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SL is a leap ahead in that there are extensive modeling tools that change everything from body shape, to hair style, to outfits. Because all of this choice is present, you are now much more vulnerable to being exposed by the choices you have, or have not made in creating the avatar you created to represent YOU. Mike Shannahan Given the changes that can be wrought upon one’s avatar, the question as to what extent residents enact completely different roles to the ones they possess in Real Life is a valid one. My feeling is that while physical identity can be manipulated and changed, personality cannot. It is of course true that within the bounds of a superficial aquaintanceship the personality who sits behind the avatar may be successfully concealed. However any deeper relationship, any length of time spent together will reveal character, warts and all, even if the identity itself remains under wraps. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the avatar somehow presents a more accurate embodiment of the inner self that the Real Life persona does. The avatar embodies the most secret wishes and dreams. The avatar can also be the representation of prominent personal traits. Thus, the naughty, irreverent, politically incorrect dwarf avatar Hardwarehacker Hoch, whose “human” is no dwarf by any definition of the word, is not a representation of the actual Real Life body but of the human spirit, embodying a marked ability to create mischief, to be nosy, unscrupulous, mercurial and unpredictable, as well as the owner of a highly developed sense of humor!


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