Want a Facebook Account With Your Avatar Name? Just Prove to Facebook You Use That Name Offline, Too

Facebook Second Life real name policy

Good news (maybe) for the many Second Life users who have a Facebook account named after their avatar, but are under threat of Facebook blocking their account for not being a real name: You can petition the company through Sister Roma, a well-known and widely-admired San Francisco drag queen who has been helping Facebook improve its real name policy, especially as it applies to people like her, members of the LGBT community who are better known for their stage/persona name, than their legal name. I asked her if she could also help SL users use their avatar name for their Facebook profile without it being deleted by the company.

“To some extent, yes,” Sister Roma tells me. “Facebook has acknowledged that users may have authentic identities that are not reflected in legal government issued ID or displayed on a piece of mail like a utility bill. Your user name should reflect the name you are known by as and use in your everyday life, on- and offline.” (Emphasis mine.)

So for Second Life users, there’s a fairly big catch: Facebook defines your “real name” as “the one you've chosen and live every day.” (In other words, not just when you're logged into the servers of a for-profit Internet company.)

“Are you saying a Second Life user who goes by their avatar name on Facebook needs to prove that they also use that SL name in real life?” I ask Sister Roma.

“That's the way to get Facebook to recognize an authentic identity,” Sister Roma simply answers.

As it happens, Sister Roma has helped a Second Life user restore her Facebook account with her avatar name -- however, this person (who I won’t name for privacy reasons), also uses her Second Life avatar name when performing offline in the real world:

“I took her name as a performer in clubs and venues doing comedy and performance,” she explained to me recently. “I worked with actors, Broadway stars, musicians, celebrity stylists, cultural icons, and during this time people knew me as [my SL name]... it was an adaptation and a brand that became recognizable in New York City and beyond..”

So if you’re a Second Life user who wants to keep using your name on Facebook, my guess is you should take some steps before contacting Sister Roma: Perform on a real stage (with published billing) under your Second Life name, for instance. Or maybe publish a book or magazine article with your avatar name. Or hell, maybe legally change your real name so your middle name becomes your avatar account? Frankly, outside public figures or performers, SL avatars (or any other MMO avatar name, for that matter) still seem to be in a nebulous state, in Facebook’s eye.

That said, here’s Sister Roma’s guide to requesting her help with Facebook:

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How to Slim Down Your Second Life Avatar's Draw Weight

Second Life avatar draw weight

This is a great tutorial by SL content creator Penny Patton on how to trim a Second Life avatar's Draw Weight. That Linden Lab feature shows you how much effort it takes to render your SL avatar onscreen (green being fast, red being slow), but as Penny notes, it's caused SLers to complain that the range "was unrealistic, that we'd all have to wander around naked to get ourselves down into the green, or even the orange." However, she goes on, "the truth is, the rendering levels displayed by Draw Weight are not unreasonable at all, it's just that content creators are making no effort to produce reasonably optimized content for avatars." (And so, thanks to the Tragedy of the Commons, we have a whole world of slow-ass rendering avatars.)

However, there's some solutions to this, which Penny lists in much detail -- and as you can at right, it's possible to greatly trim down avatar Draw Weight without hardly changing an avatar's appearance. Solutions such as:

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Second Life Mesh Heads: Too Much Mouth-Breathing & RBF?

SL mesh heads are here and they look great (as Iris often reports), but a fascinating-if-super snarky Tweet just passed through my stream, and wanted to share here:

Opinions?

The Drax Files: There's More to Second Life Supermodel Absinthe Than Meets the Eye

 
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

I'm all about the latest episode of Second Life-sponsored mixed-reality documentary series The Drax Files: World Makers. It focusses on the first and second lives of SL supermodel Absinthe, and you'll want to watch even if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea. The fact is she has a wealth of personal wisdom to share that extends well beyond the realm of the runway.

In reality Absinthe works with patients living with HIV/AIDS, so being able to come home to Second Life gives her an outlet for her love of fashion and creativity that she might not necessarily have otherwise. It's a means of exploring not only your interests but your identity, and even seeing intangible things about your personality materialized right in front of you. That's why Absinthe has absolutely no patience for people perpetuating the tired old idea that Second Life's users live lives any less varied or interesting than anyone else's. 

If you want to see more of Absinthe's work in SL then be sure to check out Ferosh, a fiercely stylish digital publication that prominently features her work alongside a slew of other talented virtual fashion enthusiasts. 

