Wednesday, May 7, 2008

No Comment

Yesterday evening I had the chance to throw back French scientific research by about a hundred years, which would have put them in the time of Antoine Henri Becquerel or Gabriel Lippmann so maybe not a bad thing.

I was cooling my heels at Hot Sax and staring at my shoes a a French guy arrived carrying a torch and asked if anyone would be interested in answering a few question he had for a study his university was doing. I took another look at my shoes and decided they needed a rest....

Eaton: Hiya... so what questions do you have? Must people don’t ask interview questions with a torch in their hand.

French Guy: does it mean anything to be wearing a torch?

Eaton: nope... but I'd say that generally... people don't wear torches in SL.. has a nice Olympic touch though

French Guy: ok first thank you for helping me

Eaton: np... wear your torch.. you can wear anything here that you like

Eaton: so... your questions are?

French Guy: I see your avatar but i would like to know how do you see it yourself? Could you describe it briefly

Eaton: Basically this Ave is a male… maybe about 25 to 29 years old, he is based on the Raj shape and has a dark he has been mistaken to be an African American, but the goal was to make him seem more Indian in appearance

French Guy: what do you think the other people imagine when they see your avatar?

Eaton: Well, people who have been online for a while will notice that time and some money has been invested in him

French Guy: What is the thing that you particular like most of your Avatar ?

Eaton: ah... hmmm...

Eaton: He looks a hell of a lot better then I do in RL?

Eaton: I like that about him.

French Guy: And to the other side, are there things that don’t fully satisfy you?

Eaton: Sure.... finding good clothes for him is, as a male here, difficult

French Guy: I heard there are more clothes for female

Eaton: That’s true... lean over and I'll cry on your shoulder about that…

French Guy: What are the thing you do most often on SL ?

Eaton: I stand around here at Sax chatting up people

Eaton: I do photography

French Guy: Are they things that you don’t have (enough) the opportunity to do in the real life ?

Eaton: I explore, meet, discover and conect

Eaton: connect* (I do a lot of correcting my spelling too)

French Guy: that is what you don’t have the opportunity to do in RL?

Eaton: ah.. clever question.

Eaton: Well.... yes and no. All of the above are also possible in RL, but it's much easier to invest an hour of time here and meet, for example someone from France (like yourself), then from the UK, then Italy, an American, then on to Brazil, China etc etc etc

Eaton: I can't do that in an hour in RL

French Guy: i understand its usefull

Eaton: oh.. useful isn’t the right word

Eaton: it's entertaining

Eaton: and enlightening

French Guy: entertaining yeah=)

French Guy: Are there things that you would purchase on SL but that you wouldn’t purchase in the real life ?

Eaton: like a skin.. or a body shape or hair?

Eaton: well.. I can't, legally purchase a skin in RL...

French Guy: Do you think that you take the same profit from the SL experience without purchasing anything ?

Eaton: ah.. no I don't. I don't think necessarily that purchasing is the experience... it's what the purchase allows you to do that enhances the experience

French Guy: Can you cite a real life brand which exists on SL ?

Eaton: well American Apparel had a store her.. IBM is present, and there are a number of people who offer brand names without a license

French Guy: Do you think that the SL experience should be close to the reality? Explain

Eaton: I think, speaking generally, that people can experience SL on many levels...

Eaton: I have a good friend who enjoys wandering around as a possum

Eaton: that certainly doesn't mirror RL

Eaton: And take a look around this place

French Guy: ..

Eaton: Full of 20+ year olds... is that mirroring RL?

Eaton: There's a guy here holding a torch... that's fine with me as well

French Guy: I understand what you mean

French Guy: Can you describe yourself? Which are the traits that describe you best?

Eaton: Hmmmmmmm... I'm extremely chatty, sometimes polite, interested, open to new ideas, adventurous and enjoy coffee

French Guy: How do the others describe you in the real life?

Eaton: Tight lipped, rude, a bit of a bore, conservative, a bit of a coward and a coffee lover

Eaton: but seriously...

Eaton: I might be a bit less of everything in RL

French Guy: How would you ideally like to be (which personality traits?) How would you like to be seen by the others ?

Eaton: Prety much what I stated above.. Interesting, open, etc...

French Guy: do you have a permanent resident on SL?

Eaton: yes I do and yes, it's an indulgence and yes, do I need it? No, I won't be sleeping in a dustbin when I log off

French Guy: Did you ever create items in SL?

Eaton: yes.. I've created a lamp that has been... that has had.. or received some attention

French Guy: How much do you waste monthly (L$) ?

Eaton: hmm.. "waste"? That sounds like a loaded question!

French Guy: how much do you spend?

Eaton: well.. Land fees are about 30 dollars.. then tack on maybe another 30.. and that might be it- it fluctuates

French Guy: Do you think you are : 1)a beginner 2)experimented 3)an expert?

Eaton: 2)(Note outside of the interview: I guess he meant experienced... now I'm not so sure about my asnwer!!!)

French Guy: How much time do you spend weekly in SL ?

Eaton: Hmmm.. is "Too much" an okay answer?

French Guy: lol

French Guy: just tell me about how much

Eaton: Great.....well it too fluctuates.. but I'd say... hmm

Eaton: 20 maybe?

French Guy: could you tell me Personal identity in 1st life: name, age, gender, occupation, nationality

Eaton: Nope

Eaton: ok.. that was a downer..

