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Life as art

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Title:
Life as art the interplay of real and crafted identities among virtually performing musicians in second life
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Wise, Deborah Lynn
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Denver, CO
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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xv, 312 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.

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Second Life (Game) ( lcsh )
Online identities ( lcsh )
Virtual reality ( lcsh )
Musicians ( lcsh )
Musicians ( fast )
Online identities ( fast )
Second Life (Game) ( fast )
Virtual reality ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
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non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Colorado Denver, 2011. Educational leadership and innovation
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 287-298).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Deborah Lynn Wise.

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|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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Full Text
LIFE AS ART: THE INTERPLAY OF REAL AND CRAFTED IDENTITIES
AMONG VIRTUALLY PERFORMING MUSICIANS IN SECOND LIFE
By
Deborah Lynn Wise
M.S., University of Denver, Denver, 2002
B.A., Biblical Life College & Seminary, 2005
A dissertation submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Leadership and Innovation
2011


2011 Copyright by Deborah Wise
All Rights Reserved


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Deborah Lynn Wise
has been approved
by
Alan Davis
Connie Fulmer
Laura Summers



Wise, Deborah Lynn (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Life as Art: The Interplay of Real and Crafted Identities Among Virtually
Performing Musicians in Second Life
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Alan Davis
ABSTRACT
Virtual environments enable residents to craft unique digital
representations of self and to establish virtual identities that may or may not
resemble physical-world identities. How might this process be different for
musicians who share music as their personal product and establish regular
interaction with a fan base over time? This study is presented as a co-constructed,
multi-vocal narrative of the researchers experience as Flameheart Sol, live music
venue owner in Second Life, representing the interplay of real and crafted
identities of 7 virtually performing musicians. Using theories of normal
psychosocial development (Erikson) and subject-object orientation (Kegan), the
author addresses: (a) what processes contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity
and (b) how the real life of the individual changes over time through the interplay
of virtual and physical identities. These questions uncover the participants
cultural footprint the accumulated culture and experiences that comprise the
participants identity before entering Second Life. The study then looks at the
point at which an avatar representation of the participant is crafted, creating a


symbolic device that enables the participant to shift from the real (in terms of
being physical) to the virtual (lived experiences as an embodied avatar
persona). It is through these virtually lived experiences, where the constant
interaction demanded of virtual worlds creates an immediate feedback system,
that an alternate, situated identity is developed. This avatar identity is no less
real in terms of its reflecting aspects of the identity of the individual but reflects
the unique affordances of a user-created space that is limited only by his or her
imagination.
Through personal interviews and concert observations (in both the virtual
and physical worlds), it was possible not only to determine what influenced the
virtual identity of the subject, but also to observe the level of embeddedness, as
described by Kegan; how emotionally invested the subjects were toward their
avatar persona. This embeddedness included identity coupling, identity
transparency, and shared experiences with a fan base. Subjects also experienced
changes to their real lives in increased music creativity, a voice for passionate
causes, and a responsive global audience that offered real income.


This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
Alan Davis


DEDICATION
If I live my life with passion and meaning, then my life is art"
-Monte Wise (1956-2009).
This dissertation is dedicated to the people who create a digital persona-an
avatar-in order to bare themselves artistically. They are players on a global
stage...they have nothing to offer but their music.. .and yet they persist, night
after night, year after year, in the hopes of receiving the acceptance in a virtual
world that they may not find in the physical world. They write; they sing; they
play their music; and their fans may never know their real identity. The more
immersed I became in the music community in Second Life, the more I realized
that real was relative: the identity artists create in Second Life may be more real
artistically than their identity in real life. I finally understood what Monte was
talking about: their life had become art, both in their pixilated identity and their
performance.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
Figures..........................................................xiii
Tables.............................................................xv
I. INTRODUCTION.....................................................1
Purpose of the Study.........................................5
Significance of the Study....................................6
Conceptual Framework.........................................9
Research Questions..........................................11
Methodology Overview........................................11
Dissertation Overview.......................................13
II. LITERATURE REVIEW..............................................15
Conceptual Roots of Identity................................16
Erikson and Psychosocial Development........................17
Kegan and Subject-Object Evolution..........................19
Psychosocial Development in the Physical World..............23
Early Development....................................23
Adolescence..........................................27
Young Adulthood......................................29
Middle Adulthood.....................................30
Maturity (After age 65)..............................31
viii


Crafting a Virtual Identity................................32
Self Consciousness...................................35
Role Development.....................................38
Maturation...........................................42
Autonomy.............................................46
Intimacy.............................................48
Posthumanism...............................................52
Embeddedness (Immersion) and Play....................55
Virtual and Physical Identity Interplay..............62
Comparable Studies.........................................64
Reflection on the Literature...............................69
III. SECOND LIFE..................................................72
Second Life as a Social Community..........................73
Communities of Practice..............................75
Figured Worlds.......................................76
Semiotic Domains.....................................77
Researcher Experience in Second Life.......................78
IV. METHODS.......................................................82
Ethnography as a Representation of Relationships...........85
Narrative..................................................86
Addressing the Research Purpose......................88
ix


Autoethnography............................................89
Multi-vocal Ethnography....................................90
Co-construction............................................90
Reflections on Narrative...................................91
Visual Ethnography..............................................92
Reflections on Visual Ethnography..........................98
Participants....................................................99
Population Size...........................................100
Population Characteristics................................101
Selection-Eligibility Characteristics.....................101
Sampling Scheme...........................................103
Sampling Characteristics..................................105
Data Collection Instruments......................................106
Interview Questions.......................................106
Observational Video.......................................108
Protocol Instruments......................................109
Pilot Study...............................................109
Data Collection Procedures......................................113
Virtual-world Data Collection............................113
Data Collection Outside of Second Life...................114
Format of Interviews......................................115
x


Length of Interviews....................................115
Ethical Nature of Data Collection.......................116
Verification Procedures.................................118
Analysis......................................................118
Method of Analysis......................................119
Qualitative Software....................................121
Responsibility /Authority for Creation of Categories....122
Justification for Existence of Given Set of Categories..122
Source of Name Used to Identify Given Set of Categories.. 125
Point When Categories are Specified.....................127
Exploratory of Confirmatory Nature of Data Analysis.....128
Reflections on the Use of Research Software.............128
Researcher Assertions.........................................130
Researcher Bias.........................................132
Composing the Story...........................................133
V. NARRATIVES OF THE PERFORMERS......................................135
Analysis of Research Questions................................135
Technology in Data Gathering..................................137
The Performers................................................141
JueL Resistance.........................................141
Arimo Teixeira..........................................160
xi


Niko Donburi.......................................173
Louis Volare.......................................189
Ganjo Mokeev.......................................206
Frogg & Jaycatt....................................218
Revisiting Researcher Assertions.........................236
VI. CROSS-SUBJECT FINDINGS......................................243
Analysis of Observational Data...........................254
VII. DISCUSSION.................................................259
Study Findings and Erikson...............................263
Study Findings and Regan.................................272
Study Findings and Conceptual Framework..................277
Subject Reflections......................................278
Reconsidering Initial Assertions.........................282
Limitations and Implications for Future Research.........284
REFERENCES......................................................287
APPENDIX........................................................299
A. Overlapping Frameworks and Interview Questions........299
B. Interview Questions...................................300
C. Data Collection Protocols.............................305
Xll


LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. The House of Flames ballroom and pier in Second Life............1
Figure 2. Examples of user-created virtual places and people..............3
Figure 3. Conceptual framework of identity...............................10
Figure 4. Living Room # 13(a), Second Life venue of JueL Resistance......94
Figure 5. JueL Resistance in Second Life and the real Suzen Juel.......111
Figure 6. Living Room # 13(b) home venue of JueL Resistance...........124
Figure 7. Performer and researcher technology for Arimo Teixeira........139
Figure 8. Suzen Juel in 1994 (1) and in 2010............................144
Figure 9. JueL Resistance in 2007 (1) and in 2010.......................146
Figure 10. The redesigned SL Living Room #13............................147
Figure 11. The art of Suzen Juel........................................151
Figure 12. JueL Resistances RL-SL marketing............................154
Figure 13. Representative fans of JueL Resistance.......................155
Figure 14. Mario Torrez with his grandfather (1) and grandparents.......162
Figure 15. RL Mario Torrez (1) and SL Arimo Teixeira....................167
Figure 16. Niko Donburi (1) and HOF concert marquee.....................178
Figure 17. Niko Donburi: The early 1990s in Iowa (1) and Japan.........179
Figure 18. Phoenixa Sol (1) and Niko Donburi at phase 2 concert.........184
xiii


Figure 19. Louis Landon in RL (1) and Louis Volare in SL (2007)........203
Figure 20. Louis Landon in RL (1) and Louis Volare in SL (2011)........205
Figure 21. Phat Daddy: Gary Olivas (Ganjo) far left....................208
Figure 22. Ganjo Mokeev: The SL persona of Gary Olivas.................211
Figure 23. The Olivas family band: Gary (1) with guitar................215
Figure 24. Flameheart in the Bod Squad (r).............................216
Figure 25. Jeremy & Mark in RL (1); Frogg & Jaycatt in SL..............219
Figure 26. Jeremy & Marc in elementary school choir....................222
Figure 27. Fan interaction at Frogg & Jaycatt concert..................229
Figure 28. Subject-Object Orientation among study subjects.............275
xiv


LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. The Eight-Stage Model, (Erikson, 1968)........................ 18
Table 2. Principles of Meaning Organization, (Kegan, 1994, p. 30).......20
Table 3. Subject-Object Comparison (Kegan, 1982)........................22
Table 4. Bartles Motivational Types (abbreviated from
Castronova, 2005, p. 72).........................................41
Table 5. Research question #1 compared to overlapping frameworks.......126
Table 6. Musical identity..............................................247
Table 7. RL benefit from SL involvement................................250
Appendix Table 1. Overlapping frameworks of Erikson and Kegan.........299
xv


CHAPTERI
INTRODUCTION
Picture a night out at a premier music event: The ballroom (based on a
building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) illuminated the night sky. You and
your date arrived in formal attire, diamonds glistening in the light from the dance
ball overhead. The lighting was romantic; couples were already on the dance
floor, and when the Master of Ceremonies introduced the headliner-artist, the
curtains parted, revealing the evenings performer who was already at the piano
crooning out a popular tune. It was a magical eveningyou were lost in the
conversation with your partner and completely missed the fireworks show that
originated from the nearby pier, splashing colored reflections all over the
waterfront. This level of realism was a regular occurrence when the House of
Flames (my own virtual business) hosted a showcase event (see Figure 1):
Figure 1. The House of Flames ballroom and pier in Second Life.
1


Well over a million participants (known as residents) attend events such as
this every month by logging into the virtual world of Second Life, with tens of
thousands online concurrently. Not only is the environment a three-dimensional
social network, it is an economic engine; over two million dollars (USD) are
traded daily through the Second Life Exchange as virtual entrepreneurs develop
and sell products and services for resident-consumers (Second Life Economic
Data, 2009). Almost 50% of residents are between 26 and 45 years of age, with
60% of people logging in from outside the United States (Bell, 2008). Participants
have the ability to create their own digital representation (known as an avatar)
with a wide range of customizable features.
I entered Second Life at the request of the institution where I directed
learning technologies in order to research the potential value of the environment
for virtual learning delivery. The institution was interested in developing a virtual
campus, enabling more interactive learning for geographically disbursed students.
Upon appearing in Second Life as Flameheart Sol, I was surprised at how
immersive the environment was and how much a participant was able to craft his
or her own existence (see Figure 2).
2


Figure 2. Examples of user-created virtual places and people.
I quickly became interested in why some Second Life residents (like me)
created avatar personas that might have been a personal wish-list appearance-
wise (I am at the bottom right in Figure 2) while some created identities that were
extremely unique, even to the point of non-human (bottom left of Figure 2).
While I entered Second Life with a research agenda of examining virtual worlds
as online-learning spaces, I quickly became attracted to understanding how
personal identity in virtual spaces is crafted and how a participants identity
outside of the virtual space might be changed as a result. Within weeks, I had
abandoned my original research focus: it was not a matter of whether learning
3


would be delivered online; it was a matter of how we can make a learning
experience so immersive and subjective as to make it feel as if one were really
there.
While my own appearance might have been crafted as something that did
not resemble real life, my identity as Flameheart began with a migration of what I
call my cultural footprint: those experiences, inherited cultural practices, and
interests that made me who I was. These attributes were poured into Flameheart,
regardless of how she appeared. As my digital representative, Flameheart had an
interest in live music (which was in its grassroots stage when I entered Second
Life) and became enamored at the technology required to broadcast music live
over the Internet (live streaming) from the home of the musician into the
environment. Coupling this technical interest with my own frustrations as a
musician and a person who had been on the periphery of live performance for
years, Second Life offered an opportunity to develop a persona as a supporter of
live music and a promoter of showcase events. This identity led to the founding of
the House of Flames, which became a premier music venue in Second Life.
Through my work with the House of Flames, I was able to meet several of
the subjects in this study and, over time, became personally aware of their real
lives and identities. In some cases, life did indeed imitate art; there seemed to be
no difference between the artists real and virtual personas. In other cases,
however, there was a significant separation between the persona of the avatar
4


identity and that of the physical world. Given the interests I had developed in
virtual identity, it was natural to focus on this group for my study. In the end,
there was a transformation for both the subjects and myself, each contributing to
the others progress.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to document the identity-crafting
experiences of virtually performing musicians within the larger context of
psychosocial development in a virtual environment. This process included an
understanding of identity processes in physical life (also known as real-life, RL,
or real-world) as well as virtual life (also known as Second Life, SL; virtual-
world; or virtual-life). The primary focus of this study was to understand what
physical-world processes contributed to how performers develop their virtual
personas and how immersed these performers became in their virtually crafted
identities. A secondary focus was to understand the effect an alternate, virtual
identity had on the physical-world identity of the subject (the identity outside the
virtual world). This includes an understanding of the unique affordances of
Second Life with regard to live performance, creating a situational environment
were an individual can craft any number of unique identities. These virtual
identities interact and receive feedback from any number of sources within
Second Life, and may ultimately affect the identity of the individual outside of
Second Life, through the persistent portrayal of avatar identity narratives. The
5


choice of musicians as a subject group was due to my own experiences within the
music community in Second Life (described in more detail in Chapter III and also
by the work of researchers who suggested that musicians and artists might
represent a unique subject group because their product was a personal extension
of their identity (Huizinga, 1970); as a group, they might be more inclined to
remain identified with their virtual identity and to remain immersed over time due
to positive feedback from a virtual fan base (Yee, 2007).
Significance of the Study
The results of this study are useful across disciplines. In the social
sciences, understanding how the use of virtual worlds (such as Second Life)
enables a subject to revisit identity-development phases that might have been less
than ideal could lead to alternate forms of healing therapies. The study of human
behavior in virtual worlds has resulted in several of the comparable works
referred to in this study, where terms such as Cyberethnography (Browne, 2003)
and Cyberpunk (Foster, 2005), a postmodern perspective focusing on changes in
social order, have become part of the common lexicon. These terms now have
places in research as a method of studying human behavior in Cyberspace
(ethnography) and also as a descriptor of a lifestyle (punk) based on human-
computer interaction, where rapid technological change and constant feedback
demand adaptive behavior.
6


In education, constructivist learning assumes that the student plays an
active role in the accumulation (construction) of knowledge. While this process
begins at an early age and can be as simple as a stimulus-response activity, a
toolkit of skills is developed over time; the toolkit reflects the societal and cultural
development of the individual as part of a larger body of learners (Bruner, 1973).
Similar to the constructivist view, Experiential Learning Theory assumes that
learning occurs by first getting information (experience) and then making a
meaning of the experience (reflection) that creates a new idea regarding how to
use what is being introduced (abstraction), which can then be reinforced by an
activity which supports that new idea (testing). This process creates something of
an intrinsic feedback system for the student where new information completes the
cycle from introduction to practice, becoming an experiential part of the learners
skill set (Kolb, 1983; Zull, 2002). Experiential learning first emphasizes hands-on
experience as a basis for observation and reflection:
First is its emphasis on here-and-now concrete experience to validate and
test abstract concepts. Immediate personal experience is the focal point for
learning, giving life, texture, and subjective personal meaning to abstract
concepts and at the same time providing a concrete, publically shared
reference point for testing the implications and validity of ideas created
during the learning process. (Kolb, 1983, p. 21)
7


In addition to this concrete experience, Kolb emphasizes a feedback system that
provides the basis for a continuing process of goal-directed action and evaluation
of the consequences of that action (p. 22). Experiential Learning Theory builds
on the learning and cognitive development models of Dewey and Piaget, moving
from the accommodation of concepts to the assimilation of events and
experiences. Kolb (1983) states, When assimilation predominates over
accommodation, we have play-the imposition of ones concept and images
without regard to environmental realities (p. 23). This idea of a feedback system
is also an inherent aspect of game design, motivating participants to remain
immersed without regard to their external environment as they progress through
successive levels of play (Castronova, 2005; McGonigal, 2011). The use of virtual
worlds, such as Second Life, as three-dimensional learning spaces can enhance
students ability to apply abstract knowledge by situating education in authentic,
virtual contexts similar to the environments in which the learners skills will be
used (Dede, 1995, p. 46).
This study explored the association between the artistic identity of a
virtual performer and the subsequent creative activity, given the affordances of
Second Life as a user-created environment. If a connection exists, designing
curriculum on an activity-based model (particularly in virtual learning) might
result in greater learning retention and engagement. The activity and feeback
8


system inherent in game design could encourage student immersion and
constructivist learning for some subjects.
Conceptual Framework
Based on the factors described above, the conceptual framework guiding
this study involves an iterative process of interplay between real and virtual
identities (see Figure 3). The framework addresses the inputs of real-life identity
based on Eriksons (1968) theory of normal psychosocial development, subject-
object orientation as described by Kegan (1982), and real-life role in a process of
creating a virtual identity. These aspects are all components of the subjects
identity before beginning a virtual life. The avatar persona that is crafted upon
entering Second Life, in turn, cultivates behaviors based on particular avatar
identity attributes and, over time, these behaviors may migrate into the
participants identity outside of the virtual space. This migration occurs as the
result of repeated, persistent interactions and feedback regarding positive
attributes of the avatar persona. This process could be repeated with any number
of alternate avatar personas, as each new identity represents a developmental
trajectory along a continuum of growth, with situational opportunities to
reconstitute positive identity attributes while discarding negative aspects
(Holland, Lachicotte, Jr., Skinner, & Cain, 1998).
9


Figure 3. Conceptual framework of identity.
Identity Interplay Conceptual Framework
Inputs Innovations


Research Questions
My research questions examined what processes influenced how
performers crafted a virtual persona, whether the resulting feedback the performer
received from a fan base encouraged immersion by reinforcing the performance
identity as opposed to physical-world identity, and how the physical-world
identity of the performer might have been altered as a result of the identity
interplay. My study first considered the physical-world identity processes
influencing the performer: What processes influence the crafting of identity for
performers in virtual worlds? The follow up to the first consideration looks at the
result of this identity interplay: How is physical world identity influenced as a
result of virtual world participation? These research questions were directly
related to the theories of Erikson (psychosocial development) and Kegan (subject-
object orientation; how immersed or embedded an individual became in a
particular state), as were the resulting interview questions.
Methodology Overview
This study employed multi-voiced ethnography, a form of ethnographic
inquiry that often makes use of narrative in the form of personal storytelling along
with guided ethnographic interviewing to portray and analyze the lived
experiences of both the researcher and a set of participants (C. S. Davis & Ellis,
2008; Ellis, 1998; Gergen & Gergen, 2002). Using Second Life as a field of study
and seven musicians (working as six performance acts) as a subject group, initial
11


interviews were conducted within Second Life where both the researcher and
subject were avatars; follow-up interviews were conducted in person. In both
cases, the interviews were videotaped, as were the observational data gathered
during virtual-world performances. Interview video observed what the subjects
said, and concert video observed what the subjects did. These video archives, in
addition to personal photographs offered by the subjects, contributed to a digital
storytelling of the performers and their personas, presented as a multi-vocal
narrative of the subjects and their comparison to my own virtual-world identity
experience. This comparison of virtual-world identity and its real-life effect on
both the researcher (who is not a performing musician) and subjects created a co-
constructed narrative, giving a balanced perspective to the research topic.
This study observed three key relationships:
Normal psychosocial development and the crafting of a virtual
identity
Physical-world professional role and embeddedness (immersion)
Social participation and the migration of virtual attributes to real life
Physical-world role was a variable of interest, and I expected it to be causal
(along with time in virtual worlds) in how immersed a participants were with their
avatar identities. The study was not intended to cover topics such as risk-taking
behavior and anonymity, specific role-play behaviors such as medieval play,
12


dominant-submissive relationships and other sexual conduct, or participation in
the occult.
This study was unusual because it observed subjects who could enjoy
anonymity by virtue of their synthetic presence. In this case, however, many of
my subjects (particularly musicians who also perform in real life) had set a
precedent by sharing their true identities with their fan base, to the point of
including real-life photos on their virtual profiles and websites (where fans are
directed to purchase music). While the analysis and interpretation from my small
number of subjects might be generally representative of virtually performing
musicians, they could not infer the same conclusions with the larger population of
Second Life residents.
Dissertation Overview
This inquiry into the interplay of real and virtual identities among virtually
performing musicians is presented as a co-constructed narrative of the experiences
of both researcher and subjects (multi-vocal), explained further in Chapter III.
Chapter II includes a literature review that considers normal, physical
identity development according to the psychosocial theory of Erikson (1968). I
then look at how these same developmental phases apply to virtual worlds and
how identity maturation corresponds to a move from a subject orientation (self as
center) to an object orientation (self as part of a larger system) over time,
corresponding to the theoretical framework of Kegan (1994). Aspects of game
13


development, human-computer interaction, avatar identity research, and
experiential learning are also considered.
Chapter III examines Second Life as a social environment and considers
how the concepts of communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991), figured
worlds (Holland et al., 1998), and semiotic domains (Gee, 2007b) influence the
development of a virtual identity and the migration of favorable virtual traits to
physical identity. The chapter also describes the experience of the researcher in
Second Life, providing an explanation for using the subject group and the
environment in this study.
Chapter IV details the mixed methodology used in the study, the setting
for the study, and how the data were gathered and analyzed. Chapter V presents
the research findings and the conclusions relative to the interview questions.
Finally, Chapter VI points out the similarities and differences between findings
and comparable research, and connects study results to my conceptual framework.
The chapter concludes with an explanation of study limitations and implications
for future research.
14


CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
In order to examine my initial question regarding how real-life processes
contribute to the crafting of an identity in a virtual world, it is important to adopt a
working definition of identity, to consider how identity is crafted in the physical
world, and to describe the phases a normal individual completes in this
developmental process. This definition includes not only consideration of how
individual identity is created, but also the influence of community and culture in
forming a personal sense of self. By understanding how personal and social
identities are developed, a theoretical basis is formed to grasp the migration of
identity from real to virtual realms and the interplay between the two
environments. While a thorough discussion of identity would include the period
from birth through death, it is not my purpose to explore what happens in infancy,
to present myself as an authority on early childhood development, or to bring
Freuds Oedipus (discourse on primal sexual urges beginning in early childhood)
to center stage. Aside from a brief overview of this early development, the
discussion will center on identity formation once an individual begins adolescence
at approximately age 12.
15


Conceptual Roots of Identity
The formation of identity begins as a learning experience. By
accumulating a toolkit of skills (such as language), identity is developed through
activities and interactions that form a continuing narrative with the self as center
(Mead, 1934; Vygotsky, 1978). In early development, these interactions (largely
with primary caretakers) influence a sense of self as an individual member of a
family. As others outside the family influence identity, a sense of self within a
social context is developed (Holland, Fox, & Daro, 2008). This social identity is
highly influenced by the feedback of others, creating a contextual aspect of self
that is iterative depending on what social context is primary at any time (Stryker,
2007). These individual and social experiences form the narrative for first-person
accounts of who we are that we tell to ourselves and to others. Through reflexive
practice, the narrative becomes a tool which shapes memory and mediates future
experience (A. Davis, 2011). For this study, it is important to view identity as a
continuing self-narrative that is co-constructed through interactions with others in
particular social contexts (Holland et al., 1998).
In addition to being a socially contextual co-construction, identity is a
process of self-authoring, organized around he conflictual, continuing dialogic of
an inner speech where active identities are ever forming (Holland et al., 1998, p.
169). How an individual views the world their lens is fashioned as part of this
inner speech and can be favorable or unfavorable, depending on the trajectory of
16


their identity development. A child might be expected to see themselves as central
in all contexts (motivated by their own impulses) but that same contextual self-
centeredness as an adult represents a liability where the individual cannot see
himself or herself in relationship to larger systems. The developmental
frameworks of Erikson (1968) and Kegan (1994) represent different traditional
perspectives on personality development and suggest the possibility of repair or
advancement within the trajectory of healthy identity formation.
Erikson and Psychosocial Development
The first framework I chose to illustrate this journey to maturity is from
the work of psychosocial development researcher Erik Erikson (1968). While this
study focuses more on those stages that occur once an individual reaches
adolescence and young adulthood, Erikson theorizes the development of a vital
personality into a sequence of eight distinct phases representing an increasing
expansion of locomotor, sensory, and social capacities. Each phase is dependent
on successful development during the phases before it (Erikson, 1968). Each stage
holds the possibility for successful progression or for crisis, depending on whether
the individuals environment affords him the increasing self-governance to
develop a personal character. Lingering negative consequences may occur if a
particular physical age is attained (for example, the age of adulthood for most
cultures) without the associated successful personality development (see Table 1).
17


Table 1
The Eight-Stage Model (Erikson, 1968)
Eriksons Stages Of Psychosocial Development
Approximate attained age Phase
Infancy (birth to 18 months) Phase 1: Temporal Perspective (in healthy development) vs. Time Confusion (unhealthy development)
Early Childhood (2 to 3 years) Phase 2: Self-certainty (self esteem) vs. Self- consciousness (appearance in the eyes of others)
Preschool (3 to 5 years) Phase 3: Role Experimentation vs. Role Fixation
School Age (6 to 11 years) Phase 4: Apprenticeship vs. Work Paralysis
Adolescence (12 to 18 years) Phase 5: Identity vs. Identity Confusion
Young Adulthood (19 to 40 years) Phase 6: Intimacy vs. Isolation
Middle Adulthood (40 to 65 years) Phase 7: Generativity vs. Stagnation
Maturity (65 to death) Phase 8: Integrity vs. Despair
18


Kegan and Subject-Object Evolution
During this process of identity development, individuals should also be
able to progress from being consumed with their own existence (self as subject) to
the realization that they are part of a much larger, separate (global) system (self as
object). One expects a baby to be focused on having its immediate needs met and
a toddler to see all toys as mine (second-order consciousness), but by the time
this same person reaches adulthood, it is expected that he or she will have learned
to take the needs of others into consideration, to realize others may have opinions
that are different from his or her own, and to be able to engage in intimate
relationships (third-order consciousness). Kegan (1994) translates the demands
that modem life makes on us, our relationships, our ability to resolve conflict, and
the successful mastery of our own life journey into successive levels of
development (with competence in one level being necessary before advancement
to the next). He describes indicators of this development as increasing orders of
conscious ability (see Table 2; key points in bold, emphasis mine):
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Table 2
Principles of Meaning Organization (Kegan, 1994, p. 30)
The Evolving Self
Independent Elements (First-order conscious ability) Durable Category (Second-order conscious ability) Cross Categorical Knowing (Third-order conscious ability)
Logical-Cognitive Can: Recognize that objects exist independent of own sensing of them. Cannot: Distinguish own perception of an object from the actual properties of the object. Can: Grant to objects their own properties irrespective of ones perceptions; can construct a narrative sequence and timeline. Cannot: Reason abstractly, discern overall patterns, form hypotheses. Can: Reason abstractly; form negative classes; see relationships as simultaneously reciprocal. Cannot: Systematically produce all possible combinations of relations; test hypotheses.
Social-Cognitive Can: Recognize that persons exist separate from oneself. Cannot: Recognize that other persons have their own purposes and viewpoint independent of oneself. Can: Construct own point of view and grant others their distinct point of view; role-play; manipulate others on behalf of own goals. Cannot: Take own point of view and anothers simultaneously; maintain interpersonal relationships. Can: Be aware of shared feelings, agreements, and expectations that take primacy over individual interests. Cannot: Construct a generalized system regulative of interpersonal relationships and relationships between relationships.
Intrapersonal-AfTective Can: Distinguish between inner sensation and outside stimulation. Cannot: Distinguish ones impulses from oneself; that is, is embedded in or driven by ones impulses. Can: Drive, regulate, or organize impulses to produce enduring dispositions and identify qualities of self (identity formation). Cannot: Internally coordinate more than one point of view; distinguish ones need from oneself; identify enduring qualities of the self according to inner psychological manifestations. Can: Internalize anothers point of view in what becomes the co- construction of personal experience, enabling deep relationships. Cannot: Organize own states or internal ports of self into systematic whole; distinguish self from ones relationship; see the self as the author of ones inner psychological life.
20


In reference to the evolving self, Kegan says:
The different principles of mental organization are intimately related to
each other. They are not just different ways of knowing, each with its
preferred season. One does not simply replace the other, nor is the relation
merely additive or cumulative, an accretion of skills. Rather, the relation is
transformative, qualitative, and incorporative. Each successive principle
subsumes or encompasses the prior principle. That which was a subject
becomes the object to the next principle. The new principle is a higher
order principle (more complex, more inclusive) that makes the prior
principle into an element or tool of its system. (Kegan, 1994, p. 33)
This subject-object transformation occurs all through formative life and roughly
aligns with several corresponding stages of Eriksons work (see Table 3).
21


Table 3
Subject-Object Comparison (Kegan, 1982)
Overlapping Frameworks of Erikson and Kegan
Approximate attained age Erikson Kegan
Early Childhood (2 to 3 years) Phase 2: Self-certainty (self esteem) vs. Self- consciousness (appearance in the eyes of others). Impulsive Underlying Structure: Subject- Impulses, Perceptions; Object-Reflexes-Sensing, Moving
Preschool (3 to 5 years) Phase 3: Role Experimentation vs. Role Fixation. Imperial Underlying Structure: Subject-Needs, Interests, Wishes; Object- Impulse, Perceptions
School Age (6 to 11 years) Phase 4: Apprenticeship vs. Work Paralysis. Interpersonal Underlying Structure: Subject-The Interpersonal, Mutuality; Object-Needs, Interests, wishes
Adolescence (12 to 18 years) Phase 5: Identity vs. Identity Confusion. Institutional Underlying Structure: Subject Authorship, Identity, Physic Administration, Idealology; Object-The Interpersonal, Mutuality
22


Together these two frameworks help to illustrate how one develops an individual
sense of value, an identity within a local social context, and a viewpoint of self as
one part of a larger global system.
Psychosocial Development in the Physical World
A persons identity is not to be found in behaviour nor-important though this is-in the reactions
of others, but in the capacity to keep a particular narrative going.
- Anthony Giddens (1991, p.54)
Early Development
Even before birth, the central nervous system is coordinating the activity
of other biological systems that make our lives possible, and monitoring the
outside environment and responding. This biological system is a seat of activity,
with the ability to send impulses to any number of muscle groups in an effort to
carry out the activities of daily living. Aside from the involuntary acts necessary
to sustain life (respiratory functions, etc.), the central nervous system responds to
commands from our brains to carry out any number of activities. Simply
mimicking a gesture in response to a similar gesture (think of someone who has
never experienced the waving of a hand in greeting) begins as a simple biological
act but, over time, becomes more of a referential symbol as meaning is attached to
the gesture (Mead, 1934).
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It is in this early segment of existence when young people begin to assign
meaning to the world around them (Erikson, 1968). Kegan (1982) describes this
phase of development as me centered, or first-order conscious ability. It is a time
where children are primarily concerned with having their immediate needs met-
they are embedded in their perceptions-but, at the same time, are developing the
deliberate, independent movements that are the foundation of personal gestures
(Dewey, 1922/2002). This early preoccupation with self is when our fundamental
habits are formed. It is also a period of self-exploration in the development of
autonomy from ones family structure through early communication (Dewey,
1922/2002).
Vygotsky (1978) stresses the importance of language as a mediator: The
most significant moment in the course of intellectual development, which gives
birth to the purely human forms of practical and abstract intelligence, occurs
when speech and practical activity, two previously independent lines of
development, converge (p. 24). With language comes the intelligence to weigh
problems of present behavior with future consequences, involving both memory
and foresight (Mead, 1934). Others note the progression to higher levels of
consciousness:
With the acquisition of language and symbolic play, mental imagery, etc.,
that is, the formation of the symbolic function (or, in a general sense, the
semiotic function), actions are interiorized and become representations;
24


this supposes a reconstruction and reorganization on the new plane of
representative thought. (Piaget, 2008, p. 41)
Through the use of language and meaning, the healthy toddler will develop
gradual autonomy from his or her parents. Because this weaning typically
happens at an early age (and is self-directed), an interruption in this process (or
entering this phase prematurely) might cause long-term effects in the formation of
a healthy sense of self-worth. This time period is described as a movement from
the child as the center of his own universe (subject) to one of being an object or a
player in a larger production such as a pre-school class, children on a playground,
or one member of a larger family (Kegan, 1982).
Cultural and contextual association. All of us are birthed into some
cultural association (Hogg, Terry, & White, 1995). These associations have a
defined set of accepted behaviors and actions that create the defining
characteristics of the group (Dewey, 1922/2002). Bourdieu calls this our habitus:
the environmental conditions under which one exists, including rules, behaviors,
and social customs. While our habitus does not constrain us to a pre-determined
set of actions, it organizes the way we see the world (Bourdieu, 1977). Through
the process of feedback and self-verification, our individual identity can be
compared to the normative behaviors of the group. Stryker, Owens, and White
(2000) assert that identity consists of the ready-made set of endowments and
identifications that every individual shares with others from the moment of birth
25


by the chance of the family into which he is bom at that given time in a given
place (pp. 22-23). While being birthed into a particular family is a context that
cannot be chosen, normal psychosocial maturation includes the desire to choose
ones friends and social contexts (even at a young age). These contexts are often
desired because they exemplify an identity or association that is highly favored
and one for which the individual can envision being part (F. Smith, 1998). When
we choose these environments, it is as if we can see ourselves as participants.
Holland et al. (1998) consider this type of environment a figured world:
Figured worlds rest upon peoples abilities to form and be formed in
collectively realized as if realms. What if bundles of banana leaves
were so important that older women spent much time and energy
assembling them? What if there were a world called academia where
books were so significant that people would sit for hours on end, away
from friends and family, writing them? People have the propensity to be
drawn to, recruited for, and formed in these worlds, and to become active
in and passionate about them. Peoples identities and agency are formed
dialectically and dialogically in these as if worlds, (p. 49)
Figured worlds create a context where an individuals identity plays a dual role as
being personally subjective while acting as an agent in a larger, figured
environment, receiving self-verification from other members of the group. Self-
verification is constantly in motion, and our self-value is highly impacted by (a)
26


the amount of feedback we receive from others and (b) the value placed on the
source of the feedback (Burke, 1991). When this support is lacking or has been
abruptly discontinued (for example, through the death of a person whose feedback
to which we attach value), the resulting negative feelings can be one of the
primary markers of depression (Tafarodi & Swann, Jr., 1995). Our self-
verification is constantly in motion, and research proposes that, over time, our
self-perception actually changes to align with the feedback we receive (Burke,
2006).
Once we mature and move away from this environment, other figured
worlds may challenge this initial identity, giving us opportunities to develop
additional social and role-based personas. This situational nature introduces the
notion of a portable context, which will be important in the migration from a
physical to a virtual space. Gee (2007a) also embraces the idea of interplay
between the subject and environment by describing his theory of semiotic
domains as design spaces that manipulate us in certain ways and that we can
manipulate in certain ways (p. 36). This interactivity suggests that we can affect
our environment as well as be affected by it.
Adolescence
It should be no surprise that adolescence is typically viewed as a time of
turmoil, particularly if the phases leading up to it have been less than ideal.
Erikson (1980) says this stage is the bridge between early childhood and later
27


stages, where social roles become increasingly coercive (p. 96. Parental support
and acceptance in this phase are highly significant in the development of healthy
self-regard (Tafarodi & Swann, Jr., 1995). Typical characteristics of this phase are
Task identification vs. sense of futility;
Anticipation of roles vs. role inhibition;
Will to be oneself vs. self-doubt; and
Mutual recognition vs. autistic isolation. (Erikson, 1968, p. 94)
This phase is also marked by trying on roles-what Erikson (1956) calls the
moratorium phaseone of role experimentation without regard to consequence.
Recall an entire generation of American baby-boomers reaching this phase in the
late 1960s. As the discussion moves to virtual identity, being able to anonymously
experiment with roles without regard to consequence represents a significant
opportunity to revisit adolescence. Objectively, Kegan (1982) calls adolescence a
time of mutuality, becoming a member of a community and respecting a common
set of values (choosing a habitus as opposed to being birthed into one). Piaget
also notes this mutuality:
From the social point of view, there is also an important conquest. Firstly,
hypothetical reasoning changes the nature of discussions: a fruitful and
constructive discussion means that by using hypotheses we can adopt the
point of view of the adversary (although not necessarily believing it) and
draw the logical consequences it implies. (Piaget, 2008, p. 42)
28


Young Adulthood
Becoming an adult assumes that an individual has the capacity for
psychosocial intimacy with another. This level of maturity requires a firm sense
of identity, where the ratio of masculinity and femininity is proportional to the
identity being developed (Erikson, 1980). He states, The youth who is not sure of
his identity shies away from interpersonal intimacy; but the surer he becomes of
himself, the more he seeks it in the form of friendship, combat, leadership, love
and inspiration (p. 101). This assessment echoes Kegans (1982) view of
subjective self-identity as giving way to objective participation in an intimate
relationship and a movement to third-order processes. He asserts, Growth always
involves a process of differentiation, of emergence from embeddedness (Kegan,
1982, p. 31). By this stage of life, Kegan assumes an individual can compromise
to gain agreement, can exist successfully in close relationships with others, and
can execute the reciprocity necessary to make that collaboration happen. At the
same time, it is important to acknowledge what Kegan assumes an individual who
dwells in a third-order consciousness cannot do: consistently see the larger picture
from a theoretical viewpoint, maintain a balance between interpersonal
relationships and those that are impersonal (relationships between relationships),
and separate oneself as a psychological entity distinct from ones relationships.
This ability to separate oneself is equally important in virtual interpersonal
29


relationships, where crafting an avatar persona that is highly favorable may cause
participants to remain more embedded in their persona than in the physical world.
Middle Adulthood
According to Erikson (1968), in this phase, individuals concern
themselves with raising a family. Where this focus is not possible, there can be
regression and an obsessive need for pseudo-intimacy, often with a sense of
stagnation, boredom, and personal impoverishment, where individuals indulge
themselves as if they were their own children (otherwise known as mid-life
crisis).
Interactions in this phase are usually channeled through the structures that
underlie social life (activities based on roles) and can offer an explanation of the
choices people might make in situations where they have the possibility of
enacting alternative role-related actions (Stryker, 2007). These structured
interactions (according to Stryker) are able to impact personal identity and
meaning by providing the same feedback and self-verification that began when
the individual first entered formal schooling. Stryker (2007, p. 1091) writes:
Commitment impacts identity salience and psychological centrality, and these
impact role-choice behavior. Regarding the resources one brings to this
interaction, Stets and Cast (2007, p. 518) state, The value of the resources (in
interaction) lies in what an actor who controls the resource can gain from
30


exchanging it and what an actor who receives it can benefit from it. They go on
to say:
the verification of ones identity is an important dynamic in interaction,
and those who feel good and competent about themselves will be more
likely to achieve verification because they will continue their efforts to
work toward this goal even when they periodically fail. (p. 520)
Kegan (1982) calls the maturation process a time of rebalancing, with the roles of
subject and object recast with each revision. He says, I am not my perceptions;
rather I have perceptions; my perceptions become the object of my attention,
coordinated by what is the new subject of my attention (p. 32). Virtual worlds
can become an experimental playground for those who have the opportunity to
enact what Stryker (2007) calls role-related actions. For a musician, this
opportunity can mean living the lifestyle of a young rock star, even if there is no
physical-world counterpart.
Maturity (After Age 65)
This final phase is where people have (typically) matured into an
acceptance of their place and role in society. It is a time of ideological
commitment versus the confusion of values where one despairs because there is
not enough time to start over with a new frame of life (Erikson, 1980). Kegan
(1982) sees this time of life as a move to fourth-order consciousness (and even
beyond), where the individual moves from a sense of embeddedness to a sense of
31


balance, authoring a new sense of self, self-dependence, and self-ownership.
Events may happen, but they do not define the individual. It is a degree of
separation from the internalization for earlier orders of consciousness. While
virtual worlds can provide a participant with something akin to a new start,
virtual maturation includes equilibrium between both the physical and virtual
identities.
Crafting a Virtual Identity
A MUD (multi user domain) can become a context for discovering who one is and
wishes to be. In this way, the games are laboratories for the construction of identity.
- Sherry Turkle (1995, p. 184)
This study explored the crafting of a virtual lifestyle and the ability to
mature from a subject to an object orientation, following much of the same
progression as in the physical world. For example, while we possess a cultural
footprint of our collective physical memories and experiences that migrate into
virtual worlds with us, we still have to master the tools of the new environment in
order to mature. Just as in Eriksons (1968) description of physical psychosocial
development, virtual identity begins by observing and mimicking others dress,
animations, and language. The goal is to look like an insider as quickly as
possible in order to be able to better assimilate into various interest groups,
moving the newcomer from a point of periphery to full participation by mastering
32


the skills and knowledge necessary to become a fully functioning member (Lave
& Wenger, 1991). With the ability to remain anonymous, any number of roles can
be experimented with, each with the capacity to become a highly favored identity.
The more highly favored the identity, the more likely we are to remain embedded
in that persona. How much physical and virtual identities differ can lead to
identity conflict and confusion, with the need to find the point of balance between
the two (Burke, 2006).
Unlike physical identity that normally takes years to develop, a virtual
persona can be established quickly. By having a cultural footprint as a point of
reference, we can create virtual identities that are iterations of our physical selves.
These iterative shifts can be accomplished in much less time than our physical
identity because of the sense of time/space compression in virtual spaces
(Boellstorff, 2008). Virtual spaces demand interaction (keystrokes to remain
active) regardless of our role; this persistent immersion contributes to the sense of
compression. This interaction with the environment also creates a feedback
system that is purposely built into games; we know immediately if our keystrokes
have had an effect (McGonigal, 2011).
In both the physical and virtual identities, as we mature in a particular
identity, we become less focused on ourselves as the center of our own existence
(subject orientation) in favor of our place as one part of a larger community
(object orientation). Over time, equilibrium is reached between (or among)
33


