Wednesday, March 01, 2006

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HAMLET REBORN

A symbolic assumption of a new identity, taking everything with me but my Linden name. Maybe one day Hamlet Linden will return, but for now, his last whereabouts are suspended on a deck in Shipley, while Hamlet Au carries on this blog.

I put a lot of thought into what my post-Linden avatar name would be. I was tempted to make it “Wagner James Au”, so my real life and Second Life identity would be indistinguishable—like Cory Doctorow, Thomas P.M. Barnett, Lawrence Lessig, and Joi Ito before me. But to be honest, I’m not anywhere near their league, anyway.

More key, on the Net at least, “Hamlet Linden” has already become more important than my real life self. Google that name and it shows up about half as much as my real name, while Googling my actual name turns up New World Notes and “Hamlet Linden” as the first two hits. But that’s only the beginning-- Google just the one word "Hamlet" today, and from the 12 million hits, "Hamlet Linden" turns up in the top 50.

None of this is meant as a vain exercise in ego surfing. It's a demonstration in the power of avatar identity to shape who you are. Thanks to Google’s search heuristics, a fictional character from a new medium begins to supplant the greatest character of a legacy form. (Another example of how writing about an imagined world infects the real one, as I pointed out in my recent First Monday essay.) And what began three years ago as a split-second choice to make “Hamlet” my first name in SL (being a fan of the play and a name I’d used before in online games) is a decision I’m now stuck with. Were I to start fresh with an entirely new avatar title, I would also need to start a whole new walk on the karmic cycle of Internet being. (While the numerous page views sent to me by Google decline-- not a good thing when you’re trying to run a commercially subsidized blog.) In a very true sense, then, abandoning the Hamlet name in SL would impact my real life for the worse.

Something to consider, when you’re choosing your own SL name.

Anyway, hence my compromise, merging my names from both worlds. Which hopefully means the best of both, too.

Taking the Federated Media survey, he added cheekily, would be a tremendous help in this effort, too.

Custom Tom Wolfe-style suit created for and provided to Hamlet Au by stampshady Grimm, purveyor of elegant gentlemen's clothing and other fine products and accessories for the discerning avatar in exchange for this announcement.

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Torley Linden

Awww man!

WELCOME BACK, HAMLET! :D

(Not that you were ever really "gone", which is the type of contradiction I love so much...)

The adventures of NWN continue!

Celebrity Trollop

Glad you're back, Hamlet.

Enjoy your work -- and looking forward to your eventual book. :D

Aimee Weber

So, what are you going to do with Hamlet Linden's body?

*Looks down at SL Soylent Snack*

*smunch smunch*

Frans Charming

He! Nice hair cut. Looks Fresh. :)

*looks around suspiciously*
Psssst, don't give aimee your Linden body, she has very different plans then snacking on it.

Dave Zeeman

And I made your glasses. *grin*

Good luck with the new you, although you really shouldn't need it. :)

Tess

Ah-hah! I was wondering what was going to happen to your name, when I heard you were unlinking. I suppose that it's a bit like resuming your maiden name after a divorce -- only without all the bitterness and lawyers.

SNOOPYbrown Zamboni

Been outtada loop for a few days and just catching up on reading. Rock on with the new gig, homie!

> I was tempted to make it “Wagner James Au”, so my real life and Second Life identity would be indistinguishable—like Cory Doctorow, Thomas P.M. Barnett, Lawrence Lessig, and Joi Ito before me. But to be honest, I’m not anywhere near their league, anyway.

League Shmeague! It's soup out there. /waits for the day we can all have our real life names in SL if we so choose

SHIHI  LAA

Where/how can I obtain a copy of SL Hamlet on DVD???

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