All the articles depict Second Life as a full and scoping world with just about anything you'd expect to find or do in the real world - except virtually. There seems to be a majority of places to explore and people to interact with, and you're able to do things in the Second Life you cannot dream of doing here.
It's unclear who's using Second Life - it has a large draw, probably for adults more than kids, because it's a reality filled with whatever one wants from it - one can create anything it seems - the articles mention sex clubs, strippers, even buying genetalia for your Avator. It's also interesting to observe from the articles how many corporations and businesses are spending millions of dollars to get in Second Life, to get recruits and endorse their product virtually. Despite how effective this may or may not be, it's fascinating that so many different kinds of people have found themselves on this social-networking second reality.
It seems to me that Second Life is a break from the every day bore of our reality - The idea that Second Life is the creation of its residents is probably this virtual world's biggest draw. As many of the articles have said, "Though Second Life has established codes of behavior, and does enforce them, restrictions are minimal" (http://money.cnn.com/2006/11/09/technology/fastforward_secondlife.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2006111016.) For example, two articles talked about a woman from Germany who is a school teacher in real life, but a moneymaking land owner in control of a great portion of the land in Second Life. The idea that someone could gain that much clout through a virtual world is fascinating - and kind of tantalizing.
I believe that Second Life will be a wonderful tool during class - it is, ultimately, a social networking program and, seeing as we're doing the field or research we are, I think Second Life will be a quick and effective way to interact with a variety of people without having to go hunting - it's like an entire pool of research subjects at one's fingertips.