Network veterans – those who “were there” before the Internet came – will tell you that Second Life is nothing new. A contemporary re-play of “old style” Fidonet Matrix, command-line IRC, newsgroups and mailing-lists, with a more fashionable look. A “virtual place” where people go social.
I don’t share this point of view. Instead of a “game”, Second Life is a “place” where people do duplicate Life in her whole latitude. Misery and class-fight included.
The early netizen gained trust and confidence by writing. Relationships were built – as Giancarlo Livraghi wrote – on soul, before than body. Second Life, on the contrary, replicates the ordinary social mechanisms. With the help of graphics components people hide – again – the “soul” and just focus on the “body”: fast car, “kool guyz”, fashionable suits… a whole “separate universe” where seek for relief from the pain of living.
If your life is miserable, why the hell would you like to buy a second (alike) one, instead of improving what you already got?