The government of Sweden plans to open an embassy in Second Life.
News from Swedish friend Fredrik Wacka says theyâ€™re investigating how to build a 3D copy of the Swedish embassy in Washington. Formal negotiations have started with the architect for the real building and the state authority managing official Swedish buildings around the world.
Fredrik pointed me to an article in DN.Kultur magazine which has the details. In Swedish, of course. The first paragraph confirms the plan:
Sverige ska bli fÃ¶rst med en officiell ambassad i den virtuella, tredimensionella vÃ¤rlden Second Life. Det Ã¤r Svenska institutets generaldirektÃ¶r Olle WÃ¤stbergs ambition och han Ã¤r mycket entusiastisk.
Running that text through the Systran online translator produces this intriguing result but I’m sure you’ll get the gist:
Sweden will become first with an official embassy in the virtuella, the three-dimensional world Second Life. The is Swedish Institute’s Director General sweater WÃ¤stbergs aspiration and he are a lot of enthusiastic.
(I’d have used Babelfish for a more amusing translation but they don’t offer Swedish to English.)
However the virtual embassy starts out, it wonâ€™t be possible to seek asylum, get a passport and those other more formal things an embassy does. More of a marketing initiative, Fredrik says, so itâ€™s a matter of definition if itâ€™ll be a real embassy or not.
A similar argument as to whether Dutch bank ABN Amro’s presence in Second Life is a real bank branch or not.
Real enough if you imagine it.
[Update Jan 28] More details in a post on The Local, an English-language Swedish news site, on Jan 26, bylined by French news agency AFP. Via Boing Boing, via Cardie Mahoney.
[…] Sweden to open embassy in Second Life at NevilleHobson.com Huh? Wha? Why? I haven’t the foggiest why they would do this. I’m a big social media advocate, but the benefit of a Second Life embassy is lost on me. (tags: governmentblogging) Share and enjoy […]
[…] I’m a bit wary of Second Life – which I see as having the potential to eat up oodles of real as well as virtual time – but Neville Hobson is a big fan, and his blog has a great scoop (for the non-Swedish speaking world)- Sweden To Open Embassy in Second Life. This raises lots of questions. Will diplomats enjoy immunity there? Will they be bugged / hacked by rival powers? Are MI6 keeping an eye on Second Life? What about Al-Qaeda? tags:Blog Home second life […]
[…] Sebastian Kurpas from European think tank CEPS told EUobserver that it is necessary for any governmental body to look into alternative ways of transmitting its message. He explained that the commission has lately changed its communication strategy from communication through mainly mainstream channels such as print media and television to a more diversified approach including the internet. Mr Kurpas said the commission could “reach a different public that may not normally be interested” in its work. (Via Philippe Borremans) The communication department is headed by Margot Wallstrom, a commissioner who is no stranger to embracing new communication ideas – she started a blog in the early adopter days for European political blogs, back in January 2005. The announcement comes after the latest data from Linden Lab, Second Life’s developer, published in early February which shows that citizens of the top three European Union member countries who are SL residents – that’s France, Germany and the UK – collectively make up 31.28% of Second Life’s membership, exceeding the 31.19% of the US, the single biggest country for membership. Overall, citizens of EU states make up just over 51% of the 4.275 million members of Second Life. Related post: Sweden to open embassy in Second Life […]
[…] Sinds de lancering van Second Life werden al meer dan 4,6 miljoen accounts (bewoners, members) aangemaakt. Interessant om weten is dat maar liefst 54% van de actieve users Europeanen zijn (ten opzichte van 34,5% Noord-Amerikanen). Misschien nog niet zo gek dus dat ook de Europese Unie eraan denkt om een kantoor te openen en Zweden een virtuele ambassade overweegt. In elk geval draait de virtuele economie goed en in november werd dan ook bekend gemaakt dat Anshe Chung zichzelf de eerste dollar miljonaire is in Second Life mag noemen. […]
[…] Sogar die EuropÃ¤ische Union mÃ¶chte laut diesem Blogeintrag in Second Life PrÃ¤senz zeigen. Grund dafÃ¼r ist die NÃ¤he zu den UnionsbÃ¼rgern auf diesem Wege aufzubauen. Auch Schweden mÃ¶chte eine Botschaft in Second life errichten, wie dieser Blogger berichtet. […]