Virtual Identities and Choice

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I’ve written before on the subject of virtual identities.

The topic came up again when I read about a planned protest at Facebook HQ over their ‘real names’ policy.

I also recently heard about another round of SLers having their accounts deleted.

Facebook has their ‘real name’ policy because that’s what their revenue model is built on – selling your RL info to companies for advertising.

If they don’t have your real name, they don’t have a product to sell.

If you don’t like their policy, don’t use their product.

I am continually amazed at people who complain about a policy they were aware of prior to signing up for the service.

There are plenty of alternatives out there.

One of them, which I use, is Avatar Social Network – a platform built specifically for virtual world identities.

Everyone thinks they have to be on Facebook because ‘everyone’ is on Facebook.

But you don’t.

It’s not that Facebook doesn’t understand the issue.

They do.

But if they don’t have your RL information, there is no revenue stream.

So until they figure out a way to sell your virtual/other identity, they don’t want you.

What I have been trying to figure out is a better way to manage my multiple identities.

While there are those who don’t mind mixing their RL and SL, I try to keep mine as separate as I can.

So I have accounts on various social media as Kat.

But I also have accounts on various social media for my RL.

I have a friend who works as an MC at conventions.

He has two identities, and he uses both in RL situations.

But many of the people he knows know him only as his MC persona.

They know nothing about his real life.

I know an artist who sells her work on DeviantArt, but under a pseudonym.

She chooses to keep her RL separate.

That’s really the crux of the issue – people want to have a choice.

Virtual worlds like Second Life give people that choice – to be what they want.

And while the protesters will claim that they have no choice with Facebook, they do.

You can choose to be on Facebook and follow their policies, or you can choose not to.

It’s up to you.