(or, “Well, Erbo, you wanted excitement…”)
First of all, Tateru: Touche. But I note that, even as a furry, you’ve retained some of your “visual identity cues” from your “standard” avatar…the dress and the flower are the most obvious two. For me, that made that image of you instantly recognizable, despite the furry body. I’ve seen this with another of my friends, too; when matt27 Churchill went furry for awhile, he retained sufficient identity cues, such as the rose he carries, to provide a “bridge” between his previous identity and that one.
This makes me wonder: When people change their visual identity in such a manner, do they often leave “identity cues” like that, consciously or subconsciously, that provide this kind of bridge? Certainly, I have done so…as in the case of my “Goth Erbo” appearance. (And I wish I had a picture of it to post here…but I couldn’t find one either on Snapzilla or Electric Minds.) The body shape is still my own, of course, but, in addition, I added a silver version of my Bent to the outfit. And it still felt like me, despite the pale-bordering-on-ghostly skin, the black eyeliner, black lipstick, black nail polish, and black hair…none of which I would ever do to myself in RL.
But there’s another point to consider, one which I neglected to make in my last post…not all “identity cues” are visual. A big identity cue for me is typing style, and vocabulary, as well. For instance, only Torley seems to use the words “Yayzerama!” and “Thanxies.” (When I was talking with her not long ago, I actually used the word “kewlzerama” when I spoke at one point, mimicking her style. She said, “I’ve got to use that word more often!” 🙂 ) It could be as simple as how people express laughter; Travis would say “hehe” where I might say “LOL,” and someone else might say “lol” in lower-case. It could be people’s use of “smilies” in text; I tend to the three-character “:-)” where others favor the simpler “:)”. (Onionpencil Musashi often uses “XD”; I never quite “got” that one…) At an extreme, my coworker Ed uses a very “clipped” way of speaking in chat and IM, which is sometimes hard for me (and others) to understand. I tend to the opposite end myself, trying to type in a more “literary” fashion, though sometimes I forget my capitalization if I’m in a hurry. (And don’t forget gestures! Many people make more use of SL’s gestures than I do, and they’ll prefer a variety of different ones. I don’t use them quite as much because I’m always forgetting the commands or key-bindings.) Sadly, Tateru, I haven’t spent enough time around you to know your typing style as well as I might/should…
Those of us that are bloggers and blog-commenters have another way of expressing our identity, too…through our writings here online. I’ve had more than one person in-world tell me that they liked my writing style here on Evans Avenue Exit, for instance. It also offers us an opportunity to influence the opinions of those people who are not (yet) Residents. And that brings us full-circle…Tateru, your change in appearance didn’t alter my first impression of you, mainly because, via your blog, I had already formed a “first impression” of you before I ever set foot on the Grid. It was a favorable one, to be sure…you struck me as an intelligent person, and someone who knew an awful lot about online community, a subject near and dear to my own heart. And, as one of the first SL bloggers I ever read, you may have helped influence me to “take the plunge” in the first place. How’s that for a job of “mentoring”?
(Oh, and while we’re owning our own clarity here…Mera, at least part of my reaction to your new appearance was overexaggeration, for dramatic effect. But you probably already figured that out.)