Well, I’ve created my author avatar in Second Life (EJKay2013) and have my own little home to retreat to when it all gets too much 🙂 . Now I’m on the lookout for a small piece of land to start building the transmedia environment for Watermark. I’ve been active in virtual worlds for the past 5 years as an educator, so it feels quite strange being there as an individual resident. It will actually take me some time to get used to being a different avatar. It is strange how much I’m attached to my work avatar. To me. To us.
Or perhaps it isn’t that strange. I spend a lot of time as a tutor in-world, and I meet my students there all the time. In fact, that’s the only way I meet them as the course takes place by distance learning. I’ve tutored students in the UK and New Zealand this year, and more will be joining in September from the USA and other countries. So for me, the virtual world has a sense of real place. My avatar is a social extension of me, just as my students’ avatars are. When we all meet in world, we are all “there” in a very real way.
An important aspect of my sense of identity with my avatar is how she looks. This has meant discovering the wonders of virtual world shopping! But it has also given me the opportunity to consider the outward appearance that best represents the inner me. And that depends on what role I’m in at the time. The professor me is not the same as the writer me. So how should my author avatar look? How do I feel in that role? I’m not sure yet. I think she needs to evolve along with the environment.
I’ve found some land I like for sale by auction on the Second Life website. I’ll bid on this over the next day or so. It’s completely bare and about 10 feet underwater at the moment, as you can see! But it can be raised and terraformed quite easily. And then I can begin to work on creating the environment where the extended story can take place. Hope my bid is successful!