A very good article in yesterday's Politico called Pols get second change to connect online and it just wasn't because I was quoted towards the end of it. The article gives a pretty good over view of what has been done in SL to date when it comes to politicians and also provides some input from experts on how to use or not use SL. My quote towards the end I think really summarizes my feelings towards politics in Second Life
Still, technology experts expect more presidential candidates to appear as the 2008 election heats up. Eric Frenchman has been on Second Life for 18 months, trying to organize the Republican base for some of his clients.
Chief Internet strategist with the marketing firm Connell Donatelli, Frenchman is also in charge of online advertising for GOP presidential candidate John McCain, although he wouldn’t say whether the senator from Arizona plans to appear in the virtual world.
“We haven’t seen too many Republicans. But I think once we have a party nominee, you might see somebody in there,” Frenchman said.
I am spending more of my own time reaching out to the Republican group in Second Life and as mentioned earlier in the article it really is like the Wild West. I have no idea what tactics can work and I'm especially concerned about the reach especially when you try and target voters in a state. For now, I'm trying to use Second Life as another marketing channel to see if we can push GOTV, register to vote, and perhaps online activism for key issues. Again, this is just in my spare time and more to see if we can find some lever to pull or to see if something can actually get started in the virtual world.
Personally, I'd like to see more events like the Newt Gingrich one because they are far more informative and far more interactive than just a boring conference call or instant message exchange. There were protesters, offline media buzz, a few glitches, and of course a little action. Besides reaching out to voters there is the potential for a little in-world and off-world buzz.
As I said towards then end, I think you'll see more activity when it comes to a general election contest than in the primaries. Right now, candidates are focusing on getting the numbers they need to the polls in each of the states and unfortunately when you break up Second Life's user base by state the numbers don't pan out. However, nationally you could have some buzz and also generate some activism around the right issues.