Virtual Beings Are Real Beings

Exploration of avatars, virtual spaces, our increasingly distributed attention and the quest we are on collectively for something real in a market-contrived world. These take us into “unreal” places.

These are the concepts marketers will have to deeply embrace in the early 21st century.  Who knows what lies beyond then?   I suspect virtuality, in its many forms, will be significant.

In the 25 years that I’ve been consulting with companies on business and marketing, there are really only two things that have come onto the scene that I doggedly insisted were absolutely systemic and would truly change the rules.  Those two are the Web and social media.  Today I am insisting the same is true of “virtuality.”

Every accepted medium springs from what is going on within the society – and in turn a culture springs from it, which then reflects back into the society at large, shaping it; changing it.

The web, social media and virtuality – each of these has or is changing our lives – each is changing us.  They are changing our language, and therefore the way we think.  They are changing our world and our views of it.

My experience in emerging media leads me to knowing that it isn’t enough to simply “know about” a medium or how to “implement it.”  To be successful there has to exist a deep understanding of the interplay of the medium with those who participate with it.  The most successful businesses have been built upon that.

I’ve been delving deeply into virtuality and what it means for marketing, communications and business for quite some time. I am profoundly convinced that it is a force that is – and will increasingly – impact our world, as the web has already; as social media is presently.  I believe if we are going to communicate and operate well in virtuality, we must understand it deeply.

Social media – that is shareable media – isn’t the beginning of “virtuality,” but it is the “tipping point” in many respects. Virtuality and social media are closely tied.  They share a common lexicon, for now, and many of the concepts and principles are as good for one as the other at present.

I believe the avatar is the nexus.  While most are focused on the platform or the technology or the tool of social media or virtual environments, the avatar is the only true constant.  Platforms, tools and technologies come and go.  Avatars are Liquid Beings that move among them and who reside in the spaces between the body and the mind.

I explore these Liquid Beings and the principles by which we might communicate with them.

Originally posted at my blog, Business Communicators in Virtuality, 2008

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