Ok, I was a bit negative yesterday when I dropped in on the planned Philippines virtual embassy in Second Life. Here are some constructive suggestions for how the Philippine government should use their first virtual presence:
- Expose people to the richness of Filipino culture: How about creating a tinikling dance animation? Or selling/giving away Filipino traditional costumes like a barong tagalog ?
- Tourism: Provide information on the main attractions in the Philippines, i.e. the thousands of islands to explore, world-class snorkeling and scuba, nightlife and the performing arts.
- Investment opportunities: show the principal industries and exports, using 3D visuals and images. Describe the qualities of the workforce: high English literacy, lower cost labor, etc.
- Staff your embassy: Have real-life people knowledgable about the Philippines staffing your embassy at all hours to answer questions and give advice.
- Host events: Stream the video or audio of real life Filipino entertainers into SL. Host discussions on important topics with Filipino scholars, government reps or TV actors.
- Draw on the Diaspora: Invite expat Filipinos from around the world to participate in-world. There are millions of Pinoy who already are versed in using social networking software to stay connected with their families spread around the world. They are naturals for using SL.
You’ll get out of SL what you put into it. It isn’t like a static web page but a constantly growing and engaged international community that hungers for fresh content, dialogue and entertainment. There’s no reason the Philippines couldn’t use SL to promote investment, tourism, and positive connections with people who use virtual worlds.