I spent most of the weekend in Second Life. I say "in" rather than "playing" because every article I've read stresses the fact that "it's not a game." It feels like a game, but it's a game in the way The Sims is a game, more or less. Bob kept coming downstairs while I was "playing" (there's really no other verb that I can think of at the moment that fits), walking by and laughing and shaking his head. I think every time he came down I was sitting at a cafe table talking with someone.
I also did tai chi, played drums in a drum circle, taught a yoga class, took an aerobics class, did some whale watching, and stood under the ocean and watched fish.
The very intriguing part, to me, is the "real life" (how can you talk about this stuff without overdosing on quotations marks?) companies that have presences there. Not the big companies, really--AOL has a big place, for instance--but the smaller companies who buy a piece of land, put up a building, and basically set up an office there.
I ran across a public relations firm that has an office with a conference table, a conversation area, and a row of "bells" at the front of the office, each one with someone's name on it. You can walk into the office and page someone, send them a message, or pick up a copy of the company brochure. I assume that the employees come in occasionally and have virtual meetings -- I say "come in" in that they log on from wherever they are, and their avatars sit around the table and talk, or sit in the comfy chairs and sofas.
There are places where concerts are held, or movies are shown; there are lectures (I was somewhere yesterday and listened awhile to an interview with one of the founders); there are classes, although I haven't checked those out yet. I've only been doing it for a few days, so I don't know a lot about it, but I think that it's free to go pretty much anywhere, you only have to pay if you want to buy land or build something.
Of course, it's not all lofty -- there's also the possibility of having sex with a raccoon. Not that I did, although I did have a tail for awhile.