The Atomic and The Digital World

So, according to Soph, it seems it’s time for Linden Lab to change their mission statement, then: “To connect everyone to an online world that improves the human condition.” According to her article, this is not only irrealistic (bordering on impossible), but, more to the point, it’s plain stupid, since it’s a waste of time.

Well, I do understand Soph’s point, of course, and since I’m following a thin thread between immersionism (the reason I joined SL in the first place) and augmentationism (my RL income comes almost exclusively — about 90% — from work done in SL), I’m sort of having one foot on each side of the thin barrier. For instance, I don’t do voice meetings (except very, very reluctantly) or interviews about my RL company (I’ll forward them to my augmentationist colleagues in my company, who are always glad to talk on the phone) — but I’m happy to do text-based interviews and/or email interviews, so long as I’m quoted as “Gwyneth Llewelyn”. Marilyn Monroe also refused to be quoted as Norma Jeane Mortenson in the press for the same reason. Most journalists refuse to grant me that status, of course 🙂

But on the other hand, my RL work in SL is for RL companies, who use SL as a tool, mostly for communication, training, and some promotion. In any case, they’re pursuing their own (RL) business in a virtual way. For them, a virtual world presence in SL is the same as a web page — or an email address. Early email addresses were all weird nicknames, and these are still popular, although not as they were in the 1990s. But people tended to accept a weird nickname as an email address on a business card and use it regularly without a second thought. After all, a phone number is weird, too: a random sequence of digits that represents a person. A weird nickname at least has some of the owner’s personality embedded into it. Of course, a 3D avatar with a personalised shape, skin, styling, clothing, hair, and accessories is quite a lot more than just a nickname, and it reflects (even if subconsciously) much more of the owner’s personality than just a few alphanumeric characters that we call “an email address”.

| ← Previous | | | Next → |
%d bloggers like this: