Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Spiritfest Presentation

Where to post and how to post?

I've already posted the TED video by Shawn Achor that I used as part of a presentation at mid-time adult ed at First Pres and this weekend in Second Life at the International Spiritfest Weekend on my personal blog. I wasn't paid for my time but it still seems like it was a professional thing: I made a presentation, it took some technical skills, and I took the opportunity to plug my services as an avatar with spiritual director credentials as well as virtual worlds consultant. So here I am writing about it in Die/|\Hard ... if nothing else it's been too long since I've posted something here. I may post the text of my presentation, however, at Great Hot Shave (GHS), my personal blog.

I'm standing near the screen to the right. I brought a chair so my neko-oriented "stand" animations wouldn't be distracting.

At the end of August, I saw a notice posted by the Viriditas Meditation in SL group about the upcoming event. I actually saw that Isabelle Oaklourne was online, so I sent an IM expressing interest in presenting if that was possible and she told me to send a proposal pronto since they were filling up! (See my September 12 GSH post.)  I think I may have gone ahead and provided my blog post on Shawn Achor (see link in first paragraph) and mentioned I would discuss spiritual disciplines in regard to what Achor had to say.

I did this trusting that I could find a way to make the video available. It's much simpler now that one can create media objects and not have to fiddle with group affiliations and parcel ownerships. (You can build an object in SL and assign it a url as its texture, which in effect, allows you to present a Web page that can be scrolled and clicked on onto the surface of the object.) Nonetheless, when the time came to do the presentation, the staff provided the "screen," being a privileged group member* allowed me to drop in the url for my blog, and people still needed either to click on the screen to view it or grab the url to view it offworld, so to speak. I have yet to find a way to open a TED Talk video away from the TED.com site save for embedded code. I felt that it would be less distracting to access the video embedded on my blog than the TED site, which has a lot of distracting views of other related videos to the right of their screen. BTW, while it should be possible given you have the ability to click on buttons, you cannot get the full screen mode button to work on a media object (or at least it hasn't worked for me so far).
*I was made an "S F Musician" in the Lunar Lounge group so I could rez items. While I didn't need to rez my video object, I did rez a "slide" from a screen capture of the five practices that Achor recommends to shift one's attitude toward happiness. I listed them in my chat text but the slide covered the screen with the end of the video, blocking any concerted effort one might have made to access and run the video again. Just seemed like a useful thing to do.

The program included musical and dance performances as well as presentations. This was a live performance on piano. The folks in bright teal-colored shirts standing back in middle of the shot were staff, reading to change the stage for my presentation. It was a really smooth transition.

Further preparations included a notecard with my resume on it, basically what you see in my Spiritual Direction CV page here on my D/|\H blog. On another notecard I put the text of my presentation. I wasn't sure whether I would need to give it out, but I figured I would cut and paste it paragraph by paragraph as I read it. This presents a challenge for not having practiced this beforehand! I was using Voice and not certain that it would be translated, but I knew that people can have text translated automatically. So I thought it would be important to send out the text via Chat. This went somewhat smoothly, though at one point I cut text from my notecard and wasn't able to see it right away onscreen in chat. I was able to paste it back into the notecard. Often, though, I would paste into chat and forget to hit return to send it out right away. I also posted the same paragraph I'd posted previously ... on two occasions.

It probably looked smoother to the audience than it felt like for me. That's my story and I'm running with it.

My first paragraph was a disclaimer. I knew that this was an ecumenical event, so I wanted to be sure to acknowledge that I was speaking from a Christian perspective but that the principles of spiritual formation were universally applicable. I posted the paragraph while waiting to be sure folks had finished viewing the video--there was no way to know if we were all in sync in that regard. About halfway through reading it, I got a message from someone saying to the effect, It's cool, you may skip ahead! and I did.

I really hadn't timed myself but just felt there would be time--I had 45 minutes--for discussion. There was time and there was discussion! I felt energized by the experience. I was told by Isa and the person in charge of the Nirvana sim where the fest was held that I would be welcome to present again!

An interesting experience. You do not make eye contact in this kind of presentation. The screen, for one, is cluttered with the notecard text on one side and the chat readout box on the other. To scroll around to see people or even to take pictures would have been taxing my limited ability to multitask. (What I did take, of course, happened while the video played. I also was able to check out a few profiles of people attending.)

I look forward to more opportunities!

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