Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab. It was launched on June 23, 2003. A number of free client programs, or Viewers, enable Second Life users, to interact with each other through avatars (Also called Residents). Residents can explore the world (known as the grid), meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade virtual property and services with one another.
In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user’s alter ego or character. It may take either a three-dimensional form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. It can also refer to a text construct found on early systems such as MUDs. It is an object representing the user. The term “avatar” can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name, or handle, of an Internet user.
The word avatar originates in Hinduism, where it stands for the “descent” of a deity in a terrestrial form. (Deities in India are popularly thought to be formless and capable of manifesting themselves in any form.)
You stand in a throng of multifleshed being, mind avatared in all its matter, on a broad avenue winding through a city of blue trees with bright red foliage and living buildings growing from the soil in a multitude of forms. Norman Spinrad (Songs from the Stars)
A square of cyberspace directly in front of him flipped sickeningly and he found himself in a pale blue graphic that seemed to represent a very spacious apartment, low shapes of furniture sketched in hair-fine lines of blue neon. A woman stood in front of him, a sort of glowing cartoon squiggle of a woman, the face a brown smudge. “I’m Slide,” the figure said, hands on its hips…[She] gestured, a window suddenly snapping into existence behind her.
“Right,” Bobby said. “What is this? I mean, if you could sort of explain.” He still couldn’t move. The “window” showed a blue-gray video view of palm trees and old buildings.
…”Hey, man, I paid a designer an arm and a leg to punch this up for me. This is my space, my construct. This is L.A., boy. People here don’t do anything without jacking. This is where I entertain!” William Gibson (Count Zero)