identities, with positive aspects of all identities becoming part of a permanent
persona. This equilibrium assumes there is a salience (agreement) among
personality traits (Burke, 2006). When there is conflict among traits, an identity
crisis occurs, requiring further negotiation among identities to attain salience.
With the ability to remain anonymous (if that is ones choice) and create
any number of alternate identities, building an individual and social sense of self
in a virtual space can initiate a period of self-discovery, risk-taking, and playful
enjoyment that is different from ordinary life (Turkle, 1997). Research by Nardi
(1996) into human-computer interaction reveals the following:
First, there is a shift of focus between the user and the computer to a larger
context of interaction of human beings with their environment, that is,
transcending the user interface to reality beyond the human-computer
system. The user begins as a novice and often ends up an expert. The
current meaning of the word user now includes not only individuals but
also groups and organizations, (p. 47)
A virtual environment such as Second Life can be considered a figured world, a
socially and culturally constructed realm of interpretation in which particular
characters and actors are recognized, significance is assigned to certain acts, and
particular outcomes are valued over others (Holland et al., 2008, p. 101). Who
we become in a virtual world, however, is still influenced by the traditions, habits,
and values we bring from our real world. Sense making must rely on peoples
34


prior knowledge, much of which is provided by culture (Hatano & Wertsch,
2001, p. 80). A digital culture is like every culture, constructed according to
norms, rules, and traditions (Comeliussen & Walker Rettberg, 2008, p. 3). As a
virtual social network (as opposed to a game), Second Life fosters the iterative
development of any number of roles, each with the possibility of a unique persona
participating in any number of social situations.
Self Consciousness
The fundamental, critical, absolutely core point of virtual worlds such as those found in multi-
player online games is the development of the players identity.
- Richard Bartle
The ability to craft a virtual self began with text-based chat rooms and
later occurred in Multi-User Domains (MUDS), which relied on the ability of the
participant to provide a textural rich description of his or her alter-persona
(Turkle, 1999). In describing these early arenas for identity experimentation,
Turkle (1995) stated, On MUDs ones body is represented by ones own
textural description, so the obese can be slender, the beautiful plain, the nerdy
sophisticated (p. 12).
Once graphically rich, multi-user environments such as Everquest, World
of Warcraft, and Second Life emerged, this textural dependence was aided by the
ability to visually display any number of alternate identities and actions,
sometimes simultaneously. Turkle (1997) described this multiplicity as a
35


recasting in terms of multiple windows and parallel lives, and a method for an
iterative intimacy with any number of alternate identities (p. 72). In Second Life,
for example, participants have a large amount of latitude in everything from their
name to the appearance of their avatar. In some ways, it is a do over for people
who see their online persona as virtually there (Boellstorff, 2008).
The name one chooses for ones avatar is paramount in creating a first
impression, causing participants to think as carefully about their name as they do
their appearance. Once a name is assigned to a particular avatar, it cannot be
changed. If participants are not happy with their appearance in the physical world,
a virtual world is the place where they can eliminate any physical flaws they
consider barriers in real life. Moreover, this physical appearance can be altered at
any time. This new look can be saved as a file, and completely alternate personas
(even non-human) can be swapped like clothing (Turkle, 1995). MacCallum-
Stewart and Parsler (2008) offer, Avatar appearance is one of the only ways a
player can lastingly affect their environment, and is an obvious representation of
self in the game (p. 230). The more rich the media experience, the greater the
ability to create a social presence through clothing, jewelry, hair, and other body
accouterments (Nardi, 2005). This social presence can be repeated in any number
of alternate personae, each with its own circle of relationships. It is what Gergen
(1991) considers social saturation. While not discussing virtual worlds
specifically, Gergen asserts:
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The technological achievements of the past century have produced a
radical shift in our exposure to each other. As a result of advances in radio,
telephone, transportation, television, satellite transmission, computers and
more, we are exposed to an enormous barrage of social stimulation. Small
and enduring communities, with a limited cast of significant others, are
being replaced by a vast and ever-expanding array of relationships, (p. ix)
Virtual identity, then, is an exercise in negotiating the diverse demands of
multiple, separate roles (both physical and virtual) that may or may not be in
agreement with one another (Turkle, 1995). The acquisition of multiple role-
related personas (some of which might be disparate from one another) and the
negotiation of values related to each identity are the preliminary effects of social
saturation. Identity is in constant negotiation, and as we mature, we become (both
in the physical world and in the virtual world) who we believe we are based on
our ability to perpetuate any particular narrative (for example, a performing
musician). Quite possibly, this negotiated agreement among identities is causing
us not to choose between a physical or a virtual life, but a life that is somehow a
mash-up of combined identities (Turkle, 2011). F. Smith (1998) states, The way
we see ourselves is at the core of it all... all learning pivots on who we think we
are, and who we see ourselves as capable of becoming (p. 11). These notions of
self, particularly in a virtual world, shape ideas of agency, desire, and
37


possession, and have enormous consequences for that it means to be virtually
human (Boellstorff, 2008, p. 118). Boudreau (2008) builds on that thought:
By adding the complication of the avatar, through which all interactions in
MMOGs [massively multiplayer online games] occur, the question of
whos identity we are talking about becomes blurred as player and avatar
serve each other in the process of creating identity, (p. 86)
Role Development
Innovative ideas and behavior are often seen as deviant until they change society. One
innovation that is currently seen as sufficiently deviant to invite a diagnosis and a treatment is
computer gaming. ...the media brand gamers as addicts in need of treatment, antisocial deviants.
- Torill Elvira Mortensen (2008, p.202)
The notion of an alternative, fantasy existence has existed for centuries.
Bakhtin (1968/1984) writes about medieval folk humor in the context of
camivale, the celebration that openly parodies the daily rule of the Church during
the Middle Ages: Thus camivale is the peoples second life, organized on the
basis of laughter. It is a festive life (p. 8). The festivity associated with camivale
is based on the imagery, language, and mimicry that is part of the sanctioned
behavior required for participation in this ritual. It is not surprising, then, that we
might associate an alternative persona as pleasurable, imaginative, and even
playful.
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Role development is often situation-dependent and is compared to similar
roles within a particular community. For example, a role-based identity as a
mother makes assumptions about how the identity of a mother should be defined
based on local culture. Add wife, daughter, and doctor to the role of mother, and a
composite portrait emerges regarding the identity attributes someone might have
in performing, often simultaneously, those roles.
In contrast, virtual spaces enable greater self-fashioning of identity due to
their separation from physical life. In a virtual world, one might parody the role of
a real-life doctor but have none of the risk associated with that real-life role
similar to an actor in a movie. It is within this space between the real and the
virtual where one is free to play the role in any way one defines (Boellstorff,
2008). This role parody depends on interaction and a feedback system to
determine if (a) the role an acceptable parody, and (b) the identity we craft in the
portrayal of this role one we find favorable. These determinations are based on the
exchanges that occur as we interact with others (Stets & Cast, 2007).
Role-based identity is more than simply a social exchange. Interactions
establish hierarchy, what roles might have more power than others, and which
roles represent producers as opposed to consumers. A well-portrayed role can
establish social standing in a community as well obtain romantic or economic
gain (Bourdieu & Thompson, 1991). Mortenson (2008) says, The real value in
39


multiplayer games is your reputation. Reputation is spread virally through social
interaction, but it has few visual or other more explicit expressions (p. 216).
In her auto-ethnography, Boudreau (2008, p. 81) explains:
As a young player... I never quite fully understood the avatar/avatar
dynamic. It was only as I started to group with other players regularly that
I understood how important my physical understanding of the game space
and the other active avatars in it were.
This situated learning assumes that social practice is primary and that learning is a
characteristic of that practice. Boudreau writes, Far from being fixed internally
in the player, these identities are interwoven though internal and external
interactions, creating perceptions and performances of play that emerge as
complex negotiated selves, interacting between spaces in the self and the social
(p. iii).
Participants enter synthetic spaces to engage in social interaction because
people have a fundamental need to connect with others (for pleasure as well as
gain). What motivates people to become residents has been separated into four
main personality types (see Table 4).
A
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Table 4
Bartles Motivational Types (abbreviated from Castronova, 2005, p. 72)
Type Motivation

Explorers People who come to see what is there and map it for others. They are happiest with challenges that involve the gradual revelation of the world.
Socializes People who come to be with others. They are happiest with challenges that involve forming groups with others to accomplish shared objectives.
Achievers People who come to build. They are happiest with challenges that involve the gradual accumulation of things worthy of social respect.
Controllers People who come to dominate other people. They are happiest with challenges that involve competing with others and defeating them.
People who are not satisfied with their real life might find a second,
synthetic life more attractive (Castronova, 2005). Those individuals who have
tested a synthetic life as one role (or one motivational type) might find another
life more fulfilling. As a result, many virtual world participants have a real-life
identity as well as several alternative virtual identities, known as alts, each with
its own avatar. This creates an iterative interplay between individuals and all of
their alternative personas, with each persona participating in any number of social
41


interactions. While he is not addressing synthetic identities, Bakhtin (1975/1981)
considers the self-fashioning of active identities a repetitive (iterative) outcome
for the effect of the collective on the individual. These virtual identities are just as
subject to salience as any other role-based identity, enabling a member to travel in
and among several collectives, now seeking self-verification or social standing
from any number of interactions in something of a salience hierarchy, with
identities higher in the hierarchy more likely to be invoked in a particular
situation (Stryker et al., 2000). Turkle (1999) agrees, describing Cyberspace as a
place where some people can act-out unresolved conflicts, to play and replay
characterological difficulties on a new and exotic stage (p. 644).
Maturation
If we consider the term modernity descriptive of the current cultural environment in
which we live, then the Internet age has created one Universal identity to which we all belong"
- Anthony Giddens
If we reconsider the suggestion by Stryker and Burke (2000) that people
become members of a particular group because of a common identity and shared
belief system that makes collective action possible, then membership in a virtual
community enables people from every comer of the Earth to be part of a
collective group, even if they have never met. Giddens (1991, p. 22) talks about
the emergence of communities that are boundary-absent: No one can opt-out of
the transformations brought about by modernity ... the connecting of the local
42


and global has been tied to a profound set of transmutations in the nature of day-
to-day life. These transmutations can be anything from constant monitoring of
text messages, email, and social media on a smart phone to significant amounts of
time spent in virtual environments. These technology-driven mutations alter our
sense of self, both individually and socially, in a constantly changing world
(Gergen, 1991). In her research about online and offline identity, Turkle (2011)
writes about one of her married subjects who also had a relationship with
someone in a virtual world. The subject explains, The life mix is the mash-up of
what you have on-and offline (Turkle, 2011, p. 160) Turkle concludes, Now,
we ask not of our satisfactions in life but our life mix. We have moved from
multitasking to multi-lifing (2011, p. 160).
The dynamic nature of the virtual world can create a profound sense of
inadequacy for those people who either do not have access to the technology
necessary to become part of this global collective or for those people who cannot
stay current on the latest social media trends. Within Second Life, there is not
only a minimum hardware requirement in order to participate, but there is also a
learning curve once someone enters the environment in order to become self-
sufficient enough to interact with others. Erikson (1968) would consider this
social phase part of the maturation process, where one accepts his or her place as
part of a larger group. Once someone has entered the virtual environment,
inadequacy shifts to being part of the global collective to becoming an identified
43


member of a community. Stets and Burke (2000) identify this membership as the
acceptance of a defined role:
Having a particular social identity means being at one with a certain
group, being like others in the group, and seeing things from the groups
perspective. In contrast, having a particular role identity means acting to
fulfill the expectations of the role, coordinating and negotiating
interactions with role partners, and manipulating the environment to
control the resources for which the role has responsibility, (p. 226)
In his research on social identity, Stryker (2007) suggests that people become
members of a particular group because of a common identity and a shared belief
system that makes collective action possible. It is through repeated activities
within a group that personal, role-based identity matures and that collective
identity is strengthened. It is by these symbolic social interactions that society and
self are conceptualized, group social behavior is structured and governed, and
personal identity is shaped in favor of the group standard (Barreto & Ellemers,
2002; Stryker, 2007). As a community, the group assumes an identity not as an
entity, but as a continually evolving image in the mind of each of its participants
(Holland et al., 2008). In their research about legitimate peripheral participation as
a method of situated learning, Lave and Wenger (1991) state that learning
involves the construction of identities and is not merely a condition for
membership, but is itself a form of membership (p. 53). They conceive of
44


identities as long-term, living relations between persons and their place and
participation in communities of practice. Thus identity, knowing, and social
membership entail one another (p. 53).
Summarizing the discussion to this point, the crafting of a virtual identity
is largely situation (context) specific, following many of the same phases as
Eriksons theory of psychosocial development, given the cultural footprint
developed over time in the physical world. The ability to remain anonymous and
customize our digital appearance can open the door to experimentation with any
number of roles based on our interpretation of how the role should be negotiated.
How well we negotiate or parody a particular role is highly influenced by the
affirmative feedback given to us by others. This feedback will either motivate us
to mature in a particular role or to adopt a different role as part of an iterative
identity process. The successful interplay of identity traits between physical and
virtual personalities is determined by salience: how much the traits complement,
rather than compete, with each other.
Interaction is the foundation of virtual-world participation. Membership in
a community, the motivation to assume one identity over another, and the
affirmation of ones crafted identity are all part of the constant demand for
communication that maintains a state of excitement and activation which
promotes the exchange of information in a graphically rich environment. This
immersion enables a sense of presence not known in earlier virtual spaces (Nardi,
45


2005). This persistent banter among participants creates a sense of community
that transcends the computer, making hardware nothing more than a portal to
another existence. This alternate identity can be one or many, with the ability to
cycle through identities at will. Turkle (1997) suggests that these multiple
identities contain lifelike properties that we craft into multiple definitions of life
(p. 82).
Autonomy
Starting a new character is like backspacing over your identity mistakes and retyping
them a different way. Its only possible in virtual worlds
- Richard Bartle (2004, p. 174)
Autonomy enables us to create avatar identities that can enter what
Erikson (1968) called the moratorium phase. Turkle (1999) describes this phase
not as a hold on significant experiences but, rather, their consequences:
It is a time during which ones actions are, in a certain sense, not counted
as they will be later in life. They are not given as much weight, not given
the full force of judgment. In this context, experimentation can become the
norm rather than a brave departure. Relatively consequence-free
experimentation facilitates the development of a core self, a personal
sense of what gives life meaning that Erikson called identity, (p. 644)
When this core self aligns with a group affiliation, it can foster the willingness to
take behavioral risks; these behaviors are more likely to occur when the
46


participant can remain anonymous (J. R. Smith, Terry, & Hogg, 2007). In theory,
if someone assumes a risk-taking identity in a virtual world, it is possible the
identity (or the desire for the identity) was already present but there was no
suitable social network in real life to attach it to in order for it to develop into a
role. Stryker (2007) asserts, Identity theorys fundamental proposition
hypothesizes that the choice between or among behaviors expressive of particular
roles will reflect the relative locations of the identities in the identity hierarchies
(p. 1092). Simply stated, the behaviors associated with a particular role reflect
how highly valued the role is in our personal hierarchy; if the role is highly valued
but has no other outlet, portraying that role within the anonymous context of a
virtual world enables the expression of that particular identity narrative with
minimal personal risk. Turkle (1997) quotes the risk-taking behaviors of one of
her subjects named Doug:
Id rather not even talk about that character because its anonymity is very
important to me. Lets just say that on FurryMUDs [where all players are
represented as furry animal as opposed to human personas] feel like a
sexual tourist, (p. 74)
Turkle admits to her own exploration in MUDs by creating avatars of various
roles and genders that are able to have social and sexual encounters with other
characters (some of my virtual gender, others not of my virtual gender) (p. 75).
47


Interestingly, many performing musicians choose not to be anonymous;
they use Second Life to market themselves and their real-life music efforts. When
this is the case, it is not unusual for the performer to have a real-life picture as part
of their avatar profile, as a prop during performances, and even as click-through
signage that will allow a fan to open a browser window to the artists real-life
website in order to purchase music. What remains to be determined is if this
transparency is attributable to a highly favored virtual identity that has migrated
into physical life.
Not all autonomy is driven by the desire to escape consequences. The
affordances of virtual environments also enable a leveling of the playing field
when real-life identity is seen as a barrier. Gender, race, and physical limitations
can be all but visually erased in a virtual space, making the use of such
environments beneficial for education (Dickey, 2003).
Intimacy
I show that Second Life culture is profoundly human. It is not only that virtual worlds borrow
assumptions from real life; virtual worlds show us how, under our very noses, our real lives
have been virtual all along.
Tom Boellstorff (2008, p. 5)
It is little wonder how an environment that enables visual perfection, the
crafting of any number of identities and the ability to experiment with minimal
risk, would also be a place where interactions may lead to intimacy. Just as
48


physical humans can fall in love, marry, and fall out of love, those people who are
virtually there can participate in the same activities with very low barriers to entry
and exit. Intimacy is a significant economic driver in Second Life, with products
and services that cater to virtual weddings, sexual animations, and sensual
clothing accounting for a large portion of Second Life transactions. Just as in the
physical world, virtual-world intimacy begins with a connection. The dimensions
of connection show that affinity, commitment, and attention are key factors in
social bonding. Affinity is comprised of
Touch;
Eating and drinking (together);
Sharing experience in a common space; and
Informal conversation. (Nardi, 2005, p. 99)
In a 3D environment, these factors become virtually possible. The ability to
commit to a mutual relationship with another exists not only in continued virtual
presence, but also in a virtual-world developers ability to formalize partnerships,
just as someone would marry in real life (Boellstorff, 2008). Attention
affordances in virtual environments may include avatar eye contact, animated
actions, or negotiated availability between participants. For someone in music
arts, who Huizinga (1970) says is predisposed to play anyway, this bonding is
forged by the need for a performer to bask in the adulation of fans:
49


From another angle, of course, we might say that the play-element in art
has been fortified by the very fact that the artist is held to be above the
common run of mortals. As a superior being he claims a certain about of
veneration as his due, in order to savor his superiority to the full he will
require a reverential public or circle of kindred spirits, who will pour forth
the requisite veneration more understanding^ that the public at large with
its empty phrases, (p. 229)
Technological tools have increased the proliferation of relationships that
can be maintained at any one time, and while the past is preserved, continuously
poised to insert itself into the present there is an acceleration of the future. The
pace of relationships is hurried, and processes of unfolding that one required
months or years may be accomplished in days or weeks (Gergen, 1991, p. 62).
Moreover, the nature of these new relationships is being constantly disrupted,
making it more difficult for any given relationship to normalize due to the cast of
significant others that is constantly in motion. The ability for autonomy creates a
condition where people who have a need to belong can enter a virtual space and
find affiliations they are unable to find in real life (Stryker et al., 2000).
Autonomy can also enable participants to talk more truthfully about real-life
conditions, forming deep relationships that are situational in nature (Adler &
Adler, 2008). Lest one believe that online intimacy is acceptable only to twenty-
somethings, Yee (2006) has reported that the average age of computer and video
50


game players is 30, that women are typically older than the men they interact
with, and that, while their motivations for a virtual presence may differ from men
(building supportive social networks or escape from real-life stress), they find the
same appeal and emotional satisfaction from online environments as men.
Armed with the understanding that interaction is essential to virtual-world
residency; that intimacy may be easier to attain than in the physical world; and
that autonomy can encourage participants to form deep, situational relationships
in a compressed timeframe, it is little wonder why Second Life has over 12
million residents, with the highest average time spent by residents per week (760
minutes: almost 13 hours) of the major MMORPG environments (Srinivasan,
2009). This amount of time per week, in constant interaction, can cause a
participant to move from new user to mature member in a very short time. The
level of participation necessary for this transition can certainly be accomplished in
this amount of time and creates an increasing relational interdependency of agent
(participant) and environment with the constant situated renegotiation of meaning
within the space (Lave & Wenger, 1991). It is little wonder why these
environments are immersive: they are designed that way.
51


