Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Archetype of the month club: The yoga of alts

A majority of Second Life users disclosed they had one or more secondary avatars, in a show of hands at a recent enterprise-focused roundtable. “Alts” allow their owners to express themselves in ways that are either incongruent or inappropriate for their main identity.

Although alts are often acquired as vehicles for anonymous “bad” behavior, they are also used as outlets for recreational role playing and identity exploration. Walking in another’s shoes (or entire body in this case) can expand our understanding of others and extend the boundary of our self-image.

If it can be beneficial to experiment with a couple of alternative identities, why not develop the concept into a systematic practice. I’ve been thinking through a concept with the working title “Archetype of the month club.” Here’s the plan:
1. Create a dozen avatars, each representing a clear archetypal character. Each would include an avatar and associated inventory items, a vivid description of its personality, and a set of activities to foster a visceral experience within the persona. Exercises might include trips to specific sims along with specific activities.

2. Put together a Second Life group for participants and host periodic (weekly?) get together to talk about experiences.

3. Create a group blog for participants to share their experiences.
It would take a fair amount of work to put together. I'm thinking creators of shapes, skins, clothes, etc. might donate works to the project. Perhaps there are researchers who might be interested?

In any case, I'll keep you posted. As always, feel free to share your thoughts, either here or via email.


Anonymous said...

I think this is a good idea, but perhaps even more so for New Resis. SL has a horrible retention rate, and part of the problem (IMHO) is that to know what's possible in SL you need to go out and start experiencing what is possible but Newbies don't know where to start. I think some, perhaps a lot of Newbies need/want/desire a framework or plan or path to start out on. A little hand-holding if you will, with the ability to "jump ship" at any time (or even just temporarily) while they get acquainted with the world, controls, and see what's possible.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting idea. I've been around six months and have still only experienced a tiny fraction of what SL has to offer. I think this group would be very inspirational, and I like the group blog concept.

Botgirl Questi said...

"What the hell do I do now" is a big question for both newcomers and long-time residents. The challenge of finding the needles in the hay stack deserves a lot more attention.