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What is Second Life?

Second Life is an interactive 3D environment that users explore through their internet-connected computer. Millions of people around the world (as well as thousands of companies and organisations) use it to chat, network, create, conduct business or play games.

If you’re new to all this, Second Life’s creators, Linden Lab, have a helpful definition of their own:

Second Life is an online 3D virtual world imagined, created, and owned by its Residents that offers a platform for communication, business, education, and organizational development to anyone who wants to try it. Developed by Linden Lab, Second Life was launched to the public in June of 2003. Since then, the Second Life world has grown dramatically with Residents joining from all over the globe and a virtual land area of over 4X the size of New York City. A tool for innovation, Second Life attracts not only individuals but non-profits, universities, big brands and government agencies, who see the potential for collaboration, education and communication.

The Three Key Elements of Second Life are:

  • Community — Residents create avatars, form groups and establish a persistent presence in the world.
  • User-Created Content — Residents create and own everything in the world. Using easy-to-master building and scripting tools, Residents create anything from houses and animations to clothing and vehicles.
  • Marketplace — A vibrant economy results in the buying and selling of Resident created content.

Second Life is not a game, instead it’s the next evolutionary stage of the Internet. It merges many qualities of the Web, online games, social networking, user-generated content, creativity applications, and telecommunications technologies. Second Life is whatever you want it to be — a social hangout, a business opportunity, a creative outlet or classroom. While there are no dragons to slay or levels to attain, there are plenty of games INSIDE of Second Life created by enterprising Residents.

You can read more of their introductory factsheet here.

© Trades Union Congress 2007