One of the happy by-products of the increase in SL residents is the huge jump in the number of things to do. There's still yardsales and show us your skin nights at strip clubs of course. But there are a lot of other fun things to do.
I've just recently noticed art galleries in SL. They have gallery walks - guided tours with one of the featured artists or the arg gallery owner providing information about the pictures on display.
This week I went to the opening of a new island owned by a university in New Zealand. They had a submarine (forgot to take a picture - I"ll have to go back) where you could look out under the water and see fish (well - i saw a fish). THey had a camp fire, beaches, swimming pools - lots of spaces for small group discussion and just hanging out. At their opening they had incredible fireworks displays. Here are a couple of pictures.
The conversation was going on down on the ground, up in the air, on the mountain tops. IN SL you can use camera controls to move your point of view around while you stand in the crowd.
I also went to a brief interview of Howard Rheingold (big name in the study of virtual communities from way back) by GreeterDan over at CNET. They have a cool auditorium for the interviews, comfy seats. And great guests - in the past they had Esther Dyson, Anshe CHung, and now Howard Rheingold. There's always a chance to ask a few audience questions at the end. Here's a pic of that space. It's a bit of a closeup - i'll try to get a pic of the crowd next time.
I also went to a tour of the iVillage loft sponsored by a new group of PR people in SL, to a discussion on how to combine the real world and the world of SecondLife, a discussion about how public libraries in the real world are using social networks (their example was MySpace because it is a huge issue with librarians right now). I visited a giant art museum called the SL Louvre with paintings and sculpture. I went to classes on building in SecondLife, how to shop efficiently (including what to look for in a good skin), and Sunday there's a talk by the StarFleet Academy on the Universal Translator.
Something for everybody - real, fantasy, skills, news, talk, information. I'm overwhelmed.