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Examines the ways in which language and digital imagery are used by people to construct multiple online personas in platforms such as virtual worlds, social.

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Presentation on theme: "Examines the ways in which language and digital imagery are used by people to construct multiple online personas in platforms such as virtual worlds, social."— Presentation transcript:

1 Examines the ways in which language and digital imagery are used by people to construct multiple online personas in platforms such as virtual worlds, social networking sites, personal web pages and games.

2 - the creation and meaning of your avatar(s) - what's involved in making an avatar on Second Life - how is the work/craft of avatar construction recognised and/or assessed by other Second life citizens - having multiple avatars on Second Life: why and what do these do for you that having one wouldn't be able to do?

3 “Avatar” an electronic image that represents and is manipulated by a computer user (as in a computer game) STORM CONSTANTINE created 22/5/2008 Second Life Biography English /Australian/ Fire-Sign/ Gypsy/ Singer/Dancer/Writer /Traveler/ Lost Soul Real Life Biography Daughter of the Sea, Most days I slave over a hot professor. JESSIKA JENVIEVE created 25/1/2009 Second Life Biography ☆ *¨¨*:Proud to be an elite Ambrosia Dancer:*¨¨* ☆ The One, the Only, Jessika Jenvieve ™ Jessika has a PhD in Exotic Dancing & Footwear Appreciation Real Life Biography Born in UK and 44 countries later, living in Australia, Jessika lives alone on a cliff above Bondi Beach and writes.

4 Wynter created 1/6/2012 Second Life Biography Joint owner of Avatarcreations Real Life Biography Always ask people who think Second Life is a game what the rules are and how do you “win”.

5 - The creation and meaning of your avatar(s) I created my first avatar 5 years ago because I was homesick. I missed my friends in the UK and somehow I felt I did not connected with anyone in Australia. I heard about Second Life on an ABC news radio program. I downloaded the basic Second Life viewer, which we all used in those days. Today most people use a third-party viewer like Firestorm. The Second Life viewer is designed for those new to virtual worlds and is neither streamlined nor fast enough for those of us who know our way aroundSecond Life viewerFirestorm

6 The quality of your experience depends on your equipment and I use an ASUS G7 8 gig 17 inch gamer’s laptop: Jw/ – overview, and an 11 inch Sony Vaio with 2 gig: – IT+PC+Series+SVE as a backup. Jw/ – overview – IT+PC+Series+SVE These are either connected to or to a Vodafone broadband modem. I have put the links to the suppliers on the website so you can see the type of equipment works best. The quality of the experience depends on your connection and your equipment and you need very good broadband modem

7 History of Second Life Linden Lab was founded in 1999 In August 2001 SL was called LindenWorld Second Life was launched on June 23rd 2003 developed by Linden Lab. CEO and founder Philip Rosedale (Philip Linden) SL reached 1 million residents on 18th October 2006 at 8:05:45am SLT. Philip Linden stepped down as CEO in March 2008 New CEO M Linden took over at LL during April 2008 Snowglobe 1.1 released in August 2009 Snowglobe 2.0 released on 22nd February 2010 Viewer 2 launched officially (out of beta) on 31st March 2010 Rod Humble new CEO of LL – 23rd December 2010 Teen Second Life merges with Main Grid – 21st January 2011 Linden Lab announced that mesh is coming this summer (July/August) – 31st May 2011 Group Chat testing event on Beta Grid hosted by Linden Lab (4pm SLT) on 2nd June 2011 Mesh goes live across the grid – 23rd August 2011

8 Who uses Second Life Here are some statistics. Total registered SL residents: 32+ million Total SL regions: 27, 919 SL Daily New Signups: 13, 000 to 15, 000 per day (average) Active SL users: 1 million (July 2012) There is an in world currency called linden Dollars – L$250= US$1 Second life has changed a lot in the last 2 years with the development of Mesh. Simply put before mesh to create a piece of jewellery you used at least 100 prims, with mesh you need only one. Mesh models enable more detailed, complex, realistic, and creative objects and avatars. Designers can use external software tools to design avatars and other content. Avatar designs can be joint-rigged, allowing natural-looking animation without a need for extra scripting. My own avatar bodies although not yet fully mesh can breathe and my AO (animation override) allows me to move realistically.

