The virtual worlds of the Internet pose an interesting challenge to modern American Anthropology. Comprised of memes in a virtual electronic universe, the Internet is a transorganic organism that is changing how organic human beings and superorganic institutions conduct their relationships. As Internet technology spreads around the planet and as the means for accessing becomes more diverse, powerful and cheaper, it becomes easier for individuals and institution to form, develop, and evolve relationships unconstrained by physical time and space. One of these virtual worlds is Second Life.
Here is an example from the FRONTLINE program Digital Nation showing how IBM (a global superorganic institution) has moved into this new world.
The anthropological question is: Is Second Life, a social network or an alternative socio/cultural universe? How does Second Life compare to Facebook as a human enviroment and as a superorganic institution?