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Logos Sohl

My avatar as an aspect of my self

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Hi everyone, 

I haven't been active in Second Life for quite some time now but I was wondering if you could help me out anyway. I did a lot of research in Second Life several years ago and spent a lot of time in Second Life. Over time, I went from being a complete noob who had no idea what it was all about to an active resident with close friends and contacts in Second Life and in various communities within it. 

Anyway, I am having a tough time explaining how I relate to my avatar to outsiders. I have a real world identity and an inworld identity. I write to you right now from a keyboard and I am not inworld. Yet I feel that I am communicating with you guys as Logos Sohl, as my avatar in a way. Still, I talk about her as if she is a separate entity from myself. I do this even though I really do believe I am part of her and she is part of me. So I was wondering if you could help me out and tell me how you explain this idea to outsiders. 

How do you feel you relate to your avatar? Do you feel you are your avatar when you are inworld or is your avatar just a character or puppet you direct? When you're inworld, do you feel immersed in the space, do you feel physically in the space? What used to happen to me was that I'd be so busy chatting to people or listening to conversations that I'd almost go back to ignoring my avatar and where she was and what she was doing... do you guys have this experience? 

Any help at all would be very useful, 

Logos

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I don't try to explain SL or my avatar to many outside SL. The few times I have, I just call it a 'game' and leave it at that.  Venus is an aspect of me, not separate from and not exactly 'me'.  I am myself when chatting with friends inworld. I haven't created a separate persona for Venus other than she has been a DJ in SL for 7 years and has never had that experience in RL.

I don't feel physically inworld when inworld, but I feel immersed certainly.  If I am in IM chatting with someone and they are not in the same virtual space with me, then Venus is usually standing or sitting at home, sometimes at another sim snapping photos, or just hanging out.  I am primarily focused on the conversation.

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i see my avatar as a character, as Shakespeare would see Romeo and Juliet, he decide what the characters will do based on their personalities, how they would react to certain situations, how they express themselves, the things they do is Shakespeare all the time, but he respect their personalities, respect those characters, and would never do something that they wouldn't do, in a way, they are their own lives, their backgrounds, their ideologies, they are individual persons on their own, Shakespeare is just giving them life and they react to the different scenarios that they get presented.

an author of different characters should see his/her creattion like that, let them be themselves, just be the energy that give them life, just like J. K. Rowling know exactly how Harry Potter would react to different situations, and Stan Lee knows Spiderman so well that knows his fears, his joys, what it value most, and what is feeling at a certain moment.

i see my avatar as an individual character, i respect his personality, as an author to a character, i sometimes dont agree with what he does, or the decisions it makes, just like many authors wouldnt agree with what a villain does. I feel i am just the source of life and let them be themselves.

i think we feel that separation because the SL experience is so complete, with a body, a surrounding scene, events happening in real time, it has everything a character needs for development, it can be attractive to become immersive if one wish it so, Second Life is its own world, like the movie The Never Ending Story, is another place.

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I never explain my SL self to the world outside, most of whom don't know that SL exists anyway.  The worlds are almost totally separate for me, and I feel "in" both.  Over more than 8 and a half years, Rolig has created her own back story and grown her own personality.  She'll try things that I would never let my RL avatar do, and she has talents that I never discovered in RL.  I am sometimes surprised by the things she says and by how outspoken she can be, and am glad that nobody I know in RL has ever spoken with her.  At the same time, I do wish that I felt comfortable showing off her creations to some of my RL friends.  One of us is the evil twin, but I'm not sure which one of us it is.  We're each smart enough not to let friends get more than a glimpse of the other one.

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There is no difference between my RL or any of my virtual selves (I have avatars in other worlds too) other than the name and some aspects of appearance.  My avatar is a just a representation of me in virtual worlds.  I act and react to things the same way I would in RL.  I have done a bit of role play but it's not really my thing, so I don't think of my avatar as a character.

