In the very very long run, Second Life is actually supposed to be the platform that extends, if not replaces, the current "world wide web" as we know it. Think "metaverse" ala Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash". It's what Activeworlds tried to do but didn't really pick up as much momentum. Of course, I mean "very very" emphatically since it's going to take a lot of work to get that far. However, anyone who has been around since the beta of Second Life (a little over 3 years ago) can attest to the incredible amount of growth, innovation, and evolution that has occured. Top it off with a company that runs itself like Google (only with less "take over the world" attitude) and it becomes obvious why the press coverage is so huge.