I've never understood why businesses got so excited about Second Life (pictured, left). If you've never played it, it's a 3D graphical application - kind of like a game, except without the actual game - which allows you to create a character and fly around a virtual world full of things other people have created.
These creations can be buildings, vehicles, clothes other characters are wearing, or just about anything you can imagine.
It's like World of Warcraft without the elves. What it does have is lots and lots of porn, as people use the freedom it offers to make pornography and sell it for real cash.
There was a period, which hasn't quite gone away, of organisations creating Second Life material to promote themselves, such as an "office" in the Second Life virtual world.
It's also used for virtual conferences. Microsoft and the Social Market Foundation think-tank roped West Bromwich MP and Cabinet Office Minister Tom Watson into taking part in a fringe event set in the Second Life world during Labour's conference in September.
Online gaming guru Raph Koster is developing something better.
His Metaplace project will allow people to develop their own virtual world and stick it on their website (by embedding some flash on the page).
It is better than Second Life because:
- There is no need for visitors to download a client. You just need flash on your machine, and 99 per cent of us already have that, even if we don't know it.
- People can access your world directly from any website you choose.
- There's no need to share your virtual showroom or conference hall with a thousand badly-textured penises. Worlds are self-contained, but you can link to others if you wish.
The only downside I can see is the cartoony default graphics, but you can create your own graphics if you wish.
Here is a video about the internet and porn (don't play it at work):