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Hi everyone!

I'm an university Italian student and I'm writing a thesis related to SL and the representation of Self through avatars. If you don't mind to have a break and reflect about your avatar and yourself, you might give your contribute to my research by answering the following open questions.

  1. How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Are you satisfied of the result? Do you feel fully represented?
  2. Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance?
  3. How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted?
  4. Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar?
  5. Where does your avatar's name come from? Why did you choose it?

Thank you!

Do not hesitate to IM me or send a notecard in SL if you have any doubt or suggestion.

HelenKenobi

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Hi Helen,

1) My avatars (I have several) are representations of my thinking more than my RL appearance. When I started here 14 years ago, I picked, from the small selection of starter avatars, the one that most closely resembled me. It did not resemble me much. After years of fine tuning, it still doesn't. It's difficult to create and dress a female avatar with my RL proportions. I think I'm able to fairly fully represent myself across all my avatars, but not with any single one. To be fair, my RL body doesn't fully represent me, either. I am large, I contain multitudes.

2) Yes, I think my human SL avatar is more attractive than my RL self. I imagine that's true for many SL residents who have human avatars. Beauty is easy to achieve here. In RL it takes effort I'd rather spend doing other things. I clean up in RL when it's appropriate, but in SL there's no need, as getting dirty takes time and money.

3) I am an introvert in both SL and RL, though nobody would know from my behavior. SL allows me to live the absurdities I can only imagine in RL, though I do share my imaginings in both worlds. Anyone meeting me in either world would recognize my behavior in the other.

4) I like to make people laugh, so disapproval isn't an issue in either world. SL embraces substantial variety in physical representation and behavior, so I'd actually have to expend some effort to earn disapproval. I spend most of my time as a little devil, which more accurately represents my nature than my human avi.

5) "Maddy" is my RL nickname, so I chose compatible first name. My last name is a hint at my intimate side. "McMistress" wasn't available.

Good luck on your thesis!

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1. My avatars somewhat represent me but not fully. They are more of an inner "id" of me. I think getting to know me through my avatars will lend you to know me better than through my IRL self. Like Medalaine I own multiple avatars and I feel they all represent a different aspect of me in a different way.

2. Yes, but to be fair the American diet and lifestyle does not lend much flexibility with your appearance unless you're willing to make huge compromises. :)

3. In SL I am definitely way more extroverted. I feel like myself a lot more. In IRL I have autism so it is hard for me to interact with people.

4. Yes - I want to please not only myself with my presence but my friends and the people I care about. I genuinely want them to have a good experience with having me around.

5. This relates to question #1 in a lot of ways - it is an inner representation of myself. It is partially (but not fully) based on my IRL name, which I will not reveal here - and the last name is a shout out to my love of Japanese media and culture.

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Dear Helen.
Can you provide a link to Google form?
I'm asking because these questions might be a personal matter for some people, who not necessarily want to say it on larger forum. That way you will get more answers.

Also this survey results might be helpful for you (these will be also presented inworld during incoming VWMOOC 2022)
https://www.academia-electronica.net/?page_id=64&lang=en

Good Luck!

 

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1. In general, I chose two areas of my avatar to be similar to my Real Life appearance: my avatar always has long hair, and it has my Real Life ("RL") tattoos.  Given that my avatar is always either a "Neko" Lion (bipedal Lion / Human hybrid) or "Feral" Lion, it does not represent the fact that in RL I am in Real Life a "human".

2. Somewhat more attractive as a Neko Lion than I am as a RL human; I choose avatars with a "more attractive" (to me) face or facial structure.  The avatar body is similar to my RL body, and my avatar as my RL tattoos.

3. Online is more of a "safe space", I would not approach people quite as easily in RL. However, I do often avoid people in SL who approach me without warning, as if there is some "danger" while in reality I just want to be left alone - like in RL. 

4. No. Depending on mood, I am always either Neko Lion (bipedal lion/human mix), or feral Lion.

5. I chose the "Love" first name due to some very interesting personal reason (had considered also changing my RL first name to "Love"), but "Love" in general indicates a positive emotion, force, or person. The last name was chosen from a list, being towards the end of the list (and also being an Asian name, at the time I studied Asian culture a lot).

