Identity Crisis?

Facial RecognitionScrolling through my Twitter feed, I came across this question:

If you didn’t have nametags, would you be able to recognize someone in SL? If so, how?

In RL, I am pretty good at remembering names and faces, even if it’s someone I’ve met only briefly.

In SL, it’s a whole ‘nother ball game, as my dad would say. 😛

How do you distinguish yourself in SL?

Of course there are lots of ways, but as ‘individual’ as we think our avatars are, can we be recognized while we’re ‘out and about’?

I asked my husband what visual clues he thought people used to recognize each other in SL.

His first thought was clothing, which I disagreed with.

I’ve seen lots of people wearing the same clothing – and with mesh templates so popular now, sometimes it’s a rarity NOT to have several someones wearing the same garment.

My first thought was faces.

That brought to mind a topic I’ve been mulling over for a while now.

Mesh heads.

I am not a fan.

Someone had a post the other day about mesh heads and RBF.

I had no idea what RBF meant, so I had to google it. 😛

I understand why mesh heads are popular.

Well, scratch that.

No, I don’t.

Yes, I know you can change the expressions, skins, makeup, etc. for individuality.

Regardless, they all still look the same to me – the same pinched nose, the haughty eyebrows, the eternal ‘something smells in here and it’s probably you’ expression.

For whatever reason, the mesh heads seem too perfect to be real.

So if everyone now looks pretty much the same with all the mesh heads floating around (sometimes literally, lol) – how else can you distinguish people in SL?

My next thought was AO’s.

After you spend a fair amount of time with someone in SL, you learn to recognize certain things.

The way they chat (typing errors, sentence structure, syntax), the way they move, and to a certain extent, the way they dress.

Because SL is such a visual medium, the AO’s that people wear can be a distinguishing feature (for me, anyway).

I use the built-in AO in Firestorm, and I have modded the original AO to suit me – removing certain animations, adding different runs, etc.

Now, I don’t know how many people use a built-in AO (I’m not even sure if the LL viewer has one, though I assume it does), and I don’t know how many people actually take the time to modify their AO’s – built-in or attached.

But I do associate certain animations/AO’s with certain people.

So I would like to think that I could recognize people in SL, even without nametags (which I rarely have turned on).

A week or so ago I was at a club, and was standing behind several people.

I thought I recognized one of the ladies in front of me.

She was wearing a mesh head and using an AO animation I recognized.

The combination made me think of a certain person.

I opened my radar to see if it actually was her, and it was someone completely different.

It was a bit disconcerting, because this person looked exactly like the other person I had mistaken her for.

And then a bit disappointing, because I suddenly realized that some of those pieces of ‘individuality’ may be on the way out.

If there were no nametags, would you be able to recognize your friends? Your significant other?

Have you ever mistaken someone for someone else in SL?

6 thoughts on “Identity Crisis?

  1. I’ve mistaken others for myself in SL. During ginormous group dances or photo shoots when we were all wearing the same thing. Cammed in and making a sassy post about the person I was standing next to, or tried to move my av and suddenly had no control over her… thought I was froze and crashing… turning out that was not me! I was like a few people down in the line. Or on the other side of the stage. 😀

    1. Lol – I never thought of it from that angle. I’m not sure I’d recognize myself in a group photo either.
      Maybe I should get a bunch of people together and shoot a photo and see how many of them get recognized?

  2. I thought I was relatively recognizable as far as Second Life goes, having created my own shape and wearing a fairly old skin and always red hair. But I was at the Electric Monocle for an event and a photograph there, tagged as me, turned up on FB, taken by someone who knows me fairly well. In fact it looked very much like me, even to me, but I knew I didn’t own those clothes or the hair. The real avatar identified herself eventually but it turns out the photographer had had two other mistaken tries at tagging her before she got to me.

  3. Part of the reason I use the same 2-3 avatars (mostly 1) is because Nai’s indivdual look is a large part of his identity. I could recognize a few Mooners because I have been seeing them weekly for years. In addition Lumiya did not used to have name tags originally, so I got good at recognizing avatars. Outside of Moons I would not have a clue. Tbh, everyone looks the same to me.

    1. Interesting thought – we don’t pay attention to what avatars look like because we don’t have to? I rarely have nametags on, so perhaps I have gotten used to that as well. 😀

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