The panel I was on in online at the BlogHer Second Life conference on Saturday was recorded on TV in Second Life so it is now available for viewing on the SLCN.TV web site. I called-in from the Chicago Navy Pier conference center so that’s my real voice in the recording. My avatar is the extremely pale, red-headed cybergoth. Watching the avatars doesn’t show much except the avatars sitting on stage, but listening to the audio you can hear me and my co-panelist, padlurowncanoe dibou (Kathy Walker), to my right, discussing the topics. Queen Tureaud (Erin Vest), organizer of BlogHer in Second Life, also moderated. There is a slight lag in the conference call-in system so expect more pauses between speakers and occasionally there’s some audio feedback but otherwise the recording is very clear. (Note: If you use a Mac, don’t run the Quicktime video in Safari – try Firefox instead.)
The panel discussion begins with some information about candidates in Second Life and how that’s working, what people do at the candidate headquarters in Second Life, and how the official campaigns have responded so far. Then we discuss political blogs and candidate blogging, along with topics related to social networks and other online tactics for campaigns. We responded to questions IM’d to our avatars by other Second Life residents, and carried on discussion about where we think online campaigns will go in the future.
Some background on candidates and campaigns in Second Life: Second Life is this virtual world with “8 million residents” around the world. They say about 100,000 people log on each week. Four of the current leading presidential candidates have campaign headquarters there – Clinton, Edwards, Giuliani, and Obama – but it seems that only Edwards and Clinton are doing much. The person who started the Clinton headquarters is my co-panelist, although her headquarters in Second Life has not been officially connected to the people in real life. When I visited the virtual Clinton HQ, for example, the most developed of the group, it was very different from a real life campaign headquarters – it has a piano lounge, a lecturn for speeches, an area for swimming, and a nice comfy couch area for conversations. My co-panelist made the interesting point that if someone in Second Life wants to visit a campaign HQ, they want their activities to be different and more recreational than in real life. So I think they have done a good job of creating that environment there as a way to gain interest for the candidates.
I think the conclusions we reached in the panel were that Second Life is still a very experimental place in terms of politics – most of the campaigns are not in-tune with what’s happening there and haven’t spent much time or resources on it – but that it’s likely if Second Life continues to grow as it has, that they will take notice and put more efforts in later in this campaign and definitely down the road in future years. That echos other thoughts from our panel and other BlogHer political panels about how use of the Internet in campaigns is growing in genearal (blogs, social networking sites like MySpace, YouTube videos, etc.).
I enjoyed participating in the panel in Second Life. There was a slight learning curve involved in getting my bearings in the Second Life world and visiting the candidate headquarters there before the panel presentation, but the panel itself was just like being on a conference call while controlling a game character and instant messaging simultaneously. I stayed online for a few minutes after the panel to meet a couple of the questioners in the Second Life audience as I would have in an in-person conference, and then returned to the real life politics panel at BlogHer.
You can see all of the Second Life BlogHer panels here.
Who doesn’t look for some of the best jokes online? Create an amusing atmosphere with some good jokes. To tell a joke brightens up people’s day, and some political humor works best. When you’re at work, try some hilarious jokes before getting to the serious business.