Testing a Google Map – Virtual/Real Travel

Testing embed code for a Google map I created that shows the real life locations that I have visited to give presentations or learn more about Second Life, virtual worlds, and Web 2.0, and social media. (Hint, they’re all the same thing.) The lighter blue markers are places I traveled to “virtually” to attend or present.

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Does it work?

Update: Ok looks like that worked. The map makes a couple of points clear to me. First, the stereotypical perception that everyone heavily involved in Second Life or virtual worlds or web stuff is a closet shut in geek who never leaves the house clearly isn’t true. I do leave the house, lately more than I’d like to. Which leads me to the second point, that I’m feeling rather unhappy about doing so much flying and driving to talk about virtual world and web based technologies with people face to face. It just doesn’t scale, for one thing, it’s exhausting for another, and even though I’m very grateful my employer sponsors my work related travel, it’s also expensive. Don’t think I can pull a Christian Renaud from Cisco, who told us at the Dr. Dobbs Life 2.0 Summit that he would no longer be giving presentations in the flesh to cut down on needless travel, but I’d definitely like to travel less and still reach my audience. Hm.

Last point maybe the most important though, and that is, if I think back over all the things I’ve attended or presented at, virtually or in person, I think in terms of _content learned_, being on task and not just socializing, but learning about the topic we all reportedly gathered to discuss, the virtual events win hands down. The social networking at real conferences is just as crucial, I think, to one’s professional development and success, but in terms of actual _learning_, I seem to retain more, pay closer attention, and stay on task when attending a virtual conference session as opposed to a real one. Maybe that’s just me, but an interesting thought anyway.

I hope to show this map on Monday when I and some colleagues give another Second Life Bootcamp workshop at the US Distance Learning Association Conference in St. Louis. I think it demonstrates how crucial the discussions about Second Life and other web based technologies have been to my professional development over the last year.

Update2: Last edit, I swear. This is missing a ton of events I’ve attended with real world location counterparts, and another ton that only happened in a virtual world, no idea how to map those. You also have to zoom out to see the ones on other continents. I feel so.. virtual worldly. 😉


  1. The social (and _professional_) networking is pretty much the only reason I go to conferences. Presentations are rarely _nearly_ as useful as what I learn talking to people in the halls. The talking in the halls isn’t just “social”, it’s learning. I meet people working on similar stuff to me and talk to them about how they are solving problems and what ideas they have for moving forward. Sure, I do that online too (on listservs, on irc), but I still learn a huge amount from the in the halls talking at conferences that I wouldn’t end up learning from my online interactions.

  2. Except that at RL conferences, we’re all sitting there listening to the speaker, maybe taking notes, but not talking with each other until we get back out in the hallway. In an SL presentation, we’re all sitting there listening to the speaker and TALKING on the backchannel, on Twitter, sending links, additional info, whatever. I don’t know, it might be a personal preference, but I think the backchat + audio + seeing additional resources = better learning for me. I feel active during an SL presentation, as opposed to feeling mostly passive at a RL presentation. Maybe it’s just my mindset?