Saturday, December 23, 2006

Second Life

I just received an interesting e-mail concerning Second Life. Many of you all may have heard of this, but many of you probably have not. I had only been vaguely aware of this new internet phenomenon. For those of you who do not know, Second Life is one of several virtual worlds, and is probably the most successful. It first went online in 2003 and is modeled after the "metaverse." The metaverse is where computerized avatars--digital characters constructed to (usually) look like humans--interact. They buy and sell real estate, goods and services to each other; conduct classes; and give live entertainment concerts.

Second Life welcomed its one millionth resident in September of this year. Last week its residents topped 2,000,000. Three years to get the first million, then doubling in three months. That gives you some idea of its momentum

There is also an active currency exchange. Second Life's currency is the "Linden." (Linden Labs owns and operates Second Life.) The current rate of exchanges is approximately 270 Lindens to $1US. I have been discussing the viability of purchasing Lindens as an alternative investment.

Harvard Law School is teaching a class that can only be attended via Second Life, and IBM bought a massive piece of real estate where they built a 200 seat auditorium to house company meetings.

It will be very interesting to follow the evolution of Second Life, and see if it will be as prevalent in our culture as Google, YouTube, and