• 05Mar

    More food for thought this time around:

    Personally, do you consider your avatar an extension of yourself, or a character you control?

    Some clarifications here: First, I mean your avatar, not avatars in general; I’m asking about the personal association between your First Life self and your Second Life avatar. Second, I don’t mean to present this as an either-or scenario; I’m sure there are other options besides “My avatar is me,” or “My avatar is my puppet.” Also, I’m not suggesting that one way is better than the other.

    How far and deep you go with this question is up to you; you don’t need to reveal more than you are comfortable with. Inquiring minds want to know how it is with you!

    As for me, I relate very closely to my avatar, and consider her to be a part of my self. No puppeteering here; I am Jacek, and Jacek is me.

    That’s not to say that I promote a public connection between my First and Second Life identities; on the contrary, I take some care to keep them separate. Only a select few in Second Life have earned my trust enough to know my First Life identity (and vice versa), and I rather like it that way. That’s part of what “Second Life” means to me: whatever accomplishments or failures I have in Second Life, they are derived from my personality, not from my First Life name or circumstances.

    I suppose that it could be expressed as so: Rather than my Second Life avatar being a puppet of my First Life self, my avatars in both First and Second Life are guided by my mind and personality, which transcends both Lives.

    So, how about you? What’s your story?

    Posted by Jacek Antonelli @ 10:05 pm

10 Responses

  • Coyote Pace Says:

    For better or worse, I have to come down on the side of “I, Avatar”. When I’m immersed in SL — and it takes only a moment or two these days to become so — _I’m_ listening, _I’m_ talking (clumsily, with my fingers), _I’m_ flying, _I’m_ building, _I’m_ dancing. I don’t feel at all that I’m watching, or controlling, a puppet show — unless I break the flow to do something like a silly animation. Lag makes me feel like _I’m_ stuck in a treacle well, not so much that I have a balky user interface to a computer program.
    By the same token, I react to other avatars as human beings (humanoid, or not) because their behavior triggers that kind of response.
    Like Jacek, I make little attempt to tie my SL identity back to my RL identity, other than as an occasional topic of idle chitchat. This does disturb some people in SL, admittedly, but it goes beyond privacy, to a desire to branch from the same personality and past into a different world entirely.
    It would be interesting to consider how this kind of immersion would fit with Ryle’s rejection of the Cartesian idea of a ‘ghost in the machine’; I’m not enough of a philosopher to give it a go.

  • Alyia Coanda Says:

    I imagine there’s sort of a continuum here, and it may not be linear. There’s avatar-as-extension, avatar-as-character, and maybe something else… avatar-as-reflection. I am not my avatar, but it’s not divorced from me either. There are resemblaces, both physically and emotionally, intentional and (I’m sure) otherwise. The reflection isn’t perfect, but neither is it so distorted as to be untrue.

    Of course, as those features come together in SL, my avatar does seem to take on a life of its own. In turn, I seem to live through it. I’m thinking of Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog. Kermit was Jim, endearing to us because at his core there was substance and truth. But Kermit was also himself, with his own sensibilities and foibles, personality and ethos. I imagine they each came alive through each other because they belonged to each other.


    …Alyia wanders off singing Mahna Mahna to herself…

  • MeraTalk - The Purpleness that is Mera Pixel » Not-a-meme Challenge #6: Avatar & Identity Says:

    [...] Jacek has posted the next challenge, Do you consider your avatar an extension of yourself, or a character you can control? [...]

  • Erbo Evans Says:

    For my part, I’ve done my own philosophizing about the nature of identity and appearance in SL, as longtime readers of Evans Avenue Exit will know. “Erbo Evans” was crafted to look very much like my RL self, aside from some shed pounds :-), and he even has some of the same outfits I do. (In fact, I had to buy shoes in RL a couple of weeks ago…and I bought shoes that were similar to the shoes of my “Default Erbo” outfit in SL.) He’s me, no doubt about it, despite all the different outfits he has to have to set a good example for the customers at the club. RL-Erbo and SL-Erbo do have a somewhat closer connection than RL-Jacek and SL-Jacek do, though, if only through the use of the common “handle.”

    These days, Danielle’s avatar is also a fairly good representation of her RL self…and I know several other people who have tried to go this route, too. But no worries if there are people who roll differently; we’re down with that.

  • Shai Khalifa Says:

    When I first entered SL I had the intention of continuing much in the vein of my D&D characters – roleplayed according to circumstance – I also had no idea what SL was all about or how it operated, and had never been into IM in the past.

    In a very short space of time though Shai became me – I’ve even found that when I’m angry with someone I have her taking the same distanced stance I take with the same stillness. I seem to unconsciously guide her from my own emotions and personality.

    I also find people react to her in SL in the same way people react to me in RL – so we must be very similar in our dealings with people.

    I find I choose clothes that I would wear in RL, and the whole look is something I would be comfortable with in RL (without the glasses though). We’re the same size and shape, hair and eye colour etc. I’d just like to get her an older skin – there are aged male skins, but no aged female skins.

    Her preferences are mine when it comes down to it.

    I even created an alt avatar to explore different ways of reacting and playing in SL – and I still find her reflecting my feelings and reactions.

    So – Shai is me, and I am Shai

  • Dixie Starr Says:

    While I wanted to say that I felt that my Avi was an extension of Jacek, I blogged about my morphing personality on my blog. http://dixiestarr.blogspot.com/

  • Jacek’s Challenge - Avatar and Identity « Wandering through Second Life Says:

    [...] and Identity Filed under: Uncategorized — Kieres Tzara @ 9:39 pm Jacek Antonelli asks, “Personally, do you consider your avatar an extension of yourself, or a character you [...]

  • Shockwave Plasma Says:

    I think SP has taken on a life of her own, she’s a small part of my mind let loose in a bunch of rendered polygons, seeing and experiencing things in a different way than my normal RL.

    We live in separate worlds, with little cross over.

    I can see than many people do care about their Avis looks and reputation. But on the other hand some people care no more than it being one of your socks, you made an adhoc glove puppet out of, just before you put it on.

    I’ve asked for this to be on my headstone, should I need it soon.

    Here lies buried Shockwave Plasma
    Two minds are gone to be phantasma
    Her polygons did stir your eyes
    With boots going up past her thighs
    His Noodlyness did raise her high
    As a model for the stripper factory, he did her espy.

  • Rose Farina Says:
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