Second Life (SL) is a 3-D virtual world that allows users to participate in this world by creating an avatar, which is a virtual representation of the user. This avatar has humanoid features that the user can customize. The most important part of SL is that user create their own content/objects and can retain the intellectual property rights for the content they create.If the user obtains a Premium membeship plan, he/she will earn $500 per week in Linden dollars (SL currency) and has the ability to own land. Users with a basic account cannot own land but can rent from other users. SL members can convert their “Linden dollars” to real U.S. currency. For example, the avatar named Anshe Chung created a land development business that has earned her $250,000 in U.S. currency.

Some have argued that the time spent in this virtual world, is time individuals can spend being more productive in other areas of their lives, such as work. However, I believe that participating in this economy can give users ideas that can be applied to the real world. For example, one SL member was able to sell his virtual world game, Tringo, to a company called Donnerwood Media, that will make this game available on Game Boy Advance and cell phones. Therefore, people are finding opportunities that may not have been available to them had they not participated in this virtual world.

There is also the argument that virtual worlds can promote anti-social behavior. I disagree. Virtual worlds such as SL represent another form of social networking. Individuals from across the country can communicate with one another in this world via instant messaging. This gives individuals the opportunity to interact with individuals that they may not normally interact with even if it is through a made up avatar.

Although I have never been one to be interested in virtual worlds or video games, I think programs such as SL can have positive outcomes for its users. I believe that it can give individuals an outlet to express their creativity. As stated above, many people have profited from the use of SL and have been able to make real money by showcasing their creativity.

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