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Weekend Shopping List: This Mesh Head is so Beautiful That it Barely Looks Like an SL Avatar

VCO Mesh Head Tia
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There's a new item at the top of my virtual world shopping list this weekend: The Tia mesh head by VCO, available at The Winter Wonderland event [Teleport link]. I already have my fair share of mesh heads, and these days the latest from The Sugar Garden has been serving me just fine. So why am I in the market for yet another? Well, when I first saw the above image of this finely-featured face from VCO I didn't entirely believe they were shot in Second Life. 

I don't mean that Tia looks hyper-realistic, however. Far from it. She looks more like a flawlessly modded Sims 3 character, or even a high-end doll, and to me that's just as appealing as realism would be.

Even if Tia's not to your liking you may want to swing by Winter Wonderland anyway, especially if you're looking for the perfect finishing touch for your virtual home...

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Can You Pose Your SL Avatar for a Yearbook-Style Photo?

Second Life Yearbook pics

Here's a fun new challenge for the new year: Can you pose your SL avatar like he or she was smiling for a high school yearbook photo? That's the premise for Strawberry Singh's Second Life Yearbook Smile Challenge.. "I always have a hard time trying to make my avatar not look so creepy while smiling," as she explains how the idea came to be, "so I was testing it out a few days ago and shared my image on Plurk and Whiskey Monday came in leaving me comments as if she was signing my yearbook, which I thought was hilarious!"

Here's how to submit:

Share an image of your Second Life avatar smiling for a yearbook photo. Don’t forget to share the link to your post in the comments and add your pictures to the new Second Life Yearbook flickr group, you can also share them in the Blog Memes flickr group if you like.

Then again, is just about every high school yearbook photo I've ever seen, all the students' smiles are totally awkward -- covering up the braces on their face, trying to look emo and totally failing, and so on. (Not to mention the horrible hairstyles, the pimples, the look of inward terror and sexual frustration.) Now that's another yearbook avatar meme I'd love to see.

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Physics and the Female Avatar in Second Life

Ciaran Laval just asked a very interesting, provocative question: "Do Avatar Physics Make Females Feel Unwelcome In Second Life?" He's encouraging responses from women reading the post, and I'm curious to read their responses too.

There's an Ugly Side to Dragon Age: Inquisition's Most Beautiful Virtual Fashions

DAI  (26)
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

Why is it that feminine fashion in video games always seems to indicate something about the character wearing it? Why is it never just a matter of taste? It's the case in countless games, including BioWare's Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the subject of my latest article for Paste. As much as I love Inquisition and its stunning fashions, the way those fashions deal with femininity fits a little too well into some all-too-common media tropes.

Beyond the usual handful of narrowminded people who think dissecting a game's style and design choices is more "superficial" than writing a list of its most obvious mechanical elements would be, I've already gotten a lot of interesting feedback about this post. Pleasantly enough, one of the most insightful comments yet has come from a BioWare employee...

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Paint Me Like One of Your Virtual Girls: Don't Miss This Second Life Artist's Gorgeous Avatar Portraits

Jaimy Detail - Nylon Pinkney
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

As if any of us needed another reason to be in awe of SL designer and RL artist Nylon Pinkney, but here's one more to add to the list. Nylon (whose fans include comedian Drew Carey) has recently been painting up a storm with a series of beautifully detailed digital avatar portraits, including the one above which you can see in full on Flickr

Nylon's artistic talents are no mystery to those of us who follow her in SL, but if you're new to her work you may want to catch up...

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RIP Eddie Escher, Pioneering Second Life Creator UPDATED: Added Short Video Documentary

Eddie Escher Chris Edwards Second Life

Fallingwater Cellardoor & Eddie Escher in Second Life, 2004; Alayne Wartell & Chris Edwards at his 40th birthday, 2010

Once upon a time, two shy but talented 3D artists met as avatars in Second Life, fell in love with each others' virtual creativity, and then finally, fell in love with each other, and moved across an ocean, to be together. In Second Life they were known as Fallingwater Cellardoor and Eddie Escher, and in 2004, they were among the world's best 3D artists. I wrote about how they met and fell in love then, but sad to say that Eddie, called Chris Edwards, passed away eariler this year, tragically just shy of his 45th birthday. Years before mesh or even sculpted prims, Eddie (a game dev artist by trade), showed how beautiful Second Life prims can be (see below). Fallingwater recently posted this sad news on the new Facebook group for longtime SLers, and since the story of their meeting is among my favorites, I wanted to share it here:

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