Thursday, September 11, 2008

When I Collide with Myself

Blogger chalice 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?

There are usually two times that the two are in conflict and it happens frequently.

One being when people I meet purely on a wowcast-meta basis get to know me really well and privacy barriers need to come down. It becomes a sort of trust issue. Although I don't mind it so much. It always feels natural to slowly let people in as you get to know them better. I think this is true for most people regardless of if they had any walls up in the first place.

The second is when I realize that all the people who do know me only from the RL aspect don't/won't/can't get the meta side at all... It's like speaking a foreign language. All they want to engage with me are standard RL social archetypes.

So what usually happens is personality by omission. I don't lie about myself but I just don't engage openly in personal stuff with pure meta-associates and I don't engage in meta stuff with my personal friends....etc. But as people get to know me better they start to see parts of each for sure, it's just that one isn't focused as much as the other.

F-king aye. I will say that it can be mentally exhausting sometimes though. It honestly would have been better I think if I had just started out with full disclosure. Of course, back then, that wasn't the culture of the podcasting community.

I actually had someone link me a picture once asking me if it was me. They said if it was me, it would change everything. I remember thinking to myself, "really? seriously?" It was kind of insulting actually but I brushed it off.

Sure there are a lot more people out there who aren't afraid to flash their RL pics and videos left and right. But there are some who still felt like the meta would be a great escape from that type of social norm. I like the idea of a place where you are judged first on your persona then on social prejudices/standards of physical appearance. I mean, that's just not possible in the real world. It's a shame the meta is getting saturated again with the very social shackles that made me want to escape the RL in the first place.


Hari Seldon said...

Excellent podcast! Jemimus is a great guest!

It was a very interesting discussion. I find myself being very paranoid that someone will track my RL person down via my meta names. I am also careful that my multiple meta personalities cannot be correlated; I use multiple names for the various online universes that I frequent.

Your podcast definitely got me thinking as to why I do this.

One reason to hide my RL self is that I do not want to apply for a job and have someone google my name and see that I am some famous slayer of internet dragons. Even though I like to think that I am not ashamed of my hobby, I still feel that their is a stigma to escapism entertainment, especially in serious professional circles.

The reason why I separate my multiple meta personalities is because I feel more free to explore original ideas in forums and on blog comments; I'm not obliged to remain consistent with past thoughts and expressions, which of course remain in existence forever on google.

I think that for someone starting a blog or podcast, giving out some personal details instantly lends more credibility to any opinion stated. By giving out your RL details, you are putting your personal reputation up as escrow for the validity of your thoughts. However, in your situation, your lengthy relationship with your fans is automatically put up as escrow for your opinions.

To summarize of all of my nonsensical blathering, I do not think at all that you need to link your personal information with your meta name. And if I were in your shoes I probably would not. However, since I am a long time fan I admit that I am very curious to find out, as I would be with any person who's thoughts that I find fascinating. :)

slowskys said...

For the longest time i never understood why you would want to hide your self behind Alachia. But i think that last episode really explained it. thank you

i just want to say that you have won me over. I don't think that you could say anything about your self or your views that would make me stop listening to what you have to say. In fact it might be good for me to have someone who i "know" and trust talking about things i might not agree with.

i would not be surprised if a great numbers of WoW listeners feel the same... and fuck the other ones their shallow dicks.

Anonymous said...

@ slowskys

I don't see it "hiding behind" a meta character as much having the opportunity to be or more fully become the person you really are without the constraints and expectations you experience in the life world. You have an opportunity to explore your personality, quirks, preferences and more in the meta...but it's not permanent or even all that risky for the most part, if you decide that doesn't work for you. It's not all that much different than when you were a teenager and you'd go out with your friends...totally different person than you were with your family!

@hari and alachia

I can completely understand keeping the two someone who works in a kind of stuffy professional world, my meta life is very confusing to most and for some, even undermines my life world credibility. Yes, I know that's their issue not mine, but the reality is that it does impact my life.

The other interesting thing is how my life world impacts my meta WoW for example...and vice versa. I mean, haven't we all found ourselves rushing to finish up something at work because the guild is raiding at 7 server? Or is it just me? And have you ever found yourself applying skills, talents, knowledge from the life world in WoW? Which of the two is your richest source of socialization? Should that matter? Is one better than the other in some way? If you follow chaos or complexity theory, you start thinking about the 'edge of chaos'...well for me, the edges between what I've called the meta and the life world are starting to blur. Is that a bad thing?

Jemimus said...

I am a strong propoment of the idea that people get what they get.

