The Unseen Posts

Among the bloggers I read there is another discussion going on about “real” identity versus avatar identity, meeting avatars in “real” life, are you your avatar?  My avatar is not even 4 years old and I think that discussion has been around easily 6 or 7 times in my “life”.   I am Ahuva and Ahuva is me.  I see that Chestnut Rau, one of the very first, if not THE first, bloggers I began to read has come to much the same realization about herself. I am more than just Ahuva and Ahuva gets to be more than I can be in the biological tangible world  (simply consider Ahuva’s clothing choices as a start).   I’ve met many many SL avatars and Plurk avatars in “real” life.  Quite honestly – for me – it’s ALL my real life.   One of my mentors is a biological male and is a drop-dead sexy female avatar.   No, he’s not gay, he’s not gender confused, he’s not a cross-dresser.  He had his own reasons for his avatar.  I interact with him/her.  I have no problem with the picture in my head.  They both coexist because they are both him.  And I always know with which aspect of his personality I am interacting.   Maybe it’s because for me, when I interact, it’s an overall emotional response that drives me, not images.  I don’t know and I don’t care.

Blogging is intensely personal for me.  *grin*  Life is intensely personal for me.  *bigger grin*  But you knew that. What concerns me is not the integration of RL/SL, nor is it the exposure of my SL to my RL. Most people in my RL know Ahuva, or know of Ahuva. Many people in SL know my RL information. Let’s go back to the concept that privacy is dead, that there are no secrets on the internet, that you can run but you really can’t hide.

I want to post about many many topics. I hold back. Why? Am I a coward? No. Or rather – maybe I am. But I’m getting old, folks. I’ve got a son who has reached the age of majority. I’m in what I “lovingly” call the downhill side. It took me a LONG time but finally I have absorbed some lessons. First – the way I feel today, no matter how passionately I feel it, is not necessarily the way I will feel tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll feel that way tomorrow but next year I will have changed my mind. Second – words on the internet live forever. That may not be true, but from all my knowledge – that’s how I see it. Third – We are judged by other people’s perceptions. Their perceptions can impact our lives dramatically. Fourth – words wound. I might be writing what I see as simple truth, or my opinion, but people read my words through their own filter. If they are in a bad mood, perhaps they read my words in anger and therefore hear anger and hate. I don’t want to add more ugliness to the world if I have the opportunity to avoid it. There’s a time and place for constructive criticism and my blog is probably neither.

Which leaves me with my unseen posts. The ones where I talk about the lessons I learn in the workplace: working with others, managing expectations, the effect of good and bad management, the frustration of the current economy. The posts where I talk about being a real person who is aging: becoming the dreaded grown-up I swore I’d never be, realizing what is important in personal and familial relationships, the fear of the future, death of loved ones. The posts where I talk about being a woman: sexuality, love, parenting, sistering, daughtering, the effect of full moons. The posts where I vent the judgmental views of being a person: OMG, who let that person sing? Who let that person write? That has to be the ugliest build I’ve ever seen. That is the stupidest approach to that situation. And all the other posts where I let flow my momentary anger, frustration and fear.

I feel I have learned so very much in the last few years. I owe a good part of that learning to the fact that I freed part of myself into an avatar and then brought that avatar back into me. I want to try to explain to other people what I’ve finally learned about life and love, speaking and not speaking, acting and not acting. But I lack the skill to say what I want to say without getting the lesson bogged down in the personal details of how I learned it.

I’m not afraid of tying my avatar to my RL. I’m afraid of tying myself to the wrong moment in my life. I am evolving, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, but I AM changing. Words posted to a blog capture a moment of time in my life to me. But those very same words may stand as my image engraved in stone, stuck fast, all that some other will know of me. I cannot tell in the present tense what I wish to represent me in the future tense.

Or if you’d rather end on a lighter note – I’m afraid of writing under the influence of a full moon. 🙂 Which is when I wrote the first draft of this.

