Discovering Humanity in the Virtual: Syrmor’s Gonzo Journalism in SocialVR

Sunday, June 2, 2019
2:30-2:50 pm
Conference Room (CR1)

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In the past year, Syrmor has made a name for himself as an embedded journalist in VRChat, unearthing intimate, personal stories from users across the globe. This fireside chat will dig into these experiences and take a look at his exciting new initiative using VR in criminal justice.

Syrmor Shiraz
Syrmor Shiraz | VR YouTuber

Amassing more than a half-million YouTube subscribers, Syrmor spends his time in virtual reality humanizing avatars with the stories of the people behind them. A cute little bird talks about their time in the Korean military, while a teenage boy using a Kermit the Frog skin opens up about being bullied in highschool. His videos showcase the unique opportunity VR gives us to connect with each other.

DJ Soto
D.J. Soto | Lead Pastor, Virtual Reality Church

Believing that faith is renewed as people engage with the good news of divine love on new technology platforms, D.J. Soto began preaching in the world of virtual reality in 2016. He is now the lead pastor of Virtual Reality Church, a church that is intended to be radically inclusive and consistent. VR Church is the first church to exist entirely in Virtual Reality.

Jesse damiani
Jesse Damiani | Deputy Director of Emerging Technology, Southern New Hampshire University

Jesse is an entrepreneur, advisor, journalist, curator, educator, and public figure in emerging technology. He is Editor-at-Large of VRScout, Series Editor of Best American Experimental Writing, and CEO of Galatea, a screenwriting and project management tool for VR and AR stories. He covers XR, blockchain, AI, art, and media, with work in Adweek, Billboard, Entrepreneur, IndieWire, HuffPost, and Quartz; and syndication in CBS News, The New Digital Storytelling textbook, and REDEF. He was listed as a top global VR influencer in 2017 by Onalytica, was interviewed as an expert source in the AP guide for immersive journalism, and runs “Immersive Writers & Storytellers” and “Blockchain + XR.”

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Discovering Humanity in the Virtual: Syrmor’s Gonzo Journalism in SocialVR