Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Educator/Avatars: How to Dress?

VWER Aug 11, 2011
Location: VWER Meeting 

Last week, the weekly meeting focused on this topic, and I'd like to share the full transcript.

As one might imagine, the topic proved rather contentious.  Some felt that self-expression trumps other concerns.

I'm not convinced, at all. My own position boils down to this:
  • Human avatars in professional clothing work best for introducing a virtual world to those who don't know it but may have a stake in one's career, evaluation, or funding (such as a demo to admins or colleagues)
  • The same approach works best with students new to these worlds. Since I'm at a school filled with non-gamers, I dress conservatively at first as Iggy. Later on, I might "Steampunk out" or appear as a robot. Not at first, however. As students got more comfortable in-world, I found they too wanted to wear flaming tophats or become cardboard-box people.
  • Even when one looks more or less convention, I feel that details can send the wrong message. In the picture below, Iggy is wearing an "Uncle Gabby" T from my favorite, and very politically incorrect, cartoon, Maakies.  Gabby is drinking and driving. Yeah, I'd wear that IRL to work.
VWER Aug 11, 2011

What do you readers think? Are forms of appearance rhetorical stances, when you can be anything you want in a 3D world?  If you are a nonhuman all the time in SL, are you obligated to change that to impress a skeptical audience you wish to woo?

1 comment:

Elaine said...

Sure, anything goes, but does it? At the pagan rituals I attended the leaders were very welcoming, even to avatars inappropriately dressed as say dragons or lounge lizards. When I attended broadcast talk shows in world, the hosts were appropriately dressed as were the guests. Even the audience looked fairly conservative. They were, at least, all human.

I like your policy of dressing professionally when introducing students and especially when making presentations to off world executives. You've made the point before that advertising SL as a playground is misleading and perhaps attracts too many party people. (You didn't use quite those words ...) Also, in the role play sims appropriate attire/avatar is required. It makes sense to me that in a business environment one should be a business-like avatar. So if your AV is a dragon, at least put him in a suit. And, uh, take off the wings. Oh, unless the business meeting is a purely SL one in which case ... anything goes.