Posthumanism
In the posthuman, there are no essential differences or absolute demarcations between
bodily existence and computer simulation, cybernetic mechanism and biological organism, robot
teleology and human goals. "
- N. Catherine Hayles (1999, p. 3)
Posthumanism, which has its roots in theories such as cybernetics,
information theory, and cognitive thought, centers on how information (such as
identity or cultural markers) lost its body, that is, how it came to be
conceptualized as an entity separate from the material forms in which it is thought
to be embedded (Hayles, 1999, p. 2). Hayles also explains, The posthuman
view thinks of the body as the original prosthesis we all learn to manipulate, so
that extending or replacing the body with other prostheses becomes a continuation
of a process that began long before we were bom (p. 3). If we can consider view
to be hue, then occupying an avatar as our prosthetic representation is a mutation
of choice. Some might consider this dual existence to be a hallmark of
posthumanism. It is not to be confused with embeddedness or immersion; the
latter describe the level to which we identify with an alternate existence.
Posthumanism is the separation of who we are from the body or environment in
which we live, not necessarily the adoption of a new identity.
The work of researchers such as James Clifford can help make sense of
questions about posthumanism and virtual identity, particularly with respect to
52


what causes a person to choose one type of identity over another. After looking
more closely at Cliffords work with indigenous populations who faced extinction
as the modem world threatened their culture (causing them to adapt to a mobile
identity), it is possible that the choice of a virtual identity might be the product of
a voice (identity) that is subaltern, looking to emerge and adapt within a
community of like-minded members (Clifford, 2003b). This portable voice is an
example of posthumanism, an existing identity that is looking for a new
environment. Clifford (2003a) states, Any communitys ability to persist, to
innovate, to change its own terms, is relative to its structural power (p. 153). In a
virtual space, the community is constantly in a state of flux as people bring their
own cultural footprint in and out of the community at will. These community
dynamics may begin as posthuman effects, but over time, new identities are
developed to meet the expectations of the group. As this migration from the
physical to the virtual (and back) increases and we hold our synthetic lives to be
as important as our real lives, the value we place on the status and good we attain
in our synthetic life will take on the same value as if they were real. This
migration is where the postmodern thought becomes manifest because a new,
iterative identity has been crafted. Synthetic worlds are becoming a legitimate,
immersive, and alternate life for millions of people, and that number is expected
to increase, making our computers an object on the border between the self and
not-self (Turkle, 1995, p. 30).
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With regard to subject-object orientation and the work of Kegan (1994),
posthumanism sets the stage for us seeing ourselves outside our body or
environment. It creates a sense of separation that enables us to see ourselves as
something other than entirely physical and able to adopt a machine (our
computer) as a body simulation:
The posthuman implies not only a coupling with intelligent machines but a
coupling so intense and multifaceted that it is no longer possible to
distinguish meaningfully between the biological organism and the
information circuits in which the organism is enmeshed. (Hayles, 1999, p.
35)
This coupling alone may not cause a shift from a subject to an object orientation,
but it causes us to rethink what we consider a body and opens the possibility for
an avatar representation to hold the same value and to be as real) as our physical
self. This association suggests an ideal of abstract citizenship where it is
necessary to look for new places to inhabit once we have morphed as humans past
the ability of our current environment, or physical body, to contain us. In this
respect, we can consider these new places to inhabit as figured worlds, each with
their own socio-cultural norms (Foster, 2005).
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Embeddedness (Immersion) and Play
From an economic perspective, it is the interest of an MMORPGs [Massively Multiplayer Online
Roleplay Game] producers that their game be as addictive as cigarettes.
- Scott Rettberg (2008, p.22)
As participants assign more meaning and value to their synthetic lives,
they amass the material possessions (as symbols) that their particular class status
views as necessary. This accumulation of cultural artifacts or symbols is essential
to the process of meaning-making (Holland et al., 2008, p. 118). These artifacts
can be anything from weapons of warfare to homes and beachfront land. Houses
in virtual spaces can have all the trappings of a real (and possibly better) life:
pools, cars, designer furniture, and art (Castronova, 2005). Bartle (2004) states,
Its about identity. When player and character merge to become a persona, thats
immersion; thats what people get from virtual worlds that they cant get from
anywhere else; thats when they stop playing the world and start living it (p. 19).
This assigned value and meaning can understandably lead to embeddedness or
immersion in the virtual identity and lifestyle one has created, particularly if it is
more pleasurable than real life. Eriksons Moratorium phase of experimentation
may suggest a lower order of consciousness with regard to embeddedness because
the ability to satiate ones desires anonymously is more subjective in its
orientation. Mature real/virtual living, however, requires one to eventually be able
to separate the avatar from the person and to see oneself as a contributing member
55


of a larger community. This separation aligns with what Kegan describes as the
elevation to a fourth-order consciousness:
The ability to thus subordinate, regulate, and indeed create (rather than be
created by) our values and idealsthe ability to take those values and
ideals as the object rather then the subject of our knowingmust
necessarily be an expression of a fourth order of consciousness, evinced
here in the mental making of an ideology or explicit system of belief.
(Kegan, 1994, p. 91)
The fourth order of consciousness assumes someone can engage in conflict
without taking it personally, can separate performance from the person, and is less
concerned with the act than they are with the perceptions the act evokes in the
souls of others. It is a time of rising above the petty, a process of maturation into
something more of a sage than a student. This separation makes for a balanced,
peaceful life, but it may not be enough to successfully navigate a virtual
existence. This juncture is where Kegan (1982) suggests a higher, fifth order of
consciousness. At this level, there is a separation of the self from the institution,
which frees the self from that displacement of value whereby the
maintenance of the institution has become the end in itself; there is now a
self who runs the organization, where before there was a self who was the
organization. The self is no longer subject to the societal, (pp. 103-104)
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Simply put, this self-government enables individuals to completely separate their
real existence from the activities of their avatar. They have a relationship with
their avatars, but they are not their avatars. Their avatar has relationships, but they
are able to emotionally separate what happens in the virtual space from what
happens outside it.
This distance is a significant separation, as we will see as we move
forward. It raises the question of personal morals and values, and if the avatar is
bound by the same convictions as the individual:
Conflict and uncertainty are ultimate traits. But morals based upon
concern with facts and deriving guidance from knowledge of them would
at least locate the points of effective endeavor and would focus available
resources upon them. It would put an end to the possible attempt to live in
two unrelated worlds. It would destroy fixed distinction between the
human and the physical, as well as between the moral and the industrial
and political. (Dewey, 1922/2002, p. 12)
While object orientation seems to move us away from a sense of embeddedness
and to help us separate physical life from virtual life as we mature, the idea of
play seems to do just the opposite. When we play, we seem to become more
immersed. When we play, we are portraying a role we find pleasurable:
Why does the gambler lose himself in the game? This intensity of, and
absorption in, play finds no explanation in biological analysis. Yet this
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intensity, this absorption, this power of maddening, lies the very essence,
the primordial quality of play. (Huizinga, 1970, pp. 20-21)
Huizinga goes on to suggest that those in the arts (i.e., musicians) have a strong
play element as the very nature of their craft:
A certain playfulness is by no means lacking in the process of creating and
producing a work of art. This was obvious enough in the arts of the
muses or music arts, where a strong play-element may be called
fundamental, indeed essential to them. (p. 227)
The concepts of separation, embeddedness, and play are at the root of game
design, persuading users to become their persona in the game. At some point in
most games, participants will attain the skills necessary to master that game,
challenging game designers to continually develop more complex games in order
to keep players immersed. The most successful games are those that provide
positive emotion and four intrinsic rewards:
Satisfying work
The experience, or at least the hope, of being successful
Social connection
Meaning-the chance to be a part of something larger than ourselves.
(McGonigal, 2011, p. 49)
In researching childhood development, Vygotskys use of artifacts as
symbols (such as candy as treasure) revealed that children will ignore fatigue and
58


hunger for the sake of continuing play, stating They learn to detach themselves
from their reactions to their immediate surroundings, to enter a play worlda
conceptual world that differs from everydayand react to the imagined objects
and events of that world (Holland et al., 1998, p. 50). This level of immersion
indicates that play encourages an environment that causes us to lose track of time
and place. Play consists of a trans-individual process of action and reaction,
which often takes on a to-and-fro quality reminiscent of a dance (Rodriguez,
2006, p. 2). Nardi (2005) says, It seems likely that the more senses one engages
in an experience, the more intense it becomes (p. 106). From the vantage point of
game designers:
The key to immersion is persuasion. The more persuasive an environment
is, the easier it is to become immersed in it. The biggest weapon in the
designers armory of persuasion is familiarity. You might at an intellectual
level know youre in a virtual world, but if everything acts just like it
would in the real world then you gradually find yourself treating the world
as if it were real while knowing it isnt. Because you do know it isnt real,
you can still behave as an individual in ways that you wouldnt if you
were in the real world, yet because it feels real you can nevertheless
believe youre in it. When knowledge and belief coincide, thats
immersion. (Bartle, 2004, p. 67)
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As a game, Second Life enables users to build, purchase, or otherwise attain their
own artifacts, assigning their owfr meaning to them. This dynamic meaning-
making can create a prolonged sense of immersion because the game is never
mastered. New, more complex artifacts and actions are a natural progression as
one spends increasing time in the environment.
Play is the form of activity that proceeds in ignorance of any constitutive
condition other than a cultural and conventional design, drawing on the figured
world but taking the player beyond the immediate setting (Holland et al., 1998,
p. 236). Bakhtin (1968/1984), in his writing on the medieval ritual of Camivale,
writes that revelers built a second world and a second life outside of officialdom,
a world in which all medieval people participated more or less, in which they
lived during a given time of year (p. 6). There was a societal pass during
Camivale, enabling people to adopt roles that were outside their prescribed station
in life. Camivale was an immersion, not just an observation, subject to a
completely different set of laws: those of its own freedom.
This understanding of play and immersion offers an explanation for the
level of avatar embeddedness practiced by musicians and other creative
individuals who exert more passion and self into their virtual personae. These
people (as a subgroup of all Second Life participants) are passionate; their product
is an extension of their identity. Passionately held motives are at the core of
activity and immersion; needs, desires, interests, and emotion precede action
60


(Nardi, 2005). Virtual worlds encourage the imagery, the symbolism, and the
immersion necessary for immersive play and passionate engagement:
Risk-uncertain outcome with much at stake;
Support for spontaneity-freedom to create;
Novelty-environments beyond comfort zone;
Challenges that match skills-mastery of tools;
Community-support and affirmative feedback; and
Creative Action-action involves creating something new. (Hoffman,
Perillo, Calizo, Hadfield, & Lee, 2005, pp. 11-12)
Turkle (1999) looks at these passionately held motives in her assessment of
virtual play:
Cyberspace opens the possibility for identity play, but it is very serious
play. People who cultivate an awareness of what stands behind their
screen personae are the ones most likely to succeed in using virtual
experience for personal and social transformation. And the people who
make the most of their lives on the screen are those who are able to
approach it in a spirit of self-reflection. What does my behavior in
cyberspace tell me about what I want, who I am, what I may not be getting
in the rest of my life? (p. 647)
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Virtual and Physical Identity Interplay
When my own family members came to America from Italy, they were
immigrants. They understood they had a one-way ticket to the United States, and
in order to become a recognized member of the group that was titled American,
they had to renounce their allegiance to Italy. They might have been known as
Italian-Americans, but they were no longer Italian citizens. This immigration is
not what happens when individuals leave their real lives and log into their virtual
lives. Whatever the motivation to participate, there is a powerful effect of
synthetic roles on the self-development of the user, both inside and outside the
synthetic world (Castronova, 2005). Others share this view:
For some, this sense of a permeable border between actual-world and
virtual-world self was experienced in positive terms. Their online lives
could make their actual-world self more real, in that it could become
closer to what they understood to be their true selfhood, unencumbered by
social constraints or the particularities of physical embodiment. Common
in this regard was the view that virtual world experiences could lead to
greater self-confidence. (Boellstorff, 2008, p. 121)
This migration describes a back-and-forth cultural movement between spaces, an
iterative reconstruction where power and culture cause changes to take place with
each iteration (Clifford, 1997). Giddens (1991) calls it an emptying of time and
space that set processes in motion to establish a single world where none existed
62


previously (p. 27). More recently, this iterative interplay within virtual spaces
has been researched, documenting how the positive social aspects of a virtual
personality can migrate into the physical life of the participant through persistent
virtual interaction (Yee, 2007). Given the effects of constant interaction, time
spent in the environment, immersion, and the at-will migration between the
physical and the virtual, it is understandable-possibly unavoidable-for personality
traits to find equilibrium in the establishment of a permanent persona.
In contrast, Turkle (1995) writes about a subject who could not migrate
these attributes to his real life due to an illness that isolated him. Stewart (the
subjects pseudonym) lived an entirely different virtual life, compared to the
significantly dysfunctional real life to which he was a prisoner. Online, Stewart
lived a charming, romantic fantasy, marrying the love of his life in a ceremony
that included guests from several countries. The barriers to the migration of these
attributes into Stewarts real life (due to his living situation and illness) caused
Stewart to sum up his experience as an addicting waste of time (Turkle, 1995,
p. 196). It may well be that there are limits to successful migration based on real-
life circumstances. Often, disparate identities will shift slowly toward each other
by changing identity standards over time, finding an equilibrium point where all
identities can find meaning at the same time (Burke, 2006).
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Comparable Studies
In order to analyze data for alternative explanations and to test for
competing hypotheses, five comparable studies have been chosen. The
comparisons address virtual world design (Castronova, 2005), culture and identity
in other popular multiplayer games (Boudreau, 2008; Comeliussen & Rettberg,
2008), and The Protus Effecthow participants migrate positive social attributes
from virtual spaces to their identities in the physical world (Harris, Bailenson,
Neilsen, & Yee, 2009; Yee, 2007; Yee & Bailenson, 2007). These comparable
works contribute to a composite of virtual world identity with regard to life,
motivation, and interplay that will be essential for this study.
The first relevant study is Castronovas (2005) Synthetic Worlds: The
Business and Culture of Online Games. My book review of this study has recently
been published in the Journal of Learning, Media and Technology (Wise, 2009).
The book was something of a virtual worlds confidential study about how
lucrative virtual worlds are and the economic engines behind them, from
deliberate design by the games developers to the free-market economics and
social pressure that makes the buying and selling of goods and services just as
profitable in virtual life as in real life. Castronova states, The default and
unconscious assumption of the brain is that everything seen [on the computer] is
absolutely real (2005, p. 73). This realism is enhanced by the stimulus-response
that we create: Our stimulus affects the simultaneous response of someone who
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might be on the other side of the world. A synthetic world can be anything we
choose to make it because it is the domain of its participants. He suggests that
people who are unsatisfied, isolated, restless, bored, and discriminated against in
contemporary life may feel connected and accepted in a synthetic one. This
acceptance supports my hypothesis that we are motivated in a virtual world to act
out the identities that have not found salience in our real lives.
The second study I build on is that of Nick Yee. By the time Yee (2007)
wrote his dissertation, he had already been well published for what he has termed
the Proteus Effect (Yee & Bailenson, 2007). This process (similar to priming) is
where people develop avatar characteristics which they feel will give them social
advantage. The Proteus Effect assumes there is a larger behavioral change when
one interacts with others as an attractive avatar, as opposed to interacting with an
attractive avatar (Yee & Bailenson, 2009). Yees work experimented with relative
attractiveness and height as part of a mock dating site, where study individuals
were assigned avatars with faces that had been pretested for attractiveness.
(Confederates only saw avatars with attractive faces.) Regardless of what the
person behind the avatar looked like in real life, if the avatar was attractive and
tall, the person (as the avatar) began to exhibit the same social characteristics that
would be expected in real-life interactions. The participant became more assertive
and more aggressive in financial transactions. This result should not surprise
anyone who has experienced an anonymous virtual life. What is very surprising
65


