SLunionisland » IBM Union Island: International unions in Second Life Mon, 25 Jan 2010 16:04:53 +0000 en hourly 1 Step into our world… Fri, 04 Apr 2008 08:25:07 +0000 Johninnit Ni This is very interesting: IBM to host private Second Life regions(hat tip SLLU).

IBM are planning to host their own little Second Life as a corporate intranet. Previously all SL regions were held on Linden Lab servers, but for a company with sensitive internal information (and one wanting the world to actually work properly when their residents are on paid time), this could have been a bit of a stumbling block.

Soon though, IBM will be able to scale back its sprawling campus on SL, leaving it just for marketing and more public interaction, and bring the internal functions that they are pioneering back behind their own firewall.

Employees leave their Second Life private lives every morning, and teleport in from the club they were at last night, or their own little 512 on the mainland (no doubt donning a more sober suit as they do so). They can produce and circulate work all day in the virtual office, safe knowing it’s behind security that they control – no more pesky interruptions ;)

If this takes off, other companies will be doing it too. You could have a meeting at Microsoft, say, and just teleport across to a permitted section of their private conference centre to work on files which then stay inside Microsoft’s world.

And then in the evening, the whole work campus knocks off and goes down the virtual pub together, taking their avatars out of the private world to mix with everyone else at one of SL’s public hotspots.

Of course, some of the staff may opt instead to stay behind for a meeting in the virtual union office that they negotiated with the employer, in the same way they negotiate use of real world facilities on the employer’s premises ;)

Given that IBM are in the business of making sims for other people, they are also doing this with an eye to developing virtual worlds for other corporate clients. With a strong business advocate like IBM behind it, this idea could go a long way quite quickly.

The portability of indentity is an interesting issue here too. Other social networks like Facebook have had to deal with this for a while – the idea that offline you are expected to behave more ‘professionally’ in your work life than your private life, but once everything is written down online, there’s nowhere to hide, and employers have to face up to the fact that their staff are actually real people in their spare time. Of course it goes without saying that this can have complications for the employment relationship (and has in many cases).

SL has for most users been more of a roleplay environment, where you don’t have to admit who you are, or even be the same personality (or gender, or species). Taking your av to work, with all the social pressures that could bring in an environment where everyone knows you’re not really a tiger, could mean either an employer being much more tolerant of staff individuality, or people having to develop multiple identities, roleplaying real life within a roleplay fantasy (I predict many hurt heads – especially mine!)

And what will the big increase in corporate n00bs (as everyone gets given an av as they join the firm) do to the after-hours scene in SL? Could be interesting, as people will be forced to stay with it for their jobs’ sake and may in time grow to use public worlds more often too, bucking SL’s 90% new member dropout trend.

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Report from the IBM demonstration Fri, 28 Mar 2008 11:33:07 +0000 Barillo Kohnke IBM protest

The protest against forced IBM outsourcing took place yesterday, after a global call by IWIS (IBM Workers International Solidarity), after many “real” initiatives in previous day in Italy, Spain, France against the forced outsourcing of employees from IBM to AT&T and Ricoh, without employment guarantees. You can read a full report of the event at the IBMslprotest blog.

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Thanks for the party! Fri, 28 Mar 2008 10:27:54 +0000 Johninnit Ni IBM protest

Greetings to everyone I met last night at the IBM protest, it was a great atmosphere, with a good mix of people – IBM staffers from around the world, and a number of friends and supporters – old SL friends and new.

I only got to attend a bit of the demonstration myself unfortunately, but I took a few snaps of a crowd in IBM’s Business Center sim, one of the location sims chosen for the protest (once I’d been able to tp in that is, as the sim was so full of protestors that it was turning me away til I got lucky). A group of protestors had gone up to the penthouse reception to hold an impromptu party.

IBM protestors

IBM protestors

IBM protestors

IBM protestors

At the IBM SL protest

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IBM protest – the sequel! Join us this EVENING! Thu, 27 Mar 2008 14:27:50 +0000 Barillo Kohnke activist meeting at union island

When the problems become global…the protests become GLOBAL !

IBM employees and their unions are protesting this evening in Second Life, at plans to outsource thousands of jobs without proper consultation. It’s 6pm to 10pm CET (5pm-9pm GMT, 9am-1pm SLT).

Please join us, even if only for a while. Assembly is at Commonwealth island, or you’ll find stuff on union island (IBM protest kit with all you need to join in, free to use it!).
WELCOME TO IBM employees worldwide !
WELCOME TO SL activist, friends and supporters !!!

See u inworld this evening for a big event !!!

Read our press communique for more information on the background to this protest.

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New project partners: RSU IBM Vimercate Tue, 11 Mar 2008 16:15:41 +0000 Unionisland Republic Barillo Kohnke

We’re happy to announce another partner organisation have joined the Union Island project. Rappresentanza Sindacale Unitaria IBM Vimercate (or RSU IBM Vimercate to their friends) represent workers at IBM in Italy, and if that sounds familiar, it’s because they are something of Second Life union pioneers, having co-ordinated a very successful in-world protest in September 2007, as part of a campaign to resume suspended negotiations over a pay cut for IBM Italy staff.

Avatar Barillo Kohnke (pictured above) will be blogging for RSU IBM Vimercate on, so watch out for him here. IBM are working at the cutting edge of the use of virtual worlds in business, so getting the perspectives of the RSU colleagues will be really exciting. Ciao Barillo!

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Come Xplore the IBM protest museum Wed, 05 Mar 2008 16:58:52 +0000 Uniglobalunion Oh IBM protest museum

New on Union Island is a special skybox museum telling the story of last year’s IBM protest. The event was a great success, attracting around 1,850 avatar protestors onto IBM’s SL campus, and it was crucial in securing a good deal for IBM Italy staff who had been hit by a pay cut and refusal by management to negotiate. Take a quick trip (you can teleport in from the IBM monument in the north west of Union Island), and find out what happened, and what went on behind the scenes to organise this extraordinary event.

Proud centrepiece of the museum is this friendly robot – a Second Life recreation of the trophy awarded to the protest project team at the recent Forum Netxplorateur, a high level conference on the social and business impacts of the new internet in Paris. The protest was chosen as one of the 10 top Netxplorateurs of the year – projects that had shown exceptional innovation and promise for societal change. You can see the full list of 2008’s 100 Netxplorateurs at their site.

UPDATE:  And you can find out more about our robot friend and his origins here. His RL alter-ego is made by noted artist Hervé Di Rosa out of cast bronze, and weighs quite a bit!

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Will we miss meetings? Mon, 21 Jan 2008 16:16:15 +0000 Johninnit Ni A short article in The Hindu’s Business Line about IBM’s corporate use of virtual worlds, including international team meetings in Second Life:

“People use their avatars to immerse themselves in the meeting. Despite being scattered around the globe, they can come together in a way that is more like an in-person meeting. Creating a collaborative culture across a diverse and global workforce is the best way to achieve common goals.” – Simon Thomas, CRM Leader, IBM India

This would seem to echo some of the conclusions of Forrester’s recent research. As more people work in multi-national and multi-organisational teams, and more people work from home or remote locations, we’ll need to look for more ways to recapture the sense of being a team that might otherwise be lost.

Could virtual worlds be the way forward for those of us who are missing the meetings?

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