European Union to open office in Second Life

EU in Second Life
The European Union may soon have a presence in Second Life.

A report in the EU Observer says that an EU office in the virtual world would be part of the European Commission’s effort to get closer to EU citizens and communicate better with them.

[…] “We’re looking at communicating through untraditional channels such as the internet and it is a very serious consideration in the reflection of our future internet strategy,” [Commission spokesman Mikolaj Dowgielewicz] pointed out. “Second Life is just one of them but an interesting one,” he said. “We’re open to new ideas.

No details have been suggested on how the commission could involve itself in Second Life but Mr Dowgielewicz said it was more likely to be a project of the commission’s communication department rather than of the entire EU executive.

The European Commission is responsible for the 27-member union’s EU embassies around the world.

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.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Have you ever faked it? « Heather Yaxley - Greenbanana views of public relations and more

    […] Which brings me to SecondLife – the ultimate Web 2.0 fake world.  I’ve struggled to quite get the point of living as a virtual alter-ego avatar.  As Neville Hobson reports the European Union is planning an office there, I believe it is time to shout “Emperor’s New Clothes” at all those organisations who mistakenly believe inhabiting SecondLife means they are ahead of the curve.  […]

  2. johan

    Having read the announcement of the EU setting up office in Second Life I felt I should point out what other activities this game supports other than chat ,which is porn.Why would a very respected body such as the EU venture into a place where the Dutch government are implementing new laws as to ban this game as a hot bed for pedophilia?
    Now we all know that sex sells and that the internet was born from porn ,but in this day and age is it so necessary to put out your message through these channels of advertising , especially a well respected body such as the EU.
    As for me I am very surprised at the lack of research that obviously didn’t take place before they made this announcement ,and I am assuming they don’t openly approve of advertising hand in hand with pornography ,and suspected pedophilia.

  3. neville

    Johan, a) it’s not a game and b) it doesn’t support porn. Where on earth did you get that idea from? And ditto the ‘hotbed of paedophilia.’ And the internet born from porn? Good grief.

    Do you have any facts? Any references to back up your claims?

    While you’re thinking about that, take a look at the Second Life terms of service, specifically section 4.1.

  4. johan

    Hi Nevil,
    Here is a link for you to read concerning the dutch towards Secondlife.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/21/dutch_demand_ban_on_virtual_child_porn/

    If you would like to send me a link to you so I can send you some screenshots of people having sex with a sign behind them saying”Do you want to be a pornstar” along with some other pics plz do.

    Now you might be an employee to Secondlife or a player who has an account in there that may not circulate in those area´s of the game ,but they are there all the same and I´m not going to be fooled by these “There is no porn in SL” jedi mind tricks anymore.

    I don´t mean for this post reflect on all players in SL but there has to be a certain level of honesty which SL is not promoting hence my first post.

  5. neville

    Johan, I read that story when it came out. And no, I don’t wish to see screenshots. I can find enough such information myself if I really want to.

    I think you need to be a little more balanced. Who said there’s no porn in Second Life? Of course there is. The way you describe it, though, Second Life is just a hotbed of perversion. You can certainly find R-rated areas there if you look. That’s the same as almost anywhere on the internet as well as in real life.

    I disagree that Second Life is dishonest. Again, I refer you to the terms of service. Pretty clear on behaviour expectations.

  6. edublogs.be » Blog Archive » Communication Management in Virtual Worlds: The Next Challenge

    […] 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. […]

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