Monday, August 13, 2012
A long time ago I picked up a Bloom Doll avatar, but it took me ages to take pictures. I kept getting distracted, finding other things to do, other outfits to wear, and then mesh came out and life got very busy! But now I've managed to swing around again, pulling out an old purchase to try it on for size. It's definitely harder to find poses that work with it - and I substituted in tiny wings from Boom that wouldn't cut through my head or hair. Like Petites, one of the things you have to be able to do is resize the hair - this time up which is usually easier - and the Diversity updo I chose was perfect for that. I chose an updo because longer hair would end up being longer than my body before it was big enough for my head; I considered trying to upsize a shorter hair to make it "long" but an updo was just easier. Doll body all but required a doll hair, and this dress and shoes from Feather was actually the inspiration for putting out an avatar I'd long left moldering in my online closet. The Bloom Doll avatar makes me feel even less like "myself" than event the petite body does, though, so I'm not sure it will ever be part of my regular dress.
It's interesting the extent to what I look like on the screen enhances what I feel about how much I am involved. I have a certain set of characteristics, and the only exceptions are avatars I've played a long while, like my WoW Tauren, who also shared the second and more important piece of my online identity, my name. Deoridhe has been my name for a very long time, and is "me" in the way my offline name is also "me." In some ways, it's more me; there are people who share my offline name, but no one I have ever met who shared my online one. My online name is linked to all of my interests, a broad range of information; I try to keep it distinct from my offline identity in almost every way, though. It's a strange sort of distinction, though; I don't keep Deoridhe apart from my personal life - there are many individuals who know who I am in both realms - but I do from my professional life and from my identity in general. It is less a different distinct identity and more a mask for the purposes of privacy.
I don't think my experience is common, and it may very well be in reaction to having a consistent identity across every online forum I'm on - and many I'm not - I have a tendency to "save" this identity in places where I'm not active. That brings up another interesting point; in offline reality, there isn't a sense of access to most places. I don't need to "reserve" who I am in, say, Mumbai because I am not physically in Mumbai. Online, though, there is a much broader access to things. There is an assumption that people will be on various online portals, have various accounts. There is also searchable access to a broad range of things. This comes up now and then; how reasonable is it to do a search on a potential date? On a potential employee? The recent move for employers to want access to peoples' facebook accounts is one indication of how inter-related the internet and offline reality have become. For years there have been rumblings of this connection through the spat of people fired for blogs and kicked out of schools for things posted on facebook. There was a lot of adult tut-tutting over the naivete of the young for putting things online, swiftly followed by adults doing the exact same thing.
The internet gives a sense of familiarity, comfort, and localness which belies the reality that it is broad, strange, and millions of people we don't know could be looking. There are small, locked gardens here and there, but usually there is only an account creation between no access and access. When Second Life profiles were opened to the internet, many of the users who knew about it reacted with horror; for the first time, profiles were easily searchable. I know people who put offline details in their "First Life" tab who were unhappy with those details suddenly being linked with a more pseud-anonymous identity; that is a sudden and stark reminder of how much of our privacy in these walled gardens exist at the whim of the companies holding the data. Facebook and Google both face serious fines for their misuse of private details, but those fines are only a drop in the bucket of income those companies have. Increasingly, people are keeping files and property in the "cloud", which is another word for on the computers of other people. At least one "cloud" company has lost their computers to the government in a copyright dispute, and more may well follow, even assuming there doesn't become a way to search through peoples' information for "convenience". Who we are is commercialized on the internet, and that is another factor in how identity will be experience by all of us.
( More pictures here. )
Head: Bloom, Doll - Strawberry
Hair: Diversity Hair, Brat - Ash Blonde
Wings: Boom, Aranel's Wings - Evil
Dress: Feather, LF2 Red
Shoes: Feather, Odeko Shoes Red
Location: Kawaii Doll Village
Light Settings: TOR, EUPHORIA smokey blue sky
Photographed by Deoridhe Quandry
Post processing: Cropping, only