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      CommentAuthoradamatsya
    • CommentTimeDec 1st 2007
     (87.1)
    Curious to know what you people think of government organisations creating presences in Second Life.

    I work for the Office for Youth, a state government office in Australia, and in our various not particularly adept attempts to reach young folks we've jumped onto social networking bandwagons a bit. Our website, youthcentral, has a myspace and a 2l avatar, and I know the Queensland govt was looking into the uses and practicalities of youtube, myspace and 2l for interacting with - what? citizens? "the youth"?

    The 2l project we're involved in is a collaborative thing between Office for Youth, Tourism Victoria and Invest Victoria (the business strategy arm of the govt - encouraging business investment in our state), but i have to say i'm not really getting the point.

    My question is what do you folk think of such things? I suppose it's just an iteration of business presence in 2l, but i dunno. it reminds me of something i read a while a go about kids leaving myspace because it was full of old people trying to sell them things.
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      CommentAuthorlamuella
    • CommentTimeDec 1st 2007
     (87.2)
    I've volunteered in the library on Info Island in Second Life. That's arguably a government organization, in that it's a public library.

    I have no problem with government presence, as long as they let people come to them, rather than forcing themselves on others.
  1.  (87.3)
    I just can't see the point. There simply aren't enough people in Second Life for it to have any benefit, surely?
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      CommentAuthorlofidelity
    • CommentTimeDec 1st 2007
     (87.4)
    But it makes a great PR piece and a talking point for how they trying to be "progressive and forward thinking."

    Imagine if someone from the press bothered to fact check what demographic is actually in Second Life (sexual deviants who probably aren't allowed to exist in other countries.)
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      CommentAuthoradamatsya
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
     (87.5)
    warren - exactly my thought. another problem is the people that my office are most concerned to reach are what they call "disaffected or disengaged youth" who are hardly the kind of people to have broadband and a credit card for 2L registration. but there's this idea that contemporary web trends are "yoofy" and thus we need to be involved.

    lofidelity - you hit it on the head, I think. There were some concerns about "illegality" in secodn life, to which the relevant minister's response was "we can't do anything about that really".

    although, to be honest, there was some talk about using 2L in Queensland to host discussions and workshops, kind of like the whole virtual boardroom idea.
  2.  (87.6)
    I have seen some interesting uses of Second Life for specific purposes by government groups, and not just educational ones. There was a project called Democracy Island at the start of 2006, one of the first "real" Second Life events I encountered, which had a model of a proposed park in Queens for public inspection and comment.

    Model of LaGuardia park

    LaGuardia 2

    I asked at the time whether it was not a tad exclusionary and expensive to have the models in Second Life. Oh no, I was told, in fact the cost of having a maquette made and modified each time there was a desired change was immense, far larger than renting space in SL, and it could only be put in one place, whereas with this version, people could come to any council office to look at it, or look at it at home if they had the equipment. And the speed with which things could be moved about to see what they looked like in total was far greater. I'm not sure what happened to that project, but it has always seemed like a good use of SL by local government.

    On the other hand, quite a bit of the rest of the Democracy Island event seemed rather vague and fluffy Utopian technocratic "e-democracy" nonsense, none of which I have ever seen turn into practice and which probably never will be. I suppose one could have versions of other online resources accessible via SL - so one could report a broken streetlight by touching a prim on a map, say, rather than going to the council's website - and that would be good publicity and make the council look "forward-thinking" and so on (and let's not dismiss that, it helps when it is time for funding decisions higher up) but coming in with no particular purpose is probably going to result in a bare shopfront, just as with all of the companies that come in because it is the latest trendy thing.
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      CommentAuthoradamatsya
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
     (87.7)
    yeah - e-democracy. that's the OTHER project we've been asked to get involved in for next year. I'm not driving the project, thank god, but it does have a similar flavour to it.
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      CommentAuthorFC
    • CommentTimeDec 2nd 2007
     (87.8)
    The 18+ nature of SL doesn't necessarily mean the educational side of government projects in SL are a bust. While many such projects are open to the public to visit, some are used for internal education and interaction, as well as areas for presentation on-site at lectures for people of all ages.

    I personally believe opening the door to educational sims allows for the branching out of virtual worlds beyond commercial projects that come and go. They have lasting value that goes beyond any traditional search for $$$ and provide the opportunity for Residents to learn more about the world where they might not otherwise.

    The other thing with educational projects in SL is that they provide a greater chance at doing something fun and unique, from a developer's point of view. Too many times I've seen companies come to SL, think all they need to do is drop a build, not interact with Residents, and then leave, muttering that SL 'didn't work' for them. Things would be different, i think, if these corporations allowed dev companies in world to have more of a say in what got placed where, and truly took the time to research and understand what degree of interaction Residents are looking for.
    • CommentAuthorlex
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (87.9)
    I guess first of all you need to know what you expect when you invest in SL. Throwing money at some company building your presence alone will not work. If you do this, throw a little money at them and create some buzz in the RL media. From a PR point of view, this is a workable way. If you throw a lot of money, and expect to get some return from SL residents, you may be very disappointed.
    If you really that you can attract some people to your cause, start small. Organize events and invite people in RL to attend. Attend other people's events which are of interest to your cause. Have dedicated people on your payroll (or volunteers) who are present at your site and help visitors.
    Still, I am pretty sure that, from an economical point of view, it makes little sense to invest too much into SL. RL Problems usually are not solved by creating virtual solutions in SL.
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      CommentAuthorvijay
    • CommentTimeDec 3rd 2007
     (87.10)
    Would be ideal if most RL companies and organisations have some kind of SL presence. at least for our sake. - there'll be somewhere to grief and protest etc... not that I grief or protest or sell any items that does.