January 9, 2009

Virtual Government in Second Life: Good Government or Another Failed Tech Effort?

LOCAL OFFICIALS in Arlington County, Va have set up offices in Second Life, a virtual world where users can walk or fly themselves through the obsessions and passions of people everywhere by clicking on screen arrows. And if you can't make the real inauguration on January 20th, visitors can dress up their avatars in white ties and formal gowns and enjoy music, dancing and food at a virtual inaugural ball.

The county's cyber-office, on the first floor of a virtual glass-and-steel tower, sits behind tinted sliding doors, across from a vending machine that sells digital Cheez-Its and Pop-Tarts. Visitors can take a seat in swiveling office chairs and scan understated orange and gray promotional posters as they wait to meet with an economic development official.

Is Arlington County a trend setter, ahead of its time by utilizing a virtual world to serve citizens or is the idea of setting up a Second Life site for a governmental jurisdiction a crazy project of a county tech head?

You decide.

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Watch a video on Arlington's Second Life >

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