Virtual insanity (redux): time is no one’s best friend

by Lee Hopkins on April 9, 2007 · 6 comments

in second life

cross-posted from my Second Life blog

click here to see this image full size

One of the ‘pleasures’ of being an early adopter of new things, like blogging and podcasting in the Business Communications community, is that your enthusiasm carries you far further than your body would normally allow.

So, for example, my passion for blogging and podcasting has resulted in my being positioned as one of Australia’s leading PR/Marcomms ‘Social Media’ or ‘Web 2.0’ practitioners. Myself and friends like Trevor Cook (who was even earlier into the fun than I) and Steven Lewis have been able to build up respectable audience sizes and see our passion be rewarded by speaking and consulting engagements.

All of which is fabulous and I do not for one second resent it!

I am now in discussion with the two big publishers in the Business Communication industry – Melcrum and Ragan – about how I might help them better serve their audiences here in Australia.

All of this would not have happened had I not launched myself head-first, eyes wide shut as I always do, into blogging and podcasting, encouraged and led by the superb examples set by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson. Without their encouragement and ‘lead-by-example’ approach to evangelism I would never have started my own podcast or cheekily branded myself as a ‘Correspondent’ on their ground-breaking podcast, The Hobson & Holtz Report (aka ‘For Immediate Release’, or usually just simply ‘FIR’).

My current sabbatical from reporting for FIR — and indeed from podcasting with a mate I really miss, Allan Jenkins — is not one that I hastily entered into. But evangelism can take its toll.

  • It takes its toll on one’s health – beavering late into the night and the early hours of the morning to ‘get stuff out there’
  • It takes its toll on one’s relationships – time spent blogging and podcasting (the preparation for which is far greater than the actual time it takes to type or record an item) is time not spent with one’s nearest and dearest family and friends
  • It takes its toll on one’s business activities – time spent engaged in research, writing, recording and publishing is time not spent on one’s own business: R&D, accounts, marketing, customer service, production, strategic planning

Sooner or later something has to give. It took a PhD (or more correctly, a Professional Doctorate) to bring it all to a head.

My body now suffers from urticaria – an all-over lumpy, itchy rash that flares for seemingly no fathomable reason then dies away again, only to reappear at the most inopportune moments.

My family life suffered a slight hiccup in its otherwise smooth running recently – thankfully now rectified.

I am falling way behind on my Doctorate – there are assignments not even started, ‘writing up’ that should have started two months ago that is only today being approached. Thankfully my Web 2.0 activities, including my Second Life presence, all add into my Doctorate – but I still need to start writing up my progress: what I have been doing, why, how much it has cost, to what end and with what result, and so on.

However, all is not ‘doom and gloom’ – not by any means!

In bed this morning, daydreaming as one does and thinking (read ‘panicking’) about my lack of ‘writing up’, it occurred to me that all of my business generation activities – the blogging, the podcasting, the proposals, the meetings, the research, the accounts, the hum and the very drum – all of them are part of my research.

I had mistakenly thought that they were somehow ‘separate from’ my research. But I have come to realise that they are, in fact, ‘part and parcel’ of it.

Which is a huge relief and helps me reassert some locus of control – and thus peace of mind – over my Doctorate.

As I see it, I can immediately start ‘writing up’ my research, breaking it into various categories for ease of writing and reading:

  • My own business practice
    • Marketing to clients (including researching who to approach, arranging and attending multiple meetings, planning my proposals to them, writing and running training courses and workshops, presenting at conferences, planning and re-starting my own print-based newsletter)
    • Client projects (building websites and blogs, writing and running training courses and workshops)
    • Researching new revenue streams and their requirements – for example, I have recently invested considerable dollars in Content Composer and SpinReadyPLR software and article services, with a view to increasing my Google Adsense revenue. This requires not only spending time learning how to ‘run’ the software and fully utilise the article service, but also purchasing and learning how to run a sequential autoresponder package (XtreemeFollowUpXpert-Pro) and incorporate that into my existing and new internet real estate portfolio (which is a fancy way of saying my various websites where I run Adsense and affiliate adverts);
  • My Second Life business practice
    • Finding a suitable location for the new office
    • Paying for the location, not only the ‘upfront’ purchase, but the monthly rental (not inconsiderable)
    • Researching, finding and paying for a suitable ‘building’ to house the office
    • Finding, purchasing and furnishing the new office space
    • Creating marketing and promotional literature for use ‘in world’ (brochures, newsletters, classified adverts)
    • Creating advertising material for use in offline magazines and websites focused on Second Life/virtual worlds
    • Totalling and accounting for all the money I have spent ‘in world’ to learn about how it works;
  • The theoretical underpinnings behind what I am doing and why:
    • Ethnomethodological accountability, both off- and online (research methodology and accountability is different across the two domains)
    • Psychological underpinnings: virtuality and trust, game theory, identity theory, social cognition
    • Business theory: organisational theory and communications theory (particularly how it can be used to analyse the conduct of business transactions and the design of new applications for virtual world e-commerce);

I have not had much luck catching up with my principle supervisor, mostly due to both of us being waylaid by events from our personal lives. I aim to approach two lecturers (one from Psychology, one from Business) next week and see if they are willing to be co-supervisors for some of the areas particularly of relevance to them.

The upshot of all this is that, with the return of some sense of locus of control, I feel stronger and more able to resume my normal blogging and podcasting activities, plus returning to my beloved ‘play time’: my FIR report

You have been warned! {grin}


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  • http://www.henrietteweber.com/ henriette weber andersen

    Hi Lee, you forgot my transitional web apps in the web chart ( I guess you would call it a part of web 3.0 )..

    btw I love your blogdesign ( especially the first letter in every post)

  • http://www.henrietteweber.com henriette weber andersen

    Hi Lee, you forgot my transitional web apps in the web chart ( I guess you would call it a part of web 3.0 )..

    btw I love your blogdesign ( especially the first letter in every post)

  • http://www.author-izer.com/ Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with “s

    I will be overjoyed if you get back to the FIR reports, though I’m just starting to get the hang of doing them, and I’m going to set up a feed for them on the Asylum site. We can put your reports there, too.

  • http://www.author-izer.com Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with “sketch”)

    I will be overjoyed if you get back to the FIR reports, though I’m just starting to get the hang of doing them, and I’m going to set up a feed for them on the Asylum site. We can put your reports there, too.

  • Virginia

    Congrats on the return to control. Just last week I went through the same “a-ha” moment when it came to all my school work and trying to find an internship. It feels great doesn’t it?!

    I have a question about your Second Life business. I have looked into Second Life a little and basically understand what it is. I wanted to know what you plan on doing in there. PR/Marcomm for business and individuals in the realm of Second Life, or for business and individuals outside Second Life (or maybe both)?

  • Virginia

    Congrats on the return to control. Just last week I went through the same “a-ha” moment when it came to all my school work and trying to find an internship. It feels great doesn’t it?!

    I have a question about your Second Life business. I have looked into Second Life a little and basically understand what it is. I wanted to know what you plan on doing in there. PR/Marcomm for business and individuals in the realm of Second Life, or for business and individuals outside Second Life (or maybe both)?

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