Virtual world voters shunned
April 14, 2010 6 Comments
Back in 2008, during the US Presidential Election primaries, all the Democratic hopefuls had a Second Life presence of one sort or another; Hillary Clinton and John Edwards had virtual campaign headquarters, and there were several “Obama for President” resident groups. The GOP were slower to embrace SL, though eventually a couple of Sarah Palin avatars made an appearance.
I had expected to see the current UK elections stir some interest on the grid, but all I could find was this rather disappointing “Election HQ“, which consists of nothing more than a few balloons and a malfunctioning noticeboard outside an empty store:
There is a “Conservative Party Supporters” group, with a grand total of 3 members, led by one “ToryBoy Horatio”. Potential members are greeted with a jolly “Well hello fellow Etonians and the rest of you rabble”, which makes me think that this might just possibly be a parody rather than a serious vote-gathering enterprise.
It’s said that about 7.5% of SL residents live in the UK, which, out of active users, would amount to around 75,000 potential voters, a not inconsiderable constituency. The fact that none of the major parties has felt it necessary to establish a Second Life presence may say something about the how the platform’s profile has declined in the last two years.
Or perhaps they are are just wary of meeting the same fate as John Edward’s virtual campaign (as described in Peter Ludlow’s brief history of griefing in the metaverse).