Here at Engaging Cities, we’ve touched on virtual worlds and how governments are capitalizing on the opportunities within them a few times in the past. Slowly virtual worlds are becoming a place for government workers to form communities and collaborate on work as well as provide a forum for education and research. Second Life has hosted press conferences. Federal Subcommittee meetings have taken place in virtual worlds. NASA has a virtual replica of the International Space Station that’s used for education and research. The State of Missouri conducts job interviews and the occasional job fair online using virtual worlds. Countries have even created virtual embassies and local governments here in the states have used virtual worlds to train new government employees and streamline the operations of municipalities.
With this burgeoning technology comes a slightly more substantial learning curve. Creating a virtual world entails a larger time, money and technology investment than other Gov 2.0 and social media technologies. While the return on invest might be significant, how can small-time governments get their feet wet in a virtual world? That’s where GovGrid comes in. An organization dedicated to connecting goverment in the virtual world, GovGrid used OpenSim software to create virtual worlds with a side of social networking, intended to connect government and aid in engaging citizens.
GovGrid allows government leaders and professionals to work in and learn more about virtual worlds. They can easily connect with other governments going through the same process, share ideas and exchange tips while exploring the possibilities of the software. Security is a primary concern for governments embarking on any area of Gov 2.0 technology. GovGrid fully acknowledges that concern and ensures a secure setting with which to explore virtual worlds with like-minded individuals. As finance is always an issue, GovGrid is free to join and provides introductory plans at no cost. As options like GovGrid become more and more available, we can’t wait to see the unique approaches government organizations will take to virtual worlds.
Explore the possibilities at: http://www.govgrid.org/