Friday, 31 July 2009

Nature to charge for SL conference attendance

Nature are streaming the Science Online London conference live in Second Life, organised jointly with Mendeley and the Royal Institution.

Nothing unusual about that of course. What's interesting is that they are charging £10 (that's about (US)$16 or L$4100) to attend for the day.

Attendance will cost the princely sum of 10 GBP/15 USD to cover costs and will give virtual attendees access to the island for the whole day as well as an opportunity to ask the speakers questions – we will have a member of staff in the audience to get your questions to the speaker just like the RL attendees.

I'm sure this isn't a first but it'll be interesting to see how it works out in terms of uptake. The cost itself doesn't look to be too unreasonable.

The RL event is happening in London (UK) on August 22nd 2009. UK time will probably make this a tricky event to attend for some people.


Peter Miller said...

Point to make is that RL is sold out so this is the only remaining option. Charging does, of course, raise the "spectre" of needing to provide a decent quality stream. Having said that, I agree that the price is about right. Indeed, balanced against the hassles of travel and given the flexibility of being able to duck in and out unobtrusively, it's quite attractive and I'm giving it serious thought. Would be nice to have some inworld breakout sessions too. Time zones are, of course, a problem for any synchronous event.

Anonymous said...

10 days late to this post (sorry - memo to self to Google myself more often!), but just thought I'd comment anyway.

Peter, I actually disagree with you about the quality of the stream: I think that pressure would be on us even if we were doing it for free, if for no reason other than professionalism. Perhaps charging just helps us to remember that, but I think asking people to give up their time, even for a free event, puts a great responsibility on us to get it right.

The price is the same as the RL event - which is certainly an interesting test to see if there is any value associated with virtual events. £10 is such a trivial sum that I can't imagine anyone objects to paying it on the door - but will they feel the same about paying in advance, for a virtual event? Somehow even to me, paying in advance on card feels more significant than fishing a tenner from my wallet on the day. Anyway, so far it seems that quite a few people have no problem paying - we'll see how we get on by the end of next week...