You know your work is becoming a mainstream phenomenon when The Economist covers it. Second Life is written up here as part of a “Survey of New Media”. (The survey is a compilation of articles and audio interviews that touch on blogs, wikis, new media. Good stuff.) Here’s an excerpt from the article:
One user, Anshe Chung, pays Linden Lab the equivalent of about $200,000 a year to buy land in Second Life. Ms Chung turns a profit by developing this land into residential communities (such as “Hangzhou”, “Gotland”, “Emerald Island” and so on) and charging avatars rent. “It’s the purest way of profiting from creativity,” says Mr Rosedale.
After my first foray into Second Life I’ve stayed away — it looks too addictive to me. The dynamics are increasingly fascinating, though. This is a real economy and culture in the making. Any one looking for a Ph.D. thesis topic in economics or anthropology should be teaming up with Second Life to get access to their data.