Avatars and other people living down the street

Online virtual reality is pretty strange. I may be saying that because I am a word person and prefer to sculpt my online personna more with the words I write and what I say than with some outlandish costume or body armor I might design. But I can see the benefit of both.

Playing Second Life and games such as that still leave me a little bit clueless when it comes to  choosing Avatars to express one’s online self.

Maybe that is because I am old fashioned, but I am not sure that is all of it. I was an early-adopter of online social communications.  That was way back in the days of BBS’s and The Source, then Academic networks, CompuServe, and finally the Big Internet.  It was usually about words in those days, just trying to get a 300 baud modem to buzz a little bit faster so your poetry circle can read your latest poem in something close to real reading time.  Or maybe phrasing a post just right to get the really geeky board membes to answer your question and figure out why your computer is squealing when you turn it on.

I remember the first time I ever heard of an Avatar. I was on the Excite boards, where they had lots of chat rooms, interest groups and even white boards. Then they had a place where they had these things called “Avatars.” I went there and there were these figures moving around, with little balloon voice containers coming out of their heads (like in the nespaper cartoons).  So I sat there and watched a ‘talking head’ of Brittany Spears (then still in her early years) flaming someone who had just entered the room.  

Didn’t make a lot of sense to me so I left and never came back to that.

There might be some Freudian purpose to adopting a lot of of costume jewelry online – I would imagine there is. And perhaps one can really express some important parts of their pesonality with strange outfitting. Dunno.

All I know is I make enough Freudian slips as it is with plain ole’ English. I have to get that figured out better before I think of moving up to Avatar status.


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