Draxtor Despres's latest dispatch from the virtual world examines how people are using Second Life to speak this country's health care policy, as part of Obama's online policy dialogues. Here's organizer Siri Vita (sp?) describing why a Second Life consultation works:
And as you can see from the video, people are literally speaking with their voices, using the VOIP capabilities of Second Life. This can be really powerful for people to be in a simulated room with other people and telling their stories together, brainstorming, expressing support for each other. The experience is qualitatively different from posting to an online forum, commenting on a blog post, or uploading a YouTube video. And you can maintain some level of anonymity, as opposed to a real life gathering. Which for sensitive subject matter like this can be an important factor.
For those who have never been to one of these kinds of virtual gatherings, it can be hard to express how moving and emotional these experiences can be.