I was thinking about memory, about the Me-component of my memories, about how my body is part of many memories: its position, actions, movements, experiences. That made me realize one of the defining effects of embodiment in SL.
When I remember communicating with a fellow resident of SL — I'm deliberately framing this awkwardly, all will be revealed — I do not remember what my RL body did i.e. sitting in my home office with a typewriter* under my fingertips and a cup of tea on the desk, looking at a screen.
I remember being in SL, not my home office: I remember sitting together at the Playgoda, or dancing together at Fracture, or trying on clothes at AVid, or lying in hammocks on the beach at whatever that place was called.
I remember talking, not typing: I remember the words we spoke and the feelings that they brought forth.
I remember the outfit I wore in SL, rather than my RL sweater and slippers.
I remember the glass of red wine I held in SL, rather than the cup of tea on my desk.
Second Life is a place in its own right. It's neither here by me nor over there where you are, but in some neutral zone at right angles to the RL distance between us. In that place, there is no separating distance and no timezones**. This is another distinction between SL and many, perhaps most, "games:" no matter how many hours I spent playing the Sims or Civilization IV or Blades of Avernum and the like, they never became places that I could be in.
The key is immersion, and in my experience flat games on a screen don't offer that.
Actually, that reminds me that we could try to get some WoW players to talk to us. That would indicate whether the place-ness of SL is specific to it or perhaps a more general attribute of MMOWs.
* Sic, what a marvellous slip that is. I wonder when I last used a true typewriter? Probably when I left college in 1984. One of the first programs I wrote was a typewriter emulator, which sent keystrokes directly to a dot-matrix printer. Such were the joys.
** Time itself does still exist, remind me to talk about lag.