Social networking is booming. Financial executives and CPAs seem to be relatively familiar - directly or indirectly - with sites like LinkedIn (check out the FEI Group on LinkedIn!), Facebook and Twitter , but less so with the virtual world of Second Life. (For related commentary, see Hey Social Media: The Big Four is Just Not That Into You in Francine McKenna's Re:TheAuditors blog, Why I Finally Joined LinkIn and Facebook by IRWebReport's Dominic Jones, and Is Social Media an Oxymoron in Barbara Bix' The Top Line blog.) We provide more info on Second Life, below, and invite you to post a comment on our survey further below.
One group that is significantly ahead of the curve when it comes to Second Life and social networking is the Maryland Association of CPAs (MACPA). MACPA has taken the lead in developing and promoting the Second Life Association of CPAs (SLACPA) and CPA Island, which they frequently post about in their blog, CPA Success. Bill Sheridan, MACPA's Electronic Communications Manager and Editor recently wrote on this subject in his post, Shortest List Ever, the 1 Top Reason to Use Social Media, and I have been receiving some very helpful information on the use of Second Life from Tom Hood, MACPA's Executive Director and CEO, and others on his staff which I appreciate very much.
Another group using Second Life is FASB - yes FASB! - by offering "FASB Research Office Hours" on Second Life.
[UPDATE 1.2.10: Even if you don't use Second Life, you can access live or archived webcasts of FASB Research Office Hours Roundtables at www.fasri.net; visit the FASRI Roundtable Calendar for upcoming and archived events, then go to the FASRI viewer, click on the "On Demand" button that will appear at the bottom of the viewer and click on the date of the program you wish to watch (if it is an archived program).]
The FASB presence, aimed at promoting the sharing of knowledge on current FASB and IASB projects and current academic research has been coordinated by Prof. Rob Bloomfield of Cornell, who serves as Director of FASB's Research Initiative, and Prof. Ray Pfeiffer, Jr. of UMass, currently a Research Fellow at FASB. Invitees include members of the American Accounting Association (AAA - the association representing professors of accounting) Financial Accounting and Reporting Section (FARS). [In fact, that reminds me, the AAA started its own social networking site this past year, called AAACommons. If you're not a professor but you are interested in academe and/or AAA's conferences, you can become an associate member.]
According to a recent email from Prof. Bloomfield sent to AAA FARS members, "Over 75 research faculty and doctoral students have attended [FASB Research Hours on Second Life] at least once, many attending repeatedly (with crowds averaging about 15-20). " He adds that attendees from the standard-setters have included FASB board and staff members, and IASB staff members. This week, FASB board member Larry Smith is participating.
The increased interest I've seen in various professional venues surrounding Second Life has prompted me to take a quick survey in our blog:
How many of you are in the virtual world, Second Life? If you are, would you mind posting a comment in the comment section of this blog post, to let us know:
1. Has Second Life benefited you (or your firm) personally or professionally, if so, how? (Please also indicate specifically or generically what type of position you hold, in what industry or profession.)
2. Would you like to share the name of your Second Life avatar with us (privately via email, or by posting it in the comments section for the world to see)?
I thank you (and my avatar thanks you, too) for taking our survey, and feel free to forward it to friends and colleagues! Check back to this post periodically to see the results.
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