British military in Second Life

Article published on Sept. 26, 2007
Article published on Sept. 26, 2007
We talk to Bad CO, a serving officer in the British Army, who administers the unofficial community website along with Good CO, a former infantry officer

The unofficial 'British Army Rumour Service' (ARRSE) website with an approx 30, 000 users started in January 2002. Its 3-D virtual on-line community project through Second Life (2L) began in February 2007, and is run by three site users.

Have things improved for the British army via 'active positive use' on 2L - for example virtual recruiting?

(©as shown on forum)2L is really an adjunct to our main site. It is too early to say how successful it is. Our main site has been very successful in addressing certain issues – we have a service voting campaign, have reached the media by criticising former prime minister Tony Blair's Iraq policy in our forums, etc.

Is 2L a tool for a younger generation of soldier?

Soldiers tend to be younger in the UK. A lot of users left the Army a long time ago but want to get in touch with people in a similar situation. They seem to cope ok with the technology, but we don't get too many of them on 2L.

Any tips for other EU military communities?

I'm not aware of European equivalents but am sure they exist. To create 2L communities, you need a determined group of people who can dedicate time and effort. Running an island is expensive - ensure that you have sufficient income.

British soldiers are currently stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK has significant garrisons in Germany, Cyprus, Brunei, Belize, the Falkland Islands and Gibraltar. Some soldiers are in the Balkans, whilst United Nations Observers serve with most missions