however is Yees work proving that, once someone has interacted in these
expected ways as an avatar, the behaviors migrate into the participants real-life
interactions. This finding is directly related to my question on embeddedness and
how virtual identity interplays with real life.
Yee was also involved in a six-week study of social involvement, and
activity and exploration in Second Life. Social involvement included how
participants established social networks and interacted with other Second Life
residents (Harris, Bailenson, Neilsen, & Yee, 2009). They observed a steady
increase in both personal connections (as friends in a social network) and the
number of groups joined that represented the participants interest. This
interaction supports the idea that virtual environments such as Second Life are
social spaces where meaning and significant relationships can be established.
The third study I build on deals specifically with identity. It is the thesis of
Kelly Boudreau, who wrote the study in partial fulfillment of a Master of Arts
(Sociology) at Concordia University in Montreal. Her auto-ethnographic account
of identity and gameplay in Everquest focuses on how identity is developed
though interaction, as Everquest is a battle game that requires high levels of
organization and cooperation among players to succeed (Boudreau, 2008, p. 3).
In addition to her own lived experiences, the author used two other
methodologies. Interviews were conducted (which included some preliminary
coding based on online bulletin boards) over the course of a year and included not
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only the authors sphere of play (The game is guild-based, where many players
log into the game via segregated servers in order to play together.), but also
players from other guilds. Participant observation was also completed, with a text
copy of each chat log saved as a separate file on her hard drive. Bourdreaus
research examined individual/social identity and how interactions with other
players and the physical self contribute to a dynamically changing persona. My
own work extends this research by looking at one specific group of people as well
as the interplay between their real and virtual identities, particularly the migration
of virtual characteristics into real life.
Two other recent studies are particularly relevant and relate directly to my
study in popular three-dimensional spaces. Coming of Age in Second Life
(Boellstorff, 2008) journals the everyday observations of average Second Life
Residents. BoellsdorfPs book is specifically about Second Life lived experiences.
As an ethnography done over three years, the book chronicles the maturing of
participant identities in the environment, examining community; relationships;
gender; and sense of place, Bourdieus idea of Habitus (Bourdieu, 1977). The
authors goal is to compare the epistemology of human natureour human
rationale of doing things a particular wayand what he calls techne or crafted
knowledge, which is dynamic and unfolds as a participant moves through a virtual
existence. What I refer to as embeddedness, Boellstorff calls embodiment, stating
that the ability to create an avatar as a method of embodiment is powerfully
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linked to vision and is significant because it challenged a longstanding
presumption of cognition as disembodied (p. 134). This later statement suggests
a more posthuman perspective; this viewpoint is the only place where I might
disagree. I find that everything begins in the mind-meaning, symbols, and
identity-they are not body dependent. At some point, however, there needs to be a
separating of real and virtual lived experiencesa posthuman mindsetas an
order of consciousness, and my hope is to study a group where real life and virtual
life are closely interconnected in order to better grasp the concept.
Digital Culture, Play, and Identity: A World of Warcraft Reader
(Comeliussen & Rettberg, 2008) is more of an ethnography of World of Warcraft,
with as much detail about the observation of participant motivation, culture,
embodiment, and identity in that environment as Boellstorff (2008) wrote about
Second Life. The authors examine the influence of culture on identity from a
virtual perspective. The authors mention play as akin to work; the game teaches
us know how and how to be (p. 25), similar to Boellstorff s idea of techne.
The book also has contributors who deal with issues of feminism and how the
female form is sexualized in gameplay. According to Yee (2007), everyone seeks
to advance himself or herself socially by creating an appearance that meets the
expectations of a peer group. If someone is a vampire, they then craft an identity
that will give them social advantage over the vampire group (something that
establishes the vampire as more advanced in the hierarchy, such as skin markings
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or larger fangs). This social advantage concurs with what Stryker, Swann, and
others say about how social identity (gestures, language, etc.) gradually conforms
to community norms.
Reflection on the Literature
Without an understanding of identity theory, social interaction theory, and
orders of consciousness, it would be impossible to embark upon a study of what
influences the crafting of an identity in virtual environments. I looked at how
normal development progressed according to Eriksons framework, the
importance of feedback and self-verification in the affirmation of identity, and
how Kegans orders of consciousness mapped a shift from being self-oriented to
seeing the self as a separate system that is part of a much larger global
organization. A reminder: These theories assume a normal development that
progresses from one step to another in sequential order (often with approximate
timeframes).
With this firm foundation, it was possible to apply these same frameworks
to virtual worlds, with consideration about how technology, cultural migration,
and structural interaction influence what happens when an individual assumes a
virtual persona. Turkle (1995) aligns Eriksons work to virtual worlds:
For example, Erikson pointed out that successful intimacy in young
adulthood is difficult if one does not come to it with a sense of who one is.
This is the challenge of adolescent identity building. In real life, however,
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people frequently move on with incompletely resolved stages, simply
doing the best they can. They use whatever materials they have at hand to
get as much as they can of what they have missed. MUDs are striking
examples of how technology can play a role in these dramas of self-repair,
(p. 204)
My own study hopes to add to this impressive body of research in the uniqueness
of my focus group: virtually performing musicians. These creative individuals
may be more predetermined to passionate engagement and embeddedness
(immersion) with their avatar personae than participants in general. This
embeddedness may be a function of the time they spend in Second Life relative to
others, the self-affirming feedback they receive from a fan base, or an outcome of
a persona that has no outlet for creativity in real life.
While it might not be difficult to imagine real-life performers who have
private personae that are very different from their professional identity, virtual
performers may have two or more identities. In addition to forming a virtual
identity in the same manner as anyone else, they also have a professional persona
that might or might not be salient with their real lives or even their virtual lives.
Regardless, they are pioneers in inventing the traditions by which the innovative
culture of virtual performance is known. By including virtual performers who also
are real-life performers as well as those who keep their private lives very separate
from their virtual lives, it is possible to examine how salient these identities are,
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how much real life embodies virtual life, and how real-life has changedif at
allby having a virtual life as a performer.
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CHAPTER III
SECOND LIFE
Ifpeople are to nurture their souls, they need to feel a sense of control, meaningfulness, even
expertise in the face of risk and complexity. They want and need to feel like heroes in their own
life stories and to feel that their stories make sense. They need to feel that they have mattered in
other people's stories. If the body feeds on food, the soul feeds on agency and meaningfulness. I
argue that video games are, in this sense, food for the soul, particularly appropriate food in
modern times.
- James Paul Gee (2007, p. 10)
User-created virtual environments such as Second Life should not be
confused with video or roleplay games. In fact, it is questionable if they should be
considered games at all. Second Life does not follow a prescribed set of actions
with pre-determined consequences depending on which action is taken (as is
typical with video games). The developers of Second Life did not design the game
with attained levels of proficiency (such as in the World of Warcraft), in effect
designing a class structure for the game. There are also no determined roles for
specific classes of avatars, and conquest is not a means for advancement.
Compared to what has been typical in the design of computer games, Second Life
does not appear to be a game at all but, rather, a three-dimensional social network
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that is reliant on interaction and identity development. It might be classified as
what McGonigal (2011) considers an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), promoting
the idea that game technologies can be used to accomplish real-world ideals. She
writes, In other words, ARGs are games you play in order to get more out of
your real life, as opposed to games you play to escape it (p. 125). Using this
conceptual definition, this study is a composite of methods that address the
amount of latitude available in crafting a virtual identity; the artistic nature of the
subjects and their music; the graphically rich visual medium of Second Life; and
systematic data collection that will enable an appropriate, repeatable analysis.
Second Life as a Social Community
Just as with text-based chat rooms and multi-user domains, interpersonal
transactions are increasingly through electronic means because human beings
usually use computers not because they want to interact with them but they want
to reach their goals beyond the situation of the dialogue with the computer
(Nardi, 1996, p. 49). Second Life offers a third dimension as a graphically rich
environment where residents can embody virtual selves that can engage in any
number of activities that are strikingly similar to those in the physical world. As
we increasingly utilize computers to participate in ongoing social structures where
we form sustained alliances with other real people using electronic means of
mediation, we enter new figured worlds that are formed and reformed in relation
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to everyday activities and events that ordain happenings within it (Holland et al.,
1998, p. 53).
Self-perception in virtual spaces differs very little from that in the physical
world. As we obtain feedback from others through interaction in new physical or
virtual environments, that feedback will either verify the self-perception (self-
worth) we have of ourselves based on our tools and the meanings we have
attached to them as well as our memory of previous interactions, or it will refute
how we see ourselves in terms of our self-efficacy, the ability to manage our
environment (Tafarodi & Swann, Jr., 1995). The use of these tools, also
considered resources, is constantly in motion, and positive feedback will cause
people feel good and competent about themselves and to continue the activities
that verify a favorable self-worth (Stets & Cast, 2007). It would be no surprise to
discover that we tend to gravitate toward people who affirm our self-identity; this
tendency is a fundamental feature of social interaction (Swann, Jr., Stein-Seroussi,
& Giesler, 1992). Interestingly, self-verification also seems to be valid when the
self-perception is negative. Swann and other researchers indicate that, while most
of us can understand gravitating toward people who affirm our positive self-
worth, the opposite also seems to be true. Swanns work supports the hypothesis
that, if we have a negative self-perception, we tend to seek out interactions with
those people who will affirm that perception (Hixon & Swann, Jr., 1993; Swann,
Jr., et al., 1992).
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At its core, Second Life is a social community where residents create a
persona and perpetuate that narrative thought interaction and feedback, regardless
of whether the persona is the representation of a positive or negative self-image.
We become who we see ourselves as being (F. Smith, 1998).
Communities of Practice
There is a profound connection between identity and practice. Developing
a practice requires the formation of a community where members can engage with
one another and, thus, acknowledge each other as participants. As a consequence,
practice entails negotiating the ways of being a person in that context (Wenger,
1998, p. 149). Communities of practice draw attention to membership and the
knowledge of who is an insider vs. an outsider. In considering the ritual of
Camivale, Bakhtin (1968/1984) describes the festival as a community event
where all members are involved. This practice might lead one to believe that the
festival might be different from one community to the next. The dimensions of
community are as follows:
1) Mutual engagement;
2) Joint enterprise; and
3) Shared repertoire. (Wenger, 1998, p. 73)
Based on these dimensions, Second Life is certainly a community of practice.
Tens of thousands of residents can be logged into the environment concurrently,
with hundreds involved in smaller, interest-based groups. Live music events can
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have as many attendants as a physical-world venue, and all Second Life residents
share at least a basic repertoire (avatar choices, appearance, clothing, land
ownership, etc.).
Figured Worlds
A figured world is a socially and culturally constructed realm of
interpretation in which particular characters and actors are recognized,
significance is assigned to certain acts, and particular outcomes are valued over
others (Holland et al., 1998, p. 52). They add, Figured worlds are evinced in
practice through the artifacts employed by people in their performances. Such
artifacts are pivotal in the sense Vygotsky attributed to them in play (p. 61). If
we can apply this definition, figured worlds become focused on the outcomes of
the actions and behavior of the participant, given a particular context. In a figured
world the constructed realm of interpretation, which is influenced by habitus,
forms the foundation for interactions within the social group by its participants.
Consider how play among young children has changed. A generation ago if young
boys were asked to play superhero, they might envision becoming Superman,
complete with capes, Kryptonite, and familiar phrases such as faster than a
speeding bullet. Their actions, or outcomes, are influenced by the commonly
accepted interpretations of the time and place in which they live. If the same
superhero request were to be made of two young boys in 2011, they might not be
able to make any of the same references to Superman, preferring instead to
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portray a character from a video game. Our habitus influences how we interpret
our context, yet the outcomes from one context to another are not expected to be
the same.
With application to Second Life, the residents cultural footprint prior to
entering the environment forms the basis for how they interpret the space once
they become participants. The social groups they join and the relationships they
enter into after becoming residents create a space of authoring, with regard to
personal and social identity. As a user-created environment, Second Life is
dynamic, and interactive outcomes are rarely static. In this respect, figured worlds
offer an understanding of Second Life as a place of migration from a physical life
to a virtual one, an example of the concept of portability.
Semiotic Domains
Unlike a community of practice that appears to focus on members or a
figured world that seems to depend primarily on a situated context, Gee (2007b)
calls a semiotic domain any set of practices that recruits one or more modalities
(e.g., oral or written language, images, equations, symbols, sounds gestures,
graphs, artifacts, etc.) to communicate distinctive types of meanings (p. 19). As a
semiotic domain, Second Life is a definitive example: there are words, meanings,
gestures, and sounds that are specific only to this environment; the mastery and
use of these modalities are what separate insiders from outsiders. Gee, writing
specifically about first-person shooter games, says:
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I will call the group of people associated with a given semiotic domain
in this case, first person shooter gamesan affinity group. People in an
affinity group can recognize others as more or less insiders to the group.
They may not see many people in the group face to face, but when they
interact with someone on the Internet or read something about the domain,
they can recognize certain ways of thinking, acting, interacting, valuing,
and believing as more or less typical of people who are into the semiotic
domain, (p. 27)
While Second Life itself can be considered a semiotic domain, the live music
community can also be considered separate from the larger Second Life
community because there are sounds, processes, jargon, and images that are
unique to this subgroup. In addition, the modalities that are unique to this affinity
group (live music) are not limited only to the Second Life environment. Many
artists who perform virtually also perform in the physical world, marketing their
real-life performances within Second Life. This virtual-physical connection of
modalities helps keep the interplay between real and virtual identities active
without defining who is and who is not a member of the group.
Researcher Experience in Second Life
While I started my Second Life adventure as an educator in August 2006,
it did not take long for me to become interested in activities other than education.
There was a vibrant live music scene, and I quickly became immersed in the
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technology that enabled a guitar player in Germany to broadcast a performance
from his living room to a virtual club in Second Life via an Internet connection
and a streaming server account. I found myself (as Flameheart) spending many
nights in Second Life watching animated musician-avatars playing one instrument
or another, with their real-time performance originating from places such as New
York, Australia, or Chile.
As someone who is entrepreneurial by nature and a former musician, I
quickly saw the opportunity for improvement in this early performance model.
First, virtual venues typically used one Internet address to stream sound. This
singularity created a situation where one performer would finish his set, leaving a
latent, silent pause before the next musician picked up the stream and began to
play. A set would then usually start with the new performer asking fans, Can you
hear me? In a real-life club, there might be a set change, but there would be some
background music to keep customers involved and hopefully visiting the bar.
Another area of improvement was in the reliability of the acts. In 2006,
many performers in Second Life were not professional musicians. They were
software engineers, artists, and lawyers: people who found a music identity in
Second Life as an adjunct to their day job. In most cases, musicians played for
virtual tips, where those in the audience could click on a performer-avatar or a tip
jar to contribute Linden Dollars (approximately $250L=$1USD). No one was
becoming rich by performing in Second Life; the musicianship was often average;
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and if something came up in real life that trumped Second Life, the performer
might not show up at all. The result was a grassroots music scene that was
informal at best.
Second Life is a haven for the imagination; if something can be
envisioned, it can probably be built and tested for a fraction of real-life cost.
While I never would have seen myself as a bar or venue owner in real life, the
idea of creating a live-performance venue in Second Life was completely within
reason. My vision was to create a venue that would be intimate, that would look
for the best talent Second Life had to offer, and that would be profitable. With the
help of a core team of experienced friends (including my partner, the avatar
Schuyler Kent), the House of Flames (named after my avatar, Flameheart Sol) had
its first public concert in January 2007.
As a business model, the House of Flames differentiated itself from other
venues by holding showcase events once every two weeks; time between
showcases was spent finding new talent, marketing the artists (We had a MySpace
list with thousands of contacts.), putting artists and their bios on our own website
that was outside of Second Life, and creating custom graphics for each show. We
hired the talents of Cybster DJ, an Australian who became the Master of
Ceremonies for the House of Flames, broadcasting our showcases from his home
studio where he would take the incoming artists stream and do a sound check
while his own stream played the venues warm-up show, and then bleed from that
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stream to the performers stream over an applause soundtrack, leaving no gap
between artists (and a perfect sound check).
Our stage was built by avatar Konny Kembla, who was (in real life) from
Sweden and worked as a paramedic at summer music festivals. With Konny as the
project lead, it was no wonder the House of Flames was able to successfully
present BONFIRE, Second Lifes first 24-hour, live, continuous music festival.
As a result of BONFIRE, the House of Flames got a reputation for being the
venue that handled the big shows.
We had no problem getting acts to play at the House of Flames because
another of our distinctions was that we hired musicians to play, just as they would
be hired in real life. We had a contract that stated what the House of Flames
would do for the artists and how much they would be paid; in return, the artists
had to be on the House of Flames site at least 30 minutes before their shows, had
to have a completed sound check the day before the shows, and had to keep their
shows professional which can best be described as presenting nothing that you
would not want your mother to hear. This policy attracted avatar-performers who
were professional musicians in real life, and as a result, it was not hard to attract
sponsors for House of Flames events. This same professional demeanor paved the
way to work with the subjects in this study, many of whom were excited to be
involved.
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CHAPTER IV
METHODS
When we have to turn research into a text, we become narrators, and to this
extent all social science research is narrative and all researchers are
storytellers
Arthur P. Bochner (2002, p.77)
Second Life is an environment that is graphically rich and imaginative,
limited only by the creativity of the participant. The ability to enjoy life on a
virtual beach sim on any given day can be replaced by a day of virtual skiing
down a snow-covered mountain on the very same region a day later.
Performances that occur at a given moment in time may become nothing more
than memories if the virtual land owner decides to leave Second Life or cannot
pay the monthly region fee, or tier. Many of the venues that served the early
music community are no longer in existence; events held at the House of Flames
have been preserved through desktop photographs and videos taken at the event,
which have served as a reminder of the five years, three locations, and custom-
designed ballrooms that were part of the House of Flames experience. This ability
to alter an environment, and the users experience at the same time, makes Second
Life an unusual, innovative space that requires equally unusual and innovative
methods for data collection and analysis.
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Using many of the same media tools to collect data, that the performers
use to perform, it was possible to observe the unfolding of the stories of the
performersthose moments and experiences that are shared between friends and
fans-that reveal aspects of the interplay between who the subjects were in
Second Life, and their personalities in the physical world. The collection and
analysis of the stories and observations used in this study were influenced by
portraiture, a narrative method that uses symbolism and metaphor to capture the
readers attention and create associative imagery (Lawrence-Lighfoot & Davis,
1997) . In this study, the associative imagery is between the physical and the
virtual, as well as between the researcher and the performers. The researcher, as
the portraitist, creates a narrative that weaves the autobiographical experiences of
the researcher, with his or her subjects. It seemed appropriate to use a narrative
method, influenced by portraiture, for a study about musicianswho also use
imagery and metaphorto transform and inspire listeners.
This study also makes use of multi-voiced ethnographic narrative methods
(Bochner, 2002; C.S. Davis & Ellis, 2008), including auto-ethnography (Ellis,
1998) , to explore the interplay between physical and virtual identity within the
larger context of psychosocial development in a virtual space. The aims of the
study are to understand what physical-world processes contribute to crafting a
virtual persona and how the practiced narrative of this alternate identity might
influence the physical identity of the subject over time. Virtually performing
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musicians were chosen as a subject group due to the possibility that they may
become more embedded in their avatar personae over time, given their
performance as a personal extension of their identity.
In this study, eight subjects (including the researcher) shared his or her
narrative stories. The subjects related stories of their lives before Second Life,
they expounded on life as virtual performers, and they reflected on how their
second lives have impacted their physical personae. The study is auto-
ethnographic and multi-voiced, with my own stories making up part of the data,
bringing depth, comparison, and context to the subject of real and virtual identity
interplay in Second Life.
Using data gathered from interviews and live concerts observations
conducted in both Second Life and the physical world, the identity interplay at the
focus of this study is best presented as a co-constructed narrative between the
researcher and subject. As a method, this multi-vocal narrative captures the stories
and symbolism of these subjects within the context of their virtual-world
performance. The use of narrative as an analysis method represents these stories
and associated data, while weaving the virtual and physical experiences of both
the subjects and the researcher into a coherent and understandable whole (Frank
2000). This ability to contextually capture the imagery and symbolism of the
subjects and their environment makes narrative, as a co-constructed, multi-vocal
method, well suited to address the particular research questions in this study.
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The discussion of methods used in this study begins by addressing the
relationship between the researcher and subjects and how these relationships are
represented. The conversation then turns to the multi-faceted aspects of narrative
that are used in this study in order to address the research purpose: The auto-
ethnographic depth and context offered by the researcher, the multiple stories
representing the voices of the subjects, and the co-constructed nature of the study
that includes visual representation using photographs and other media. The
chapter then considers the participants in this study as well as how the data were
gathered and analyzed, before concluding with researcher assertions and the role
of the researcher in this study.
Ethnography as a Representation of Relationships
Recent literature on the representation of personal narratives in
ethnographic research has advocated for an approach that minimizes the power
differential between researcher and participants (Gergen & Gergen, 2002). This
new view seeks to disrupt; it takes the cultural backgrounds of both the
researcher and researched, and crosses them into new territory, transforming the
traditions of both and opening the possibility for new relationships (p. 13).
Traditional representation of participant voices not only distanced the researcher
from subjects, but it also distanced the researcher from the audience by creating
a hegemony between the writer, who was seen as the source, and the reader, who
was viewed as passive or ignorant (p. 14).
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Full Text

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LIFE AS ART: THE INTERPLAY OF REAL AND CRAFTED IDENTITIES AMONG VIRTUALLY PERFORMING MUSICIANS IN SECOND LIFE By Deborah Lynn Wise M.S. University ofDenver, Denver 2002 B.A. Biblical Life College & Seminary 2005 A dissertation submitted to the University of Colorado Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 2011

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2011 Copyright by Deborah Wise All Rights Reserved

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This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Deborah Lynn Wise has been approved by Alan Davis Connie Fulmer Laura Summers

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Wise, Deborah Lynn (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation) Life as Art: The Interplay ofReal and Crafted Identities Among Virtually Performing Musicians in Second Life Thesis directed by Associate Professor Alan Davis ABSTRACT Virtual environments enable residents to craft unique digital representations of self and to establish virtual identities that may or may not resemble physical-world identities. How might this process be different for musicians who share music as their personal product and establish regular interaction with a fan base over time? This study is presented as a co-constructed, multi-vocal narrative of the researcher s experience as Flameheart Sol, live music venue owner in Second Life, representing the interplay of real and crafted identities of 7 virtually performing musicians. Using theories of normal psychosocial development (Erikson) and subject-object orientation (Kegan), the author addresses: (a) what processes contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity and (b) how the real life of the individual changes over time through the interplay of virtual and physical identities. These questions uncover the participant's cultural footprint-the accumulated culture and experiences that comprise the participant's identity before entering Second Life. The study then looks at the point at which an avatar representation of the participant is crafted, creating a

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symbolic device that enables the participant to shift from the "real" (in terms of being physical) to the virtual (lived experiences as an embodied avatar persona) It is through these virtually lived experiences, where the constant interaction demanded of virtual worlds creates an immediate feedback system, that an alternate situated identity is developed. This avatar identity is no less real in terms of its reflecting aspects of the identity of the individual but reflects the unique affordances of a user-created space that is limited only by his or her imagination. Through personal interviews and concert observations (in both the virtual and physical worlds) it was possible not only to determine what influenced the virtual identity of the subject but also to observe the level of"embeddedness ," as described by Kegan; how emotionally invested the subjects were toward their avatar persona. This embeddedness included identity coupling identity transparency and shared e x periences with a fan base. Subjects also experienced changes to their real lives in increased music creativity a voice for passionate causes, and a responsive global audience that offered real income.

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This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed Alan Davis

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DEDICATION "If I live my life with passion and meaning, then my life is art -Monte Wise (1956-2009). This dissertation is dedicated to the people who create a digital persona-an avatar-in order to "bare" themselves artistically. They are players on a global stage ... they have nothing to offer but their music ... and yet they persist, night after night, year after year, in the hopes of receiving the acceptance in a virtual world that they may not fmd in the physical world. They write; they sing; they play their music; and their fans may never know their "real" identity. The more immersed I became in the music community in Second Life the more I realized that "real" was relative: the identity artists create in Second Life may be more real artistically than their identity in real life. I finally understood what Monte was talking about: their life had become art, both in their pixilated identity and their performance.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Figures ............................................................................................................. xiii Tables ............................................................................................................... xv I. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................... 1 Purpose of the Study ............................................................................. 5 Significance of the Study ...................................................................... 6 Conceptual Framework ......................................................................... 9 Research Questions ............................................................................. 11 Methodology Overview ...................................................................... 11 Dissertation Overview ........................................................................ 13 II. LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................................ 15 Conceptual Roots ofldentity .............................................................. 16 Erikson and Psychosocial Development.. ........................................... 17 Kegan and Subject-Object Evolution .................................................. 19 Psychosocial Development in the Physical World ............................. 23 Early Development ................................................................. 23 Adolescence ............................................................................ 27 Young Adulthood .................................................................... 29 Middle Adulthood ................................................................... 30 Maturity (After age 65) ........................................................... 31 viii

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Crafting a Virtual Identity ................................................................... 32 Self Consciousness ................................................................. 3 5 Role Development .................................................................. 38 Maturation ............................................................................... 42 Autonomy ............................................................................... 46 Intimacy .................................................................................. 48 Posthumanism ..................................................................................... 52 Embeddedness (Immersion) and Play ..................................... 55 Virtual and Physical Identity Interplay ................................... 62 Comparable Studies ............................................................................ 64 Reflection on the Literature ................................................................ 69 III. SECOND LIFE ........................................................................................... 72 Second Life as a Social Community ................................................... 73 Communities of Practice ......................................................... 75 Figured Worlds ....................................................................... 76 Semiotic Domains ................................................................... 77 Researcher Experience in Second Life ............................................... 78 IV. METHODS ................................................................................................ 82 Ethnography as a Representation of Relationships ............................. 85 Narrative ............................................................................................. 86 Addressing the Research Purpose ........................................... 88 ix

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Autoethnography ..................................................................... 89 Multi-vocal Ethnography ........................................................ 90 Co-construction ....................................................................... 90 Reflections on Narrative ......................................................... 91 Visual Ethnography ............................................................................ 92 Reflections on Visual Ethnography ........................................ 98 Participants .......................................................................................... 99 Population Size ..................................................................... 1 00 Population Characteristics .................................................... 1 01 Selection-Eligibility Characteristics ..................................... 101 Sampling Scheme .................................................................. 103 Sampling Characteristics ...................................................... 105 Data Collection Instruments ............................................................. 106 Interview Questions .............................................................. 1 06 Observational Video ............................................................. 108 Protocol Instruments ............................................................. 109 Pilot Study ............................................................................. 109 Data Collection Procedures ............................................................... 113 Virtual-world Data Collection .............................................. 113 Data Collection Outside of Second Life ............................... 114 Format of Interviews ............................................................. 115 X

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Length of Interviews ............................................................. 115 Ethical Nature ofData Collection ......................................... 116 Verification Procedures ........................................................ 118 Analysis ............................................................................................. 118 Method of Analysis ............................................................... 119 Qualitative Software ............................................................. 121 Responsibility I Authority for Creation of Categories ........... 122 Justification for Existence of Given Set of Categories ......... 122 Source ofNarne Used to Identify Given Set of Categories .. 125 Point When Categories are Specified ................................... 127 Exploratory ofConfrrmatory Nature of Data Analysis ......... 128 Reflections on the Use of Research Software ....................... 128 Researcher Assertions ....................................................................... 130 Researcher Bias ..................................................................... 132 Composing the Story ........................................................................ 133 V. NARRATIVES OF THE PERFORMERS ................................................ 135 Analysis of Research Questions ........................................................ 135 Technology in Data Gathering .......................................................... 137 The Performers .................................................................................. 141 JueL Resistance ..................................................................... 141 Arimo Teixeira ...................................................................... 160 xi

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Niko Donburi ......................................................... .... ........... 173 Louis Volare .......................................................................... 189 Ganjo Mokeev ....................................................................... 206 Frogg & Jaycatt ..................................................................... 218 Revisiting Researcher Assertions ..................................................... 236 VI. CROSS-SUBJECT FINDINGS ............................................................... 243 Analysis of Observational Data ........................................................ 254 VII. DISCUSSION ......................................................................................... 259 Study Findings and Erikson .............................................................. 263 Study Findings and Kegan ................................................................ 272 Study Findings and Conceptual Framework ..................................... 277 Subject Reflections ........................................................................... 278 Reconsidering Initial Assertions ....................................................... 282 Limitations and Implications for Future Research ............................ 284 REFERENCES ............................................................................................... 287 APPENDIX .................................................................................................... 299 A. Overlapping Frameworks and Interview Questions ..................... 299 B. Interview Questions ...................................................................... 300 C. Data Collection Protocols ............................................................. 305 xii

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. The House of Flames ballroom and pier in Second Life .................... 1 Figure 2. Examples of user-created virtual places and people ........................... 3 Figure 3. Conceptual framework of identity .................................................... 10 Figure 4. Living Room #13(a), Second Life venue of JueL Resistance .......... 94 Figure 5. JueL Resistance in Second Life and the real Suzen Juel ................ 111 Figure 6. Living Room #13(b)-home venue of JueL Resistance ................. 124 Figure 7. Performer and researcher technology for Arimo Teixeira .............. 139 Figure 8. Suzen Juel in 1994 (1) and in 2010 .................................................. 144 Figure 9. JueL Resistance in 2007 (1) and in 2010 ......................................... 146 Figure 10. The redesigned SL Living Room #13 ........................................... 147 Figure 11. The art of Suzen Juel.. ................................................................... 151 Figure 12. JueL Resistance's RL-SL marketing ............................................ 154 Figure 13. Representative fans of JueL Resistance ........................................ 155 Figure 14. Mario Torrez with his grandfather (1) and grandparents ............... 162 Figure 15. RL Mario Torrez (1) and SL Arimo Teixeira ................................ 167 Figure 16. Niko Donburi (1) and HOF concert marquee ................................ 178 Figure 17. Niko Donburi: The early 1990's in Iowa (1) and Japan ................ 179 Figure 18. Phoenixa Sol (1) and Niko Donburi at phase 2 concert ................. 184 xiii

