Second Life is a simulated virtual society in 3 D, in which the user (or resident) can live a “second life” in the guise of an avatar. It has around 20 million players. Most of the virtual world is designed by the residents themselves. It also has its own distinctive economy: residents can design and sell their creations (clothes and real estate, for instance). Trading is done using Linden dollars, a virtual currency that can be exchanged for real money. Second Life is not a game in the strict sense of the word, but a space for communication (for games too, if that’s what the users want), that aims to be as varied as real life.
Second Life is also used for educational purposes, at Harvard, New York and Stanford Universities; it offers a teaching environment for those involved in distance language learning, for instance, or the study of new media using simulation techniques. In Second Life, one encounters the same risks as in real life, including the risk of violence. One militant activist in the cause of greater internet democracy planted a bomb in front of the Reebok store in Second Life, which destroyed the building and killed a number of avatars!