I don't refer to my avatar as 'she' when I talk to RL people about virtual worlds because I drive it, "I" do things.  I build, I conduct my business, I generally socialize with long term friends that are themselves too.  Although a lot of them do role play from time to time, they are out of character with me. 

Most of my RL friends and family know I'm in virtual worlds.  To explain it to other people I tell them it's like a movie with no script that "I" can walk around in and interact with and can build my own sets.  I do tell them that some people roleplay and use improvisation within an loose story that all the roleplayers agree to.  Most of them have seen film where a person is 'inserted' into the film using computers so it's the easiest way to explain it to others who don't have any experience with it.

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My avatar is me. As far as I am concerned, there is no difference between what I am like in word and what I am like in RL. When talking to people in RL who are familiar with SL, it is always "I am a member of ...", "I was in a discussion about...", etc. Never "My avatar was ....". In other words, my avatar is me. I do not role play, although I have friends who do.

Much of my time in SL is designing clothes (a hobby, not for sale) or discussing personal or professional interests. I am a member of groups with people of the same profession and same personal interest. When in discussions we are ourselves.When I am listen or dancing to music in SL, it is because I enjoy the music.

I know that many others use SL to role play or play games. I have no problem with that, if that is their interest. It just isn't mine. Some of my SL friends do enjoy RP. Sometimes when we are together talking about personal or professional interest, they are themselves, not RPing.

Marybeth

BLOG

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Here is just my perspective.  The longer you stay in Secondlife the more you begin to realize it is MORE than a game.  Despite the number of ridiculous fantasies, at this very moment, SL is the pinnicale of virtual reality a combination of the The Matrix and "Lord of the Flies."  Even with people say they keep SL and RL separate after a few moment you know they are not.  I have immersed myself into my character.  If you ran into me on the street and I told you who I was in SL you would be shocked .. there is no difference.

But here is what I do about sharing my SL with off worlders.  I don't try to explain Secondlife to off worlders who have never seen it, nor do I share my SL with many people off world.   I have never been on of those people who say, "You gotta try it to understand it".  Secondlife has changed that for me.  If you have not been here.  Have not tried to understand the complexity of what it means to discover Second life ... you just don't get.

 

Hope this helped some

Myles

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Part of the challenge we face, even when we discuss SL among ourselves, is that we don't have a shared vocabulary we can agree on.  For example, I bristle at the suggestion that my avatar is a "character".  The word suggests to me that she is in a play pretend role or, worse, is some sort of cartoon.  The truth, of course, is that she is both, but she's not either one in my own eyes. 

I feel only slightly more comfortable refering to Rolig as "she" or an "avatar", because she is me, not a third party that I am watching from the outside.  There, though, language truly fails me unless I am in face-to-face conversation in world.  If I tell you here that I have red hair and enjoy dancing, you have no way of knowing that I'm talking about my in-world self, not the white-haired RL self who has never liked dancing much at all. The best I can do to avoid confusion outside of SL is to refer to Rolig as "she" and me as "I", yet we are "us".

It has taken me more than 8 years in SL to understand that I (RL me) am immersed in Rolig, a virtual person who may have started as a shard of my RL personality but has a life of her own now.  Rolig is not a projection of my RL identity as much as a reflection seen from the other side of the mirror, if that makes sense.   "She" sees things in me that I had never known -- that I do have a bit of artistic talent and a better sense of humor than I thought, for example -- and she teaches me different ways to interact with people than I would normally use in RL.  "She" is a pretty confident LSL scripter, but I (RL me) hesitate to learn how a smart phone works. "She" and "I" look at each other as surrealistic simulations of ourself.

As I wrote earlier, I keep SL and RL completely separate.  The friends I have in one world do not know my other world.  In my own mind, though, the border between the worlds is fluid.  I live in both, but the only thing the worlds have in common is "me" -- whoever that is. 

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You only have one avatar to express divese aspects of your character? How unimaginative and restrictive!

The first thing I did when I joined this club was to make another avatar, a female one, called Joy.

I have been beside myself with joy ever since.

***SirB

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