Monday, September 08, 2008

Episode 36: Meta Identities Supplemental

Episode 36 began as a question a long time ago when I discovered the background story of the virtual band, Gorillaz. It just fascinated me that this virtual rock band had so much weight and significance to it. And people just widely accepted the "entity" as it was presented, not really regarding the reality behind it at all.

And as I started to unravel the walls I built up to present WoWcast as a specific entity, I wondered if Alachia, me, could be taken as seriously. Or does there need to be a hard link between RL self and meta-Alachia.

I actually had a lengthy talk with Starman one night about his decision to go public with his main identity and asked him if he thought it was possible to be taken seriously without revealing your RL profile. We both ended up agreeing that it'd be very difficult in the culture of Web 2.0 where everything is all about micro-caching all aspects of your life. Very few people are just interested in the vague aspects of a person when they're so used to blatant transparency.

My talk with Jemimus helped me flush out a lot of my concerns and contemplations on the subject. I was so adamant about people's acceptance of virtual constructs that I kind of lost site of the landscape around me. It's not all black and white. There is no longer a clear separation of VIRTUAL worlds and REAL worlds.

We've come to a very exciting point as meta pioneers. A great merge has begun, creating a new landscape where there is no clear line anymore between RL and Meta. You're just as accepted to post your profile on GAX online as you are My Space. And it's just as valid to post screenshots of Nagrand as it is pictures of your best friend's birthday.

It's far less and less today about what you post so much as how often you post and how often you are caching every aspect of your life..... but that discussion is for another episode! :D

Related Links:
Face book scandal: Suicide of Megan Meier
Open ID: How Does Open-ID Work?
Web 2.0:"the term encapsulates the idea of the proliferation of inter connectivity and social interactions on the Web"
Facebook: Social Networking Site
Twitter: Micro Blogging Site (alachia's tweets)
Tad Williams: Otherland Series
Internet Meme: Thanks to Jemimus for this terminology. The actual term was never used in the podcast but it widely describes the cultural shifts we were describing.


Jemimus said...

Interesting relevant link:

Anonymous said...

So in your experience, what happens when the meta 'you' and the lifeworld 'you' collide? Do you ever find yourself in situations where your meta ID is incompatible with your RL ID? Clearly, there is some of 'you' in both, but you stated you were more identified with your meta ID and felt it was closer to the authentic you, I think? So does that ever put you in situations or relationships in the meta that are not workable in or transferable to the lifeworld, due to people's expectations and perceptions of you there?

Blodwin said...


I just go t round to listening to this as I wanted to keep it to some 'quality time'. I was interested to hear both of your views on meta identities.

I recently had to blend much of my online identities together but not by any real choice. Recently for a RL guild meet up I had to create a Facebook ID (it was being partially organised online). While I was happy that my guild would then know my real name I then hit the snag where some of my other friends found me. These were very online savvy friends.

I think you'd need a brief history of me to understand the confusion I then faced so here goes:

When I went to art college back in the mid/late 90s I found the internet and created an online ID based on a pet name my Dad used for me. When I came back form art college I lost many friends as they became scattered throughout the country so I started to join forums, specifically Pagan ones and met many new people who are still good friends now. We met up in RL back in 2000ish and I got organised in some Pagan groups that I am still a member of. So my main presence online was a Pagan occultist. I was then asked to speak at events and did some illustrations for friends so my real name got out there. I cleared it with work that I would be publicly associated with Paganism (my family already knew and were supportive).

In time I started to play WoW and developed my game identity which was seperate from my Pagan online self. As I said I joined facebook to organise RL things with friends from in game and a few of them added me as a friend (about 5 or 6 of them) This was then offset by my Pagan friends (about 15 or so found me on facebook).

What I find funny is that my Pagan friends think the online stuff is odd and the gamers think the Pagan thing is really weird.

I had a few family members add me to their facebook accounts which was cool as they all know who or what I am. But recently one of them met someone from my far distant child hood who then got in touch via facebook and I did find myself thinking should I let them in. but then I thought sod it, some people are very casual about facebook and it's not like anyone who has ever known me hasn't thought I was some weirdo outsider.

I guess because my RL name is on some very interesting books with my pictures I am less worried about people finding out about me. Even the folks at work know I am a Pagan and close colleagues even know I am a Witch. There's not much point in me trying to hide it, and fortunately I work in government were they have to be very politicly correct, so I am covered there.

An interesting aside came recently when a good friend sent me some postcards of my art that were nsfw and I was quite bemused by the idea that this piece of art I had done wasn't something my friends or family could share easily. :)

Anyway it was a great episode and it was good to hear the voice behind jemimus.

Regarding Gorillaz they are big deal in the UK because they were created by Damon Albarn who was in a band called Blur who had a bit of a feud with Oasis in the 90s. He is famous in his own right in the UK as is the guy who does the art who is Jamie Hewlett who originally drew Tank Girl and a few bits for the British comic 2000AD. I found that your idea of them as a meta band was very interesting. I always saw them as a concept art piece where the musicians played the characters. I guess Damon Albarn's notoriety in the UK stopped them being such a mystery over here.

Oh well see you in the meta.

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