Last week, SL artist and writer Whiskey Monday found out that someone in Second Life had copied her profile for their own. Since then, the accused profile thief has commented on the blog post that Whiskey wrote on the subject, trying to paint herself as an ignorant, innocent person now being victimized by Whiskey and her "SLebrity" status. She claims she took the words off of a website and not directly from Whiskey, as if that makes it better. But whatever, I'm not going to get into how readily people steal words without applying even a fraction of the concern they might apply to stealing any other form of media, because there's something else about this whole affair really gnawing at me...
Neither her comment nor Whiskey's post answer what I would consider to be the most pressing question raised by all of this: Why would you even bother stealing someone's profile?
Whether this person found what she took of of some nondescript mystery website or not, this isn't the first time someone has copied someone else's profile in SL. I've seen it happen dozens of times over the years, and I just don't get it. You put a picture in there, you talk about some shit you do or shit you like or shit you think, the end. What's worth stealing about that? It doesn't take very long to whip one up, or even add a few changes every so often if you're a perfectionist. It probably takes just as much time to steal a profile as it does to just fill that shit in yourself.
Now granted my own profile is years out of date, but that brings me to another point... Who cares? I've always been far more interested in peoples' Flickr accounts and blogs and Plurks than in their profiles, because a profile is a horribly condensed and awkward place to express anything of real significance or depth (like, you know, who you are as a person). Many people do keep their SL lives contained entirely inside SL and if those cases an eye-catching profile may be more important, but even when dealing with those specific cases I'd much rather interact a little bit than dismiss them outright based on a couple paragraphs and a tiny snapshot. Unless they say something utterly repulsive, of course, but that kind of thing takes a lot of deliberacy. You don't just start talking about sunsets and slip in how you feel about reproductive rights by accident.
So maybe I just don't get it. Help me out here. What's the point of stealing something as trivial as a profile?
(Pic courtesy of Whiskey Monday)
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.