Second Life's technology often gets the press, but it's really the community that powers any virtual world. Our team did lots of 'against-the-grain' community building back when i was there (instead of sweeping customer issues under the mat, we published a Police Blotter detailing anonymous facts-only records of the offense and punishment) and now under the leadership of Robin Harper, SL still gets props for a unique approach to community management (such as the recent Corn Field buzz).
Several years later, it's clear that one of the most important and prescient decisions made was to hire an embedded reporter for SL - a blogger on Linden's payroll, but not under our control. The resulting product "New World Notes" not only provides an independent look at what makes SL tick but as a whole, provides an excellent overview of the world's creation. Expect the collected works to be published as a book one day.
Anyway, a recent NWN column made me smile - it recounts what happens when MTV comes a calling into the SL population without exactly knowing the rules of the world.