Bopping around

So I have been bopping around doing things, as usual. And being bad about writing in the SL weblog here (and for that matter in the RL weblog over there), and about answering my mail (apologies to my neglected correspondents; I will write back eventually!).

One thing that occurred to me is that over in the secret RL weblog, my postings just have a date, not a title or a topic, and I talk about whatever the heck is in my mind, all mixed together however I feel like, without (generally) trying to have any Single Particular Message. Whereas here, driven by the expectations of the enclosing technology and my own habit, I tend to not post until I have something more or less coherent to say, with a topical picture, a title, a single topic (even if it’s silly), and so on.

And I thought, hey, what’s up with that?

So I will just ramble here about what I’ve been doing lately and stuff, because why not after all.

I noticed a green up-arrow in the minimap while lying around at home in Extropia, and I flew up (actually hoverdisc’d up), and there up in the sky was Truthseeker Young, working on a gorgeous shiny funny amazing build of the usual Truthseeker kind (I won’t show a picture in case it’s Still Under Wraps). We said hi and hi and I gave Truthseeker a snapshot and went back downstairs so as not to distract.

Then some other day (I think some other day) I was wandering around Extropia and came across a bunch of fascinating art-things displayed in the square. It was of course the May Art Exhibition, which I had been thinking of making something for but of course I got lazy and/or forgot.

inside String Theory, from Summer Seale, in Extropia

One of the pieces in the exhibition was (is, if it’s still Mayish) Summer Seale’s “String Theory” (in the pic above there), which is a wild color and light and sound thing that v good friend Michele showed me awhile back and there it was again and that was fun. Lots of other good pieces, too, some wild RL photographs, digital images, curled and metallic and organic prims, all sorts of things. Give it a look if it’s still there!

Then let’s see what else was I going to talk about? I’ve been expressing opinions in JIRAs about default permissions on new prims and group objects and stuff, and I’ve been posting Profound Comments on various SL weblogs. I’ve been mostly ignoring Plurk, and almost entirely ignoring Twitter, and completely ignoring things like Koinup and Plaxo, even though they like to send me mail, because I can’t figure out what they’re actually about.

I keep logging in just in time to miss meeting one dear friend‘s recently-partnered partner (I’m pretty sure she exists, as I’ve seen pictures, but I will continue to express doubts until I actually meet her!), and another couple of friends had their First Anniversary (yay!). I spent a marvelous hour or three with yet another friend, finally (after many failures to connect) touring around her lovely refuge with mountains and bridges and gardens and a horse pasture, talking about life and the universe and everything, and still not meeting her partner either because of timezone mismatches.

I think to myself, yet again, that all the things we read in the weblogs about how SL partnerships are a terrible idea and always lead to drama and fireballs and stuff, are driven by people reporting on what makes the most noise, rather than on what’s actually the most common. There are good firm partnerships in SL that, while they may have the inevitable human problems now and then, do not go down in flames due to lies and deceit and drama, and so don’t make the news, but just go quietly on their ways, contributing to the general happiness of the universe. And that’s a good thing.

I’ve been going to Live Music events, with music both good and bad (when SL live music is bad, it’s pretty bad, but usually I still love it, even when the singer can’t actually sing). The ol’ friends list continues to grow more or less without bound (somewhere over 300 right now) ’cause people are nice, as does inventory (somewhere over 31,000 right now) ’cause there are freebies :) . And riffling through both the Friends list (updating the comments that I keep on the Notes page of profiles to remember who the heck everyone is) and inventory (to do what I laughably call “sorting”) continues to be fun and soothing.

And then I snuck inworld briefly recently to just sort of decompress and sort inventory when I really should have been doing other things, and got a very welcome IM that led to yet another pretend-fashion (only let’s call it “style”) thing:

Flats!

What’s wrong with this picture? That’s right, I’m wearing shoes! Hey, when one of the classiest artists in SL IMs you about a place with great dollarbie ballet flats, you don’t stand on ceremony. So to speak.

Tricsi hair (recolored dark red by me) from some store in Tropicana Grand Oasis, bought on a whim while chasing Midnight Madness boards (see, they do work!).

Annie 2 skin from a piece of candy. (Got half a dozen or so skins there in a hunt sometime back, and they are nice!)

