Warner gets a Second Life

Gov. Warner in Second Life

Mark Warner has found a new way to promote his political action committee (PAC): virtually.

The former Virginia governor and rumored 2008 presidential candidate has created an avatar of himself in the 3-D sandbox game cum social networking application Second Life.

“Social technologies can be great tools for political change, and virtual worlds like Second Life might be the next tool for engaging people in the real-world democratic process,” Warner said. “It will allow us to reach people through a whole new medium.”

Warner also counted his virtual looks as another incentive to meet him in the real world.

“My avatar is...pretty funny looking,” he said.

Warner entered Second Life in support of his PAC, Forward Together, which has launched a dedicated outreach group in the virtual world. The organization said Warner is the first political leader to represent himself in Second Life.

Philip Rosedale, former RealNetworks chief technology officer, developed Second Life. In it, users can create and customize avatars and interact in a landscape of user-created content. A little more than a week ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration created an island that includes hurricane and tsunami demonstrations and a real-time weather gauge.

“Warner and Forward Together PAC are exploring the limitless potential of Second Life as a platform for communication,” said David Fleck, vice president of marketing at Linden Lab, the company that created the virtual world. “Second Life represents the new ‘town hall’ that allows intimate interaction directly with the voters.”

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