So, the big event went off last week when Rep. George Miller showed up in the virtual Capitol Hill in Second Life, but I couldn't get an invite. Mind you, I did find out late, but to me it looked like too good of a secret. Why do I say that? I read all the usual (Republican) political blogs and I couldn't find any that attended and when I did see the press release via Reuters and emailed for a seat (like it says in the release) I received no reply. I wanted to attend and would have participated in the conversation if I could have been there. From the looks of the screen shots, I'd say there was still room available, but that might not be a fair comment because I can't tell from the photos what another person would have done to the load and rezzing speed.
Unfortunately, from what I can tell that was posted, it looked pretty boring and like a lot of things in Second Life these days over-hyped. This was the hype written in the press release: Clear Ink and Sun Microsystems co-sponsor first Congressional presence in a virtual world, extending access and discussion for nearly 1 million “residents” of Second Life. I was one of the million residents and tried to get access but couldn't. Am I a little upset. Yes, but don't brag about extending access during the first Congressional presence and don't say email us for an invite if you don't intend to provide them. And, try to update the wiki with timely information because that was what it was there for.
I am a fan of Second Life, but for me from what I can tell via the screen shots and Rocketboom video, it was a boring conference call and what the world doesn't need is another conference call. Sure, you can have a virtual seat, but like a few people in the front row you can fall asleep when it isn't interactive. Second Life is unique when you can demonstrate your own creativity and have fun doing it at the same time. And, if you are a marketer, having a 3-D demonstration of your product is excellent. Problems are with a conference call like this, is that it seemed too controlled and the product is much better in RL.
While I do think that politicians and all new marketers should test out new forms of media and communications, it is increasingly important in politics to make sure that both sides get a chance to participate. Let's not get too excited over this toe dipped into the political water. There just isn't enough critical mass on Second Life right now to make it a viable political forum. We need average Americans participating in virtual chats like this for it to be democratic and right now the average America is not paying attention - like the person in the purple shirt falling asleep during the Congressman's conference call.