Monday, July 30, 2012

What Saved my Virtual Life

This is my 1000th blog post. I half-joked on Twitter yesterday that I would try to resist writing a traditional ultra-introspective narcissistic missive. But the truth is, reaching a personal milestone is an appropriate time (and a good excuse) to reflect upon what the hell I've been doing and how I want to proceed.

The current situation is certainly very different than when I started. In March 2008, Botgirl Questi was an unknown pseudonymous nube wandering around Second Life. The blog was a personal journal recording my in-world experiences. It had about a half-dozen sporadic readers, most of whom I'd met previously in Second life. Everything was new and fresh. Fascinating insights materialized at every turn. Virtual life was numinous. The exploration of virtual identity seemed like a religious calling.

In April, an article in New World Notes bumped my readership from the dozens into the thousands. I responded to the new exposure by increasing the pace and intensity of my virtual world activities and creative output. In May, I joined a community of digital people who believed they were transcending the limitations of the atomic world and setting the stage for the next step of human evolution. I held my first identity-themed art show in September and then presented at Second Life's first Comic-Con the following month. I began collaborating with other virtual creatives on new comics, videos and art shows. The sky seemed no limit.

Just a couple months later, in January 2009, I was ready to bail out. This Wheels on the Bus video is a good representation of my psychological state at the time.

I'd been burning the candle at both ends for almost a year and there was little left. My virtual community was starting to unravel. By June, most of my closest compatriots had disappeared off the grid without a trace. I was ready to follow. The dream of virtual utopia was gone. It seemed like I had been running fast and hard, getting nowhere.

But then, out of the blue, the Muse stepped in and saved my virtual life by shifting my raison d'ĂȘtre from the exploration of identity to the expression of creativity. I am only understanding this in retrospect as I'm writing these lines. So I'm going to end the post here and marinate in the new realization for a while. I'll be back when I'm nice and juicy.



Gideon McMillan said...

Medium rare, nice and pink in the middle please.

Joey1058 said...

I'm sure you've realized that the internet, like the rest of physical reality, really doesn't give much of a damn for either your identity or creativity. The battle cry is "What's in it for me?".

Tish Seda said...

Joe .. You are correct in that most (but not all) people seem to have narcissistic attitude. But to say that no one at all cares about Botgirl's or for that matter anyone's identity or creativity is untrue as there wouldn't be anyone following this blog or making comments.

Botgirl .. I very much relate to your experiences when it comes to the Second Life community. I have found new joy in the freedom of creation this virtual world provides.
I've also extended my identity beyond the confines of SL to Facebook, Google plus and other places.
Being somewhat shy in my RL, I've been able to gain confidence and learned a lot by what I've done in my virtual life. I've been to the heights of Joy, Passion and happiness ... and I've been to the depths of anger, loneliness and sadness. But I'd never wish I hadn't gone to those places, as I am a better person because of it.
~ Tish

Botgirl Questi said...

Gideon: Feeling pretty well done at the moment, but time will tell. ;)

Joe: I agree that no one but my mom is interested in what I do just because it's me who is doing it.

Tish: I suspect that most people who follow my work do so solely out of self-interest.

I'm glad to hear you've benefited from your time in virtual worlds. Do you feel somewhat less shy now in RL?

Anonymous said...

I first started following your Botgirl Identity Circus blog when I started to use twitter about two years ago or so. Your twitter postings, compared to 99% of the others that typically get posted, made me laugh & smile. While I'm not as active as I once was on twitter or on my own blog. I have always enjoyed your various blog and twitter posts when I get time to read them. I think your ability to provide your keen witted views and comments about various aspect of one's identity on the internet, virtual reality and the use (and abuse) of social media is what I find so fascinating and refreshing. So my little bit of advice to past on to you as you keep exploring your various creative outlets is push yourself to the point where you don't feel comfortable and content. Being comfortable and content are not in the best interest of being creative in my view. One of the key ways for any of us to get better at a particular skill, be that writing, drawing, playing a musical instrument, etc., is to be pushing ourselves to that point where we are at the outer edge of our comfort zones. So push forth Botgirl & thanks for sharing your unique creative talents and insights via the net over these last few years! Cheers!

Joey1058 said...

I'm just coming back to this now. Perhaps I should have phrased my comment differently. Not to single botgirl out, I was referring to "your" in the global community sense.