By now, most of us have probably seen Jason Alexander and William Shatner in Brad Paisely's video, (I'm so Much Cooler) Online. Lots of people are actually making that a reality (of sorts) through the 3D virtual world, SecondLife.com.
The site has places ("Sims") for every imaginable hobby, form of entertainment, interest, or cause. There are churches, schools, hobby groups, (lots of) shopping malls, and likenesses of many popular travel destinations worldwide. Artists are able to feature their work, and users can log in just about any time, 24/7 and hear live music from somewhere in the world.
On the dark side, there are also groups and Sims to support and validate every imaginable fetish and deviant behavior...these groups are largely allowed to flourish uncensored, with the logic being this in an imaginary world and no "real people" are being harmed in the process (the debate on that one is still raging).
There is a regular schedule of community events, often for the purpose of raising money for charities, such as the Relay for Life, or just for honoring some real-life event.
To get started, you'll need to go to SecondLife.com, and sign up. Then, follow the instructions to download the viewer (there are a lot of alternate viewers, but start with the one that is recommended until you know your way around). A basic membership is free, and if you find you're having fun, you may consider upgrading to the premium membership which has additional benefits. For more information, see the introductory video above.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.