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Figure 19. Louis Landon in RL (1) and Louis Volare in SL (2007) ............... 203 Figure 20. Louis Landon in RL (1) and Louis Volare in SL (2011) ............... 205 Figure 21. Phat Daddy: Gary Olivas (Ganjo) far left ..................................... 208 Figure 22. Ganjo Mokeev: The SL persona of Gary Olivas .......................... 211 Figure 23. The Olivas family band: Gary (1) with guitar ............................... 215 Figure 24. Flarneheart in the Bod Squad (r) ................................................... 216 Figure 25. Jeremy & Mark in RL (1); Frogg & Jaycatt in SL. ........................ 219 Figure 26. Jeremy & Marc in elementary school choir .................................. 222 Figure 27. Fan interaction at Frogg & Jaycatt concert ................................... 229 Figure 28. Subject-Object Orientation among study subjects ........................ 275 xiv

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LIST OF TABLES Table 1. The Eight-Stage Model, (Erikson, 1968) ........................................... 18 Table 2. Principles ofMeaning Organization (Kegan, 1994 p. 30) ............... 20 Table 3. Subject-Object Comparison (Kegan, 1982) ....................................... 22 Table 4. Bartle's Motivational Types (abbreviated from Castronova, 2005, p. 72) ...................................................................... 41 Table 5. Research question #1 compared to overlapping frameworks ........... 126 Table 6. Musical identity ................................................................................ 247 Table 7. RL benefit from SL involvement ..................................................... 250 Appendix Table 1. Overlapping frameworks ofErikson and Kegan ............. 299 XV

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Picture a night out at a premier music event: The ballroom (based on a building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) illuminated the night sky. You and your date arrived in formal attire, diamonds glistening in the light from the dance ball overhead. The lighting was romantic; couples were already on the dance floor and when the Master of Ceremonies introduced the headliner-artist, the curtains parted, revealing the evening's performer who was already at the piano crooning out a popular tune. It was a magical evening-you were lost in the conversation with your partner and completely missed the fireworks show that originated from the nearby pier, splashing colored reflections all over the waterfront. This level of realism was a regular occurrence when the House of Flames (my own virtual business) hosted a showcase event (see Figure 1): Figure 1. The House of Flames ballroom and pier in Second Life. 1

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Well over a million participants (known as residents) attend events such as this every month by logging into the virtual world of Second Life with tens of thousands online concurrently. Not only is the environment a three-dimensional social network it is an economic engine; over two million dollars (USD) are traded daily through the Second Life Exchange as virtual entrepreneurs develop and sell products and services for resident-consumers (Second Life Economic Data 2009). Almost 50% of residents are between 26 and 45 years of age with 60% of people logging in from outside the United States (Bell 2008). Participants have the ability to create their own digital representation (known as an avatar) with a wide range of customizable features I entered Second Life at the request of the institution where I directed learning technologies in order to research the potential value of the environment for virtual learning delivery. The institution was interested in developing a virtual campus enabling more interactive learning for geographically disbursed students. Upon appearing in Second Life as Flameheart Sol I was surprised at how immersive the environment was and how much a participant was able to craft his or her own existence (see Figure 2) 2

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Figure 2. Examples of user-created virtual places and people. I quickly became interested in why some Second Life residents (like me) created avatar personas that might have been a personal "wish-list" appearance wise (I am at the bottom right in Figure 2) while some created identities that were extremely unique, even to the point of non-human (bottom left of Figure 2). While I entered Second Life with a research agenda of examining virtual worlds as online-learning spaces, I quickly became attracted to understanding how personal identity in virtual spaces is crafted and how a participant's identity outside of the virtual space might be changed as a result. Within weeks I had abandoned my original research focus: it was not a matter of whether learning 3

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would be delivered online; it was a matter of how we can make a learning experience so immersive and subjective as to make it feel as if one were really there. While my own appearance might have been crafted as something that did not resemble real life, my identity as Flame heart began with a migration of what I call my cultural footprint: those experiences, inherited cultural practices, and interests that made me who I was. These attributes were poured into Flameheart, regardless of how she appeared. As my digital representative, Flameheart had an interest in live music (which was in its grassroots stage when I entered Second Life) and became enamored at the technology required to broadcast music live over the Internet (live streaming) from the home of the musician into the environment. Coupling this technical interest with my own frustrations as a musician and a person who had been on the periphery of live performance for years, Second Life offered an opportunity to develop a persona as a supporter of live music and a promoter of showcase events. This identity led to the founding of the House of Flames, which became a premier niusic venue in Second Life. Through my work with the House of Flames, I was able to meet several of the subjects in this study and, over time, became personally aware of their real lives and identities. In some cases, life did indeed imitate art; there seemed to be no difference between the artist's real and virtual personas. In other cases, however, there was a significant separation between the persona of the avatar 4

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identity and that of the physical world. Given the interests I had developed in virtual identity it was natural to focus on this group for my study. In the end, there was a transformation for both the subjects and myself each contributing to the other s progress. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to document the identity-crafting experiences of virtually performing musicians within the larger context of psychosocial development in a virtual environment. This process included an understanding of identity processes in physical life (also known as real-life RL or real-world) as well as virtual life (also known as Second Life SL; virtual world ; or virtual-life). The primary focus of this study was to understand what physical-world processes contributed to how performers develop their v irtual personas and how immersed these performer s became in their virtually crafted identities. A secondary focus was to understand the effect an alternate virtual identity had on the physical-world identity of the subject (the identity outside the virtual world). This includes an understanding of the unique affordances of Second Life with regard to live performance creating a situational environment were an individual can craft any number of unique identities. These virtual identities interact and receive feedback from any number of sources within Second Life and may ultimately affect the identity of the individual outside of Second Life through the persistent portrayal of avatar identity narratives. The 5

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choice of musicians as a subject group was due to my own experiences within the music community in Second Life (described in more detail in Chapter III and also by the work of researchers who suggested that musicians and artists might represent a unique subject group because their product was a personal extension of their identity (Huizinga 1970); as a group, they might be more inclined to remain identified with their virtual identity and to remain immersed over time due to positive feedback from a virtual fan base (Yee 2007). Significance of the Study The results of this study are useful across disciplines. In the social sciences understanding how the use of virtual worlds (such as Second Life) enables a subject to revisit identity-development phases that might have been less than ideal could lead to alternate forms of healing therapies. The study of human behavior in virtual worlds has resulted in several of the comparable works referred to in this study where terms such as Cyberethnography (Browne 2003) and Cyberpunk (Foster, 2005) a postmodem perspective focusing on changes in social order have become part of the common lexicon. These terms now have places in research as a method of studying human behavior in Cyberspace (ethnography) and also as a descriptor of a lifestyle (punk) based on human computer interaction where rapid technological change and constant feedback demand adaptive behavior. 6

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In education, constructivist learning assumes that the student plays an active role in the accumulation (construction) ofknowledge. While this process begins at an early age and can be as simple as a stimulus-response activity, a toolkit of skills is developed over time; the toolkit reflects the societal and cultural development of the individual as part of a larger body of learners (Bruner 1973). Similar to the constructivist view, Experiential Learning Theory assumes that learning occurs by first getting information (experience) and then making a meaning of the experience (reflection) that creates a new idea regarding how to use what is being introduced (abstraction), which can then be reinforced by an activity which supports that new idea (testing). This process creates something of an intrinsic feedback system for the student where new information completes the cycle from introduction to practice becoming an experiential part of the learner s skill set (Kolb, 1983; Zull 2002). Experiential learning first emphasizes hands-on experience as a basis for observation and reflection: First is its emphasis on here-and-now concrete experience to validate and test abstract concepts. Immediate personal experience is the focal point for learning giving life texture and subjective personal meaning to abstract concepts and at the same time providing a concrete publically shared reference point for testing the implications and validity of ideas created during the learning process. (Kolb 1983 p. 21) 7

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In addition to this concrete experience Kolb emphasizes a feedback system that provides the basis for a continuing process of goal-directed action and evaluation of the consequences of that action (p. 22). Experiential Learning Theory builds on the learning and cognitive development models of Dewey and Piaget moving from the accommodation of concepts to the assimilation of events and experiences Kolb (1983) states When assimilation predominates over accommodation we hav e play-the imposition of one s concept and images without regard to environmental realities (p. 23). This idea of a feedback system is also an inherent aspect of game design motivating participants to remain immersed without regard to their external environment as they progress through successive levels of play (Castronova 2005; McGonigal, 2011). The use ofvirtual worlds such as Second Life as three-dimensional learning spaces can enhance students' ability to apply abstract knowledge by situating education in authentic virtual contexts similar to the environments in which the learners skills will be used (Dede 1995 p 46). This study explored the association between the artistic identity of a virtual performer and the subsequent creative activity given the affordances of Second Life as a user-created environment. If a connection exists designing curriculum on an activity-based model (particularly in virtual learning) might result in greater learning retention and engagement. The activity and feeback 8

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system inherent in game design could encourage student immersion and constructivist learning for some subjects. Conceptual Framework Based on the factors described above the conceptual framework guiding this study involves an iterative process of interplay between real and virtual identities (see Figure 3). The framework addresses the inputs of real-life identity based on Erikson's (1968) theory of normal psychosocial development subject object orientation as described by Kegan (1982), and real-life role in a process of creating a virtual identity. These aspects are all components of the subjects' identity before beginning a virtual life. The avatar persona that is crafted upon entering Second Life in turn, cultivates behaviors based on particular avatar identity attributes and over time these behaviors may migrate into the participant's identity outside of the virtual space. This migration occurs as the result of repeated persistent interactions and feedback regarding positive attributes of the avatar persona. This process could be repeated with any number of alternate avatar personas, as each new identity represents a developmental trajectory along a continuum of growth with situational opportunities to reconstitute positive identity attributes while discarding negative aspects (Holland, Lachicotte Jr., Skinner, & Cain, 1998). 9

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"1'] cQ" s:::: n 0 ::s ('") ('t) 'tj ...,. s:: ::r D) 3 ('t) 0 '"1 :;.;' 0 ......, 5: ('t) 0 ::s ...,. Inputs Real Life Identity (Erikson) : Normal Development " Disrupted Development" Musical Identity A Sub j ect-Object Orientation (Km.n): More embedded (Subject) Less embedded (Object) Real Life Role : Full time musician Hobby Musician No performance outside of virtual space Identity Interplay Conceptual Framework Innovations Crafted Virtual Identity: Positive virtual attributes Performance persona Identity Transparency Outcomes Migration to Real Life Identity : Pos i tive virtual attributes Social standing Identity Equilibrium Other : Creativity stage presence and income Virtual Identity can be iterative, with alternate avatar identities reflecting different RL traits

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Research Questions My research questions examined what processes influenced how performers crafted a virtual persona whether the resulting feedback the performer received from a fan base encouraged immersion by reinforcing the performance identity as opposed to physical-world identity and how the physical-world identity of the performer might have been altered as a result of the identity interplay. My study first considered the physical-world identity processes influencing the performer: What processes influence the crafting of identity for performers in virtual worlds? The follow up to the first consideration looks at the result of this identity interplay: How is physical world identity influenced as a result of virtual world participation? These research questions were directly related to the theories of Erikson (psychosocial development) and Kegan (subject object orientation; how immersed or "embedded an individual became in a particular state), as were the resulting interview questions. Methodology Overview This study employed multi-voiced ethnography a form of ethnographic inquiry that often makes use of narrative in the form of personal storytelling along with guided ethnographic interviewing to portray and analyze the lived experiences of both the researcher and a set of participants (C. S. Davis & Ellis 2008; Ellis 1998; Gergen & Gergen, 2002). Using Second Life as a field of study and seven musicians (working as six performance acts) as a subject group, initial 11

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interviews were conducted within Second Life where both the researcher and subject were avatars ; follow-up interviews were conducted in person. In both cases the interviews were videotaped as were the observational data gathered during virtual-world performances. Interview video observed what the subjects said and concert video observed what the subjects d id. These video archives in addition to personal photographs offered by the subjects contributed to a digital storytelling of the performers and their personas presented as a multi-vocal narrative of the subjects and their comparison to my own virtual-world identity experience. This comparison of virtual-world identity and its real-life effect on both the researcher (who is not a performing musician) and subjects created a co constructed narrative giving a balanced perspective to the research topic This study observed three key relationships: Normal psychosocial development and the crafting of a virtual identity Physical-world professional role and embeddedness (immersion) Social participation and the migration of virtual attributes to real life Physical-world role was a variable of interest and I expected it to be causal (along with time in virtual worlds) in how immersed a participants were with their avatar identities. The study was not intended to cover topics such as risk-taking behavior and anonymity specific role-play behaviors such as medieval play 12

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dominant-submissive relationships and other sexual conduct, or participation in the occult. This study was unusual because it observed subjects who could enjoy anonymity by virtue of their synthetic presence. In this case, however, many of my subjects (particularly musicians who also perform in real life) had set a precedent by sharing their true identities with their fan base, to the point of including real-life photos on their virtual profiles and websites (where fans are directed to purchase music). While the analysis and interpretation from my small number of subjects might be generally representative of virtually performing musicians, they could not infer the same conclusions with the larger population of Second Life residents. Dissertation Overview This inquiry into the interplay of real and virtual identities among virtually performing musicians is presented as a co-constructed narrative of the experiences of both researcher and subjects (multi-vocal), explained further in Chapter III. Chapter II includes a literature review that considers normal, physical identity development according to the psychosocial theory of Erikson ( 1968). I then look at how these same developmental phases apply to virtual worlds and how identity maturation corresponds to a move from a subject orientation (self as center) to an object orientation (self as part of a larger system) over time, corresponding to the theoretical framework of Kegan ( 1994 ). Aspects of game 13

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development, human-computer interaction, avatar identity research, and experiential learning are also considered. Chapter III examines Second Life as a social environment and considers how the concepts of communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991 ), figured worlds (Holland et al., 1998), and semiotic domains (Gee, 2007b) influence the development of a virtual identity and the migration of favorable virtual traits to physical identity. The chapter also describes the experience of the researcher in Second Life, providing an explanation for using the subject group and the environment in this study. Chapter IV details the mixed methodology used in the study, the setting for the study, and how the data were gathered and analyzed. Chapter V presents the research findings and the conclusions relative to the interview questions. Finally, Chapter VI points out the similarities and differences between fmdings and comparable research, and connects study results to my conceptual framework. The chapter concludes with an explanation of study limitations and implications for future research. 14

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CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW In order to examine my initial question regarding how real-life processes contribute to the crafting of an identity in a virtual world it is important to adopt a working defmition of identity to consider how identity is crafted in the physical world and to describe the phases a normal individual completes in this developmental process This defmition includes not only consideration of how individual identity is created but also the influence of community and culture in forming a personal sense of self. By understanding how personal and social identities are developed a theoretical basis is formed to grasp the migration of identity from real to virtual realms and the interplay between the two environments. While a thorough discussion of identity would include the period from birth through death it is not my purpose to explore what happens in infancy to present myself as an authority on early childhood development or to bring Freud s Oedipus (discourse on primal sexual urges beginning in early childhood) to center stage. Aside from a brief overview of this early development, the discussion will center on identity formation once an individual begins adolescence at approximately age 12. 15

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Conceptual Roots of Identity The formation of identity begins as a learning experience By accumulating a toolkit of skills (such as language) identity is developed through activities and interactions that form a continuing narrative with the self as center (Mead 1934 ; Vygotsky 1978). In early development these interactions (largely with primary caretakers) influence a sense of self as an individual member of a family. As others outside the family influence identity a sense of self within a social context is developed (Holland Fox & Daro 2008). This social identity is highly influenced by the feedback of others creating a contextual aspect of self that is iterative depending on what social context is primary at any time (Stryker 2007). These individual and social experiences form the narrative for first-person accounts of who we are that we tell to ourselves and to others. Through reflexive practice the narrative becomes a tool which shapes memory and mediates future experience" (A. Davis 2011). For this study it is important to view identity as a continuing self-narrative that is co-constructed through interactions with others in particular social contexts (Holland et al. 1998). In addition to being a socially contextual co-construction identity is a process of self-authoring organized around he conflictual continuing dialogic of an inner speech where active identities are ever forming (Holland et al. 1998, p. 169). How an individual views the world their lens is fashioned as part of this inner speech and can be favorable or unfavorable depending on the trajectory of 16

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their identity development. A child might be expected to see themselves as central in all contexts (motivated by their own impulses) but that same contextual self centeredness as an adult represents a liability where the individual cannot see himself or herself in relationship to larger systems The developmental frameworks of Erikson (1968) and Kegan (1994) represent different traditional perspectives on personality development and suggest the possibility of repair or advancement within the trajectory of healthy identity formation. Erikson and Psychosocial Development The first framework I chose to illustrate this journey to maturity is from the work of psychosocial development researcher Erik Erikson (1968). While this study focuses more on those stages that occur once an individual reaches adolescence and young adulthood Erikson theorizes the development of a vital personality into a sequence of eight distinct phases representing an increasing expansion of locomotor sensory and social capacities. Each phase is dependent on successful development during the phases before it (Erikson 1968) Each stage holds the possibility for successful progression or for crisis, depending on whether the individual s environment affords him the increasing self-governance to develop a personal character. Lingering negative consequences may occur if a particular physical age is attained (for example the age of adulthood for most cultures) without the associated successful personality development (see Table 1). 17

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Table 1 The Eight-Stage Model (Erikson, 1968) Erikson s Stages Of Psychosocial Development Approximate attained age Phase Infancy (birth to 18 months) Phase 1: Temporal Perspective (in healthy development) vs. Time Confusion (unhealthy development) Early Childhood (2 to 3 years) Phase 2: Self-certainty (self esteem) vs. Selfconsciousness (appearance in the eyes of others) Preschool (3 to 5 years) Phase 3: Role Experimentation vs Role Fixation School Age (6 to 11 years) Phase 4: Apprenticeship vs. Work Paralysis Adolescence (12 to 18 years) Phase 5: Identity vs Identity Confusion Young Adulthood ( 19 to 40 Phase 6: Intimacy vs. Isolation years) Middle Adulthood ( 40 to 65 Phase 7: Generativity vs Stagnation years) Maturity (65 to death) Phase 8: Integrity vs Despair 18

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Kegan and Subject-Object Evolution During this process of identity development, individuals should also be able to progress from being consumed with their own existence (self as subject) to the realization that they are part of a much larger separate (global) system (self as object). One expects a baby to be focused on having its immediate needs met and a toddler to see all toys as mine" (second-order consciousness) but by the time this same person reaches adulthood it is expected that he or she will have learned to take the needs of others into consideration, to realize others may have opinions that are different from his or her own and to be able to engage in intimate relationships (third-order consciousness). Kegan (1994) translates the demands that modern life makes on us our relationships, our ability to resolve conflict, and the successful mastery of our own life journey into successive levels of development (with competence in one level being necessary before advancement to the next). He describes indicators of this development as increasing orders of conscious ability (see Table 2; key points in bold emphasis mine): 19

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Table 2 Principles ofMeaning Organization (Kegan, 1994, p. 30) The Self Independent Elements Durable Category Cross Categorical Knowing (Third-order conscious ability) (First-order conscious (Second-order conscious abilitv) ability) Logical-Cognitive Can: Can: Can: Recognize that objects exist Grant to objects their own Reason abstractly; form independent of own sensing properties irrespective of negative classes; see of them. one's perceptions; can relationships as simultaneously Cannot: construct a narrative reciprocal Distinguish own perception sequence and timeline Cannot: of an object from the actual Cannot: Systematically produce all properties of the object. Reason abstractly discern possible combinations of overall patterns form relations ; test h ypotheses. hypotheses Social-Cognitive Can : Can: Can: Recognize that persons exist Construct own point of Be aware of shared feelings separate from oneself. view and grant others their agreements and expectations Cannot: distinct point of view; that take primacy over Recognize that other persons role-play ; manipulate individual interests. have their own purposes and others on behalf of own Cannot: viewpoint goals. Construct a generalized independent of oneself. Cannot: system regulative of Take own point of view interpersonal relationships and another's and relationships between simultaneously; maintain relationships. interpersonal relationships. lntrapersonai-Affective Can: Can: Ca n : Distinguish between inner Drive regulate or Internalize another's point of sensation and outside organize impulses to view in what becomes the costimulation. produce enduring construction of personal Cannot: dispositions and identify experience, enabling deep Distinguish one's impulses qualities of self (identity relationships. from oneself; that is, is formation). Cannot: embedded in or driven by Cannot: Organize own states or internal one's impulses. Internally coordinate ports of self into systematic more than one point of whole; distinguish self from view ; distinguish one's one's relationship; see the need from oneself; self as the author of one's identify enduring inner psychological life. qualities of the self according to inner psychological manifestations. 20

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In reference to the evolving self, Kegan says: The different principles of mental organization are intimately related to each other. They are not just different ways of knowing each with its preferred season. One does not simply replace the other nor is the relation merely additive or cumulative an accretion of skills. Rather the relation is transformative qualitative and incorporative. Each successive principle subsumes or encompasses the prior principle. That which was a subject becomes the object to the next principle. The new principle is a higher order principle (more complex more inclusive) that makes the prior principle into an element or tool of its system. (Kegan 1994, p. 33) This subject-object transformation occurs all through formative life and roughly aligns with several corresponding stages of Erikson s work (see Table 3). 21

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Table 3 Subject-Object Comparison (Kegan, 1982) Overlapping Frameworks of Erikson and Kegan Approximate attained age Erikson Kegan Early Childhood (2 to 3 years) Phase 2: Self-certainty ImpulsiveUnderlying (self esteem) vs. SelfStructure: Subjectconsciousness Impulses Perceptions; (appearance in the eyes of ObjectReflexesSensing, others). Moving Preschool (3 to 5 years) Phase 3 : Role ImperialUnderlying Experimentation vs. Role Structure: Subject-Needs, Fixation. Interests Wishes; ObjectImpulse, Perceptions School Age (6 to 11 years) Phase 4: Apprenticeship Interpersonal -vs. Work Paralysis. Underlying Structure: Subject-The Interpersonal Mutuality; Object-Needs Interests wishes Adolescence (12 to 18 years) Phase 5: Identity vs. InstitutionalUnderlying Identity Confusion. Structure: Subject-Authorship, Identity, Physic Administration, Idealology; Object-The Interpersonal, Mutuality 22