That Wasn’t the Test

We all know that events that occur in our childhood can have lasting effects throughout our lives. My mother loves the theater, art, museums and galleries. Her home has always been filled with art and music. I took many of the pictures for granted given that they were there before I was. *grin* But as she acquired new works of art, I formed my own opinions. Mostly I liked her choices. Until she bought what I call “that apple picture”. I HATED this picture. Hated it. She LOVED it. My good friend Sarah is also an artist. She was an artist even then. Sarah liked that picture too. Now comes the “scar”. My mother turned to me and said (in my opinion very smugly and condescendingly) “THIS picture separates the TRUE artists.” *blink* There was no doubt in my mind that I had been weighed, judged and deemed inferior. I HATE that picture.

Why do I hate it? Because you can’t FIX all those pieces of fruit. They don’t match up. Check the number of seeds. The shape. The picture was pointless (the fruit wasn’t DOING anything). It was unbalanced (not visually, but conceptually). Not only that – one of the apples had littered seeds – messy. I looked at that picture and what I saw was the equivalent of Humpty Dumpty. And I was frustrated and thwarted.

I’ve acquired a new mentor at work. She is helping me to focus on what I do, what I can do better, what I might like to do in the future. So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about who I am, what I am, how I work and think. I saw an article about “how to find your passion”. It described personality types and what people with those traits like to do. I realized that I think of myself as someone who fixes things. (Which, in a side note, is how my father defined himself. He said “I’m an engineer. I solve problems.” *grin* I love and miss you Daddy.) And then, the clouds parted, the sun came out, I had an epiphany.

That picture is NOT about identifying the artists. Oh my NO. That picture is about identifying the “engineers” – the ones who SOLVE PROBLEMS, FIX THINGS.

You know, that picture’s not half bad. *grin* Have a good day all! Keep adjusting your perspective! 🙂

What’s in a Name?

Nothing really original in this post, folks. So if you’re bored of the discussion of what is identity, move along. I don’t know where I stand on this issue anymore. I WAS very firmly decided that there was no need to link my SL and my RL names overtly. My feeling is that there is NO privacy on the internet. If someone wants to find out all your personal information, they’re going to find it. Most people aren’t interested and won’t look, so I’ve operated under the policy of why make it simple to connect if I prefer separation.

But Google+ may be the tipping point for me. I WAS very excited about using Google+, mostly because I have developed an incredibly strong aversion to Facebook. I’m in FB under my U.S. Tax Form 1040 identity. I’m HERE under my SL identity. I’m in Google under my SL identity. I think I use my Ahuva identity more places than I use my 1040 identity.

This morning I saw in Plurk that Google is banning accounts that are not “real” names. I’m really really tired of this. Ahuva is real. I am Ahuva. Ahuva is me. Basically everyone who knows me by my 1040 identity knows Ahuva, or knows of Ahuva. There are people in my 1040 world who call me Ahuva, NOT my birth name. So what would be so terrible if I caved-in to this never ending pressure to “out” Ahuva and link her to a 1040 identity? I’m trying to think if Ahuva has done or said or been anything that would embarrass or harm good old 1040. The answer to that, of course, is that the 1040 world already KNOWS Ahuva. I’m not sure why I have to be forced to let the Ahuva world know about 1040.

I resent this a lot. I don’t see why this is necessary. I do not accept the arguments and reasons put forth by Google, Facebook and whoever else. But I don’t have time or energy to keep running around maintaining dual identities and trying to “beat their game” if I want to use a product. I believe that they are wrong, wrong, WRONG in their approach. If someone wants to do business with me, they will be able to determine who and what I am. They will not need Google or FB to “protect” them from me. If a person is so foolish as to trust blindly any person posting on the internet, well, perhaps I’m cruel and cold, but Caveat Emptor. Wake up, kid – if you’re a victim, perhaps you are to blame. And Big Brother – stop trying to tell me who I am.

That Which We Call a Rose…

…might actually be Ahuva Heliosense. At least, so I understand from the announcement about Display Names. Everyone and their dog has begun commenting on Display Names, one of the new features unveiled at SLCC 2010. This is indeed one of the topics that has merely confirmed my opinion that I am lazy, that I have limited energy to devote to tracking information, and that I do not need to be an expert on all things. On the other hand, nothing in that previous sentence will stop me from giving MY 2 cents worth.