Eaton: I'm American.. just a tad over 40, am male and work in the media business

French Guy: what is your Second life birth date

Eaton: okay.. Don’t tell me this was all a come on and you want to go off someplace with me

French Guy: I don’t understand what you mean

Eaton: doesn't mater.. better that you don't.. sorry.. please continue

French Guy: what is your Second life birth date?

Eaton: 4th of Jan. 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

Awesome as a Possum

(Notes From SL is (or should it be "are"?) proud as pumpkins and pleased as peaches to introduce our first guest columnist Lydian, who has dug her claws into an aspect of SL rarely seen - especially if you don't look down. Thanks Lydian. Enjoy!)

In my limited experience in SL I've seen a number of good things, bad things and things that defy reason and don't fit into any coherent category I can think of.

And I've seen many of them from knee level.

Stop! Not what you're thinking!

I've had the most fun so far in my life as a fuzzy, dress wearing, and obnoxiously cute little opossum. Look down; see those ears? Those ears are me, buster.

Now, some of you sword-wielding or gown-wielding SLers might ask "What could possibly be appealing about being a possum?"

And the answer is tough, soul searching and just simple: Cookies.

Well, ok… maybe not just cookies, but they are definitely a perk. Tinies, as us little folk are called, seem to transcend social barriers of all kinds. Transcend might not be the right word. Maybe we just easily slip under the hurdles. And we don’t squeal under the pressure to be beautiful or handsome. In the world of tinies I've yet to hear "Does this dress make my pouch look fat?" We only have to be cute and we do that with a vengeance.

I mean, come on, who wouldn't want to talk to a tiny cat or hippo rather then that double DD blonde or dashing, muscular hunk over there at the edge of the dance floor?

Stop! You don’t have to answer that question honestly.

But, at least for me as a possum, it has been easier to walk up to tiny and human alike and begin conversations. And sometimes I didn't even need to open my mouth (ehm.. snout).
"Oh my you're a cute little…. thing. What exactly are you? Do those shoes come in my size? That dress compliments your pouch very nicely!" For shy and sometimes conversationally challenged people like me, being pint sized has helped me meet people I probably would not have talked to or, for that matter, who probably wouldn't have bothered to talk to me if I had been somewhat larger. And less fuzzy. And it's always a good opportunity to ask for cookies.

But cookies and easy conversation is only the tip of the miniature iceberg. Being a tiny doesn't mean you’re banned to, well, staring whimsically at grown up chairs. There are whole sims dedicated to the tiny way of life, complete with tiny dances, games, ladybug and bumblebee rides, mushroom houses and even a space station of tiny proportions! And in a flight of tiny smugness I’d like to remind you that the first being in space was not a human, but a dog.

True, being tiny alienates a bit from participating in "big people" dances and sitting on big people furniture because we get folded over and stretched out like silly putty. But I’ve seen enough humans with their legs embedded in the upholstery not to be too worried about that.

So, anyone got any cookies?

You are who you aren't...

Three cheers for SL!


This just in from my friends at Stanford University, who I don’t have, but considering what they have done, I’d be happy to have them on my friends list.

Why? They have just proved beyond a shadow of a doubt (at least mine, but I’m biased) that SL makes us better people. I think the papers they’ve written on the subject should be required reading for all spouses, friends, parents, bosses or who ever else might be annoyed of your time spent online. You are, to put it briefly, striving to become a better person. And who could argue against that?

Summarized as briefly as possible, the researchers wondered if "users in online environments may conform to the expectations and stereotypes of the identity of their avatars. Or more precisely, they conform to the behavior that they believe others would expect them to have." They have given this behavior the term Proteus Effect. They also mention that in studies done years ago “Male perceivers who believed that a female target was attractive caused her to behave in a more charming and friendly manner regardless of how attractive the target actually was. Thus, in an online environment, a perceiver interacting with a target who is using an attractive avatar may cause the target to behave in a more friendly and charming manner.”

The last bit sounds to me to fit nearly 90 percent of the women I’ve met at Hot Sax. It seems it hasn't got around to all the guys, if Tia's and others comments on this post are anything to go on....

They people at Stanford refer to another experiment where two people are placed in a dark room for an hour and who are then more likely to deliberately touch or hug the other person then those in a well-lit room. (In my days that wasn’t called experimenting, that was called playing post office… but I digress).

They go on to say this: “Online environments that afford anonymity are like digital versions of a darkened room where deindividuation might occur. And in online environments, the avatar is not simply a uniform that is worn, the avatar is our entire self- representation. Thus, we might expect that our avatars have a significant impact on how we behave online.”

And what might it be beyond being nicer if you look sweet? I’d like to add something gleamed from the paper that I shall call “Guys in black are evil, guys in white are okay.” Basically, studies have shown that people who wear black uniforms tend to be more aggressive and more antisocial then those in white uniforms. Those in white uniforms just look tacky – but I added that last bit and it’s got no empiric evidence except fort this horrible white suit I recently saw.

And yet one final nugget of information from the report: If you look like a hottie you’re more likely to spill the beans about your personal life. Or said more scientifically: “Participants in the attractive condition would exhibit higher self-disclosure and present more pieces of information about themselves than participants in the unattractive condition.“

Which means that if you want to get someone talking, just let some nice comments slip in about how attractive their ave looks. It works with me all the time, at least. But then, I look pretty snazzy…. even in black.