 

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I have to admit you asked much more interesting questions than many who have come before :D. So in this case I will answer.

1. My avatar looks nothing like my corporeal self.  I have an alt that looks a bit closer to "me" but I don't feel any closer to her than I do to the me-Chic version.  

2. Chic is certainly more STLYISH than my corporeal self and she can definitely wear clothes easier and better. Honestly I don't think about who is better looking. The typist DOES wish she were taller like Chic. 

3.My behavior in SL is almost exactly like my behavior in RL.  Honestly the avatar and typist merged long ago.  

4. I am "me" in atom and pixel form and I am "me" FOR "me".   So no, no influence at all.   I like approval when it comes but I don't change anything about myself for that approval.

5. I was made to be a model (tall and thin) hence the "Chic" (although I pronounce as the baby chicken version) and I had just watched Aeon Flux on steam AND "A"s were at the top of the list to choose from LOL.  

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17 minutes ago, Dex Euromat said:

Dear Helen.
Can you provide a link to Google form?
I'm asking because these questions might be a personal matter for some people, who not necessarily want to say it on larger forum. That way you will get more answers.

Also this survey results might be helpful for you (these will be also presented inworld during incoming VWMOOC 2022)
https://www.academia-electronica.net/?page_id=64&lang=en

Good Luck!

 

That is certainly possible, but these questions are very much like the meme's Strawberry (now Linden) did each week and they were VERY popular :D  

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4 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

I have to admit you asked much more interesting questions than many who have come before :D. So in this case I will answer.

I agree! Between "fewer questions", "direct and to the point", and "more interesting" - this is better than most "survey" requests!

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5 minutes ago, Chic Aeon said:

5. I was made to be a model (tall and thin) hence the "Chic" (although I pronounce as the baby chicken version) and I had just watched Aeon Flux on steam AND "A"s were at the top of the list to choose from LOL.  

This is interesting because a) I had guessed Aeon Flux, and b) I chose "Zhaoying" because it was at the END of the list!

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1 hour ago, Dex Euromat said:

Dear Helen.
Can you provide a link to Google form?
I'm asking because these questions might be a personal matter for some people, who not necessarily want to say it on larger forum. That way you will get more answers.

Also this survey results might be helpful for you (these will be also presented inworld during incoming VWMOOC 2022)
https://www.academia-electronica.net/?page_id=64&lang=en

Good Luck!

 

Thank you for the suggestion! You're right. I don't pretend explicit information related to RL, just a comparison between SL and RL. Anyway, maybe more privacy allows you to feel more protected. I will add a link to Google form so that anyone can choose through what platform give their answers.

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On 8/24/2022 at 6:42 PM, HelenKenobi said:

Hi everyone!

I'm an university Italian student and I'm writing a thesis related to SL and the representation of Self through avatars. If you don't mind to have a break and reflect about your avatar and yourself, you might give your contribute to my research by answering the following open questions.

  1. How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Are you satisfied of the result? Do you feel fully represented?
  2. Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance?
  3. How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted?
  4. Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar?
  5. Where does your avatar's name come from? Why did you choose it?

Thank you!

Do not hesitate to IM me or send a notecard in SL if you have any doubt or suggestion.

HelenKenobi

https://forms.gle/2wBTBLJAkEjoAaUY9

Here a link to a Google form if you don't like to share your answers with the entire community and you need more privacy. Thank you!

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4 hours ago, Dex Euromat said:

Dear Helen.
Can you provide a link to Google form?
I'm asking because these questions might be a personal matter for some people, who not necessarily want to say it on larger forum. That way you will get more answers.

Also this survey results might be helpful for you (these will be also presented inworld during incoming VWMOOC 2022)
https://www.academia-electronica.net/?page_id=64&lang=en

Good Luck!

 

https://forms.gle/2wBTBLJAkEjoAaUY9

Here we go!

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On 8/24/2022 at 6:42 PM, HelenKenobi said:

Hi everyone!

I'm an university Italian student and I'm writing a thesis related to SL and the representation of Self through avatars. If you don't mind to have a break and reflect about your avatar and yourself, you might give your contribute to my research by answering the following open questions.

