Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Being Somebody With No Body

At electronic speed, which is the speed of light, we are disembodied beings. On the phone, or "on the air," we are instantly present, but minus our bodies . . .  Marshall McLuhan
I wasn't concerned at first when I tried to login to Second Life yesterday and saw an alert that's usually displayed when trying to get back inworld after crashing: The server is logging you out. Your account is unavailable until (time). But after a few tries over the space of ten minutes I began to get concerned. Like a good crowdsourcer, I jumped over to Twitter and posted:

"I'm showing up as logged in to Second Life when I am not. Account compromised or not? Support ticket just sent. Anyone else had this happen?"

I got a couple responses referencing the term "ghost" and a link from Chuck Baggett with an explanation of the problem and a step-by-step solution. In short, the last server I was on before exiting Second Life wouldn't let me go and held a ghost instance of me in its digital clutches. The fix seemed to work and all is well for the time being.

My brief NBE (No Body Experience) got me thinking again about the relationship between physical appearance and identity. I'm going to post later this week on the topic, but for now I'll leave you with this fascinating (and somewhat embarrassing) anecdote:
I've rezzed into at least a dozen virtual worlds over the last couple of years and the first thing I always do is create an avatar that's as close to "Botgirl Standard" as possible. 


Gracie Kendal said...

Oh I do the same thing Botgirl... I felt weird being in Inworldz and not looking like Gracie even though I carried her name. It's a weird feeling to be sure.

Unknown said...

Be brave: Go somewhere you've never gone before. Be someone you've never been before:)

Miso Susanowa said...

This is what I find fascinating in all my time online and that involves this debate about "identity" - most of the longterm netizens I know try out various personas, but over time they seem to coalesce around one in particular... this is what "The Matrix" was talkling about "residual self-image."

What interests me is that this interior image is not an online phenomena but is well-known in the physical world; it's just that online worlds allow us a greater degree of projection and feedback and allow us to observe this self-image more closely in a Magic Mirror effect.

Botgirl Questi said...

Gracie: Glad to hear I'm not the only one! :)

Gwenette: Interesting. I have sister and brother alts, each with their own persona. So as far as the fictional character "Botgirl Questi", what are the core elements outside of the main that distinguishes her from any of the others?

Miso: I find it fascinating as well. There's the aspect I mentioned above about the relationships with a named virtual identity and a particular set of visual and stylistic characteristics, and then change within a since named identity, including how that plays out over the course of a human life.

I also find the avatar experience to be a Magic Mirror that sheds light on many unobserved aspects of RL.

Anonymous said...

Ahh, I was "ghosted" for about a week maybe a 6 months to a year ago or so. It was the strangest thing. An instance of me hung frozen in the air, between two sims. I received IMs from residents in the sim who asked why I was hanging around unmoved for days on end. Whenever I did log in again, I had trouble teleporting and couldn't go back to where I had been ghosted. It was incredibly odd to have an out of body experience like that inworld. Thanks to Dale's insights and wonderful help (he confirmed that I hovered motionless like a statue), I was able to communicate the problem more clearly on a trouble ticket along with a request for a possible remedy (as I recall I think it involved a region restart) that finally brought my energy back together again.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the 'fix' botgirl, I've had this happen to me. Also, thanks for the explanation as I really need to know the tech reason for this to dispel the scary ghost like feeling I had. And Miso you summed up my own personal feelings and observations regarding all "this" perfectly. It's true that while I have 3 alts who I use for play, business and just to have in case I need a new avatar and want one with a respectable birth date. BUT, Taamon is my me; my quicker more self assured never in a pissy mood me. I take him, even if in name only, to every new grid. I also tap into him if needed when dealing with people in RL. He's a quick witted super sweet guy.

Botgirl Questi said...

michele: I'm going to make my location visible to all my alts just in case this happens again.

Taamon: Was Taamon your first avatar identity? I wonder how birth order plays into the question.