I'd heard about the Amazon.com Job Fair through a connection on the LinkedIn ThinkBalm Community. I'd found a web site with information and had marked a note on my calendar to stop by during the event. The job fair was held on the 14th of July and started at 6 am PDT, the location Amazon Developers 2 SIM. When I had arrived at the fair around 1 pm, the event had been underway for several hours. I checked the map and saw that there were fifty-two avatars present then. Oddly enough the chat was fairly quiet and I assumed most people were either reading information, providing information or engaged in instant messaging with one of the several Amazon representatives present. In scanning around, the presence of "new" avatars was very apparent which wasn't surprising given that there directions on the web site about how to register for a second life account. Having rezzed, I moved the virtual me and was pleasantly surprised by an absence of lag as I moved the virtual me quite easily.
I first went into the area where interviews booths had been set up. I surveyed the crowd looking for my contact. Unable to spot him, I searched for an avatar wearing an Amazon t-shirt and saw several so I introduced myself. We chatted briefly about the event, where I learned that the traffic numbers had been fairly consistent all day, in the range of fifty to sixty. When I asked how the event was going the consensus response was that it all appeared to be going very well. I was told as well that Phillip Linden had stopped by to check on things. No one I spoke to was aware of whether he'd made a statement or had introduced himself to the crowd, but the rumor was that he had liked what he saw and was happy to learn that the SIM was performing well.
Having been there for nearly an hour now, I checked the map once again and saw the numbers were about the same. I moved now to where several avatars stood and opened up a conversation with one, a woman and from how she was dressed judged her to be new to second life. I confirmed it by looking at her profile and saw this was indeed the first day she'd rezzed.
"Hello Vineela and welcome to second life. I'm a freelance journalist, working on a story about the job fair. Can I ask you a few questions?"
"Hi … Sure." Vineela Cybertar responded.
"I'm assuming you're here to apply for a job. Is this your first visit into a virtual world?" I asked.
"Yes it is." She replied.
"You came into SL just for this job fair then?" I asked.
"May I ask what sort of position are you applying for and are you located in the US?"
"Computer Networking and yes I am in the US." She responded.
"If you don't wish to answer this question I'll understand. Are you currently employed?"
"No, I'm not." Cybertar answered.
"How did you hear about this job fair?"
"Thank you for talking with me Vineela, I do appreciate it. Good luck with the job hunt." I said. As she moved away, another female avatar approached I begin chatting with her. I introduced myself and asked if she'd like to answer a few questions. She replied with an affirmative and that yes she was seeking employment.
"How did you hear about the job fair?"
"I recently graduated from the University of Idaho and am on their Career Center email list, they sent an email out about it." AnnaJasmine Barcelos responded.
"What types of position are you interested in applying for?"
"I graduated with a BS in Finance and a minor in Accounting. I don't know of a specific job I am applying for, but something in the field." She replied.
"Is this your first experience in a virtual world?"
"No, the University I attended held classes in Second Life and also homework assignments. Excuse me Nazz. I need to speak with someone right now." She said.
"Thank you Anna ... the very best of luck to you." I said.
I moved one way, she the other as we finished and I then strolled back toward where I had started, near the entry point. A chat line appeared which caught my attention. It was from a male avatar who asked, "Where do I apply for a program manager position." I zoomed in for a closer look and saw he was attired in dark business suit, not one of the better made virtual suits but he did stand out from most of the people I had seen there. I introduced myself, explaining who I was and why I was there at the fair. After he agreed to answer a few questions, we engaged in a brief discussion using instant messaging.
Nazz Lane: How'd you hear about the fair?
JP Northman: I am working with an outplacement agency, and they referred me to this event
Nazz Lane: Are you currently unemployed or are you about to be?
JP Northman: Yes I am unemployed. I was laid off due to my position being eliminated.
Nazz Lane: Have you been to job fairs in real life and if so, how has this one compared to the experience?
JP Northman: Yes, I have been to a few job fairs in real life. They have tended to be crowded, uncomfortable events with many employers. Being able to focus on just one employer like Amazon.com makes it a lot more manageable.
Nazz Lane: Is this your first experience in a virtual world?
JP Northman: Yes. Other than some gaming, I should say.
Nazz Lane: How have you found the experience of being an avatar?
JP Northman: Well, in gaming you can allow some of your alter ego to become part of your avatar. This is more like real life in that you have to think about how you look, act, what you name yourself, etc. I got a bit frustrated trying to make the avatar look at least a *little* like me without spending L$.
Nazz Lane: It can be. I did see your chat line about a program management position. Is that the type of position you're seeking?
JP Northman: Yes it is.
He excused himself at that point, and I thanked him for taking the time to chat. Near now to where a sign said "Submit your resume here" I approached a few more avatars who either did not respond or declined to be interviewed. Checking the map before leaving, the number of avatars present had gone up. Fifty-seven people were there now. I clicked on home and left.