Every one of us – whether consciously or otherwise is capable of, and probably does, exhibit all the traits of possessing multiple personalities. The persona we display to the world will frequently change, depending on the circumstances, often without us even being aware that it’s happening.
It’s quite likely for example, that we will come across to others as completely different personalities, according to the situation – when at home with our family, we’ll behave, talk and even think differently to the way we do when at work, on a girls/lads night out or when experiencing a stressful situation. There may well be further layers of personality beyond those: A manager in the workplace, for example, should – if they’re any good – be capable of switching their persona from empathy and reassurance, to uncompromising disciplinarian, as the needs dictate.
In the main, outside the business world, the manner in which our persona changes is unconscious and takes no effort on our part, but those of us who inhabit SL also have at our disposal, the opportunity to exploit the virtual world and consciously explore personas that are very different to those you might see us demonstrating in our real world lives.
Although there are some parallels in RL – theatre and cosplay, come to mind – these are nothing compared to the incredible range of opportunities that SL provides for transforming our persona, even to the point where our real selves might be entirely unrecognisable. Indeed, SL permits us to completely reinvent ourselves, should we so wish – a temptation that many of us happily succumb to, content in the knowledge that the nature of the virtual world is such that this is a low risk strategy that can often work to our benefit, particularly in terms of confidence-building and emotional security.
However, there is a caveat: It is difficult, if not impossible to entirely divorce our real life persona from that which we might manufacture inworld. Many personal qualities are so much a part of us that they will be evident in how we portray our virtual selves, no matter how well we may think we’ve disguised ourselves. This is probably a good thing, since it provides subtle clues to those around us that help them to form their own opinion of whom they are dealing with, notwithstanding the avatar and associated characteristics that we may think we are seamlessly portraying. Those subtle nuances that say to our associates that we are someone who can be trusted, (or otherwise); the qualities that single us out as friends or enemies; the ‘tells’ that declare us to be a good or bad person. Despite the digital noise and the ephemera that you’d think would hide our true selves, they still creep into our SL persona and declare us to be who we really are, even if we try our utmost to hide it.
Some, of course, wear their heart on their digital sleeves – you know what you’re getting without having to dig for clues and, similarly, there are those for whom the SL and RL persona are pretty much identical, but we’re fooling ourselves if we think that by slipping into avatar form, adopting a different style of speech, acting out of character and generally distancing our virtual self from the real picture we’re fooling anyone. Our true character – unless we are a genius at deception, or possibly psychopathic – is always going to leak into the virtual world to disclose our true natures, and others will notice.
You can’t hide the truth!
And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?
Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime