Like Pam Broviak and Erika Vick and others, I am an advocate of Virtual World collaboration as a "future is now" technology. I have a few random observations:
1. I am still somewhat taken aback by the trend that I see where most of the negative reaction from folks is based on hear-say, and at the least by those who have not investigated the technology.
2. "Thinking is the best way to travel..." sang the Moody Blues. And VW can be the best way to collaborate, especially when physical travel to all the events we have before us is neither cost, energy or environmentally effective is no longer desired.
3. Get Out There! Hey, take a Saturday or Sunday morning and try Second Life (for example). Stay away from bad stuff (just like in DC). Look for valid events and venues. (Just like on the Web). It does NOT cost anything, except time and curiosity. Be sure you have a PC or MAC that was built in this century. (Just like you do for your cell phone or BlackBerry).
The best way to start (after signing up at http://secondlife.com) is to take the defaults, keep it simple, learn some navigation and Search under Events for Education. Pick a class that is interesting, and show up. The New Citizen Inc., NCI classes are all very good and provide the beginner with a lot of good experience and information. Try "NCI Event - New Resident Q&A" - these are real adult folks who are not there for the bad stuff that sells advertising on Fox News.
Here's the SLURL (you guessed it Second Life URL) - http://secondlife.com/events/event.php?id=2585346&date=1239915600
Farnham Farrjones in SL
PS - The Muni 2009 event last week was a great 'in world' meeting, and was conducted in one of the best Fed SL venues, the IRM College of National Defense University.