demetrious-secrecyandillusion-2008.pdf (741.23 kB)
Secrecy and illusion : Second Life and the construction of unreality
journal contributionposted on 2008-01-01, 00:00 authored by Kristin DemetriousKristin Demetrious
This paper analyses the main Second Life Grid-an Internet-based business platform with dynamic social, techno-economic, sensual-aesthetic, and psychological complexities-as an example of public relations. It argues that Second Life is a more subversive, politically oriented, and powerful form of public relations, because it invisibly exploits and invades the process of the formation of public opinion. The paper argues that Australian organisations such as Telstra, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS), which lend Second Life credibility through their recruitment, need to ask critical questions about the ethical implications of promoting this market-driven cyber-illusion. The paper begins by defining public relations (Habermas, 1995, 1984, 1989; Gramsci in Storey, 2006) and investigating any links between public relations and Second Life. In particular, it investigates Second Life's defining claim that it is 'imagined, created and owned by its residents', and concludes with a series of questions that organisations seeking involvement in Second Life should consider as part of their decision-making.