One thing is very certain when it comes to the virtual world of Second Life: You will either abhore it with a passion and flee the wretched place immediately, or you will soon find yourself addicted to this virtual cocaine and find yourself snorting it through your virtual nose, twice a day, EVERY day. There IS no middle ground when it comes to this online application!

The principle magic of Second Life, for me, is the fact that it's a mutable, or changeable, virtual world. Building here is simple and a lot of fun. You build by creating, changing, arranging, combining, and texturing simple building block objects known as 'prims'. The number of prims you can use in a particular size of land is extremely limited, so the challenge comes in designing complex and usable objects by as few prims as possible.

Nearly all of the content in Second Life is player generated. In my years there, I have built treehouses, grand castles floating on a cloud, tall tower buildings, magickal forests, and tree-covered cabins in the woods. It's possible to get these objects to perform various tasks, as well: the world comes with a pretty in-depth scripting language that allows your crafted chairs to be sat on, vehicles to be driven, photos and paintings to be displayed, dances to be performed, and more.

The world is VERY active with players, and there are a variety of entertainment forms, activities, groups, clubs, and roleplaying groups to become involved with. It is not an online roleplaying game in the traditional sense, though there are areas (called 'Sims') in Second Life that cater to that interest, as well.

If you have a fairly powerful computer with decent memory and graphic capabilities, then Second Life can be an incredibly beautiful place, as well. In all my virtual world and online game travels, I've never seen anything that matched the sheer, raw creativity, beauty, and originality of the areas and structures that Second Life players have crafted! The denizens there are usually very friendly and helpful to beginners, as well: There are some areas in this virtual world that cater specifically to beginners. They provide free objects, scripts, guidance, and just plain friendly chat and helpful advice.

This world does have its downsides, though, like most of the other virtual worlds and online games I've discussed on this website. Though the various Sims are beautfiul and often entertaining places, population can be a problem in some of them. If more than about a hundred people gather in one area, then internet contention (LAG) can become a problem and your graphics framerates per second can plummet like a lead balloon.

Certain of the organized Sims, such as the ones related to sexual activity or the various combat areas, can be quite hostile, as well. Buyer beware, much of the activity within Second Life can seem to be overly sexual, at times, and even a new player, once he enters, can expect to be approached by various representatives of some of the less responsible groups and pestered for membership.

Learn to navigate through this obstacle, however, and Second Life is an incredible, wonderful place to explore and meet new people from all over the world and from a variety of cultures. Nearly any sort of online activity you can imagine can be found here, from beautiful Art exhibits, poetry readings, live musical concerts, charitable organizations, sports, games, and entertainment clubs.

Dancing is a huge percentage of what's available. There are literally thousands of dance clubs, of all sorts, from rock, country, trance, to ballroom dancing, scattered throughout the vast Second Life universe. Your character can go to these clubs, enjoy live streaming music, often by live performers, and dance using either scripted prims known as 'pose balls', or by clicking on a dance machine that animates your character and allows you to choose which dance to perform.

One of the most amazing differences about Second Life is the demographic breakdown of its residents. Where most online games are populated predominantely by male players who vary from fourteen to twenty-eight years of age, Second Life generally has more female citizens than males ones, and the average player age varies from twenty-six to sixty. If you find yourself enjoying the social banter, the dancing, and the general flirting that often occurs in a Second Life dance club, you will not be lacking for potential dance partners, that much is certain.