9 Below is a glossary of terms used: A primitive, or prim, is a single-part object Multi-part objects will have multiple parts ("prims"). Mesh – A collection of triangles with a single transformation matrix, roughly equivalent to a “Prim” in SL. Submesh – A subset of a mesh, equivalent to a “Face” on a normal prim. Associated with a texture entry. Model – A mesh or collection of meshes, equivalent to a “Coalesced Object”. Aditi – The Second Life beta grid, where you can test new features and ideas, such as mesh upload, without risk to any of your Second Life assets. Land impact – Mesh objects are equivalent to one or more traditional second life prims.

10 Types of meshes: A simple mesh is a mesh with a single face. It has a single color and texture, and can model a simple object in the real world. A multi-face mesh is a mesh with multiple textures A rigged mesh is a mesh with an internal virtual skeleton. Manipulating the virtual skeleton causes corresponding changes in the shape of the mesh, which allows the mesh to be animated.

11 What this means for the user of Second Life is better graphics, better textures and the whole program runs much, much faster. The user experience is better and the avatars are rapidly losing the “cartoon” look and the jerky movements and becoming more life-like. The images below show this; the first image of Storm is from 2010,then 2011 and the last from 2012. There is a picture of Dude in 2008.

12 Creating your Avatar The initial avatar creation is easy – you are offered a choice of basic shapes and pushed out into the virtual world to sink or swim – you are a noob. The most important step in this initial stage is selecting your name – this is not an email address and no one will call you IAMG8123 – but they will call you Philip. You can change to a “display name” as I have with Wynter. Once out in the world you wander around and get laughed at a lot. Some make straight for the sex sims and have pathetic phone sex experience, while the rest of us watched and learned, and found a friend or two to help us. I spend my first day talking politely to an owl because I did not realise it was a bot. I still talk to bots and play complex word games with them. My first friend was a Canadian called Romeo and he is still my friend. I held his hand on Skype through some awful nights when his wife died of a brain tumor. Second Life can be dangerous, you can get very close to people. This can drain you emotionally and you have to step back frequently.

13 Once you have your Avatar you can make changes

14 Wynter has become the face of the business “Avatar Creations” and in the process she has become very focused and rather thick-skinned. She has tough and volatile relationships which confuses and amazes me, but I think this is taking us both creatively in a new direction. I simply have no idea what is driving her, but it will be a part of me I have not clearly recognised yet. I would say that is the “meaning” of the avatar for me. It is a part of yourself that you may have not truly recognised or have moved away from as you have grown older. I am still amazed by my ability to be “something other” when I inhabit these personas. I am startled when I feel things intensely or drive strongly towards a goal I may have not consciously acknowledged. But I still have the timing and skill of the actress that I was once, which playing out in Jessika and this fulfils my own personal need to perform.

15 Once you have an avatar, it is then your choice, the personality you assume in Second Life. Your personality can be a complete fabrication or a role player; or you can be a version of yourself, which is what my three avatars are. It takes about 6 months to really get up to speed with your first avatar; the second takes about 4 months. Wynter took just 8 weeks and then suddenly grew into herself spontaneously without my help. She seemed to drive my artistic choices all by herself. My avatars each have a function. Storm is my primary avatar and she engages socially and has a lot of friends principally those who share my musical tastes. Jessika works as a club dancer and hostess for the largest entertainment group, Ambrosia. She has worked there for 3 years, a few hours each week and her tips pay for all our clothes. These jobs are hard to get. The club owner, Phil Kearny from Florida, interviews you on Skype. You represent his “brand” and if you don’t come up to the mark you are dismissed. I survive because I make him laugh. Jessika has also become my Twitter persona and my pen name. She does not have “friends” in SL, just work contacts.

16 - What’s involved in making an avatar on Second Life? Firstly you have an avatar. The free ones are noticeably free. The first thing people do is to buy a shape and skin. There is a currency called lindens and you can buy lindens with your credit card. Secondly, you will need clothes, and you buy these too. You are now fit to mingle with other avatars as an equal. If you do not do this you will be seen as a noob or newbie and, though welcomed, will not be taken seriously. You have not made a commitment to the …I hesitate because to call it a community but that is what it is. If you right-click on an avatar you get a menu, on it, is your profile. Clicking on it brings up the full profile in a box on the screen. There is a lot of information on the first page. There is artwork, your profile picture. There are varying degrees of image skills portrayed varying from a simple head and shoulders to a complex Photoshop enhanced image. This picture speaks volumes. Your screen name, (Wynter) and your login name (xxwildwynterxx); your date of second life birth plus number of days and whether you have payment info. Under this is a box, which says if you have a partner. A partner is someone you have made a commitment to – some call it marriage. Then there is a box listing the groups you belong to. The is a great indicator of what you do in Second Life. You can belong to 42 groups. Below this you can write anything you like (500w). Perhaps the most common is a summing up of your attitude to life (first and second), the universe and everything.


