Monday, October 15, 2012

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Yes, There's Virtual World Ageism, But Older Avatars Can Still Be Stars (Comment of the Week)

51 year old avatar likes to kick stretch and kick

I loved this comment from "Virtual Christine", inspired by Iris Ophelia's write-up of an old-looking avatar, noting, "When you can be any version of you (or of someone else) that you want, most people head straight for some version of themselves in their 20's." However, Virtual Christine said this:

"Dear Iris, You are right, virtual worlds seem to be very ageist. When I started my blog a couple of years back, with the tagline 'An older woman's thoughts on the metaverse' which featured my chunky, white-haired, wrinkled avatar, I thought of it more as a rage against the machine thing. I never seriously thought more than a couple of people would read me.

"I could not have been more mistaken:

"Thousands of people read my old lady adventures in the great wide yonder of SL/ OpenSim; they leave wonderful comments,they come up to me in-world and tell me how much they love my blog; I heard my 14 year old son tell a friend his Mom was like a star! Which I'm not, but being true to who I am, has worked for me in my 6 years of virtual and 51 years of real life. Be your beautiful, unique selves everyday of the year sisters!"

Image from Christine's blog.

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shockwave yareach

Yes indeed, we furries pick avatars that represent what we look like if we didn't have to shave.

Or maybe the tail is a hint to all of you that we aren't being ourselves in a world where we can be anything we can imagine?

Orca Flotta

51? Christine, that's kinda the average age of our RL avies! Among my friends, as young and teenie-ish as the look and often behave, I sometimes feel like the spring chicken with my humble 46 years on the clock. I know of some people well over 70 years of age. And they are very active SLers, not just hanging out, clubbing and getting bored like all the younglings.

Also, and this is meant for LL to keep in mind, we oldies are not just very loyal and long term customers, we are the ones with the money and disposable income to waste away on SL. No, our age group probably doesn't keep the land barons afloat; we have our own lands and paying tier directly to LL. That makes us even more loyal and a market force to reckon with.

Also it makes us less susceptible to bullshit and drama, and to bad ideas by the lab. I hardly know of any avie ever played that stupid realms game, we are old and contempt enough with ourselves as to find something worthwile to do without the need to play prefabricated games.

So, there you have it: OLDIES ROCK!!!

Orca Flotta

LL, Rod ...? Are you listening?
If you really insist of creating content on your own and feeding it to the residents, please aim it at the menopausal and upwards age group!!!
Forget about the teenies and collage kids; they are here today, gone tomorrow, they don't have enough money for decent hardware or for tier. They get bored because they lack initiative and then they are off to folow the next hype. Average SL life expectancy for younglings is like 6 - 12 months, my age group is here since 5 years or longer. And we will stay!

Iggy

Wow, Orca, you bitter or something?

You write:

"Forget about the teenies and collage kids; they are here today, gone tomorrow, they don't have enough money for decent hardware or for tier. They get bored because they lack initiative and then they are off to folow the next hype."

I teach college kids, and they don't match your description at ALL. The students I teach have amazing initiative and focus. They are not at all like me and my grumpy Gen X cohort were at their age.

We Xers have long been the core demographic for SL, but consider what I see among those kids you seem to despise.

They are optimistic, they focus on career and family and, yay, social justice. They are traditional in many ways, cutting edge and progressive politically in others. In terms of tech, it had better be portable and light, and preferably on a phone. I've heard Millennials called "the most tribal generation in history" (reference around here somewhere).

For games, the Millennials I know might sit down for some console fun, with pals, but it's all casual gaming: don't count on them to hurt GPAs and chances at internships for employment by serious gaming requiring ongoing commitments of several hours weekly.

They are great kids, if a little too serious. And they better stay the hell off my lawn.

Iggy

As for my quotation:

http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2016/

Beloit's Mindset List for 2016. They nail it. If LL wants that demographic and not just we old cusses, they should read it too.

Alazarin Mobius

@ Orca: re "collage kids"...

It's time we did something for the Origami Generation ;-)

Cyberserenity

We can be everything we could imagine. If you look at most avatars we cant imagine much.

Dizzy Banjo

Interesting side note:

When I first read the title of this post - I thought it was referring to virtual age, ie the age of the avatar, NOT the visual portrayal of the avatar.

I think this is an interesting phenomena too. There is also ageism here - except in reverse, the younger the avatar the more "noob" it is generally considered. The older it is the more experienced etc. Indeed in the case of avatars prior to 2003 it is considered they are the original 'elite' inhabitants.

Prokofy often refers to these groupings of avatar ages as "oldby" "midby" and "newby" which I guess gets harder to and harder to define as the world of SL gets older.

However all of this is disrupted by users who continually recycle avatars, or use many alts. A user which stands out for me here are the many alts of Starax after he disappeared - Light Waves was only one of them. In fact I knew many creatives which used many alts.

Also the subcultures of griefers / hackers within SL are forced to drop avatars often due to being banned. I think this subverts this sort of virtual ageism further.

Anyway, here my side rant ends..

virtualchristine

My Heavens! Thank you so much for listing moi as comment of the week! I am agog! And I love Furries, by the way, I said be true to yourself, not everybody has be all wrinkly! And I agree with Orca that Oldies rock, and Iggy that young people can be wonderful company,but I have to say that I am most in line with Cyberserenity. For a brave new world, SL is extremely conformist. Now OpenSim..........

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