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 Campaign Goes Second Life 


Politics goes Second Life? Well, my first reaction was pure and pragmatic skepticism. After all, I was wondering who has the time to have a second life? But my research interest in online campaigning triggered my curiousity.  So I checked it out:


In his article "The Politics of Second Life," the Harvard Crimson editorial editor Clay A. Dumas described Second Life as:

"[...] an alternate cyber-world, more or less like our own, except that its inhabitants can fly and teleport. [...] SL offers its subscribers an online world where their avatars, cartoon proxies for real-life people, interact, albeit online, in all the ways you and I interact in the real world. Among other things, SL has its own currency, the Linden dollar, which can be exchanged for American dollars."

Second Life and politics first connected in 2007 when the French people elected a new president. The Washington Post article "French Politics in 3-D on Fantasy Web Site" gives a very good impression of the French Second Life presidential campaign. All four major candidates opened digital headquarters in Second Life. And the headquarter of the far right  candidate Le Pen caused protest, which led to a clash between avatar protesters and staffers leaving the headquarter in ruins. Vandalizing campaign headquarters, by the way, appears to be somewhat common in Second Life. 


U.S. politics also goes Second Life. There is a virtual Capitol that politicians use for press conferences and interviews. And the presidential campaigns build virtual headquarters, the first of which was John Edwards' headquarter created by Jerimee Richir (cf. John Edwards' Campaign Enters Second Life). The Obama campaign is also very active in Second Life (cf. Obama is the First in Their Second Life). As might be expected, the Republicans are less active in Second Life. I am still looking for some information about the McCain headquarter. The OhioDaiyBlog gives a good overview about the pre-primary presidential candidates' Second Life efforts.


So after all this buzz, I have decided to create my own avatar to find out more about how politics goes second life. I will be back with my field report. For now, I leave you with the following ABC report about the 2008 presidential campaign and second life:


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