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Together these two frameworks help to illustrate how one develops an individual sense of value an identity within a local social context and a viewpoint of self as one part of a larger global system. Psychosocial Development in the Physical World A p e r so n s ide nti ty is not to b e found in b e havi o ur nor i mp o rtant thou g h thi s is-in th e r e a c tion s of othe rs, but in th e capa c i ty t o kee p a parti c ular narrativ e go i ng. -Anthony Giddens (1991 p.54) Early Development Even before birth, the central nervous system is coordinating the activity of other biological systems that make our lives possible and monitoring the outside environment and responding. This biological system is a seat of activity with the ability to send impulses to any number of muscle groups in an effort to carry out the activities of daily living. Aside from the involuntary acts necessary to sustain life (respiratory functions etc.) the central nervous system responds to commands from our brains to carry out any number of activities. Simply mimicking a gesture in response to a similar gesture (think of someone who has never experienced the waving of a hand in greeting) begins as a simple biological act but over time becomes more of a referential symbol as meaning is attached to the gesture (Mead 1934) 23

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It is in this early segment of existence when young people begin to assign meaning to the world around them (Erikson 1968). Kegan ( 1982) describes this phase of development as me centered or first-order conscious ability. It is a time where children are primarily concerned with having their immediate needs met they are embedded in their perceptions but at the same time, are developing the deliberate independent movements that are the foundation of personal gestures (Dewey 1922/2002). This early preoccupation with self is when our fundamental habits are formed. It is also a period of self-exploration in the development of autonomy from one s family structure through early communication (Dewey 1922 / 2002) Vygotsky (1978) stresses the importance oflanguage as a mediator: The most significant moment in the course of intellectual development, which gives birth to the purely human forms of practical and abstract intelligence occurs when speech and practical activity two previously independent lines of development converge (p. 24). With language comes the intelligence to weigh problems of present behavior with future consequences involving both memory and foresight (Mead 1934). Others note the progression to higher levels of consciOusness : With the acquisition of language and symbolic play mental imagery etc. that is the formation of the symbolic function (or in a general sense the semiotic function) actions are interiorized and become representations; 24

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this supposes a reconstruction and reorganization on the new plane of representative thought. (Piaget, 2008 p 41) Through the use of language and meaning the healthy toddler will develop gradual autonomy from his or her parents. Because this weaning typically happens at an early age (and is self-directed) an interruption in this process (or entering this phase prematurely) might cause long-term effects in the formation of a healthy sense of self-worth This time period is described as a movement from the child as the center of his own universe (subject) to one of being an object or a player in a larger production such as a pre-school class children on a playground, or one member of a larger family (Kegan 1982). Cultural and contextual association. All of us are birthed into some cultural association (Hogg Terry & White 1995). These associations have a defmed set of accepted behaviors and actions that create the defining characteristics of the group (Dewey 1922/2002) Bourdieu calls this our habitus: the environmental conditions under which one exists including rules behaviors and social customs. While our habitus does not constrain us to a pre-determined set of actions it organizes the way we see the world (Bourdieu 1977). Through the process of feedback and self-verification our individual identity can be compared to the normative behaviors of the group. Stryker Owens, and White (2000) assert that identity consists of the ready-made set of endowments and identifications that every individual shares with others from the moment of birth 25

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by the chance o f the family into which he is born at that given time in a given place (pp. 22-23). While being birthed into a particular family is a context that cannot be chosen normal psychosocial maturation includes the desire to choose one s friends and social contexts (even at a young age). These contexts are often desired because they exemplify an identity or association that is highly favored and one for which the individual can envision being part (F. Smith 1998). When we choose these environments it is as if' we can see ourselves as participants. Holland et al. (1998) consider this type of environment a figured world: Figured worlds rest upon people s abilities to form and be formed in collectively realized as if' realms. What if bundles of banana leaves were so important that older women spent much time and energy assembling them? What if there were a world called academia where books were so significant that people would sit for hours on end away from friends and family writing them? People have the propensity to be drawn to recruited for and formed in these worlds and to become active in and passionate about them. People's identities and agency are formed dialectically and dialogically in these as if' worlds (p 49) Figured worlds create a context where an individual s identity plays a dual role as being personally subjective while acting as an agent in a larger figured environment receiving self-verification from other members of the group. Self verification is constantly in motion, and our self-value is highly impacted by (a) 26

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the amount of feedback we receive from others and (b) the value placed on the source of the feedback (Burke 1991 ). When this support is lacking or has been abruptly discontinued (for example, through the death of a person whose feedback to which we attach value), the resulting negative feelings can be one of the primary markers of depression (Tafarodi & Swann, Jr., 1995). Our self verification is constantly in motion, and research proposes that, over time, our self-perception actually changes to align with the feedback we receive (Burke, 2006). Once we mature and move away from this environment, other figured worlds may challenge this initial identity, giving us opportunities to develop additional social and role-based personas. This situational nature introduces the notion of a portable context, which will be important in the migration from a physical to a virtual space. Gee (2007a) also embraces the idea of interplay between the subject and environment by describing his theory of semiotic domains as "design spaces that manipulate us in certain ways and that we can manipulate in certain ways" (p. 36). This interactivity suggests that we can affect our environment as well as be affected by it. Adolescence It should be no surprise that adolescence is typically viewed as a time of turmoil, particularly if the phases leading up to it have been less than ideal. Erikson (1980) says this stage is the bridge between early childhood and later 27

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stages where social roles become increasingly coercive (p. 96 Parental support and acceptance in this phase are highly significant in the development of healthy self-regard (Tafarodi & Swann Jr. 1995). Typical characteristics ofthis phase are Task identification vs. sense of futility ; Anticipation of roles vs. role inhibition; Will to be oneself vs. self-doubt; and Mutual recognition vs. autistic isolation. (Erikson, 1968 p. 94) This phase is also marked by trying on roles what Erikson (1956) calls the moratorium phase--one of role experimentation without regard to consequence Recall an entire generation of American baby-boomers reaching this phase in the late 1960s. As the discussion moves to virtual identity being able to anonymously experiment with roles without regard to consequence represents a significant opportunity to revisit adolescence. Objectively Kegan (1982) calls adolescence a time of mutuality becoming a member of a community and respecting a common set of values (choosing a habitus as opposed to being birthed into one). Piaget also notes this mutuality: From the social point of view there is also an important conquest. Firstly hypothetical reasoning changes the nature of discussions: a fruitful and constructive discussion means that by using hypotheses we can adopt the point of view of the adversary (although not necessarily believing it) and draw the logical consequences it implies. (Piaget 2008 p. 42) 28

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Young Adulthood Becoming an adult assumes that an individual has the capacity for psychosocial intimacy with another. This level of maturity requires a firm sense of identity where the ratio of masculinity and femininity is proportional to the identity being developed (Erikson 1980). He states The youth who is not sure of his identity shies away from interpersonal intimacy; but the surer he becomes of himself the more he seeks it in the form of friendship combat leadership love and inspiration (p 101). This assessment echoes Kegan s (1982) view of subjective self-identity as giving way to objective participation in an intimate relationship and a movement to third-order processes. He asserts Growth always involves a process of differentiation of emergence from embeddedness (Kegan 1982 p 31 ). By this stage of life Kegan assumes an individual can compromise to gain agreement can exist successfully in close relationships with others, and can execute the reciprocity necessary to make that collaboration happen At the same time it is important to acknowledge what Kegan assumes an individual who dwells in a third-order consciousness cannot do: consistently see the larger picture from a theoretical viewpoint maintain a balance between interpersonal relationships and those that are impersonal (relationships between relationships) and separate oneself as a psychological entity distinct from one s relationships. This ability to separate oneself is equally important in virtual interpersonal 29

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relationships where crafting an avatar persona that is highly favorable may cause participants to remain more embedded in their persona than in the physical world. Middle Adulthood According to Erikson (1968) in this phase individuals concern themselves with raising a family. Where this focus is not possible there can be regression and an obsessive need for pseudo-intimacy often with a sense of stagnation, boredom and personal impoverishment where individuals indulge themselves as if they were their own children (otherwise known as mid-life crisis). Interactions in this phase are usually channeled through the structures that underlie social life (activities based on roles) and can offer an explanation of the choices people might make in situations where they have the possibility of enacting alternative role-related actions (Stryker 2007). These structured interactions (according to Stryker) are able to impact personal identity and meaning by providing the same feedback and self-verification that began when the individual first entered formal schooling. Stryker (2007 p. 1091) writes: Commitment impacts identity salience and psychological centrality and these impact role-choice behavior ." Regarding the resources one brings to this interaction Stets and Cast (2007 p 518) state The value ofthe resources (in int e raction) lies in what an actor who controls the resource can gain from 30

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exchanging it and what an actor who receives it can benefit from it. They go on to say: the verification of one s identity is an important dynamic in interaction and those who feel good and competent about themselves will be more likely to achieve verification because they will continue their efforts to work toward this goal even when they periodically fail. (p. 520) Kegan ( 1982) calls the maturation process a time of rebalancing with the roles of subject and object recast with each revision He says I am not my perceptions; rather I have perceptions; my perceptions become the object of my attention coordinated by what is the new subject of my attention (p. 32). Virtual worlds can become an experimental playground for those who have the opportunity to enact what Stryker (2007) calls role-related actions. For a musician this opportunity can mean living the lifestyle of a young rock star even if there is no physicalworld counterpart. Maturity (After Age 65) This fmal phase is where people have (typically) matured into an acceptance of their place and role in society. It is a time of ideological commitment versus the confusion of values where one despairs because there is not enough time to start over with a new frame of life (Erikson 1980). Kegan (1982) sees this time of life as a move to fourth-order consciousness (and even beyond) where the individual moves from a sense of embeddedness to a sense of 31

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balance, authoring a new sense of self, self-dependence, and self-ownership. Events may happen but they do not defme the individual. It is a degree of separation from the internalization for earlier orders of consciousness. While virtual worlds can provide a participant with something akin to a "new start," virtual maturation includes equilibrium between both the physical and virtual identities. Crafting a Virtual Identity A MUD (multi user domain) can become a context for discov e ring who one is and wishes to be In this way the gam e s ar e laboratori e s for th e c onstruction of identity." -Sherry Turkle (1995 p. 184) This study explored the crafting of a virtual lifestyle and the ability to mature from a subject to an object orientation following much of the same progression as in the physical world. For example, while we possess a cultural footprint of our collective physical memories and experiences that migrate into virtual worlds with us, we still have to master the tools of the new environment in order to mature. Just as in Erikson's (1968) description of physical psychosocial development virtual identity begins by observing and mimicking others dress animations, and language. The goal is to look like an insider as quickly as possible in order to be able to better assimilate into various interest groups moving the newcomer from a point of periphery to full participation by mastering 32

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the skills and knowledge necessary to become a fully functioning member (Lave & Wenger 1991). With the ability to remain anonymous any number of roles can be experimented with each with the capacity to become a highly favored identity. The more highly favored the identity the more likely we are to remain embedded in that persona. How much physical and virtual identities differ can lead to identity conflict and confusion, with the need to find the point of balance between the two (Burke 2006) Unlike physical identity that normally takes years to develop a virtual persona can be established quickly. By having a cultural footprint as a point of reference, we can create virtual identities that are iterations of our physical selves. These iterative shifts can be accomplished in much less time than our physical identity because of the sense of time / space compression in virtual spaces (Boellstorff 2008) Virtual spaces demand interaction (keystrokes to remain active) regardless of our role; this persistent immersion contributes to the sense of compression This interaction with the environment also creates a feedback system that is purposely built into games ; we know immediately if our keystrokes have had an effect (McGonigal 2011) In both the physical and virtual identities as we mature in a particular identity, we become less focused on ourselves as the center of our own existence (subject orientation) in favor of our place as one part of a larger community (object orientation) Over time equilibrium is reached between (or among) 33

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identities with positive aspects of all identities becoming part of a permanent persona. This equilibrium assumes there is a salience (agreement) among personality traits (Burke 2006). When there is conflict among traits an identity crisis occurs requiring further negotiation among identities to attain salience. With the ability to remain anonymous (if that is one s choice) and create any number of alternate identities building an individual and social sense of self in a virtual space can initiate a period of self-discovery risk-taking and playful enjoyment that is different from ordinary life (Turkle 1997). Research by Nardi (1996) into human-computer interaction reveals the following: First there is a shift of focus between the user and the computer to a larger context of interaction of human beings with their environment that is transcending the user interface to reality beyond the 'human-computer system The user begins as a novice and often ends up an expert. The current meaning of the word user now includes not only individuals but also groups and organizations (p. 4 7) A virtual environment such as Second Life can be considered a figured world a socially and culturally constructed realm of interpretation in which particular characters and actors are recognized significance is assigned to certain acts and particular outcomes are valued over others (Holland et al., 2008 p. 101 ). Who we become in a virtual world however is still influenced by the traditions habits and values we bring from our real world. Sense making must rely on people s 34

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prior knowledge much of which is provided by culture (Hatano & Wertsch, 2001 p. 80) A digital culture is like every culture constructed according to norms rules and traditions (Comeliussen & Walker Rettberg 2008 p. 3) As a virtual social network (as opposed to a game), Second Life fosters the iterative development of any number of roles each with the possibility of a unique persona participating in any number of social situations. Self Consciousness The fundamental critical absolutely core point of virtual worlds such as those found in multi player online games is the development of the player s identity. Richard Bartle The ability to craft a virtual self began with text-based chat rooms and later occurred in Multi-User Domains (MUDS), which relied on the ability of the participant to provide a textural rich description of his or her alter-persona (Turkle 1999). In describing these early arenas for identity experimentation, Turkle (1995) stated "On MUD's one s body is represented by one s own textural description, so the obese can be slender the beautiful plain the nerdy sophisticated (p. 12). Once graphically rich multi-user environments such as Everquest World of W arcraft and Second Life emerged this textural dependence was aided by the ability to visually display any number of alternate identities and actions sometimes simultaneously. Turkle (1997) described this multiplicity as a 35

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"recasting in terms of multiple windows and parallel lives," and a method for an iterative intimacy with any number of alternate identities (p. 72). In Second Life, for example participants have a large amount of latitude in everything from their name to the appearance of their avatar. In some ways it is a do over for people who see their online persona as "virtually there" (Boellstorff, 2008). The name one chooses for one's avatar is paramount in creating a ftrst impression, causing participants to think as carefully about their name as they do their appearance. Once a name is assigned to a particular avatar, it cannot be changed. If participants are not happy with their appearance in the physical world, a virtual world is the place where they can eliminate any physical flaws they consider barriers in real life. Moreover, this physical appearance can be altered at any time. This new look can be saved as a ftle, and completely alternate personas (even non-human) can be swapped like clothing (Turkle, 1995) MacCallum Stewart and Parsler (2008) offer Avatar appearance is one of the only ways a player can lastingly affect their environment, and is an obvious representation of self in the game" (p. 230). The more rich the media experience, the greater the ability to create a social presence through clothing jewelry hair and other body accouterments (Nardi 2005). This social presence can be repeated in any number of alternate personae, each with its own circle of relationships. It is what Gergen ( 1991) considers social saturation. While not discussing virtual worlds specifically Gergen asserts: 36

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The technological achievements of the past century have produced a radical shift in our exposure to each other As a result of advances in radio telephone transportation television satellite transmission computers and more we are exposed to an enormous barrage o f social stimulation. Small and enduring communities with a limited cast of significant others are being replaced by a vast and ever-expanding array of relationships. (p. i x ) Virtual identity then is an exercise in negotiating the diverse demands of multiple separate roles (both physical and virtual) that may or may not be in agreement with one another (Turkle 1995). The acquisition of multiple role related personas (some of which might be disparate from one another) and the negotiation of values related to each identity are the preliminary effects of social saturation. Identity is in constant negotiation and as we mature we become (both in the physical world and in the virtual world) who we believe we are based on our ability to perpetuate any particular narrative (for e x ample a performing musician). Quite possibly this negotiated agreement among identities is causing us not to choose between a physical or a virtual life but a life that is somehow a mash-up of combined identities (Turkle 2011). F. Smith (1998) states The way we see ourselves is at the core of it all . all learning pivots on who we think we are and who we see ourselves as capable of becoming (p. 11 ). These notions of self, particularly in a virtual world shape ideas of agency, desire and 37

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possession, and have enormous consequences for that it means to be virtually human" (Boellstorff, 2008, p. 118). Boudreau (2008) builds on that thought: By adding the complication of the avatar, through which all interactions in MMOGs [massively multiplayer online games] occur, the question of who's identity we are talking about becomes blurred as player and avatar serve each other in the process of creating identity. (p. 86) Role Development Innovative ideas and behavior are often seen as deviant until they change society. One innovation that is currently seen as sufficiently deviant to invite a diagnosis and a treatment is computer gaming . . the media brand garners as addicts in need of treatment antisocial deviants. Torill Elvira Mortensen (2008, p.202) The notion of an alternative, fantasy existence has existed for centuries. Bakhtin (1968/1984) writes about medieval folk humor in the context of carnivale, the celebration that openly parodies the daily rule of the Church during the Middle Ages: "Thus carnivale is the people's second life, organized on the basis of laughter. It is a festive life" (p. 8). The festivity associated with carnivale is based on the imagery, language, and mimicry that is part of the sanctioned behavior required for participation in this ritual. It is not surprising, then, that we might associate an alternative persona as pleasurable, imaginative, and even playful. 38

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Role development is often situation-dependent and is compared to similar roles within a particular community. For example, a role-based identity as a mother makes assumptions about how the identity of a mother should be defmed based on local culture. Add wife, daughter, and doctor to the role of mother, and a composite portrait emerges regarding the identity attributes someone might have in performing, often simultaneously, those roles. In contrast, virtual spaces enable greater self-fashioning of identity due to their separation from physical life. In a virtual world, one might parody the role of a real-life doctor but have none of the risk associated with that real-life role similar to an actor in a movie. It is within this space between the real and the virtual where one is free to play the role in any way one defmes (Boellstorff, 2008). This role parody depends on interaction and a feedback system to determine if(a) the role an acceptable parody, and (b) the identity we craft in the portrayal of this role one we find favorable. These determinations are based on the exchanges that occur as we interact with others (Stets & Cast, 2007). Role-based identity is more than simply a social exchange. Interactions establish hierarchy, what roles might have more power than others, and which roles represent producers as opposed to consumers. A well-portrayed role can establish social standing in a community as well obtain romantic or economic gain (Bourdieu & Thompson, 1991). Mortenson (2008) says, "The real value in 39

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multiplayer games is your reputation. Reputation is spread virally through social interaction, but it has few visual or other more explicit expressions (p. 216). In her auto-ethnography Boudreau (2008 p 81) explains: As a young player ... I never quite fully understood the avatar / avatar dynamic It was only as I started to group with other players regularly that I understood how important my physical understanding of the game space and the other active avatars in it were. This situated learning assumes that social practice is primary and that learning is a characteristic of that practice. Boudreau writes Far from being fi x ed internally in the player these identities are interwoven though internal and external interactions creating perceptions and performances of play that emerge as complex negotiated selves interacting between spaces in the self and the social (p. iii). Participants enter synthetic spaces to engage in social interaction because people have a fundamental need to connect with others (for pleasure as well as gain). What motivates people to become residents has been separated into four main personality types (see Table 4). 40

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Table 4 Bartle's Motivational Types (abbreviated from Castronova, 2005, p. 72) Type Motivation Explorers People who come to see what is there and map it for others. They are happiest with challenges that involve the gradual revelation of the world. Socializers People who come to be with others. They are happiest with challenges that involve fonning groups with others to accomplish shared objectives. Achievers People who come to build. They are happiest with challenges that involve the gradual accumulation of things worthy of social respect. Controllers People who come to dominate other people. They are happiest with challenges that involve competing with others and defeating them. People who are not satisfied with their real life might fmd a second, synthetic life more attractive (Castronova, 2005). Those individuals who have tested a synthetic life as one role (or one motivational type) might find another life more fulfilling. As a result, many virtual world participants have a real-life identity as well as several alternative virtual identities, known as alts, each with its own avatar. This creates an iterative interplay between individuals and all of their alternative personas, with each persona participating in any number of social 41

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interactions. While he is not addressing synthetic identities, Bakhtin (1975/1981) considers the self-fashioning of active identities a repetitive (iterative) outcome for the effect of the collective on the individual. These virtual identities are just as subject to salience as any other role-based identity, enabling a member to travel in and among several collectives, now seeking self-verification or social standing from any number of interactions in something of a salience hierarchy, with identities higher in the hierarchy more likely to be invoked in a particular situation (Stryker et al., 2000). Turkle (1999) agrees, describing Cyberspace as a place where some people can "act-out unresolved conflicts, to play and replay characterological difficulties on a new and exotic stage" (p. 644). Maturation "If we consider the term modernity descriptive of the current cultural environment in which we live then the Internet age has created one Universal identity to which we all belong" Anthony Giddens If we reconsider the suggestion by Stryker and Burke (2000) that people become members of a particular group because of a common identity and shared belief system that makes collective action possible, then membership in a virtual community enables people from every corner of the Earth to be part of a collective group, even if they have never met. Giddens (1991, p. 22) talks about the emergence of communities that are boundary-absent: ''No one can 'opt-out' of the transformations brought about by modernity ... the connecting of the local 42

