"I finally joined the Sarkozy campaign as one of Internet advisers and took care about the conversation. That means anywhere on web, in a decentralized way. Based on the previous debates experience, I thought I should start by finding a way to sort the questions and launched a digg-like for Sarkozy, debat-sarkozy, people could ask their question, then vote for the most important one, and Nicolas Sarkozy committed to answer the questions: 1500 questions were answered and more than 8000 comments appeared on the site, a good start... We started having a very close relationship with bloggers from all political areas of society, invited them to the campaign headquarters every week to meet a political figure, about a thousand bloggers showed support to Sarkozy, many others who would not vote for him were still happy to be in touch with us, and by the dialog that was created"
"[le Meur] also launched an island in Second Life, l'ile Sarkozy, which has been an amazing experience. The island has been managed by voluntaries who created the buildings and monitored it 24 hours a day, more than 400 avatars joined a Sarkozy group and many became residents of the island. We survived attacks from opponents which were interesting to see, bumbs, naked people, insults, mines dropped, weapons, demonstrations.... The island has been packed during the entire campaign, reaching the SL max avatars limit most of the time [see screenshot below]. The most interesting for me was when we started streaming the debates at the real headquarters in the virtual headquarter on SL and had lots of interactivity, we took questions from SL and had the political figure answer them. The conversation and bridge between the virtual and the real life was fascinating"
There was a downside for le Meur getting involved, he had to start moderating comments to his blog, but this is also a measure of the level of engagement across the online community. As Sallie Goetsch agreed, this could be 'a harbinger of what is coming in political communication' as 'blogging and politics go well together as people have strong views'. The online environment provides a variety of ways for the political candidate and electorate to form connections; but it must have the interactive element. There must be a connection between equals not the traditional top-down from politician down to voter approach that seems most common and is simply a transference of techniques used for old media to new media. Many lessons can be learned from the French presidential elections, possibly this is an indication of the shape and style of things to come.