A New Political World Order?

(Getty Images)
If you build it, will they come…and then vote?

Political blogs like this one at Tech President or this one at ZDNet are abuzz today about presidential candidate John Edwards's apparent leap into the Web's world of avatars or virtual characters. (I know blogging about other blogs is a bit like pointing a camera at the mirror but stay with me here.) A volunteer has recently set up an Edwards presence in the popular online social environment Second Life, though there isn't much to report at the moment. The volunteer, Jerimee Richir, says while he's unpaid by the Edwards team at the moment they're aware of his work and he expects the campaign team will promote it further going forward.

I guess this makes Edwards the first (unofficial) virtual presidential candidate in Second Life -– so can we expect more? What about an avatar debate? Could there be a Second Life political scandal? How do we know who's really behind the characters? Clearly we're a long ways from casting a ballot in Second Life (if ever), but I can't help wondering if it will really generate more votes in real life. Surely it has more to do with candidates seeming hip and cool than actually garnering support. But if work of mouth gets around, maybe the media attention will help drive interest.

Whoops -– now I'm guilty of that.