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Find Your Customers Online

Online games and communities have long been the realm of loners, losers and nerds. Today, they have evolved into large groups of people doing good for themselves and the world around them. So often, people see only the bad side of the online world, the places when people are hurt, things are stolen and lives are ruined. But, so many good things can happen online. The world online has one major benefit: the negation of the physical. You can do and say anything in the online world, and more importantly, you can be anything in the online world. You don’t need to be able to walk to run a marathon. You don’t need to be able to stand unassisted to dance. You don’t have to look perfect to be the most beautiful person in the room. The online world allows those who struggle to find their place in the physical world to belong to a community online.

In our class on Thursday, Donna Davis, director of the University of Oregon’s Strategic Communications Mater’s, discussed with us the benefits of the online communities found in Second Life for those struggling with Parkinson’s. She also briefly discussed the benefits of sites like Second Life for people with PTSD or phobias. The idea these types of behavior have with each other is that they remove the physical from the equation. For so many people, the physical world has barriers to happiness and acceptance.

But, what does this even have to do with social media? This shows the importance of having social media and an online presence. This online presence allows customers to reach you in a way that they are still comfortable with. Comfortable customers are happy customers, and happy customers come back. Having an online presence may seem like an added hassle that won’t benefit your business in a real way, but as someone who spends an inordinate amount of time of time scripting phone calls before they actually happen (even calls to the pizza place) I can tell you that being online is worth it. Having that place where your customers can find you without having to talk to a physical human, even with a phone line in between, can be the difference between a customer and a loss.

This Article Has 2 Comments
  1. Abigaelle Mulligan says:

    This is an interesting connection between online virtual realities and social media. I think you’re right about how helpful it is for companies who have a presence online.

    One thing to consider as a takeaway for brands online and how they can compare to the community building in Second Life is that people want to connect in other ways than having a conversation surrounding a product. There is a variety of people on Second Life and there aren’t people just having a conversation about one thing. Their conversations are vast, and I think brands can learn a lot from that.

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Jennifer Vance says:

    This is a great re-cap of what Donna Davis presented to our class about individuals who find a new and revitalized life on the virtual gaming system Second Life. When first listening to her talk, I immediately heard murmurs around me about how “weird” or “creepy” the concept was, and I will be completely honest- at first judgement I certainly thought the same thing. As Donna continued to describe to us the types of people who utilized Second Life, I came to realize how great the software is for people who have trouble navigating our physical world. Although for us, who are able bodied students, the concept may seem bizarre- it is important to realize that some of our community members are in need of a social outlet where they feel as if they can be a true human being again. After understanding this it becomes clear that Second Life is not weird or creepy, rather an excellent tool for those in need.

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