Allyson Capris from Sweet! (from a MM, I think).

Nice "dee dee" red knit tank top from a piece of candy’s new store. I think I might have bought that. :)

[chuchulet] white ballet flats from the dollarbie store at a piece of candy, whence Calli IMd me to say Hi and we got to talking about shopping!

And I’m chillin’ on the chillin crates from Mudhoney, bought or acquired on some hunt or something I forget.

(Kitty is hiding under the Pillow Talk pillow on the lower crate there, as usual, and that’s the sim map not quite rezzed yet in the background.)

And I think that’s about all I’ll write about for now. And since I’m just rambling, I don’t have to have a conclusion or anything! Cool. But send me comments anyway! :)

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Trust and Shame in Pseudonymous Personal Relationships

I’m borrowing (oh alright, stealing) the title of Botgirl Questi’s post of the same name, because this post is mostly a long comment that I wrote for that posting. (Yes, more word-reuse! Conserve neurons!)

The original posting (which you should read) suggests that pseudonymity (by which I think she means withholding real life details, and speaking only and always from within a virtual identity) is not a healthy thing in close personal relationships. As we’ve come to expect from Botgirl :) the post is well thought out and thought-provoking.

My own first reaction to reading it was that it was obviously correct (I’ve seen all too many SL relationships founder on the rocks of RL/SL separation), but on the other hand it felt wrong. In particular it felt wrong for me, and for quite a few of my SL friends, who have been functioning quite comfortably for months or years in SL as virtual creatures, with no particular interest in RL facts about people except as they happen to come up in conversation.

What’s the difference between those two cases? Well, I realized, to first order the relationships that have foundered have been aspiring to something like marriage, whereas the ones where pseudonymity seems just fine have not. So I tried to write that down in the comments; here’s what I said (very lightly edited for clarity):

Very interesting subject! I wonder how much this applies to close personal relationships in general, and how much of it is specific to (to use a phrase that we’re all avoiding saying) romantic love relationships, especially the officially-monogamous virtual-marriage kind.

I have friends in Second Life who I consider to be close personal friends, and whose RL identities I know little or nothing about. And that doesn’t seem to me to be any problem. We are friends because we enjoy each other’s company, because we laugh at the same things, because we understand (or enjoy coming to understand) each other’s in-jokes, because the exchange of thoughts and ideas between us is deeply rewarding.

I don’t care if they’re male or female in RL, young or old, blue or green. Why should I? It’s useful to know what timezone they’re in :) and sometimes we talk about RL things, the weather, happenings in our respective nearby cities, and so on. But if it turned out that they’d been doing some protective masking there, and talking about the weather in Duluth when they’re really in Peoria, I wouldn’t feel angry or betrayed.

Friends are friends, darn it, and if they feel they need or want to keep some information private or obscured for their own reasons, being a friend imho includes being understanding about that, and letting them have that choice and that space, and assuming that there’s some good reason behind it.

I’ve never had a personal relationship in SL come to a bad end or otherwise turn unhealthy because someone (either me or the other person) insisted on pseudonymity, and I have a hard time imagining it happening, for the reasons I give above; friends are allowed to keep up whatever barriers we’re comfortable with.

Of course we’re also allowed to lower whatever barriers we want to lower :) and I’ve had close friends eventually tell me RL things about them that they generally keep hidden, and that’s a lovely feeling of trust and closeness. But I don’t think that means that all barriers must always be lowered for a close personal relationship to be a healthy one.

On the other hand I have seen people (all too many people) get into what they thought of as virtual marriages, nominally monogamous, exclusive, trust-me-with-everything sorts of things, where barriers have come to be a problem. In that case, where either implicitly or explicitly each party is promising complete openness to the other, then holding back on that promised or expected openness can be an unhealthy thing.

Maybe because I myself amn’t looking for a life-mate in SL :) I think it would be good to distinguish between things that are true of close personal friendships in general, and things that are true mostly of virtual marriages in particular. My current feeling is that “pseudonymity is unhealthy” may be true of the latter, but is not particularly true of the former.

It’s probably obvious that my thinking isn’t fully-baked here :) but there it is. Comments are most welcome, either here or perhaps better over in the original post. Or both!