What is Second Life exactly?
Second Life is what’s known as a MMORG which stands for Massive Multiple Online Role Playing Game. This basically means that it is an online game to which thousands of users around the world interact in different roles (or characters) simultaneously. It’s also often called a ‘metaverse’ a phrase coined by Neal Stephenson's science fiction novel SnowCrash (1992). Stephenson's definition of metaverse refers to a high definition 3D digital virtual world where users, represented by their avatars (game characters) can meet and interact just like they do in the physical world.
Instead of building websites like in today's Internet, Metaverse developers build fully 3D virtual spaces (scapes) which can closely mimic the physical world, or be as different from the "real world" as the imagination of the developers permits. For example, in the Metaverse you can visit an accurate replica of a real city, a future imaginary space settlement on Mars, a micro-scale world where you can see individual molecules and cells, etc.’ (Quote source :: uvvy.com)
Second Life was founded by Philip Rosedale of Linden Lab in San Francisco California in 1999. Version 1.0 was launched on the 23rd June 2003 and is continually updated as Linden Lab re-release new versions to support the evolution in-world. In 2004 SL had 14,000 residents, in 2005 it had 59,000 and now in 2006 Second Life consists of 216 km sq of virtual land that hosts over 514,000 residents who hold over 500 events a day and spend upwards of USD6.8M a year on resident-to-resident goods and services.
Still think it’s insignificant and only for nerd losers?
I'll post some more but in the meantime; check it out :: whilst it's still in what marketing people would call "the early adopter" phase, as broadband penetration increases and drives prices down (especially in Australia) and as more corporates move in world and the game gets more press, we'll find that parts of the game become more mainstream.
The only way to get a real sense of it is to check it out for yourself.
If you do, drop by my art gallery and say hello :: Kitty Kabuki's Street Art Gallery