Launch day – and Second House of Sweden is live

What a day this was! This morning Sweden’s Foreign Minister Carl Bildt came to the Swedish Institute in Stockholm and inaugurated the Second House of Sweden at a press conference that was broadcast live into Second Life.

We had a really good setup: Bildt and the rest of us each sat in front of our own laptop, each of us controlling our own avatars in Second Life. Behind us, a large screen either showed a closeup of us in real life or else what my avatar, Belmeloro DiPrima, was looking at in-world. Whatever was on the screen behind us was also being broadcast to the auditorium at the Second House of Sweden, where in-world journalists and other invited guests were able to watch the proceedings. The same feed also went to Second Sweden, where more people watched.

All this provided plenty of opportunities for wonderful feedback loops. The feed into Second Life has a delay of 12 seconds — that’s just the way it is with Quicktime Streaming Server — and if the camera was pointed at the screen showing my avatar looking at the screen in Second Life — every 12 second a new iteration of the screen would appear, slowly fading into infinity; real life, Second Life, real life, Second Life…

But enough geeky wonder:-) We also had two music acts (Natalie Moody and SL Art Ensemble), and one comedy act when Bildt maneuvered his avatar to the ribbon-cutting place. He’s quick-witted alright, Bildt: When a Norwegian journalist asked him a question he ended by promising to visit the Norwegian virtual embassy… in a few decades.

And then the embassy was opened to all-comers. The only hiccup was that the account-creating tool that we have on Sweden.se wasn’t working for Internet Explorer, though that got fixed a few hours later.

And tonight, we had our first protesters. Some Danes stood outside the embassy with placards denouncing Sweden for entering Second Life in an official capacity. What was interesting is that an entire crowd outside Second House of Sweden started arguing the question; and luckily for us, most found the Danes’ arguments unconvincing:-)

With hindsight, I think the press conference today was actually a bit daring — a technical high-wire act that could have gone wrong in so many ways. But since it didn’t, nobody needs to know about this:-) And after not having had much sleep last night, I am going to get an excellent night’s sleep tonight:-)

I’ll add some photos tomorrow — but you could always go look for yourself in the meantime. Search in-world for “Swedish Institute” or use this SLURL.

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