Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Avatars gone wild

It just dawned on me that the vast majority of beings I've met through their avatar identities were initially introduced to me outside of Second Life. Yes, I know I've been writing and sketching relentlessly here about the subject of identity movement. But up until last night, it was more of an academic exercise than a visceral experience. Here are a couple of the last puzzle pieces that fell into place for me:
  • I finally scrutinized an image I had captured from tweetwheel visualizing the connections between my friends on twitter. It reveals a great mix of humans, second life avatars and anonymous twitter-folk. The original here is more legible.

  • Although my top-ten Twitter directs are Second Life avatars, I had made none of their acquaintances in-world and still haven't met most of them in the digital flesh. (I did have the pleasure of meeting two of my twitter pals last night at an impromptu get-together at my place in Extropia. (Image from tweetstats.)

On a related note, New World Notes covered the virtual world/web 2.0 connection yesterday. It was gratifying to see a Gartner analyst and a blogging avatar (yours truly) given equivalent pundit weight. I can't say for sure whether that speaks well of avatars or poorly of analysts.


Anonymous said...

That is exactly why I ditched my blog & Twitter accounts. I originally had a "rule" on Twitter that I would only follow people I had actually met in-world, but it quickly fell away and things got out of control. I want to live in Second Life®. However, I'm finding it nearly impossible to meet anyone there and regret having ditched the outside world.

Botgirl Questi said...

Maybe you could consider your ditch the world strategy as an interesting experiment and step back across? Although I guess you just did. :)

Anonymous said...

I have had much the same experience of getting to "know" people via Twitter whom I haven't met in either SL or RL. I think that's one of the most interesting things about Twitter. Since I reveal both my RL and SL identities in both SL and Twitter--and Facebook, for that matter--it has seemed to me that this is a particular aspect of Twitter, not so much about SL. Unlike unsolicited friends on facebook, or running into people by chance, or being introduced, following strangers on Twitter is based totally on what they have to say in 140 characters or less. It does have a way of stripping away the chaff (even when it is frivolous tweets). And unlike blogs (I read many people's blogs whom I don't know), the chance that someone will at least take a look at your tweets or even follow you is high, leading to the creation of Twitter relationships based only on those 140-character messages. Wild!