After reading an article the other day regarding people enjoying second lives via cyberspace, my scope of imagination was stretched a bit. For those of you bored with your current life and willing to shed such for a second skin... your time has arrived. From a purely trade show perspective, this land of imagination could be adapted to create a realm entirely devoted to the trade show industry or any industry for that matter. For our sake, we'll continue along this tact seeing as it is our livelihood.
That above-forementioned 'cyber world' is reality and it's called 'Second Life'. New arrivals have the opportunity to create an avatar, or visual persona, which can be as weird or wonderful as their imagination permits. Upon creation of a new life you are guided through three-dimensional landscapes through which you can chat - via a keyboard and speech-bubbles - to other avatars, purchase virtual land and teleport yourself anywhere you desire. The result, according to one "travel guide" to Second Life, is "a world of endless reinvention where you can change your shape, your sex, even your species as easily as you might slip into a pair of shoes back home." The most visually impressive of the new generation of social-networking sites are fueling a resurgence of commercial interest in the web, and have brazenly placed its methods into the popular imagination.
Second Life is, according to its website, "a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents" and a "vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity".
My take is such. Instead of posturing and procuring a higher-than-mighty position to argue the spiritual and social ramifications involved, I've decided to go a different route. Why not apply the idea to a space devoted soley to trade shows. I know give it a minute to settle and resound within you.
Instead of physically traveling to and from the trade shows, advertising agencies, marketing outlets and company websites, one could simply shapeshift within a new world to find anyone and everything associated with the trade show industry. Now, in order for this to be accepted those partaking would have to be members already of the trade show fraternity. Though I'm not sure how you could police that requirement that in itself would allow this space to thrive with a bit of reality as opposed to the 'Second Life' alter ego which is growing based on anonymity. Further, you'd have the opportunity to leave your home, office, cafe, etc less often than in the past because of this spacious domain. Think of the work which could be accomplished from the time saved from the many forms of transportation which wouldn't need to be used with the same level of continuity.
Why would one want to do such a thing? Because they could. It seems to me if any 9 year old can market him or herself and/or their video on a third party website for anyone to peruse just by a keystroke, then there would be those out there curious about a cyberland where the future of the trade show arena is constantly evolving due to the user's imagination.
A stretch... of course, but no more so than those living a second life within a territory only bound by the parameters of your mind.