These are real people.
Linden Lab, a San Francisco company, creates the 3D virtual reality world on its servers. Without residents, it would be nothing but empty land.
Linden server hardware and 3-D rendering software create the underpinnings of a virtual world for Second Life, and then the real people who enter Second Life build everything that is in-world – buildings, skins, hair, clothing, jewelry, mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, plants, animals, vehicles, tools, utensils, everything.
The pioneering people who populate the world – the residents – build their own society and culture. Real human beings from all over the real world are behind their nearly 13 million keyboards. They bring their social environment with them from real life.
Who are they?
Residents of Second Life are about 40 percent from the US and 60 percent from elsewhere – Europe, Japan and Asia, Central and South America, many from Australia, and some from Africa.
There is an enormous number of interest areas among the residents of Second Life. It's a pastime for most, although a few go there only for professional gain.
It's not a game
SL is social networking. It is not a game – no game rules, no scoring, no winners, no losers. On the other hand...
This is a big, lively, diverse community
- There are all kinds of organized activities, sports matches and games, bowling alleys, golf courses, scuba diving, yachting, skiing.
- There are movie theaters, sound stages, festival parks, amphitheaters, auditoriums for music and speakers and concerts, parks and gardens.
- There are parks, gardens, conservatories, mountains, valleys, rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes, farms, ranches, pastures, woods, forests, and of course the Second Life ocean.
- There are millions of houses decorated with furniture and appliances, stores with all kinds of ordinary merchandise, and resident-built places for virtually any other human activity.
This community is served by lots of media of mass communication. Those millions of houses have their own radios and TV sets and and their owners subscribe to and peruse daily newspapers and monthly magazines.
While most media is American-owned, SL's global travel and communication capabilities make it easy to discover relevant global media. They are in the mix in SL now, just as they are in real life (RL) America.
- SL media affect ideological processes in the society.
- SL media describe abstract concepts as if they are concrete.