Fascinating way in which the world is changing — IBM has a Virtual Worlds Guidelines document mainly meant for their employees to train them on how to use Second Life and other environments – you can go through the whole thing here.
Excerpts below — did you think 5 years ago that a corporate giant like IBM would be writing things like these about a piece of software?
IBM believes that virtual worlds and other 3D Internet environments
offer significant opportunity to our company, our clients and the world
at large, as they evolve, grow in use and popularity, and become more
integrated into many aspects of business and society. As an
innovation-based company, IBM encourages employees to explore
responsibly and to further the development of such new spaces of
relationship-building, learning and collaboration.
5. Make the right impression. Your avatarâ€™s appearance should
be reasonable and fitting for the activities in which you engage
(especially if conducting IBM business). If you are engaged in a
virtual world primarily for IBM business purposes, we strongly
encourage you to identify your avatar as affiliated with IBM. If you
are engaged primarily for personal uses, consider using a different
9. Dealing with inappropriate behavior. IBM strives to create
a workplace that is free from discrimination or harassment, and the
company takes steps to remedy any problems. However, IBM cannot control
and is not responsible for the activity inside virtual worlds. If you
are in a virtual environment in conjunction with your work at IBM and
you encounter behavior that would not be acceptable inside IBM, you
should â€œwalk awayâ€ or even sign out of the virtual world. You should
report abuse to the service provider. And as always, if you encounter
an inappropriate situation in a] virtual world which you
believe to be work-related, you should bring this to the attention of
IBM, either through your manager or through an IBM internal appeal
10. Be a good 3D Netizen. IBMers should be
thoughtful, collaborative and innovative in their participation in
virtual world communities â€“ including in deliberations over
behavioral/social norms and rules of thumb.
Doing Business in a Virtual World
Transactions that take place in virtual worlds can be subject to the
same laws and regulations as physical-world transactions. IBM’s policy
is to comply with all laws and regulations that apply to its business.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you do not do anything that
causes IBM to be non-compliant.
IBM has already been asked to partipate in a broad spectum of business
opportunities in virtual worlds â€“ everything from currency exchange to
content creation. Some of the new types of opportunites presented may
have business or legal implications. When considering business
opportunities in virtual worlds, it is helpful to start with the notion
that if IBM does not participate in a business or activity in the
physical world, we would probably not engage in such a business or
activity in a virtual world (at least, not without careful
consideration and explicit approval by IBM management).
Just as in the real world, if content or data or information is
export-controlled by the government of the United States or any other
country, it cannot be shared in a virtual world comprised of people
from all over the physical world. You need to ensure that data and
information are not export-controlled before posting or using anywhere
in a virtual world. If you have any questions about the export
classification of data or information, please contact your IBM attorney
or export control office.
This is great — IBM encourages atleast three times that people build TWO characters — one associated with business, and the other to use “in your own time” for “personal uses”.
I wish real-world worked like that so companies could just deny it when one of their employees goes and does something stupid.