Let’s not be blunt though – after all, politeness costs nothing – so, the reason you won’t find a great deal about me in there is that i reserve the right to moderate what i disclose to whom; when i do so; and to what degree. i tend to work on the basis that if you have an overwhelming and compelling need to know something about the real me, then it’s up to you to ask – and if you feel uncomfortable doing so, then you probably don’t know me well enough to be asking those sorts of questions.
There are those who have no problem publishing a whole mini bio in their profile – name, age, location, marital status, pet’s name and favourite pizza topping – i don’t have any problem with that: if you’re comfortable doing so, then go for it, by all means. It’s not something that i’d be comfortable with myself. You wouldn’t catch me wandering around in rl, carrying a placard plastered with all my personal details – hell, it freaks me out when the rep from the gas company decides they’re on first name terms with me – and i feel absolutely no compulsion to do the equivalent in sl.
This can be a source of confusion to some, but i don’t think that my business is any business of yours, unless i feel i can trust you or we have a close enough relationship that it’s only natural to share such things.
Then there’s the personal safety side of things – and you may mock, because it can seem a little paranoid to worry about who knows what about us on the interweb, but believe me, it’s far better to be safe than sorry. People wonder, for example, why i have no time for Facebook – if i was to tell you that it was a social networking site similar to FB that led to me being first befriended, then stalked by an ‘admirer’, maybe you’ll understand why. And, when i say stalked, this was someone living in excess of a two-hour journey away, who not only joined the same recreational clubs and groups i was part of, but also managed to get themselves a job working in the same office as me! “It’s such a long journey every day… would it be ok if I stayed at your place during the week?…”
So, i prefer to keep myself to myself, and – if the truth be known – my real life, like most others, is almost certainly not as interesting as you may imagine it is. Let’s face facts, if it was that interesting, would i really be spending a decent proportion of it logging into an alternative virtual existence, or writing about doing so? Probably not.
Even if none of the above served to influence me, i’m a very private person at the best of times, and this filters through to sl also – when it comes to sharing rl information, it’s only my closest friends that i ever open up to – of the many people i know and spend time with, there are only a handful who know my personal email, a mere two who have my ‘phone number and just one person who knows my address, and that’s the way it’s likely to stay.
A friend recently told me that i was an enigma, and i think i’d probably agree with them – they also think that happens to make me somewhat interesting – and there’s certainly a lot to be said for that, don’t you think? When we know all there is to know about a person, there’s certainly a strong bond formed, and it’s a bond that brings in all those positive things like trust and understanding, which is great in a real life scenario… but what about in a virtual world? The chances are that we will never meet the vast majority of people we know from sl and that the ways we interact with them will be fairly limited, maybe even to just the time we spend together inworld. In many ways, the relationships we form in the 3D environment are actually very two-dimensional, and in consequence, they need to be able to stimulate our interest and challenge our perceptions. If we know all there is to know about somebody we only otherwise know as an avatar, then – meeting for real, aside – what else is there to build depth into that relationship? We can, for example, know everything there is to know about an historical character, whom we will never meet, but we can only go so far towards understanding that person when there’s nothing further to learn about them: it’s sterile and, ultimately, unfulfilling – even frustrating.
There’s something appealing about cultivating a little mystery around oneself – it’s what i like in others, and i hope that’s it’s a quality that’s not too off putting in me!
Terrified of telephones and shopping malls and knives
And drowning in the pools of other lives
Rely a bit too heavily on alcohol and irony
Get clobbered on by courtesy in love with love and lousy poetry
The Weakerthans – Aside