  1. How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Are you satisfied of the result? Do you feel fully represented?
  2. Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance?
  3. How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted?
  4. Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar?
  5. Where does your avatar's name come from? Why did you choose it?

Thank you!

Do not hesitate to IM me or send a notecard in SL if you have any doubt or suggestion.

HelenKenobi

1. I'm the puppeteer, Sid (my avatar) is the puppet. In that way we are related I guess.
Sid's appearance grew over the years. The only thing we really have in common is that we wear glasses.

2. Sid looks better than me for sure.

3. Sid is not very social in SL. He's a builder most of the time. Has a short friends list (with mostly alts on it). He is basically more introverted than his puppeteer is in RL.

4. Nope. Not that I'm aware of.

5. I wanted a short name. It was the time that one had to chose a last name from a list. Nagy was a short European name on that list then. The combination Sid and Nagy sounded good and was available, so there he was.
 

Edited by Sid Nagy
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4 minutes ago, animats said:

For "fully represented", I'm not sure what they're getting at. Avatars not having enough detail, or rendering badly, or moving badly? That's the classic  "uncanny valley" problem: close enough to human looking to look slightly creepy. It does bother some users.

Or do they mean the special "woke" meaning of the term?

I thought Helen's use "representation of Self" was pretty clear. What leads you to think she was referring to the uncanny valley effect? How do you imagine that would affect our behavior?

I spend a significant portion of my in-world time as a little devil, or a particle cloud of decaying morality. I don't think there's much the SL rendering system could do to make those representations any more cannily uncanny than they already are.

I think a lot of people use SL to present aspects of their self image they are unable to show in RL, for various reasons. I'm one of them.

 

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On 8/24/2022 at 9:42 AM, HelenKenobi said:

Hi everyone!

I'm an university Italian student and I'm writing a thesis related to SL and the representation of Self through avatars. If you don't mind to have a break and reflect about your avatar and yourself, you might give your contribute to my research by answering the following open questions.

  1. How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Are you satisfied of the result? Do you feel fully represented?
  2. Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance?
  3. How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted?
  4. Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar?
  5. Where does your avatar's name come from? Why did you choose it?

Thank you!

Do not hesitate to IM me or send a notecard in SL if you have any doubt or suggestion.

HelenKenobi

1. My primary avatar is an idealized version of myself - younger, thinner, but still recognizable as me. I am happy with how she looks.

My 3 other avatars do not look like me. One is a kind of alter ego who has some personality traits I want to emulate in RL.

One is a wolf-dog, a homage to a favorite pet who died.

The last is a male avatar who doesn't really represent me. His appearance is the only one I'm not happy with. (It's harder to make a good-looking male avatar in SL.)

2. Yes

3. I'm more confident in SL. I'm still an introvert in SL, but it's easier to do stuff, to communicate with other people, to help them with stuff, and to avoid them when I don't feel like socializing.

4. No.  I represent myself how I feel like representing myself, often changing depending on my mood.

5. Persephone is a name I also use in some RL circles. This is the name of the Greek goddess of Spring, the Underworld (Death), and Rebirth. The name represents having my feet in multiple worlds and being able to move between them. - The last name Emerald came from a generated list and is my mother's birth stone.

My favorite alt's first name is that of a table-top roleplay character I played who could communicate with ghosts. Her last name came from a generated list and is ironically the name of a fictional vampire, because she's a goth who doesn't like roleplay vampires.

My wolfdog alt's first name is that my favorite dog who died.  Her last name came from a generated list and is an angelic or fallen angel name.

I'm not going to explain my male alt's name.

 

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6 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

What leads you to think she was referring to the uncanny valley effect? How do you imagine that would affect our behavior?

I imagine that being too far in the valley would lead one to sing Solomon Burke, or perhaps the more familiar Burl Ives version.

 

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Hi Helen. If you are looking for a bigger sample, I think you can talk to the admins of one or two of the help or building groups in-world and ask if they would send your message to their members. Also, on Facebook there are at least two Secondlife groups with a good number of people who, I've noticed,  seem to every now and then discuss similar questions, so I have a feeling they would fill the survey for you

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How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Are you satisfied of the result? Do you feel fully represented?

