Friday, October 2, 2009

The Multi-Dimensional Variance Between Human and Avatar

The graphic below emerged from a visual thinking session last night. Each of the three examples imagines the variance between physical and behavioral aspects of a particular individual's primary human and avatar expression. Here are a few ideas the visualization brought to my mind:
  • Although many people make a big deal about gender-swapping, it's just one of many significant aspects of identity that can vary between biological and digital expressions.That said, gender seems to be the most binary factor.
  • All differences in the left hand column are consciously chosen. Those on the right are largely unconscious reactions to the virtual environment.
  • An individual's human roles can foster similar differences in the right-column factors. You might be very serious at work, but playful with your kids at home. Although physical form doesn't change between one's human identities, dress, make-up, etc. can dramatically alter appearance.
I have another sketch that looks at online relationship development along a pseudonymity continuum. I hope to post it sometime this weekend.

Human Avatar Variance


Lalo Telling said...

Interesting: All three examples mark different species. This furry eagerly awaits the results of further exploration.

Anonymous said...

As I look over the visualization and your thoughts on it, I have to concur on your first thought about gender. It is probably the most significant aspect besides species. I would like to see a visualization with species remaining the same as I expect the changes to be slightly different.

That being said, I believe that one’s behavior in the public eye is very different from our home or private behavior. Most people have different roles at work and at home. Some have a third role which in many cases is different from the other two, the online role. For some, it is the same as their home behavior. I suspect that for most it is completely different, and they probably act more carefree and liberal than they do in public. This is mainly due to the anonymity of the internet, otherwise the assumed personas, would not have a chance to be developed.

Botgirl Questi said...

Lalo: Ha! That wasn't intentional. Maybe I have a subconscious urge to wear fur?

Botgirl Questi said...

slrp: My choice of dot placement was very arbitrary...I wasn't trying to model specific personas, just showing how the factors could vary. Also the categories themselves were just what I came up with off the top of my head. It would be interesting to develop a more thoughtful set and set up some sort of online survey.

I agree about private and public behavior. And there's also the difference between behavior and internal state (like pretending to be carefree when one is filled with worry.)

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