Well, as I wrote previously, there are not really any such people as virtual friends. You can have enemies, you can have acquaintances, but you can't have virtual friends.
I don't believe either that there is a virtual me. That is nonsense. I am, and my friends are my friends. Does your brother on the other end of a phone line suddenly become a virtual brother?
Now, the controversy is raging the blogsphere on the idea of real names, real names being the weird choice of a woman with hormones in turmoil (your mother) combined with some ancient ancestral legacy for a surname (your father's).
That is real..(?)
The fact that everyone you know may have chosen a nick-name for you, or, like Ringo Starr, that you have a stage name, or that you have an avatar with a weird name....is of absolutely NO use to those clever people who are data mining your details.
As Lalo points out so clearly you are not a bankable asset until you link your real name to your consumer purchase name. You are like an apple on a tree, not part of the great consumer enterprise that runs the world, and the future, until you are plucked.
...and plucked you will be, if LL has anything to do with it. ...anyway...lots of very clever people have voiced their opinions recently, just check out the above link for more (links) on the subject.
I have previously spoken of persona and, it seems, as far as Online Persona goes:"You Are What You Buy".
Just imagine what a list of 20,000 people who own huge motorbikes in SL is worth to a RL bike salesman....etc etc...and Facebook could point the 'salesman' in the direction of your friends, some of who may well have similar interests..... like terrorist 'profiling', consumer profiling allows targeted advertising, which could obviously be a huge saving for a huge industry.....surely there is no-one out there naive enough to believe LL couldn't change the TOS overnight if they wanted to....(my bank does it weekly)...
Real Name = Consumer Name...... (target, mark, punter, sucker, victim...etc.)
Obviously there are teams of people at the Lav who ask, continually..."how can we make more money from SL?"...a few years ago someone had the idea to sell more land which would increase the Tier to around 100,000,000 US$ per year, and there is a good little earner with the exchange rate too.
The downside is that with 70k online peeps rattling around on 40k sims....its about as populated as the Sahara, and, to many....just as attractive.
So now.....lets dumb down SL so we get More Real Names, because More Real Names=More Cash.
Let's go for mass??
The mass is a fool, does LL want to become the next StoopidFarm?.... why dumb down a decent product so you can scrape some more dollars together.... cheap crap is crap, cheap, and dumb crap...yes...that's right.
So.....monetize...(God I hate this verbalisation of nouns, see below for some words from a true wordsmith).... well, altho it is all quite "hippy"...I would like to share this with you Dear Reader....
"At any price that I can pay, let me own myself.
And the price is worth paying if you keep what you have bought....
A man may apply his independence to what is called worldly advantage, and discover too late that he laboriously has made himself dependent on a mass of external conditions for the maintenance of which he sacrificed himself.
So he may be festooned with the whole haberdashery of success and go to his grave a castaway.
Some men hold that the risk is worth taking.
Others do not."
Now this was part of a speech by the Lord Rector of St. Andrew's University in 1923, a certain Rudyard Kipling.
...and my point is..???...
My point is that LL doesn't have to spend it's energies scrabbling in the gutter for every cent they can worm out of me.....
...if they spend their lives with their heads up their bums they are gonna have a limited outlook..
Do SL properly, Boys, before you try to take over the world.