There’s a new world out there. We mean a virtual world. You’re going to create it.

You have to sign up at and put your name on a waiting list. So that’s what we did. It was about a two-week wait, but definitely worth it. When Joy’s name came up, she immediately started building her world.

Creating a virtual world is a relatively new thing. You can liken it to a video game that never ends. Like a game, the world that only exists in cyberspace. The best known such world is called “Second Life,” which started around 2005 and now has 15 million accounts. Not all of those represent individual users trekking around their new world, but it still rounds out to several million people.

Creating a virtual world could be the next step for people in social networks. In a virtual world, you not only send each other messages and video clips, but you meet face to virtual face. That face, the body, the profession and the attitude may have little resemblance to the you of the physical world, but it represents a fantasy you, called an avatar.


The world you create in Metaplace, which is free, could be the inside of a house where your friends come to chat, a forest where people play games, or even an Amazon storefront. For that matter, it can have all of those things.

The graphics in Metaplace are nice but there are some problems. Joy didn’t think there were enough choices for creating the look of her avatar. And building a house started out okay but she couldn’t get two of the outer walls in the right place. And then of course there’s hardly anybody around.

Since Metaplace is so new, you are basically a stranger in a strange land. To fill things out, the creators have made helpers available in a sort of helpers’ world. You can meet and talk to them, ask questions, and you will get answers. The helpers wear tags that say “Ask me.” When Joy visited there, someone immediately said “Hey, nice outfit,” and others remarked that a “newbie” had arrived.

This is all early days, and it may become big or it may not. While this new world is waiting for colonists, you can be a pioneer and build yourself a homestead. It’s kind of fun, and after all, it’s free. 



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