The stately fellow before you is my original Avatar. Just like RL he is constantly changing and evolving. This Avatar is the most “me” than any other one I’ve had in my closet. It was the Avatar that I created for teaching my college classes. He exercises a certain amount of decorum and restraint and (like any teacher) speaks with a certain amount of friendly authority. Speaking for myself, SL avatars take a slice of who you are and make it real. I’ve occupied two other Avatars (simultaneously) in sixteen years. Each avatar (a white female, and an African American male.) act quite differently and were distinct from each other. They truly exhibited different personalities from my “me” avatar. I’ve read in a psychological study that people in masks are more likely to do something “out of character” than people without masks. The anonymity in SL provides an opportunity to expose repressed personalities. I think (my opinion) that this happens a lot on the grid.   

Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance?

Funny. I’m a rotund barrel-chested male of Dutch/German heritage in RL. I’m good looking enough to have confidence, with an acute awareness that my non-threatening  personality frosts over most of my perceived physical defects or deficiencies. In SL I’m perpetually nineteen, and gorgeous. Honestly, it’s really hard to be 100% like I am in RL. The sliders will only take you so far, large male mesh bodies, heads, and quality fat people skins are almost non-existent. SL kind of forces you to be good looking which is a shame. True body diversity would be much more attractive in my book.

How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted?

I kind of answered that in the previous question. However, let me add this. Autism runs in my family. My wife is on the spectrum and so is my son. They display acute social anxiety amongst other symptoms. Somehow the one-step separation from RL to SL helps. This VR mask allows them breathing room to express the personalities that exist under their respective diagnosis. They also prefer to use text to communicate rather than voice in SL. This option that is not socially sanctioned in RL, gives them a feeling of normalcy in their atypical world.

Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar?

For me, no. I’m fairly grounded in RL and am pretty much exempt from peer pressure or an undue desire to please people. I’m a professional illustrator in RL, I have a thick skin. This carries through pretty strongly in SL. I know of others in SL, who are greatly effected by body shaming. So sad that a cancer like this flows from RL into a place like SL where somehow gorgeous isn’t good enough. Besides… I have a friend in SL who has a tree stump as an avatar and she is one of the most beautiful peoples I know. (Cuddles don’t really work though.)

Where does your avatar's name come from? Why did you choose it?

Back in the days of yore, last names were chosen for you based on when you created an account. Thus there are lots of Lassards on the grid. Vanettda is a name I was assigned in the ‘90s for a workplace server account. First six characters of last name with first two characters from first name. It kind of stuck. 

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On 8/24/2022 at 12:42 PM, HelenKenobi said:

[snipped]

  1. How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Are you satisfied of the result? Do you feel fully represented?
  2. Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance?
  3. How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted?
  4. Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar?
  5. Where does your avatar's name come from? Why did you choose it?

As others have pointed out, good questions and nicely asked, so I'll provide my answers for you.

1. My two avatars (Katherine, and my male alt) are how I am in RL and how I present myself here in SL, though Katherine (cis-female here in SL) is harder to wrap my own head around. I'm closely attached to them both since I don't RP here in SL, what I say and how I behave through my avatars is what I'd do in RL. Obviously, as a male RL, Katherine doesn't look like me (though I had in my youth touches of red in my hair), but if I could look like her, that would be nice. The male alt looks a little like me (short hair, older, either well dressed or slobby, tattoos), though I'm in better shape in SL and have more tats. My eyes are right for both avatars though :) I created the avatars with realistic proportions and am fully satisfied with them, yes.

Note: I have a few other avatar shapes as Katherine. All of TWIs animals and variations on the lion one (cheetah), a ball joint doll look, and also a small domestic house cat. For this survey, I'm only speaking about my two human alts.

2. I like me in RL, even in my late 50s. But yes, I'd say my avatars are more attractive physically, but that's only 1/3 of what I find attractive in a person.

