Real prez hopeful Warner stumps in virtual game
Mark Warner, the popular former governor of Virginia and oft-mentioned 2008 Democratic presidential candidate, is about to become the "first American political figure to hold an event in the virtual world," according to the website of his PAC,, Forward Together. Warner will be interviewed at 3:30 p.m. EST today in Second Life, the wildly popular online role playing game, by Wagner James Au, a Second Life blogger who has seen just about everything the virtual world can offer.
"But it's still a bit vertiginous," writes Au, "to be in-world standing there in front of the avatar of a man that leading Democratic Party financier Chris Korge ... pronounced 'the one to watch as an outsider in [the 2008] race.'" And Au is even awed by Warner's online physique: "Mark Warner's avatar seems presidential, too--tall, stern, and statesman-like."
Pols going virtual obviously brings new meaning to Tip O'Neill's famous maxim about all politics being local, not to mention taking the message to the "streets." It also would seem to open up a whole new lucrative domain for political consultants: Someone has to design those avatars and sort out where and when candidates should appear, virtually. None of this, however, will surprise the private sector, which, as usual, got there long before Washington. A quick consult of Second Life's Wikipedia page reveals that at least ten businesses have already "operated inside" Second Life, including Adidas, MTV, and, yes, the American Cancer Society.
Photo courtesy of New World Notes
Not surprising. Politicians, as well as companies, go where people are. Many of them are now in SecondLife and World or Warcraft and spending significant time there. Warner will use this as a "first" (so he got good consultants) but it won't be a "last".
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