This post came from a thread in the official SL “flogs” (as bad as they are, and in need of much flogging there are occasionally some good thought-provoking threads there).
This one starts with the common profile-statement “RL and SL are seperate and I do not mix them”. The Immersionist side of the Immersionist-Augmentist debate.
A fascinating subject, and lots of thought-provoking answers. To me, if I see that in someone’s profile I assume that either their avatar is nothing like their RL self (possibly a different gender) or else they’re married and not intending for SL relationships to become RL relationships.
In a sense, both of these apply to me and yet I still don’t feel like I do keep SL and RL seperate at all. My avatar may be taller and fitter and better-looking than I am in RL, and I don’t do voice or share RL pictures or phone numbers with SL friends. I am married in RL so I’m not in the market for a RL relationship. I have no urgent need to meet up with SL friends in RL (although I would not object to doing so if the opportunity arose). But despite this, my avatar is still me in every possible way. Aside from identifying personal information, I am open about my RL with SL friends. I can’t even say “my avatar is the same as me” because that would imply that we are two alike but separate things, and I don’t see my avatar that way at all. It’s just me, as I wish I looked, as I look in my dreams. In The Matrix movie, they call it “Residual Self-Image”.
And yet while I am very much myself in SL, I have no issues with people who see things differently- for whom their avatar is a roleplaying character very different from their real self (I have a couple of roleplaying alts too). It’s odd really, that I seem to fit on both ends of the I-A scale – both being very much true to my RL self in my avatar (although one of the biggest turnoffs for me is someone who asks too many questions about what I look like in RL and what I do, as opposed to what I think), and at the same time having no need to drag SL friendships into RL.
I have the following in my profile (and the same in Salo’s profile as well, actually):
I respect others’ avatars as they choose to present themselves, whether that matches RL or not is mostly irrelevent to me. I would hope to be treated with equal courtesy.
This means, basically, that I don’t care if your RL self doesn’t match your avatar – I’ll treat you as you present yourself inworld until you instruct me to do otherwise. Because it really doesn’t matter, for the purposes of a SL friendship – I’m much more interested in the words you type. And it shouldn’t matter to you that in RL I’m not a fit, red-haired hunk, I’m just a short, weedy nerd with glasses and greying hair.