3. Not at all. I am me in RL and SL. Exactly the same. I'm a tiny bit more extroverted here as Katherine, but I hang back quite a bit as my male alt observing more. Allowed to do things I couldn't in RL? Sort of yes, but being Katherine here is a part of a complex thing I have about me. I'm allowed to do whatever I want in RL, but obviously have opportunities to explore things as Katherine in SL I can't/couldn't safely in RL. As my male alt, no, not so much. No real changes. Aspects of RL? No, just flirty as heck as Katherine. I don't omit anything, except for not sharing my RL identity or websites for my RL art, but certainly in RL you could say I am hiding/omitting any public acknowledgement of my Katherine SL persona for a number of complex, RL reasons.

4. I honestly don't care what people think of my avatars, and despite my silly rants about realistic proportions, I adore everyone however they want to represent here, human or otherwise. SL allows us to be who we need to be online so go for it! (though if you're taller than 6'3" you ain't dancing with me, just saying.) So for representing? Approval or disapproval does not bother me. I'm an artist IRL and don't care if you love or hate my work, I do it for me. Now, I do feel a sense of hurt/shame/sometimes anger when I am Katherine and a guy suddenly embarrasses me publicly because they hadn't taken the time to ask or read my profile to find out I'm male IRL. I mean literally almost tears, and certainly a sense of wtf anger. I've spent days avoiding places I regularly visit or sit quietly in a corner not interacting because of that. But I get over it. It won't change the fact that I'm "wearing" Katherine as my main avi, and have to keep reminding myself that I'm not everyone's cup of tea.

5. I've always loved the name Katherine. There's also a family connection to that name. It shortens to "Kat" and as a cat lover, I'm all down for that. I started with Julia when I arrived here, but Kat just feels much more right. My male alt has a pseudonym (even though I have a premium account and could get a name), though I display a name I also like, also using Heartsong as a display last name, even though someone else uses the full name as their full name in the SL system (darn!). I can't get heartsong as a last name anymore so I'm stuck.

Hope those helped you. :)

Edited by Katherine Heartsong
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  • 3 weeks later...

This is a really interesting line of questioning, so I'm happy to participate.

First off, I'm not sure if it makes a difference, but I'm Autistic, so I may be approaching this with a slightly different perspective than others, but then again perhaps not.

1) I never worried about matching my RL appearance, though I do maintain the same gender, general ethnic appearance ... simply because I don't ever want to be perceived as appropriating someone else's identity. (This is a decision I apply to myself. I'm not indicating an intent to judge others who do differently.) My avatar represents how I feel, or how I'd like to feel, about myself. I love tooling with my avatar, and am always both satisfied and never quite perfectly satisfied with the result. Which means it's fun to change it up some more. I feel it represents me pretty well.

2) Oh, absolutely! I'm an old man by internet standards, but I don't feel like one inside. I'm sure many of us feel the same. But that doesn't mean I'm down on my RL self. It's just easy to have the "perfect nose" when the change of a mesh head and a slider is just a click away. I'm not troubled by discrepancies in our (me and my avatar's) beauty quotient. It's just fun to feel pretty. :)

3) I don't feel my behavior online is any different than in RL. I also don't talk any different to little kids than I do to adults. Well, I might use slightly smaller words. I suppose if there is any difference, it would be in motor skills. I stim quite a bit, and I often have a stutter when speaking to new people, but in SL that never happens as I only do text chats until I know someone reasonably well and feel comfortable with them hearing me stutter occasionally. And I don't look like an injured duck when I run in SL unless I want to.

4) Other users don't influence the way I represent myself at all. Whether others seem to approve or disapprove might change my mood a bit, but it won't alter my representation of myself in any environment, virtual or otherwise. Because of my neurodivergence, I often have communication issues with other people, and have developed a "just please say what you mean" attitude I always try to follow myself. Sarcasm and nuance are often lost on me, though I enjoy both as language tools in certain contexts. For me, to alter my appearance to suit someone else would feel like self-betrayal. Like all that honesty I've tried to put into my self-representation meant nothing. (Again, this is a rule I apply to myself, not to others.)

