Posts tagged ‘Second Life’
The increasing use of social media in political campaigning in Europe became especially visible in France’s last elections (Royal vs. Sarkozy), but in the US they really have it down to a fine art. Right now in the US, with the race on for the 2008 presidential elections, everyone seems to be using social technology, such as YouTube, as part of their campaigns. The reason behind this is that the internet has created a platform for ‘openess’, enabling people to ‘get to know’ candidates before voting for them, exemplified by the Senator John Edwards‘ podcast run on Pod Tech.
My search to find examples of social media at work in European politics wasn’t that fruitful – a blog here, a video there – except maybe for David Cameron and his ‘WebCameron’. Instead I stumbled across an interesting US example from CNN.com entitled Netroots activism arrives.
“Unity in Diversity” is the EU’s motto, although not of course officially. As it is true that to understand the EU we must at least occasionally look at what’s going on outside our Brussels Bubble, we thought we’d venture out into the light and commence our virtual Grand Tour of what’s going on out there in Member State land. This being the summer, as a first stop we followed the rest of Brussels and headed south to warmer climes in Italy.
There’s more and more talk in mainstream media about Second Life (SL) and at the same time we see that many large businesses, as well as official institutions (such as the US Congress) have made efforts to ensure a SL presence. But is SL really being used in the realm of public affairs and activism?
Well, it seems it is… Once again, NGOs have been quick to embrace new ways of engaging people to take up their causes. Last night, Stella McCartney and PETA launched their anti-fur campaign (which runs until 29 July) exclusively via their Second Life island with a picnic and dance party with a “(second) live” DJ (and yes, all so-called avatars, i.e., your SL alter ego, were quite enthusiasticallly dancing with “Fur is not fair” signs – see above). (Incidentally, we didn’t find Stella).
Stories of Parliamentarians and officials who lead second lives in Strasbourg are not uncommon, let’s face it most of us have danced on the bartop of Les Aviateurs at some point in our careers. But today’s debate on the Leinen report on the opening of the IGC allowed EU Communicator in Chief Margot Wallstrom the opportunity to slip in what must be Second Life’s (SL) first mention in the European Parliament’s plenary session. Margot made passing reference to SL when she referred to the Jesus-like resurrection of the dead parrot that was the Constitutional Treaty and now is of course a series of long footnotes.
Unfortunately Margot struggled to make herself heard above MEPs filling the hemicycle for votes, so whether our MEPs will be motivated to reach out to voters on Second Life over the summer recess is still unclear. However, should the rain continue we may all have to find a virtual bit of sunshine in August.