Do We Need New Terms For Describing Second Life Avatar Behavior Instead of Immersionist and Augmentationist?
Botgirl Questi wants to replace the terms "Augmentationist vs. Immersionist", which were coined by Henrik Bennetsen during his stint as an academic with Linden Lab, to describe the way Residents interact with their avatars. (Short version: Immersionists keep their first and second lives separate, while Augmentationists blend them up.) Though it's useful in many cases to characterize user attitudes to their avatars this way (as here), many believe it doesn't capture the full spectrum of how people act in Second Life. Here's Botgirl's suggested alternatives:
- Anthropic: ... RL identity is in their SL profile. They use Second Life within their RL job, interact with their human friends within the virtual world, etc.
- Avatarian: ... They do not openly associate their avatar and human identities in any way.
- Multiplist: They have a mix of human-centric and avatar-centric relationships and activities within Second Life.
- Dabbler... [T]hose with very few relationships and activities of any kind.
Read the full explanation here. I think it's a good start, though perhaps the terms need some tweaking to be more immediately comprehensible. (By contrast, "Immersiveness" is already a well-known term in virtual world/gaming, and thanks to the vogue for augmented reality, "Augmentation" is even more quickly clear.)
More than anything, however, my strong sense is that relatively few people clearly fit in the named categories of "Anthropic" or "Avatarian", with a small percent who fully blend their Second Life with their real life activities, and perhaps a slightly larger minority who keep them totally separate. We do know, however, that the majority of returning Second Life users go in-world less than 3 hours a month (at least according to stats last year), which would make "Dabbler" the primary category. Since that's the case, shouldn't any new terminology be based on the observable behavior of the majority of users, instead of the outliers? But I'm definitely open to suggestions.