean up the mess and cook another pot.
In this free social marketplace, we can find and engage untapped volunteer resources – individuals and businesses who have not yet been called on or motivated to act, without necessarily diverting them away from other important social priorities or our other work – untapped not because they are uninterested, but for lack of common interest at the finest level of detail.
We are often asked what relevance this magazine or that magazine will have in meeting child and family literacy needs. Some, like Highlights, or Ranger Rick, or Scientific American are obvious resources. But, how could a bowling magazine be of value or the trade magazine of the “American Pot Stickers Association?” It might just be that bowling magazine or that trade journal that can uniquely inspire the bond around a common interest between a mentor and a child learning to read.
So the risk of failure, and the possibility of diminishing returns aside, the chance to exercise any amount of previously untapped value trumps ignoring the possibilities.
We have embarked on a “moon shot” endeavor to create a portal into the new frontier of Second Life for MagazineLiteracy.org stakeholders by joining the Nonprofit Commons initiative.
In World Contact – MagazineLiteracy Kidd
Second Life is a vast virtual world where millions of residents interact and participate in a bustling economy. Contemplating Second Life, I’ve often lamented finding enough time to manage our “first life.” However, the chance to promote literacy inside Second Life and to engage residents there to support our mission and to grow our project, as well as the opportunity to collaborate with other non-profit organizations is too compelling to delay.
There is tremendous value in fostering communications and collaboration among community service organizations, especially by leveraging online technology that spans the globe. The virtual network made possible by Second Life allows for real-time information sharing about MagazineLiteracy.org with residents and thought leaders across many disciplines.
Over the years, I have learned first hand, how challenging it is to raise awareness, funds, and other resources necessary to support organizations dedicated to meeting basic human and community needs. Earlier in my community service career, I partnered with the local volunteer bureau director to create a model collaborative office facility and resource center for community non-profits. It was a place where good ideas – large and small – could take root and incubate. Since then, I have striven to find ways to leverage technology, and especially the Internet, to connect people who want to help, to the organizations and ideas that serve people who need help. We will extend this vision by being active citizens in Second Life – promoting MagazineLiteracy.org as well as the ideals of the Nonprofit Commons. We are looking forward to forming an entirely fresh set of literacy partnerships with the individuals, organizations, and businesses in Second Life – a new frontier for MagazineLiteracy.org.