5) I chose my actual avatar name as an overreaction to a previous virtual environment where I thought the whole point was to be who you wanted to be, but quickly found out people wanted everyone to actually represent themselves as they were in RL or be considered a fraud. I chose my preferred username, "Chris Dangerferret", because the idea of dangerous ferrets made me giggle. I always picture ferrets with berets, striped sweatshirts and cartoon-style bandit masks lurking about the corner, waiting to pouncehug. When I start to get too serious about things, I look at my own name and think: how bad can things be for a ferret? It doesn't change facts, but it sometimes changes perspective, which is usually a better outcome anyways.

 

---

After reading an answer above, I wanted to chime in about how Second Life makes me as an Autistic more capable of free  communication: As both I and the other user have said, text chat provides a level of abstraction and simultaneously solidity that I find very attractive. There are the words right on the screen. No intonation. No tone. (Some people sound very sarcastic to me even when they aren't trying to be. I have a problem typical among Autistics that I often can't tell from body language and tone whether someone is happy to see me or wishes I would throw myself off the nearest pier.)

Though others find freedom in Second Life to be fantastical creatures, wee little beasties, ferocious demons, vampires, etc... ultimately, I found the greatest attraction to Second Life was that it provided me an environment where I was finally comfortable just being. I can hole up on my own parcel, turn on my ShoutCast stream, and DJ (poorly) my favorite music into my ear holes while building, or dancing... if others want to join, they can. If I want to find social activities, the grid is full of them. But the safety of solitude is always one quick TP away.

I'm not always happy with LL or SL, but I find sometimes it provides a more authentic reality to me than RL. In RL I often feel like I'm LARPing being a person. Here, I feel like I have a greater chance of finding true communication and connection, when I want it. And that definitely includes the ability to shape my appearance and body movements, as well as choosing what skin in which I'm best comfortable.

Second Life isn't an escape from reality for me. It is an escape from the pressure reality puts on me to act "normal" when my brain doesn't know what that means.

Edited by SeattleChris
typo
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I don't usually look at this subforum so I must have missed this one before. I hope I'm not too late to contribute.

How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Are you satisfied of the result? Do you feel fully represented?

My avatar is not so much created to reproduce my RL appearance, but (originally) to reproduce the appearance of my favourite fictional character - who is my favourite because he shares with me one particular feature; he's an amputee, missing part of his right arm. I started to do this with my avatar as soon as the technology was available to do so (when Slink brought out their first mesh hands) and I've stuck with it ever since. The "spit-and-baling-twine" method I used which looked very amateurish and poorly-fitting, was improved significantly when I switced to a Maitreya body and was able to use a mesh modification for a perfect fit. I don't feel fully repredented though, because I don't actually like the Maitreya body, I don't want to use it, and the modification isn't available for any other body. So my choices are either, stick with Maitreya, or return to the amateur, jerry-rigged version, or forget about it altogether and have two intact arms. I'm not happy with any of these options.

Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance?

Of course, same as it is with 99.99% of non-griefing SL users. If you don't have significant 3d-modelling skills, it's actually really, REALLY difficult to make an avatar of average or less-than-average attractiveness without going ridiculously unrealistic. Although there is (or was?) a pretty realistic knock-off of a Vladimir Putin head out there somewhere. I suspect that's been withdrawn from sale now though.

How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted?

I think I am less extroverted in SL than I am in RL, but partly that's just down to availability of other people. I'm not in a USA timezone and at the times I'm online, SL is very quiet, so I spend a lot more time alone in SL than I want to. I am MUCH less inclined to talk to people I don't know in SL than in RL, because you can never tell from looking at their avatar whether they're interested in talking back. They might be chatting with a significant other in an IM, they might even be not even looking at SL at all but off in social media or something else, with SL on solely for the background music.

Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar?

Not at all. I get disapproval for a few things on my avatar's appearance.First, I'm a blend of both male and female all in one. Not switching from one to the other but both at the same time. Second, I'm tall. Very tall. There's a strong push towards encouraging avatars of realistic height rather than the overly-tall default ones. I've gone purposefully the other way, taken the default tall avatar and made it even taller. On purpose. Because my avatar is an elf (Middle-Earth type), not a human. I don't get disapproval about my missing arm, but people often ask about it. None of this inspires me to change anything though.

Where does your avatar's name come from? Why did you choose it?

