Normally I write this blog as if I am speaking as GoSpeed. For this post I step back and adress you as the person behind the avatar.
To me, GoSpeed is a virtually manifested construct of my mind. She has a shape, is textured, accessorized, and is mobile. She also has a “life” of her own that is unique from the Keyboardist who drives her around the grid. I experience Second Life through the eyes and ears of my avatar. The world is presented on my screen and the sounds and music come through my speakers. I interact with others via text and sometimes voice chat. When I am GoSpeed in world I behave differently than I normally do in RL. In most cases for the better and maybe in a few for the worse. There are some who play their SL avatar as if it was themselves. What they do, how they look and what they say is a near mirror image of their real selves.
In the last case I would think that if their avatars were taken away by force or simply abandoned out of boredom then the users don’t seem to lose much. But for the rest of us our avatars are like friends or family. We make them different enough that so that they begin to “feel” like another person when viewed from a distance. To further their identities we make blogs for them, take pictures of them, create an email account with their avatar names, etc… At some point they reach a point where the number of hits on Google is more numerous than your real life name!
So at what point does your avatar become eternal (in a relative sense)? If Second Life were to disappear or if you quit SL, what becomes of your avatar? Your creation in SL is gone for good. The body will die, but perhaps the spirit will survive? Will you migrate to other worlds? Will having to recreate a new avatar in a new world be traumatic when you can’t get it to look like your SL avatar? Trying to recreate GoSpeed in There.com, Twinity, Open Grid, or HiPiHi would be an exercise in frustration, even if Sezmra Svarog were to provide the textures for the new worlds. GoSpeed’s appearance, clothing and other items go a long way to defining who GoSpeed is. Losing those in a move would most likely redefine GoSpeed to a certain degree.
GoSpeed, along with many fellow SL users do live outside SL in active communities like Twitter, Plurk and Ning. There’s no avatar per se, but for the most part we all seem to conform to our regular behaviors.
Is there an afterlife for GoSpeed? Perhaps, but no doubt she’ll be a changed entity as a result. New worlds dictate new rules and new behaviors. How Go adapts will reveal how much she changes.