Real virtuality:when your own name is your avatar

By | January 17, 2011

I have bitten the bullet, and created a Second Life avatar which carries my own name; no more hiding behind exaggerated curves for me.

I picked an off-the-shelf avatar, one that  like me, had a lock of hair over the eyes. The problem is that there are sure to be thousands who look just the same, so some modifications will no doubt ensue,  subject to the dreaded time vortex that seems to accompany avatar customisation.


I admit I have an affection for my original avatar, ‘****** *****’, created in the days when Linden Lab decreed that one’s name had to be chosen from a pre-set list.

****** *****

Users could nominate their own first name, making for some intriguing conjunctions. ‘Eaten Gumbo, ‘Fried Fish’, ‘Sleeplesin Seattle’, are amongst those names collected on Vint Falken’s blog.

Many influential  members of the metaverse choose to be playful with their names, as indeed they are with the graphical images they have created for their avatars. People working with immersive health and education domains know that the name Pathfinder belongs to a leading advocate, the wonderful John Lester; while consultant and former IBM luminary, Ian Hughes, is so well established as ‘Epredator’, that his Wikipedia entry contains the avatar name in the title. In both  cases,  the avatars’ identities have developed into valuable brands, with currency that extends into the physical world, as well as into virtual environments other than Second Life, (Lester is based at Reaction Grid).

Pathfinder/John Lester

Epredator/Ian Hughes

With the real and virtual world become increasingly diffused, I wonder if dear ‘Caliope Voss’ will end up buried in a dusty corner in my digital inventory… or will she maintain her status,  in recognition of a quintessential element of virtual worlds, the ability to play. Indeed, now that I have real world identity in the virtual world,  Caliope might be able to relax a bit, and let her alter-ego get on with the serious stuff.

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