Maitimo is one of the aliases of Maedhros, an elf from the Silmarillion (part of the Tolkien/Middle Earth legendarium).  I've been obsessed with this character since the late 1990s and have roleplayed hm a lot outside of SL. I intended to do so within SL as well, but never actually did, in the end. No-one knows how to pronounce Maitimo, and my avatar is more feminine these days, so I go with the more gender-neutral name of Matti now. Funnily enough, because of the spelling of Matti, some people assume that I'm Finnish, and--- guess what language inspired Tolkien himself when he was creating the Elven language of Quenya?

Edited by Maitimo
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How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? It's pretty awesome.
Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Not at all lmao. I didn't have intentions of creating an avatar completely different to my RL appearance.
Are you satisfied of the result? Of course i am.
Do you feel fully represented? i feel fully represented 100%
Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance? Ummm.... put me in the spot here... Um no i don't think that.
How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? It's pretty much the same.
Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Yes. I feel more comfortable too, less shy. I sometimes have anxiety in RL of people when i go outside like to take a walk or whatever but i am working on fixing that. RL interaction is completely different. I also feel more free in SL to do things.
Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted? No.
Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar? Yes.
Where does your avatar's name come from? I don't know honestly i kind of just came up with it and then put the word ''avatar'' at the end.
Why did you choose it? I like it.

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On 8/24/2022 at 5:42 PM, HelenKenobi said:

Hi everyone!

I'm an university Italian student and I'm writing a thesis related to SL and the representation of Self through avatars. If you don't mind to have a break and reflect about your avatar and yourself, you might give your contribute to my research by answering the following open questions.

  1. How do you feel the relationship between you and your avatar? Did you create your avatar trying to reproduce your RL appearance? Otherwise, did you create an avatar completely different to your RL appearance? Are you satisfied of the result? Do you feel fully represented?
  2. Do you perceive your avatar’s appearance is more attractive than your RL appearance?
  3. How do you feel your online behaviour changes compared to your offline behaviour? Here in SL, do you feel more extroverted, friendly, allowed to do things that you wouldn’t do in RL? Do you feel that some aspects of your behaviour are more ephatised in SL and that other aspects are omitted?
  4. Does the other residents' approving or disapproving influence the way you represent yourself through your avatar?
  5. Where does your avatar's name come from? Why did you choose it?

Thank you!

Do not hesitate to IM me or send a notecard in SL if you have any doubt or suggestion.

HelenKenobi

1.   This one is my main avatar, but I have others too, all of which represent some aspect of me/my personality, but none of them look much like me. I like this avatar, but have not progressed to the more modern type of mesh avatar. Do I feel fully represented? I am not sure I understand that part of the question really, except sometimes I don't feel like I want to be human at all and change into a goose (silly goose), or a zombie if I feel particularly antisocial.

2.   My avatar's appearance is definitely more attractive than my RL appearance, except when I am the zombie (and that's debatable).

3.   I am pretty much the same online as I am offline, perhaps a little more patient online, being able to edit via text  or even walk/teleport away easier than to stop my gob from blurting out the truth, the whole truth,  like in real world. Second Life has made me realised what an obsessive creature I can be, but in both lives I am a "wash and go" kind of person, I don't like to faff around much with my actual avatar. Once I've got her looking like I want she stays like that for a long while. I'm the same in real life too.  The only thing I do differently in Second Life to what I do in real life is roller skating, because if I did that now in real life I would no doubt fall and break a hip! As a 59 year old I don't bounce as well as I did when I was in my teens! I do not participate in "adult" activities in Second Life as I think I regress slightly to a younger version of myself to alleviate the pressure of the adult I have to be when out in real life. 

4.   I get a certain amount of disapproval from some people in Second Life because I don't have a more modern avatar. This does not influence me one iota.

5.   A work colleague in the 1980s nicknamed me Marigold Duckboat. My nickname for her was Vogue Jane. Duckboat was not an available surname when I created my avatar in 2007, so I took an alternative one beginning with D.

Good luck on collating all our answers for your thesis. 

Edited by Marigold Devin
edited for better sense ... or not ...gone to bed.
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