Friday, November 21, 2008

Socializing with Out of the Box Avatars

L1 had her first surprise visitor of someone I actually know on the SL land yesterday, a very welcome one, the avatar of one of my colleagues who had read the JVWR piece and decided to check out Second Life.  He picked the Male Musician avatar, which is the same one my husband picked when I convinced him to join me in SL for an experiment, and so I was doubly confused: suddenly someone else was there, looking just like my husband, but with some strange name.  Eventually we sorted it out, but not after a little confusion with a few layers of identities: personal, professional, and virtual.  Then we had a great time, teleporting around as we could do only in SL, also crashing and experiencing enough lag to make us occasionally asynchronous, which may have a real world analog, but it is not nearly so dramatic or visual.  It was a blast, especially when his hair suddenly disappeared, and luckily he got it back.

One of the things I noticed is that when we were using text chat, it was our avatars talking, but as soon as we switched to voice chat, it was us.  I wonder if that would happen if I were talking with someone I didn't know in real life, someone whose disembodied voice I wouldn't recognize.  I certainly didn't recognize my friend in his avatar, at least not right away.  I am also curious to meet people in real life whose avatars I've come to know.  

Here are pictures of L1Aura talking with our colleague Tiak8 (who almost immediately mastered gestures like the shrug) and L1 with her husband Tich.  You can see why she was confused and has since given Tich a makeover.  The wonders of the virtual world. Tiak8's gesture below says it all.

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