Second Life is the ideal place for todays election politics to be played out. The politician can raise money, speak to a large and targeted audience, disseminate literature and their message, and present themselves with an avatar; a completely false representation of themselves defined for a particular audience. Wait… it’s no different than real life. Well that’s not entirely true. In Second Life the candidate can fly… with out an airplane paid for by illegal contributions.
As of yet the value of Second life has to be proven on many fronts, the political one included. Nancy Scola in her article “Avatar Politics: The Social Applications of Second Life” she highlights use of Second Life by Virginia Governor Mark Warner, a potential Presidential candidate, and defines him as the first major political figure to formally enter the metaverse. He is speaking to what she describes as a “raucous crowd,” including “a dwarf in colonial garb” and a “rotund woman in a bikini.” I wonder if this is a fair representation of the Governor’s constituency?
Scola argues that there is potential for fund raising in Second Life, and that it makes geography irrelevant for people to see potential candidates, but ultimately she concludes that It is more likely “a road paved with more failures than successes.”
I think I agree with her.
We do not need more chances for politicians to put on masks, or avatars to suite the crowd they are speaking to. For one Presidential candidate this is already part of the act. She often takes on the accent or vernacular of the crowd she is peaking to. Politics is too full of phonies already.
The idea of the virtual Capitol Hill is intriguing. Perhaps a law should be enacted to require that all members of Congress set up avatars that are required to appear in virtual Capitol Hill whenever they are on Capital Hill. This way the taxpayers of the country could check in to find out what is being debated in real time and keep an attendance of their Senators and Representatives to see if they are even showing up.
I am pretty confident that this will never happen.