--As of June 17, more than 7.2 million people "live" in Second Life  -- the three-dimensional virtual world that's built and owned by its residents. And yes, I'm a Second Life resident. I don't, however, frequent the land of the Linden dollar, which actually has monetary value in real life.

I'll be honest -- I don't really understand Second Life. I've only logged in four times since signing up five months ago. I've changed my appearance to somewhat resemble my true self. I've gone through the tutorial, I've flown around -- yes, you can fly -- to explore some of what this virtual world has to offer. I even attempted to skydive.

The thing is: I can't bring myself to pay real money for virtual skirts, tops, shoes or jewelry. I could even buy land there if I wanted to -- I could have my own island! My virtual self could laze around on my own beach and get a fantastic tan -- while my real self gets fat and pasty in front of my computer.

After working at a desk all day, however, I just couldn't bring myself to go home and stare at the computer monitor even more. I wanted to go outside, take a walk on the real bike trail, play softball or get out on the lake. And I'd rather take a week's vacation in Puerto Vallarta, on the beaches of Belize or Maui or in Miami Beach than buy a virtual island for my avatar to "enjoy" every time I get online.

Granted, one U.S. dollar will get you 186 Linden dollars, but still, my true self can't bask on the virtual beach, so really, what's the point?

Oh wait, that's right -- after buying your island, you can build apartments and homes to sell or rent to other residents. You can also build commercial properties to rent to entrepreneurs who want to open shops to sell their virtual skirts, tops, shoes and jewelry to Second Life residents.

The last time I checked, Second Life residents had spent more than $1.4 million -- yeah, real U.S. dollars -- during a 24-hour period. So by spending all the time, effort and energy in a virtual world, you can make bank in real life. But

Jessica Jones  |  Assistant Editor