This is Hilarious. For those who don’t get the joke, Second Life is a Stephensonesque virtual world where people go to create a second personality. I don’t see it any different that hanging out with friends at a pub/mall/racetrack – Its just another venue for socializing. Some people do take it a bit far.
That said, Western culture has moved from the industrial age to the information age and from manufacturing to intellectual property. I think its perfectly reasonable for someone to create a fulfilling career inside a game like Second Life. Musicians, artists and movie producers are obvious examples, but it applies to engineering related pursuits too. I can write software as Moldar the Magnificent* just as easily as Chris Farris, and lets face is Moldar is a cooler name.
In one of my recent “I hate my job and what I do moments” I decided it would be fun to become a Central Banker in World of Warcraft. Several Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMORPGs) had run into issues where either too much gold is in the system that they experience currency devaluation (think Wiemar Germany) or they make it too easy to create value (if you’re a geek think magic items) and suffer massive inflation. In a digital world a simple sql statement can double the amount of precious metal. A way is needed to maintain a robust economy while adjusting for changes in population (aka subscribers). This becomes even more important in games like Second Life where the user base wants to be able to exchange in-game currency for real dollars/euros/yen.
Finally, Kudos to Second Life creator Linden Labs for not going nuts over the parody site. See their response.
* Not my Second Life persona. I don’t have a second life persona. Hell I barely have a first life persona.