Normally Erika Thereian is blonde and California tan, an avatar hybrid of Jenny McCarthy and Pamela Anderson, nothing less than the archetypal white girl of the world's dreams. Recently her friend Chip Midnight asked her to model his latest "skin"-- not an unusual request, since Midnight is a long-established master in the creation of customized avatar skins that Residents make, buy, and wear, when they're going for a look that Linden Lab's avatar adjustment sliders can't achieve. She'd wear Chip Midnight's latest skin around Second Life to build up word of mouth, and generate sales. "I often throw her my new stuff to take for a spin," Midnight explains to me. "She's very social, so she's a good way to get feedback." Viral marketing at its most immersive.
But when she wore one of Chip's recent skins, it also became, as Erika tells me, "[A]lmost a Black like Me thing."