I installed Second Life and tried it out. It's like a MMORPG without the game. Or Sims with one real person actively controlling each sim.
It took me a while to figure out how to get off the small introductory island. Apparently you have to click search on the lower bar and search for events or something to teleport to. I kept trying to use the map, but everywhere I clicked it said "invalid location".
I wound up at "Club Bizarre" where avatars were dancing. I clicked on a big blue ball hovering overhead like a disco ball, and my avatar started dancing, too. It was amusing for a while.
I also found a "yard sale". There were plots of land for sale and a storefront (?) with objects for sale. I gather you can used Linden (in-game) dollars or US dollars. I'm pretty sure Linden dollars costs real money to obtain.
Being a guy I then searched for adult content and wound up in some sort of orgy room, but after clicking on a thing or two I couldn't move my avatar anymore, so I don't know what that was about. My early impression was that it couldn't be any more interesting than getting two Sims to "woohoo".
Why did I try Second Life? I find it intriguing that real companies are taking an interest in having a Second Life presence. A client I work for used Second Life as an example of a possible place to get their name known to a younger generation of potential customers. I suppose if virtual worlds can develop virtual economies that interchange with real economies then it's only a matter of time for real companies to leverage virtual presences into real customers.
I don't yet "get" Second Life or how having a presence there is of interest to business, but maybe I'll visit again and learn some more.
UPDATE: After a couple of weeks of playing in Second Life I concluded that businesses aren't interested in actually doing business there so much as finding a new venue and demographic target to establish brand recognition in real life.
This post is a December 15, 2011 republication of my July 28, 2007 post to LiveJournal.