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I have spent the last month visiting SecondLife. I return to RL (shorthand for Real World, that’s how SecondLIfe members refer to life outside the social network) convinced that I’ve seen the future.

If you haven’t heard of SecondLife I recommend you read BusinessWeek’s cover story on them and other virtual worlds. Briefly, SecondLIfe is a social network in a 3D virtual world. It’s not a game. There a is no goal. You enter SecondLife to talk to friends and make new ones; to express yourself and find entertainment.

But, unlike other flat, 2D social networks like MySpace where you only exist as a ghost, by the marks you leave behind (eg, blogs, pictures, comments), in SecondLife you exist as an avatar. You create a 3D, head to toe character. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a true representation of yourself but… so what?

In addition to SecondLife, other social networking 3D virtual worlds include Cyworld, HabboHotel.

Prediction: 3D virtual worlds are the end-game. MySpace and all the other web-page based social networks are just a stepping stone. In 3D virtual worlds will become better and better at offering individuals a rich interactive, personal experience. Brands should start experimenting with these worlds… go have fun and learn.

tags: virtual worlds SecondLife social networks metaverse