Gavin Newsom, San Francisco's freshly reelected god-mayor, descended into the bowels of Second Life for a quaint fireside chat with Philip Rosedale, CEO of Linden Lab. What lofty matters could a city mayor and the chieftain of a seamy virtual world possibly have to discuss? Why, the parallels between the "two famously diverse and tech-savvy communities with global profiles," of course. As Newsom said during their discourse, "We're all geeks." But the comparisons don't stop there. San Francisco is exactly like Second Life.
A surfeit of self-expression: San Francisco may not have furries actively roaming its streets, but you'd be hard pressed to find another community so accepting of trannies, facial piercings, fauxhawks, and assless chaps. Oh wait — this June, San Francisco will have furries actively roaming its streets. See? Just like Second Life.
Toleration for public sex: Second Life has always been plagued by a seedy, fornicating underbelly. San Franciscans simply need visit SoMa.
City of lost souls: Anyone who visits San Francisco's Civic Center has witnessed the crazies, drug addicts, alcoholics and other afflicted. On Second Life, they just don't stink.
Statistical self-delusion: San Franciscans believe they're the center of the universe, though the city they live in isn't even the largest in the Bay Area. The same can be said of Second Lifers, who can't believe that the other 99.7 percent of the world doesn't want to join their party.
A plague of wantrepreneurs: When Anshe Chung became the first Second Life millionaire, she started a gold rush, though one mostly without the gold. People have flocked to the virtual world in the hopes of striking it rich, just as countless misguided startuppers race to South Park in hopes of running into a venture capitalist.
A ghost town much of the time: With a population of 744,000, it's hard to argue that San Francisco is a big empty, but if you've tried to find a restaurant open after 10 p.m., you might start to believe it. Much like Second Life, whose residents are all too fleeting in their visits.
A sense of impending doom: There's no escaping it. Some day all those Second Lifers will wake up from their bad dream and realize the whole experience is just some terrible pyramid scheme. It will crumble into ruin — just like San Francisco after the Big One strikes.