By: Natalie Stone
Dr. Donna Davis, the Director of the University of Oregon’s Strategic Communication Master’s Program made a visit to the SOJC Strategic Social Media course this past Tuesday. She shared both her experience at the Oregon Reality Lab and how virtual communities have changed her life.
As social media and technology continue to grow at a rapid rate, virtual worlds are now more important than ever. Brands can now use virtual and augmented reality tools to improve their market presence.
Dr. Davis shared personal anecdotes from her experiences in the 3D virtual world Second Life, and discussed how communities like these can be monumental for users and even vulnerable populations because of the out of body social experience. As a user, you can build communities, inform consumers, and even fundraise in virtual reality.
The subject of virtual reality is fairly new to me and after our discussion, I had to dive into more research about the Google Cardboard platform. The tool, which was released in 2014, is a virtual reality platform to use with a head mount for smartphones, making it more accessible to consumers than any other expensive software. Technological tools like these create the opportunity to experience and immerse oneself into a place they might not ever physically be able to visit. The University of Oregon adopted this software last year with their project UO 360, in an effort to provide a virtual tour of the school to potential students without having to physically travel to Eugene, Oregon.
A brand that has taken advantage of this useful media tool is Alzheimer’s Research UK, a registered non-profit that is focused on dementia research. The organization dove into virtual reality technologies to better familiarize their publics with the disease. A Walk Through Dementia is their Google Cardboard app designed to put you in the shoes of someone living with dementia. This virtual reality application uses technology to better familiarize people what the experience and symptoms are for someone with Dementia. Their application features three everyday situations that pose challenges to people with dementia. In partnership with VISYON, the organization was able to create a new community in a social world using emerging technologies and creative solutions.
I believe we will see many brands adopt these life-changing technology tools because of their revolutionary interaction abilities in the near future. These powerful platforms provide the chance to build an active role in a company’s brand.
What are your thoughts on virtual reality and augmented reality?
LinkedIn: Natalie Stone