My name is Jared Freedman and for the last six months I have been serving as the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Association of Virtual Worlds. I extend a hearty thank you to Dave and Edita for all the hard work in setting up the AVW and for keeping it an active nexus for people interested in networking and learning about each other’s projects.
When I accepted the Advisory Board position, I did so out of a strong desire to help our industry mature. I have many years of non-profit experience and I thought I could bring this to the aid of the AVW. During my tenure I strove to move the AVW to a formal non-profit industry trade group, with the full accountability, transparency, and neutrality that an organization should manifest if it sought to represent the Virtual Worlds industry to Government, Academia, and other Industries.
While there was majority support within the Advisory Board to make a move to being a formal non-profit trade group, for reasons best left for Edita and Dave to discuss at their leisure, the decision was made to not move in that direction. From my understanding, the AVW is to be kept as it is now; as a successful, though informal, social network.
For the record, I’m a great believer in Virtual World technology and its capacity to provide true value in many areas of human endeavor. I also know many others that hold an equal belief. If a rising tide lifts all boats, then there should, nay, WILL be an industry trade group that represents our industry in an official capacity like those that represent every other mature industry. The AVW is a fine social network, it is just time to move forward to something more formal.
For this reason the Virtual Worlds Association is forming, first as another NING site for initial organization and open input, but then moving to a formal non-profit 501 business league in January of 2010. This will be a transparent and accountable organization seeking to provide our industry with an official trade group.
Our starting mission:
The Virtual Worlds Association exists to advance the value and understanding of virtual world technologies, the practice of creating and managing virtual world experiences, and the profession of virtual world practitioner.
Additionally, the VWA aims to provide an international network and community infrastructure that support communication and collaboration and promote excellence within the field of virtual worlds and establish links to related industries and organizations through research, education, advocacy and community service.
Finally, the VWA strives to present the viewpoints of our profession to the public and to other important and interested parties and to provide such services to Members as are approved by the Board of Directors, who are in turn voted into power by a sustaining membership.
We encourage all people who are serious about virtual worlds and who are willing to contribute a bit of time each month to further our industry in practical ways, to come join us at:
Chairman, AVW 2009 Advisory Board