Monday, November 9, 2009

Where Has Your Avatar Identity Travelled?


I spent much of last week sorting through old blog posts in preparation for the first "Best of Botgirl" e-book. Some of the topics I'd written about that were a bit obscure at the time (such as the impact of camping on search results and population numbers) have made their way into mainstream discussion. Some posts, like my sketch-comedy script about the Second Life® trademark controversy, are already quite dated and a bit quaint.

One idea that I think deserves more discussion is the concept of "Emergents" that was introduced in May of 2008. Emergents represented a new category of virtual world users to the formarly binary pair of "Augmentationists" and "Immersionists": 
It is possible to have a very full experience of immersion without developing a unique virtual personality. That said, it seems that most active Second Life residents I've encountered describe some sense of a virtual identity that is psychologically individuated from their human self. For instance, one avatar with very close and emotionally intense inworld ties said that her human identity was ambivalent about her online relationships. So the identity that writes a loving blog post to her online loved ones is not the human, but the virtual. These identities don't merely persist outside of the virtual world on the web, but persist within consciousness. This brings up all kinds of questions about human personality and identity. from Spectatorship, Immersion and Emergence Part 2
Although I've been playing around with the concept artistically through works like this most recent image for the SL365 Flickr Group, I think it's time to take another more subtantive look at the idea.

Where has your avatar identity travelled...Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, Youtube, Google Wave, RL book and CD publishing?  If you have any good stories about your avatar identity's exploits outside of Second Life, please share them with us by posting a comment.


Lalo Telling said...

Sorry, no good stories yet... but my entire "web presence" is as my avatar, these days. As long as I'm going to be pseudonymous anyway, why not be the same, consistent one everywhere?

Gary Brant said...

I love what you are doing, please follow me on twitter @garybrant and @140hours.

The virtual world is real because of your artistry!

Gary Brant in New York