Well, just about every online marketer is familiar with the buzz, potential, and hype of Second Life (ooh, that kind of rhymed). While Kate marvels over how her avatar Katicus Sparrow has celebrity look-alikes, Montreal marketing guru Mitch Joel argues:

Why would Avatar-based marketing be any different from marketing to consumers in an online social network or via other self-publishing environments? Avatars tend to really replicate who an individual “is,” or more appropriately, would like to “be.” […] Having an Avatar in a virtual world enables a person to live out their fantasy… and get away with it.

Well, it seems that Mitch is only half right. It turns out that the realness of Second Life has finally been consummated with a real life political scandal. Unfortunately for those involved, the consummation of it’s reality has manifested along the lines of not getting away with living their fantasy. The Wonkette reports:

Julie MacDonald, the Interior Department’s Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, is in a bit of hot water for, well, the usual cronyism bullshit that every single hack in every single department is guilty of to varying degress. One of the complaints: she was a bit careless with sensitive DoI documents, and, you know, tended to forward a lot of them on to lobbyists and right-wing think tanks. Oh, and random 14-year-old internet nerds.


Yeah, she sent the documents to some dude she was cybering with in Second Life (probably). He was probably a giant feces-spewing monster of some kind.

If government agencies thought that they had a problem with bloggers, they might not have seen anything yet. Social media is democratizing information in ways that just might overshadow the significance of the Gutenberg Press. Users (re people & citizens) are connecting to each other in ways never before imagined, and it seems that nothing will soon be sacred — or classified.

2 thoughts on “Second Life Political Scandal

  1. There is certainly a “realness” about SL that could push someone with potentially poor judgement into the “definitely has poor judgement” camp as clearly happened with McDonald. Technically, McDonald could have done the same thing with someone she just met over email, but the nature of virtual embodiment that one experiences in SL (including cybering) creates a heightened sense of *knowing* someone (and not just biblically ;) ), which would lead to a greater ease of trust. Thanks for the link!

  2. Yeah, staffers aren’t the only ones caught up in the political upheaval of Second Life. It turns out that French citizens had a full blown riot and attacked the Second Life offices of French political parties. I personally think that this is all bullshit. It might be safer to protest in Second Life, but (1) they can definitely figure out who you are, and (2) you accomplish nothing. If people put half this much effort into their real life, maybe the world would be a better place.

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