18 I have heard a theory that while on Second Life, the electrical pathways in our brains are stimulated and renewed. There is also anecdotal evidence that those with diseases such as Parkinson’s can benefit from using an avatar and researchers in the US have just started to examine this. Here is a link to that story; discussion/80710-sl-cures-women-parkinsons-disease.html discussion/80710-sl-cures-women-parkinsons-disease.html It takes a little while to get used to the ambiguity and the problems of chat lag, but once you master it there is a lot of fun to be had. Those using translators can join in and I have observed a friend from Bosnia who’s written and spoken English developed radically in the space of 12 months from broken to fluent English. My dancer, Jessika uses her chat skills to command an appreciative audience in the major club on Second Life and it is satisfying to make people laugh and to stimulate conversation. A theatre background really helps here.

19 You are also assessed by the quality of your “builds”. Without going into too much detail here, you can “own” or “rent” virtual land and build on it. I have two parcels of land in a good positions; one with a skybox and another large plot that is a water land with a houseboat. Friends visit each other and admire and discuss the “build”. You also visit public spaces and admire the work here. It takes a real high level of skill to build anything complex and most schools of architecture now use SL as a tool. I am still amazed by the incredible creativity and the range of building and art that goes on. The University of WA has a gallery and promotes virtual art. The quality, style and flexibility of clothes and accessories in Second Life continues to improve. You can see from the following group of photographs the options available. Some of the design is outstanding and it is fun to change hair and eye colour, or be as fat or thin as you choose.



22 - Having multiple avatars on Second Life, e.g. why and what do these do for you that having one wouldn’t be able to do? Why three avatars? Working on Second Life especially in a big club which can accommodate up to 80 avatars at one time, requires a thick skin, lots of wit and an open mind. Some of the talk can get very dirty! One of the dancer or host’s jobs is to steer the conversation back to saucy and funny. Club goers will assume that the skimpy costume and happy personality is an open invitation to send explicit messages or stalk you. A separate avatar means I can move around SL as my principal avatar, Storm and not be continually contacted by those who have seen me in the club. Jessika does not engage socially which allows her to remain professional. My third avatar was created because I thought I might also work in a different club. Wynter was dormant for a few months until the idea of AvatarCreations took shape. It took a long time for her to show me exactly who she was. It is very had to explain the process so I have added some before and after pictures to show her development.

23 Wynter is far more open and outgoing than Storm, far less sophisticated, but she is not the hard showy performer that Jessika is. They are all facets of me and interestingly all three avatars attract different sets of friends. A few people are aware that I am all three avatars, but it is not something I feel the need to hide or promote. It can be regarded a deceitful by some and multiple avatars are referred to as “alts”. Other virtual world performers such as DJs and performers may also have 2 or 3 avatars and business owners will create a whole army of models for their stores. Interestingly it is Storm, the most modest of the three that gets all the attention and has the strongest relationships. All three avatars have very different wardrobes of clothes, but have fixed hair colour, Storm has long red-haired, Jessika has short black hair, which creates a clear silhouette when up on stage, and Wynter has platinum blonde. My biggest problem is staring into my own wardrobe looking for an outfit that belongs to one of my avatars.

24 I am very interested in the difference in my own feelings and responses when inhabiting the different avatars. Jessika is simply playing a role – she performs and does nothing else. She has no friends and only goes online when working or buying costumes. She has her own ‘skybox’ on a separate plot of land. Storm has many friends and she has intense personal relationships, some lasting years. When a close friend left Second Life, I experienced acute sadness and could not use this avatar for some months. Wynter seems to be growing a thicker skin and she is actively promoting the business by word of mouth and notecards and in- world advertising. She has is also entering for competitions and won best female costume at an online event last weekend. She was at the Mardi Gras events in a riot of feathers and tassels – I think she is very good at PR. These two avatars share a houseboat in a very desirable spot of Second Life mainland.

25 Here are a few links: Pirate King Blues Radio on air 24/7 both live In world and out Anne Farnsworth is jazz singer and professor of music – she performs regularly in Second Life where she is know as Miss Cast,

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