First, I’m listing a bunch of links. I wish I could publish the group chat. *sigh* No, I like you folks, I wouldn’t do that. But the coding/technical group to which I belong – wow – they went ballistic. There may indeed be just cause. LL claims that Display Names will not change how scripts work. Okay, as much as I give LL the benefit of the doubt, I’ve spent my professional life in software development. I’ll believe that the changes are transparent when I actually run the code myself.

The official announcement from the labs by Jack Linden
Of course Torley has a video
Dusan Writer has thoughts on this as well
Tateru Nino doesn’t seem all that impressed
Ordinal Malaprop sees some good in it

I can’t list anymore. You go and follow the links. It isn’t even the original posts – it’s the torrent of comments on each post.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I believe that corporations can and will be doing business in virtual worlds. It’s not just meetings because of budget economy. I believe that if we write the tools for business applications, working in a virtual world can simplify interfaces, thereby simplifying communication and helping solve the business issues. So when I heard that LL was parking SLE, I was disappointed. I have talked to some very smart people about this, people who know the technical issues. Certainly there are enough people speculating on the business reasons to end SLE. So if LL wants to get back to the residential community, as Gwyneth LLewellyn posts, or if they simply find the business community non-profitable as Prokofy Neva suggests, that is their prerogative.

Here’s my 2 cents. I don’t want to change my name. I don’t want other people using MY name. I even got used to the idea of forced last names. I like subtle indicators and last name was a real clue to the age of an avatar.

Having stated my bias, it seems to me that there are really only two groups of people who need to change their avatar names: the folk who are trying to do RL business in SL and the folk who didn’t understand that they would be stuck with a “strange” name and now regret it. I have read about people in Role Playing sims “needing” to change their names. I’m not quite sure that I understand that. It seems to me, speaking from the depths of my inexperience, that those people should be fine with the floating text provided by group tags. You can change your floating text very easily. So if you need to change your name frequently for role playing, it seems to me that you already have that capability, WITHOUT endangering all the scripts and, forgive me, MY name.

If you signed up with a first name that you now find awkward, I think there should be some process in place to allow you to change it. Yes, that will require effort on the part of LL. But it could be done. There is no reason such a process needs to be speedy (in the sense of immediate – do it NOW) nor does it need to be under user control. (Oh dear, I suspect my developer bias just showed. And *I* am the liaison between the coders and the clients….) /me waves hand imperiously, dismissing that group of users

That leaves the business crowd, the ones who insist that they have to use their REAL names to do business. I should be in that group, I suppose. I am still conflicted on it. Having been “outed” several times in the last year (always with my consent), I will say that it was extremely uncomfortable at first. I attended some conferences held in SL where attendees were asked to float their RL names above their avatars. It was not mandatory, but strongly preferred. I thought about not doing it. Then I looked at my mentor and coworkers and friends who displayed their names. I thought about it and did the same. I think that it’s much like the first time I went out in public in a bikini. Or went out in public wearing a strapless top. I FELT incredibly exposed. But no one else really saw me as exposed. Would that be the Emperor’s New Clothes in reverse? Anyway, I’m wandering.

Since it appears that LL is NOT interested at this time in actively supporting and recruiting the corporations and educational institutes and other business, I don’t see who NEEDS this Display Name feature in SL. My guess is that most of the dev work was already done and they are rolling this feature out to show that they are still alive, still developing, still responding to their client base. I am not sure, however, that their professed target community wants or needs this feature. For most SL drama, I wouldn’t care. SL is made up of many diverse people, all with different priorities. LL is a privately held company that can make whatever business decisions it wishes to make. But I am immersed enough to not be happy at the idea that somehow “my” name may be damaged. “MY” name. You know me as Ahuva Heliosense. *I* know me as Ahuva Heliosense. I don’t want that changed. I don’t want other people being able to be Ahuva Heliosense. I don’t even want people “almost” to be Ahuva Heliosense by displaying “MY” name, even if their unique name is something different.

My solution? LOL. My solution is probably another whole blog and not original. Go create a new, UNIQUE avatar. Link that avatar to your existing avatar with full rights to the inventory. There. Done. You can have whatever name you want as long as it’s not mine. AND you have all your existing inventory from your original avatar. *grin* Hey. I didn’t say I’d thought it out all that carefully, or that it would be easy. Just keep your hands and your display off MY name, okay????