Monday, 17 November 2008

On internet anonymity and avatar attachment

I keep toying with the idea of setting up a blog that would deal with things that I'd rather not publish on a blog that I know has been visited by people that I know in real life. I.E. a blog that would deal with some more clandestine things.

Bizarrely though, one thing that keeps tripping me up - aside from my own shyness and ambivalence about the whole process of writing and/or archivism - is my attachment to my own net avatar, the inauspicious "Jayunderscorezero" or "J_0". The other day, I tried to utilise a brand new handle and found that I just simply couldn't. I went back and changed what I'd put down to "Jayunderscorezero". It's a weird little phenomenon, probably revealing a deep ambivalence about my own net handle: I don't want to go by my "irl" name, but I don't want to go by a name other than the one I've carved out for myself in the virtual space of the internet.

I'm the same in video games. My friend's copy of Rock Band being a great example, as in that I've developed a great attachment to my avatar, and have spent some time in the game deciding how best to outfit them. It's weird the little emotional attachments we invest in these things, isn't it?

Anyway, loads and loads has been written on the subject of online avatars, the relationships we have with them and where they fit within our wholesale models of ourselves. Personally, I'd particularly recommend Stone's "The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age" as well as the novel "Nearly Roadkill" by Kate Bornstein and Caitlin Sullivan. Bring a handy knowledge of/interest in postmodernist attitudes to identity and the body to both.

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