Convergence of the Real and the Virtual

Over my lunchtime reading of WoW Insider, I discovered an announcement of a virtual conference taking place in Azeroth May 9-11. I'm seriously considering attending.

From the announcement in Science:
If that sounds scary, complex, weird, geeky, well … welcome to the future. At least, welcome to the future of scientific research envisioned by the conference organizers, William Bainbridge (a sociologist at the National Science Foundation) and about a dozen scientists whose research involves the 10 million people who spend time--scary amounts of time--in the Warcraft universe.
The conference has an official page, a wiki, and an intriguing list of participants (including Nick Yee, of the Daedalus Project!). Three sessions have been planned, as well as some excursions - everything you need for a conference!
  1. Session 1 is on Research in World of Warcraft
  2. Session 2 is about Relationships between WoW and the "Real World." (with some pre-session recommended reading!)
  3. And Session 3 is on the Future of Virtual Worlds.
They don't specify if the time indicates server time or a particular time zone - but it does take place over a weekend, so I should be able to make most of the sessions.

Long time readers of this blog will know that I've often thought about this topic (though mostly as it relates to libraries) and also know my opinions on Second Life, which many librarians seem to think is the next hot place for outreach (I disagree, for many reasons - including the one mentioned in the abstract for session 3 above). I'm really interested to see how the conference works out, if they can manage to keep it from degenerating into l33t sp34k, as well as keeping things on topic. I'm also curious to see this would compare to the course I took in Second Life.

I think I'm going to register - and try to level up a toon so I'm not a complete n00b at the conference!


  1. I'm in Flag that weekend or I'd consider it too. Can you imagine 100 toons all jumping around and /waving or /mooing etc for the whole conference? Eeesh, hopefully the people attending will be well behaved.


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