Second Life

Please use the Comments and Attachments features below (once you are a member) to post you own thoughts and use cases!

Second Life (abbreviated as SL) is an Internet-based virtual world launched on June 23, 2003, developed by Linden Labs.  A free downloadable client program called the Second Life Viewer enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items (virtual property) and services with one another.

MuniGov2.0 has a meeting space and a virtual town.  Come join us every other week to discuss web2.0 with your peers. 

MuniGov2.0 Virtual Office Location

Following are some FAQ related to entering and using Second Life:

How do I get into Second Life?

In order to enter the world of Second Life, a user must register at the Second Life Website by picking a first name, choosing a last name from the choices provided by Linden Lab, and then giving a valid e-mail address. Users can register, download the software used to enter the world, and access most regions within Second Life at no cost. If a particular region cannot be accessed it is because their owners have chosen to make those regions private. Although all this is offered at no cost, users must pay for a premium membership in order to purchase land from Linden Lab. Nonpaying users have the option of renting land from a paying member.

When a user launches the software and first enters the world of Second Life, they arrive as a digital representation of themselves (also referred to as an avatar) in a given place depending on which Website they began the registration process. After going through a short orientation, each person can then begin exploring.

What can someone do in Second Life?

The world of Second Life offers many of the same interests found outside of the digital world. Avatars can be found meeting, talking, dancing, shopping, selling, fishing, swimming, boating, flying, driving, playing music, building and designing, along with numerous other activities.

How can Second Life be used by Government?

Second Life has many uses for local governments. As this technology becomes more developed and enhanced, more uses will emerge, but for now, here are some of the more practical uses that are easily implemented now:

·        Tourism – a local government can build representations of specific attractions or offer community-related information that would interest visitors.

·        Meetings – representatives of local government can meet with each other, with citizens, with suppliers, or with other agencies at times that are convenient to everyone and without having to travel.

·        Training – all members of local government can attend training in Second Life without having to leave their office leading to a significant reduction in travel costs. Government can also offer training and education for citizens on issues related to their community.

·        Planning/Design – with the ability to emulate the “real world” in 3D and then allow for interaction by avatars, government can use Second Life to develop 3-D representations of plans or designs and then meet with residents to obtain input. All of this leads to greater collaboration on community design.

·        Networking – most local governments deal with similar issues but rarely have the opportunity to network and gain information from each other. Second Life offers a place where everyone can meet, discuss similar issues, and work towards common solutions. This collaboration extends to the ability to allow for international collaboration and understanding.


Relevant Resources and Media Ontario Public service woos young recruits with Second Life - Article from IT Business Journal on Ontario's major Second Life recruiting campaign.

Missouri Hires First Employee from Second Life - Government Technology about how Missouri's SL recruiting efforts paid off.

The Second Life of Second Life - Article from Fast Company on how Second Life has generated a completely new model for customer interaction...less about the direct sale and more about connection.  This certainly has some bearing on how SL could be used in government.

Virtual Worlds: Dangerous Turf? - PC World article identifying potential threats to information security posed by virtual worlds.  Also includes a best practices plan for securely establishing position in virtual world.

City of Birmingham establishes virtual island in Second Life - Public Technology report on Birmingham, England's innovative SL presence. Although several other cities have a presence in Second Life, Birmingham Island's showpiece attraction, b-scape, is the first to integrate other integrate other online applications such as Google Maps, video and RSS feeds to provide a whole new layer of collaboration.

Government - Real Life government agencies using Second Life (GuSL) - This mailing list is for people from real life government agencies around the world who are interested in or currently using Second Life. We'll be using this mailing list to share information that might be of interest to national and local government agencies, NGOs, and nonprofits.

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research Interesting articles and research on all types of virtual world technology.  It is good reading and has lots of interesting applications.

Machinima - According to Wikipedia "machinima is the use of 3-D real time graphics rendering engines to generate computer animation."  Second Life and other virtual worlds offer a platform to create machinima which can be an alternative way to create videos other than traditional video production.  Machinimas also can be less expensive depending on the message, quality and other factors.  The City of Hampton created an internal machinima to demontrate green initiatives and cost savings for the Department. 

Information for Network Managers

Articles by MuniGov on SL Security -  Provides security information and network connectivity informaiton for localities and others seeking to connect to Second Life.

GIS Resources on Second Life - Someone sent this to me the other day and for those localities with GIS there might be some good resources here.
SLURLS to Second Life Locations with Government-related builds:
MuniGov Site - Virtual group of people working for or interested in government:
Tameside Metropolitan Borough in the UK:
Technology Strategy Board, UK-based government agency:
IRMC (National Defense University Information Resources Management College):
egov (not government-owned):
Maine Learning Technology Initiative:
HIV/AIDS education on Univ. of Illinois - Springfield sim (partially hosted by ILL Dept. of Public Health):
MyBase (US Navy Site - only one of many US Military related sims in the immediate area):

Subpages (1): Second Life Orientation
Caryl Thompson,
Sep 24, 2008, 8:33 AM