Archive for virtual reality

Globally Networked Anarchism

Posted in Anarchy with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by Anarchy Library

As 2008 draws to a close it is fair to say that the hype surrounding virtual worlds has dissipated.  However, it is worth highlighting the continued utility of virtual worlds as not only immersive environments, but also as compelling communication venues.  What continues to separate Second Life from popular gaming virtual environments such as World of Warcraft (WoW), is its ability to globally connect users.  WoW is of course a multi-user environment but as any player will know the opportunities for globally connecting are limited by the local server you attach yourself to.  Second Life remains a more international venue when used in creative ways – global networked protest is one such way.

A recent article in the Economist highlighted the way in which the anarchist movement driving the riots within Greece has been able to connect internationally using the technology tools we are increasingly familiar with, YouTube (150,000 views), Blogs and Facebook. Facebook in particular appears to be the protest connection venue of choice, for a variety of movements from Egypt to Greece.  The behavioral socio-political data that is present within the architecture of the Facebook site would provide keen insight into this developing opposition phenomena if examined and exploited. The new kids on the block are also represented by Twitter (through the #griot descriptor) and Second Life.  This global connectivity produced a global reaction with protests appearing in a variety of other countries.  While Facebook and Twitter are currently gathering the majority of the attention, arguably the seeds of better future information portals are to be found in Second Life.

A monument to the teenager killed by Greek Police (slurl to SL venue) has been erected within Second Life by the group Second Life Left Unity.  While clearly biased in its representation it contains some interesting commentary on the subject – it clearly lacks the collaborative editing of wikipedia but the content is compelling.  In similar fashion demonstrations are being held in Second Life relating to the current Israeli action in Gaza where protests are being held at the Islam Online site within the virtual world.

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