Academic conferences in Second Life?

Meetings in cyberspace are evidently cheaper and more environmentally friendly than driving or flying to face-to-face gatherings. Over on The Guardian’s Mortarboard Blog, Donald MacLeod is wondering if meeting in virtual worlds, such as Second Life, will be the future of the academic conference.

Web conferencing has been around for quite a while now. The technology has been put into frequent use by academic technophiles, and is becoming a fixture in distance education. However, while meeting in a virtual environment would reduce travel and thus the carbon footprint of meetings, the idea of moving academic conferences on-line really appears to overlook the value and importance of wandering to scholarship.