Meaning, that I am whole person, and that at work, while I mostly project my professional self, it doesn't remove the fact that I am a human and have other interests and Hobbies.

Keeping that in mind all the time, has helped me not to be embarrassed about anything about myself. I tend to talk very openly about myself, because I keep in mind that no one should expect me to fit their pre-concieved view of who I should be. Thats -their- problem, not mine. ( The only possible exception I would make to this, is in regard to my sexual interests, more on that later. )

For that reason, I tend not to care too much about the "edge of chaos" area where my meta-identities overlap. If someone from my professional life strays over into blog and discoveries I am a WoW player, or that I have certain sexual preferences, they should be mature enough to place this into context. What it comes down to, is that those aspects of me have no bearing on my professional life.

I have to admit though, that I have never been in a situation where the overlaps have ever caused a lot of problems. It might be that this is because I never take a lot of effort to hide the other meta-me's from the outset. A new employer that googles me will find out all my meta-identities anyway. I am perfectly comfortable about prospective employers to see all that, because it means that, if they employ me anyway, the know who they are employing, and by the fact of employing me anyway, demonstrate its not a big deal to them.

Here in the Netherlands though, people hardly ever google you as far as I have heard. Most HR departments of larger companies are filled with people that are really not into blogging and social media, at least that is my observation.

I have discussed some of this with my current HR manager, and she confirms they tend to go with what they know, which means established employee-selection methodologies. They don't understand enough about the metaverse to see the issues we are discussing here. I am sure that they could use it to their advantage though. Improving the selection process by going for personality matches as much as skillsets.

But that just covers the general meta-identities.

We are still left with the problem of specific subject and who we want or don't want reading them. What I will call the "content audience problem"

Its a conflict with the above described no-cares attitude to the edge of chaos, combined with my wish to actually encourage a certain amount of cross-bleeding.

The simplest solution to the "content audience problem" -IS- to keep the meta-identity areas complete separate.

For now, that is about all we can do, until technological solutions give us better tools to manage the stream. (aka Opensocial, etc) Its not quite there yet though.

It means that, for now, my meta-identity associated with my sexual interests will have to remain unconnected to everything else. Kind of like this separate cloud of me that is hanging out there in space.

It also means that I cant blog (broastcast to all!) about anything relating to that area of activity, even though there are a few people that know all the other aspects of me, I really want to share it with.

I will have to make do with one-on-one discourse for now, OR, indeed go with the idea I mentioned in the podcast, to start a completely separate and anonymous blog, unrelated to all the other bits.
I cant help but feel its a little like betrayal of my own values to hide it.

wowcast said...

Accepting people for who they are and not for what preconceived notions we were taught to be valuable...that's only in a select cultural phenomenons in this country.

Especially when you're talking about the working world. In America, there is a standard notion of the good working family person with strong Christian values and low key home life.

That is what feels safe to employers and employees.

I've mentioned before the stigma gamers carry here. I can argue all I want on the podcast about my case regarding social networking and goal oriented activities, but I have NEVER been able to get any of my "outside" contacts to understand.

They still see WoW as just a dumb video game... probably equivalent to Solitaire.

And unfortunately in our culture, you don't get ahead by "merit" alone but rather by playing the game and learning how to use the art of "perception" to propel yourself.

You can cry bullshit all you want, but it's a reality none the same.

Many social networks have similar attitudes as well. And until gamers and meta punks sort of come out to everyone, we're still gonna face the same issues.

celticlucas said...

I currently have two identities - the one that communicates with my everyday world, and the one that I have created for myself within the community of games and other hobbies I have.

For a long time, I was not afraid of showing who I am in real life. I have a MySpace, Facebook, and livejournal all linking my everyday personality and my online personality. But recently, I have tried to separate the two. The two are very distinct personalities within my mind, and it started to become more of a job to keep them together.

In my online persona, I feel like I am able to verbalize a lot of things that I wouldn't in my "normal" conversations. I'm more forward, take initiative in things that I wouldn't normally, and feel like I can "conquer the world" with the friends that I have made from it.

A lot of people I know don't understand the differences. These are people that have grown up with society telling them that who they are is what they get. To an extent, I believe that is true, but I also believe that we are given the chances to improve ourselves in the meta. We can take the qualities we might not like and change them into things we adore about ourselves. In a way, it's quite selfish, but on the other hand, it's beneficial to the other aspects of our lives.

If I didn't have the ability to escape into the meta, which I have said can surround us like a comfortable blanket and protect us as well as harm us, I would find myself with a much different opinion of the world in which we live.

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