Billions of Us – Virtual Solutions for a COVID-19 World

Over the last few weeks the world has been forced to forge a new path as we learn to protect ourselves and each other while trying to keep support services functioning. This first phase has been reactionary. We’ve mainly been figuring out how to establish a home base from which we can accomplish the things we need to do. Even those who still go to their workplace, like those in public works or emergency or medical services, are figuring out how to operate in a much changed work environment.

Fortunately humans are adaptable and already we seem to be shifting to the next phase in which we try to figure out how to best leverage available resources. One initiative I see working in this direction is Billions of Us, “a creative collective devoted to using virtual technologies to improve the real world in this time of vast systemic change.” This effort is just getting off the ground so their website has minimal information. Instead, they are engaging more on their Billions of Us Facebook group which you can request to join if interested. Yesterday after I saw a notice about it on LinkedIn, I messaged Reuben Steiger who graciously welcomed me to the Facebook group.

While making use of social media channels, Billions of Us has also set up space in the virtual world of Second Life (SLURL: This specific venue appeals to me because I know from past experience Second Life can provide the framework and opportunity for people to work together to achieve goals that might not otherwise have been possible. If you have not yet been in a place like Second Life this may sound surprising. And yes, there are places in Second Life, like in our offline world, that are NSFW. But there are many places only focused on business where professionals engage and learn from each other and have been doing so since the early 2000s. I have worked on projects by both teleworking and by working in Second Life. Only the experience of working with others in a virtual world like Second Life has allowed me to develop the same type of professional relationships I would develop in a face-to-face environment.

Billions of Us Town Hall in Second Life

So what will Billions of Us achieve? And will this situation in which we find ourselves become our “new normal? Obviously it’s too early to tell, but I like the idea of a group focused on leveraging technology to help us get through it. So I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to participate and learn from others in the group and provide any support I can. I hope others who are interested in or who are already well-versed in virtual technologies will also join the initiative. We are all in this together, and what we achieve together will determine our outcome.


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