Online Entertainment Bits and Bytes

Here are a few semi-related interesting tidbits related to online entertainment and games:

  • Today I met Fabio Gratton and Jeff Rohwer of Incendia Health Studios. They are doing a lot of interesting work at the intersection of health, entertainment and the internet. Their Live With It animated series of webisodes on living with HIV is excellent, they are building an advocacy community around breast cancer to let women share their stories, they’ve created an online interactive television network around Hepatitis B and are working on several other similar projects. They have an interesting business model of building the content and then finding sponsors (usually pharma companies).
  • The CDC is not just in Second Life, but also in Whyville, a virtual world for children and teens ages 8-15. In support of National Influenza Vaccination Week, the CDC joined forces with Whyville in a campaign to immunize its citizens against the virtual “Why-Flu.” This simulated version of influenza is transmitted by contact with other infected avatars and results in uncontrolled sneezing that interrupts the ability to chat as well as ugly red boils on the avatar’s face. By purchasing a virtual vaccination, Whyville citizens are protected from this problem and learn about the importance of early vaccinations in the process. (via Ypulse)
  • Second Life and other online role-playing games like World of Warcraft and the Sims can be used to create mini-movies called machinima. Over at the GamePolitics blog, there is a post on using machinima for social change. While he focuses on issues like politics and historical events, machinima can also be used to create short videos on health issues or medical simulations (for example, this Alcoholics Anonymous meets the Matrix video or this heart murmur simulation).
  • Finally, the Games for Health website has just made 12 presentations from their September conference available on their website, with more to come including a video from the conference.

That’s it for now. I’ll just leave you with the little teaser that I’m planning the next Social Marketing University training, which will take place in Washington, DC on March 28-30, 2007 (with the last half-day focusing on Next Generation Social Marketing — those who are already seasoned social marketers will be able to register just for that day). More details will be available soon, and if you would like to receive an announcement of this and future trainings, just send an e-mail to

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  1. This is a fascinating post. As a physician and writer I’m intrigued by this intersection of health and the internet. I think it’s very powerful and has yet to be tapped.

  2. nedra, thanks for mentioning our work in whyville with the CDC. The CDC project is actually part of a much larger health education effort in whyville that involves nutrition, as well as workforce development in biomedical science. The former supported by the University of Texas, and the later supported by the TExas Workforce commission. The entire project is being studied by educational faculty at UCLA with support from the National Science Foundation — thought you might find that interesting.

    Jim Bower
    CEO Numedeon Inc.
    Founders of

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Bryan and Jim! I look forward to seeing how Whyville incorporates new health-related learning opportunities for its users.

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