Clay Shirky's cogent follow-up analysis of the Second Life numbers and how the media have bought into them unquestioningly. How many real, returning, resident SecondLifers are there? A few thousands, probably, against the 2.3 million members figure heralded on SL's website. (Discussion of Clay's first piece here; see also these previous posts about SL).
In the meantime, the media frenzy continues. German publisher Springer has launched just before Chrismas a newspaper to "cover" Second Life. There was already one, the free "Metaverse Messenger", and there are reporters and many bloggers covering SL, but Springer is a giant publisher of real dailies and magazines and books in several countries. Called "The AvaStar" (wordplaying with "avatar"), it's a 30-pages tabloid distributed in PDF format, covering all the stuff a tabloid covers: from security to celebrities to evens to readers' letters. Typical page one copy: "A spate of recent attacks has left residents alarmed. All the news and analysis on pages 4 and 5". What's interesting is that Springer has hired five part-time reporters and uses about twenty more freelancers to produce the paper (which right now is free: starting in a couple of weeks, it will cost 150 Linden$, or about half a real US$).