Thanks to an explosion of mainstream media coverage, Second Life has been experiencing a population boom in sympathy with its raised profile. The question is, what sort of effect is that having on the virtual world? Steve Rubel (whose employer Edelman PR has its finger in a lot of SL pies) would have us believe that there is still vast marketing potential to be scooped up by savvy investors. However, Warren Ellis (whose interest is far more street-level-cultural) paints a very different picture – one of rampant discontent from the paying residents towards the freeloading n00bs and corporate interests. I’m guessing they’ll both be right, and that SL as it is now will be a distant memory in a year or so.