Former Virginia Governor and potential 2008 presidential candidate Mark Warner became the first politician to make a public appearance in an MMO yesterday, speaking to a small crowd of avatars in Second Life on issues ranging from the Iraq war to abortion. Warner, who is also founder of cell phone company Nextel, literally flew onto the stage at the start of the event, leading interviewer Hamlet Au to comment that he is "not a noob."
The lightly-attended event was put on by Warner's Forward Together PAC and Second Life promotional group Millions of Us as part of an effort to "go where the voters are," according to Forward Together staffer Nancy Mandelbrot. Warner didn't take audience questions during the event, but promised that he would be back for a virtual "town hall" meeting soon.
With more and more voters spending more and more time in virtual worlds, is Warner on the leading edge of a new form of campaigning? Or is this appearance a gimmick that won't have any long-term effect on politics?
[Update: Changed to reflect the fact that Warner is a former Virginia Governor, not current.]