Meet Kira, Kira is a platinum blonde, impossibly leggy, with a flawless complexion and an eye-poppingly pneumatic figure.She oozes confidence and pouting sexuality, so it’s no surprise that handsome Keanu Reeves lookalike Nik fell for her. In truth, “Kira” is the alter ego of 33-year-old Kristen Birkin, a dumpy single mother and pub singer from Nuneaton with mousey cropped hair and low self-esteem.“Nik” is actually Steve Sweet, 47, a mobile phone salesman from Plymouth.He, it is fair to say, looks as unlike Keanu Reeves as it is possible to be. They are avatars, online characters who were created by Kristen and Steve in Second Life, an internet fantasy world, where you can reinvent yourself and embark on the kind of adventures you’ve always dreamed of – including a WAG-style white wedding with 20ft train, and even, as we have seen today, the phenomenon of cyber-adultery.
“Neither of us went on Second Life to find a new relationship,” says Kristen.
Rather, it is a “synthetic world” with shops and cars, theatres and estate agents, where you communicate with others via instant messaging or voice.
It may not be real, but a lot of people take it very seriously indeed: both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama opened campaign offices in this parallel universe.
Companies such as Sony, Ikea, BMW and Coca-Cola also have a presence and Reuters and Sky News have bureaux. But for individuals, a major appeal of Second Life is that it’s like real life, only much much better.
It’s a world where you don’t have to be dumpy, or from Nuneaton, one where your avatar can look like a model, shop for virtual designer shoes and make virtual friends.