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and global has been tied to a profound set of transmutations in the nature of day to-day life." These transmutations can be anything from constant monitoring of text messages, email, and social media on a smart phone to significant amounts of time spent in virtual environments. These technology-driven mutations alter our sense of self, both individually and socially, in a constantly changing world (Gergen 1991). In her research about online and offline identity, Turkle (2011) writes about one of her married subjects who also had a relationship with someone in a virtual world. The subject explains, "The life mix is the mash-up of what you have on-and offline" (Turkle, 2011, p. 160) Turkle concludes, ''Now, we ask not of our satisfactions in life but our life mix. We have moved from multitasking to multi-lifmg" (2011, p. 160). The dynamic nature of the virtual world can create a profound sense of inadequacy for those people who either do not have access to the technology necessary to become part of this global collective or for those people who cannot stay current on the latest social media trends. Within Second Life, there is not only a minimum hardware requirement in order to participate, but there is also a learning curve once someone enters the environment in order to become self sufficient enough to interact with others. Erikson (1968) would consider this social phase part of the maturation process, where one accepts his or her place as part of a larger group. Once someone has entered the virtual environment, inadequacy shifts to being part of the global collective to becoming an identified 43

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member of a community. Stets and Burke (2000) identify this membership as the acceptance of a defined role: Having a particular social identity means being at one with a certain group, being like others in the group, and seeing things from the group's perspective. In contrast, having a particular role identity means acting to fulfill the expectations of the role, coordinating and negotiating interactions with role partners, and manipulating the environment to control the resources for which the role has responsibility. (p. 226) In his research on social identity, Stryker (2007) suggests that people become members of a particular group because of a common identity and a shared belief system that makes collective action possible. It is through repeated activities within a group that personal, role-based identity matures and that collective identity is strengthened. It is by these symbolic social interactions that society and self are conceptualized, group social behavior is structured and governed, and personal identity is shaped in favor of the group standard (Barreto & Ellemers, 2002; Stryker, 2007). As a community, the group assumes an identity not as an entity, but as a continually evolving image in the mind of each of its participants (Holland et al., 2008). In their research about legitimate peripheral participation as a method of situated learning, Lave and Wenger ( 1991) state that "learning involves the construction of identities" and "is not merely a condition for membership, but is itself a form of membership" (p. 53). They conceive of 44

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identities as long-term living relations between persons and their place and participation in communities of practice. Thus identity knowing and social membership entail one another (p. 53) Summarizing the discussion to this point, the crafting of a virtual identity is largely situation (context) specific following many of the same phases as Erikson s theory of psychosocial development given the cultural footprint developed over time in the physical world. The ability to remain anonymous and customize our digital appearance can open the door to experimentation with any number of roles based on our interpretation of how the role should be negotiated. How well we negotiate or parody a particular role is highly influenced by the affrrmative feedback given to us by others. This feedback will either motivate us to mature in a particular role or to adopt a different role as part of an iterative identity process The successful interplay of identity traits between physical and virtual personalities is determined by salience : how much the traits complement rather than compete with each other. Interaction is the foundation of virtual-world participation. Membership in a community the motivation to assume one identity over another and the affrrmation of one s crafted identity are all part of the constant demand for communication that maintains a state of excitement and activation which promotes the exchange of information in a graphically rich environment. This immersion enables a sense of presence not known in earlier virtual spaces (Nardi 45

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2005). This persistent banter among participants creates a sense of community that transcends the computer, making hardware nothing more than a portal to another existence. This alternate identity can be one or many, with the ability to cycle through identities at will. Turkle (1997) suggests that these multiple identities contain lifelike properties that we craft into "multiple definitions of life" (p. 82). Autonomy Starting a new character is like backspacing over your identity mistakes and retyping them a difforent way. It' s only possible in virtual worlds -Richard Bartle (2004, p. 174) Autonomy enables us to create avatar identities that can enter what Erikson (1968) called the "moratorium" phase. Turkle (1999) describes this phase not as a "hold" on significant experiences but, rather, their consequences: It is a time during which one's actions are, in a certain sense, not counted as they will be later in life. They are not given as much weight, not given the full force of judgment. In this context, experimentation can become the norm rather than a brave departure. Relatively consequence-free experimentation facilitates the development of a "core self," a personal sense of what gives life meaning that Erikson called identity. (p. 644) When this core self aligns with a group affiliation, it can foster the willingness to take behavioral risks; these behaviors are more likely to occur when the 46

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participant can remain anonymous (J. R. Smith Terry & Hogg, 2007). In theory if someone assumes a risk-taking identity in a virtual world, it is possible the identity (or the desire for the identity) was already present but there was no suitable social network in real life to attach it to in order for it to develop into a role Stryker (2007) asserts Identity theory s fundamental proposition hypothesizes that the choice between or among behaviors expressive of particular roles will reflect the relative locations of the identities in the identity hierarchies (p. 1 092). Simply stated the behaviors associated with a particular role reflect how highly valued the role is in our personal hierarchy ; if the role is highly valued but has no other outlet portraying that role within the anonymous context of a virtual world enables the expression of that particular identity narrative with minimal personal risk. Turkle (1997) quotes the risk-taking behaviors of one of her subjects named Doug: I'd rather not even talk about that character because its anonymity is very important to me Let's just say that on FurryMUDs [where all players are represented as furry animal as opposed to human personas] feel like a sexual tourist. (p. 74) Turkle admits to her own exploration in MUDs by creating avatars of various roles and genders that are able to have "social and sexual encounters with other characters (some of my virtual gender others not of my virtual gender) (p. 75). 47

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Interestingly, many performing musicians choose not to be anonymous; they use Second Life to market themselves and their real-life music efforts. When this is the case, it is not unusual for the performer to have a real-life picture as part of their avatar profile, as a prop during performances, and even as click-through signage that will allow a fan to open a browser window to the artist's real-life website in order to purchase music. What remains to be determined is if this transparency is attributable to a highly favored virtual identity that has migrated into physical life. Not all autonomy is driven by the desire to escape consequences. The affordances of virtual environments also enable a "leveling" of the playing field when real-life identity is seen as a barrier. Gender, race, and physical limitations can be all but visually erased in a virtual space, making the use of such environments beneficial for education (Dickey, 2003). Intimacy I show that Second Life culture is profoundly human. It i s not only that virtual worlds borrow assumptions from rea/life ; virtual world s show us how under our very noses our real lives have b e en virtual" all along Tom Boellstorff (2008, p. 5) It is little wonder how an environment that enables visual perfection the crafting of any number of identities and the ability to experiment with minimal risk would also be a place where interactions may lead to intimacy. Just as 48

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physical humans can fall in love marry and fall out of love those people who are virtually there can participate in the same activities with very low barriers to entry and exit. Intimacy is a significant economic driver in Second Life, with products and services that cater to virtual weddings sexual animations, and sensual clothing accounting for a large portion of Second Life transactions. Just as in the physical world virtual-world intimacy begins with a connection. The dimensions of connection show that affinity commitment and attention are key factors in social bonding. Affinity is comprised of Touch; Eating and drinking (together); Sharing experience in a common space; and Informal conversation. (Nardi 2005 p. 99) In a 3D environment these factors become virtually possible. The ability to commit to a mutual relationship with another exists not only in continued virtual presence, but also in a virtual-world developer s ability to formalize partnerships just as someone would marry in real life (Boellstorff 2008). Attention affordances in virtual environments may include avatar eye contact animated actions, or negotiated availability between participants. For someone in music arts who Huizinga (1970) says is predisposed to play anyway this bonding is forged by the need for a performer to bask in the adulation of fans : 49

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From another angle, of course we might say that the play-element in art has been fortified by the very fact that the artist is held to be above the common run of mortals. As a superior being he claims a certain about of veneration as his due in order to savor his superiority to the full he will require a reverential public or circle of kindred spirits who will pour forth the requisite veneration more understandingly that the public at large with its empty phrases. (p. 229) Technological tools have increased the proliferation of relationships that can be maintained at any one time and while the past is preserved continuously poised to insert itself into the present there is an acceleration of th e future The pace of relationships is hurried and processes of unfolding that one required months or years may be accomplished in days or weeks (Gergen 1991 p 62). Moreover the nature of these new relationships is being constantly disrupted making it more difficult for any given relationship to normalize due to the cast of significant others that is constantly in motion. The ability for autonomy creates a condition where people who have a need to belong can enter a virtual space and fmd affiliations they are unable to fmd in real life (Stryker et al. 2000). Autonomy can also enable participants to talk more truthfully about real-life conditions forming deep relationships that are situational in nature (Adler & Adler 2008). Lest one believe that online intimacy is acceptable only to twenty somethings Y ee (2006) has reported that the average age of computer and video so

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game players is 30, that women are typically older than the men they interact with, and that, while their motivations for a virtual presence may differ from men (building supportive social networks or escape from real-life stress), they find the same appeal and emotional satisfaction from online environments as men. Armed with the understanding that interaction is essential to virtual-world residency; that intimacy may be easier to attain than in the physical world; and that autonomy can encourage participants to form deep, situational relationships in a compressed timeframe, it is little wonder why Second Life has over 12 million residents, with the highest average time spent by residents per week (760 minutes: almost 13 hours) of the major MMORPG environments (Srinivasan, 2009). This amount of time per week, in constant interaction, can cause a participant to move from new user to mature member in a very short time. The level of participation necessary for this transition can certainly be accomplished in this amount of time and creates an increasing relational interdependency of agent (participant) and environment with the constant situated renegotiation of meaning within the space (Lave & Wenger, 1991). It is little wonder why these environments are irnmersive: they are designed that way. 51

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Posthumanism In the posthuman there are no essential differences or absolute demarcations between bodily existence and computer simulation cybernetic mechanism and biological organism robot teleology and human goals N. Catherine Hayles (1999, p. 3) Posthumanism, which has its roots in theories such as cybernetics, information theory, and cognitive thought, centers on how information (such as identity or cultural markers) "lost its body, that is, how it came to be conceptualized as an entity separate from the material forms in which it is thought to be embedded" (Hayles, 1999, p. 2). Hayles also explains, "The posthuman view thinks of the body as the original prosthesis we all learn to manipulate, so that extending or replacing the body with other prostheses becomes a continuation of a process that began long before we were born" (p. 3). Ifwe can consider view to be true, then occupying an avatar as our prosthetic representation is a mutation of choice. Some might consider this dual existence to be a hallmark of posthumanism. It is not to be confused with embeddedness or immersion; the latter describe the level to which we identify with an alternate existence. Posthumanism is the separation of who we are from the body or environment in which we live not necessarily the adoption of a new identity. The work of researchers such as James Clifford can help make sense of questions about posthumanism and virtual identity, particularly with respect to 52

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what causes a person to choose one type of identity over another. After looking more closely at Clifford s work with indigenous populations who faced extinction as the modem world threatened their culture (causing them to adapt to a mobile identity) it is possible that the choice of a virtual identity might be the product of a voice (identity) that is subaltern looking to emerge and adapt within a community of like-minded members (Clifford, 2003b). This portable voice is an example of posthumanism, an existing identity that is looking for a new environment. Clifford (2003a) states Any community s ability to persist to innovate to change its own terms is relative to its structural power (p l53). In a virtual space the community is constantly in a state of flux as people bring their own cultural footprint in and out of the community at will. These community dynamics may begin as posthuman effects but over time, new identities are developed to meet the expectations of the group As this migration from the physical to the virtual (and back) increases and we hold our synthetic lives to be as important as our real lives the value we place on the status and good we attain in our synthetic life will take on the same value as if they were real. This migration is where the postmodem thought becomes manifest because a new iterative identity has been crafted Synthetic worlds are becoming a legitimate immersive and alternate life for millions of people and that number is expected to increase making our computers an object on the border between the self and not-self (Turkle 1995 p. 30). 53

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With regard to subject-object orientation and the work ofKegan (1994), posthumanism sets the stage for us seeing ourselves outside our body or environment. It creates a sense of separation that enables us to see ourselves as something other than entirely physical and able to adopt a machine (our computer) as a body simulation: The posthuman implies not only a coupling with intelligent machines but a coupling so intense and multifaceted that it is no longer possible to distinguish meaningfully between the biological organism and the information circuits in which the organism is enmeshed. (Hayles, 1999, p. 35) This coupling alone may not cause a shift from a subject to an object orientation, but it causes us to rethink what we consider a body and opens the possibility for an avatar representation to hold the same value and to be as real) as our physical self. This association suggests an ideal of abstract citizenship where it is necessary to look for new places to inhabit once we have morphed as humans past the ability of our current environment, or physical body, to contain us. In this respect, we can consider these new places to inhabit as figured worlds, each with their own socio-cultural norms (Foster, 2005). 54

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Embeddedness (Immersion) and Play "From an economic perspective, it is the interest of an MMORPGs [Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplay Game] producers that their game be as addictive as cigarettes." Scott Rettberg (2008, p.22) As participants assign more meaning and value to their synthetic lives, they amass the material possessions (as symbols) that their particular class status views as necessary. This accumulation of cultural artifacts or symbols is essential to the process of meaning-making (Holland et al., 2008, p. 118). These artifacts can be anything from weapons of warfare to homes and beachfront land. Houses in virtual spaces can have all the trappings of a real (and possibly better) life: pools, cars, designer furniture, and art (Castronova 2005). Bartle (2004) states, "It's about identity. When player and character merge to become a persona, that's immersion; that's what people get from virtual worlds that they can't get from anywhere else; that s when they stop playing the world and start living it" (p. 19). This assigned value and meaning can understandably lead to embeddedness or immersion in the virtual identity and lifestyle one has created, particularly if it is more pleasurable than real life. Erikson's Moratorium phase of experimentation may suggest a lower order of consciousness with regard to embeddedness because the ability to satiate one s desires anonymously is more subjective in its orientation. Mature real/virtual living, however, requires one to eventually be able to separate the avatar from the person and to see oneself as a contributing member 55

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of a larger community. This separation aligns with what Kegan describes as the elevation to a fourth-order consciousness: The ability to thus subordinate regulate and indeed create (rather than be created by) our values and ideals the ability to take those values and ideals as the object rather then the subject of our knowing-must necessarily be an expression of a fourth order of consciousness evinced here in the mental making of an ideology or explicit system of belief. (Kegan 1994 ,p.91) The fourth order of consciousness assumes someone can engage in conflict without taking it personally can separate performance from the person and is less concerned with the act than they are with the perceptions the act evokes in the souls of others. It is a time of rising above the petty a process of maturation into something more of a sage than a student. This separation makes for a balanced peaceful life but it may not be enough to successfully navigate a virtual existence. This juncture is where Kegan ( 1982) suggests a higher fifth order of consciousness. At this level there is a separation of the self from the institution, which frees the self from that displacement of value whereby the maintenance of the institution has become the end in itself ; there is now a self who runs the organization where before there was a self who was the organization. The self is no longer subject to the societal. (pp. 1 03-104) 56

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Simply put this self-government enables individuals to completely separate their real existence from the activities of their avatar. They have a relationship with their avatars, but they are not their avatars. Their avatar has relationships but they are able to emotionally separate what happens in the virtual space from what happens outside it. This distance is a significant separation as we will see as we move forward. It raises the question of personal morals and values, and if the avatar is bound by the same convictions as the individual: Conflict and uncertainty are ultimate traits. But morals based upon concern with facts and deriving guidance from knowledge of them would at least locate the points of effective endeavor and would focus available resources upon them. It would put an end to the possible attempt to live in two unrelated worlds. It would destroy fixed distinction between the human and the physical as well as between the moral and the industrial and political. (Dewey 1922/2002 p. 12) While object orientation seems to move us away from a sense of embeddedness and to help us separate physical life from virtual life as we mature the idea of play seems to do just the opposite. When we play we seem to become more immersed. When we play we are portraying a role we find pleasurable : Why does the gambler lose himself in the game? This intensity of, and absorption in play finds no explanation in biological analysis. Yet this 57

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intensity, this absorption, this power of maddening, lies the very essence, the primordial quality of play. (Huizinga 1970 pp. 20-21) Huizinga goes on to suggest that those in the arts (i.e., musicians) have a strong play element as the very nature of their craft: A certain playfulness is by no means lacking in the process of creating and producing' a work of art. This was obvious enough in the arts of the muses or music arts where a strong play-element may be called fundamental indeed essential to them. (p. 227) The concepts of separation embeddedness and play are at the root of game design persuading users to become their persona in the game. At some point in most games participants will attain the skills necessary to master that game challenging game designers to continually develop more complex games in order to keep players immersed. The most successful games are those that provide positive emotion and four intrinsic rewards: Satisfying work The experience or at least the hope of being successful Social connection Meaning-the chance to be a part of something larger than ourselves. (McGonigal 2011 p. 49) In researching childhood development Vygotsky s use of artifacts as symbols (such as candy as treasure) revealed that children will ignore fatigue and 58

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hunger for the sake of continuing play, stating They learn to detach themselves from their reactions to their immediate surroundings to enter a play world a conceptual world that differs from everyday and react to the imagined objects and events of that world (Holland et al. 1998 p. 50). This level of immersion indicates that play encourages an environment that causes us to lose track of time and place. Play consists of a trans-individual process of action and reaction which often takes on a to-and-fro quality reminiscent of a dance (Rodriguez 2006 p. 2). Nardi (2005) says "It seems likely that the more senses one engages in an experience the more intense it becomes (p. 1 06). From the vantage point of game designers: The key to immersion is persuasion. The more persuasive an environment is the easier it is to become immersed in it. The biggest weapon in the designer s armory of persuasion is familiarity. You might at an intellectual level know you re in a virtual world but if everything acts just like it would in the real world then you gradually fmd yourself treating the world as if it were real while knowing it isn 't. Because you do know it isn't real you can still behave as an individual in ways that you wouldn t if you were in the real world yet because it feels real you can nevertheless believe you re in it. When knowledge and belief coincide that s immersion (Bartle 2004 p. 67) 59

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As a game Second Life enables users to build purchase, or otherwise attain their own artifacts assigning their o meaning to them. This dynamic meaningmaking can create a prolonged sense of immersion because the game is never mastered. New, more complex artifacts and actions are a natural progression as one spends increasing time in the environment. Play is 'the form of activity that proceeds in ignorance of any constitutive condition other than a cultural and conventional design, drawing on the figured world but taking the player beyond the immediate setting (Holland et al. 1998 p. 236). Bakhtin (1968 / 1984) in his writing on the medieval ritual ofCarnivale, writes that revelers "built a second world and a second life outside of officialdom a world in which all medieval people participated more or less in which they lived during a given time of year (p. 6). There was a societal pass during Carnivale enabling people to adopt roles that were outside their prescribed station in life. Carnivale was an immersion not just an observation subject to a completely different set of laws: those of its own freedom. This understanding of play and immersion offers an explanation for the level of avatar embeddedness practiced by musicians and other creative individuals who exert more passion and self into their virtual personae These people (as a subgroup of all Second Life participants) are passionate; their product is an extension of their identity Passionately held motives are at the core of activity and immersion; needs desires interests and emotion precede action 60

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(Nardi, 2005). Virtual worlds encourage the imagery, the symbolism, and the immersion necessary for immersive play and passionate engagement: Risk-uncertain outcome with much at stake; Support for spontaneity-freedom to create; Novelty-environments beyond comfort zone; Challenges that match skills-mastery of tools; Community-support and affirmative feedback; and Creative Action-action involves creating something new. (Hoffman, Perillo, Calizo, Hadfield, & Lee, 2005 pp. 11-12) Turkle (1999) looks at these passionately held motives in her assessment of virtual play: Cyberspace opens the possibility for identity play, but it is very serious play. People who cultivate an awareness of what stands behind their screen personae are the ones most likely to succeed in using virtual experience for personal and social transformation. And the people who make the most of their lives on the screen are those who are able to approach it in a spirit of self-reflection. What does my behavior in cyberspace tell me about what I want, who I am, what I may not be getting in the rest of my life? (p. 647) 61

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Virtual and Physical Identity Interplay When my own family members came to America from Italy they were immigrants They understood they had a one-way ticket to the United States and in order to become a recognized member of the group that was titled American they had to renounce their allegiance to Italy. They might have been known as Italian-Americans but they were no longer Italian citizens. This immigration is not what happens when individuals leave their real lives and log into their virtual lives. Whatever the motivation to participate there is a powerful effect of synthetic roles on the selfdevelopment of the user, both inside and outside the synthetic world (Castronova, 2005) Others share this view: For some this sense of a permeable border between actual-world and virtual world self was experienced in positive terms. Their online lives could make their actual-world self more real ," in that it could become closer to what they understood to be their true selfhood unencumbered by social constraints or the particularities of physical embodiment Common in this regard was the view that virtual world experiences could lead to greater self-confidence. (Boellstorff 2008 p. 121) This migration describes a back-and-forth cultural movement between spaces an iterative reconstruction where power and culture cause changes to take place with each iteration (Clifford 1997). Giddens (1991) calls it an emptying of time and space that set processes in motion to establish a single world where none existed 62

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previously (p. 27). More recently this iterative interplay within virtual spaces has been researched documenting how the positive social aspects of a virtual personality can migrate into the physical life of the participant through persistent virtual interaction (Yee 2007). Given the effects of constant interaction time spent in the environment immersion, and the at-will migration between the physical and the virtual, it is understandable-possibly unavoidable-for personality traits to fmd equilibrium in the establishment of a permanent persona. In contrast, Turkle (1995) writes about a subject who could not migrate these attributes to his real life due to an illness that isolated him Stewart (the subject's pseudonym) lived an entirely different virtual life compared to the significantly dysfunctional real life to which he was a prisoner. Online Stewart lived a charming romantic fantasy marrying the love of his life in a ceremony that included guests from several countries. The barriers to the migration of these attributes into Stewart's real life (due to his living situation and illness) caused Stewart to sum up his experience as an addicting waste of time (Turkle 1995 p 196). It may well be that there are limits to successful migration based on real life circumstances. Often disparate identities will shift slowly toward each other by changing identity standards over time finding an equilibrium point where all identities can fmd meaning at the same time (Burke 2006). 63

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Comparable Studies In order to analyze data for alternative explanations and to test for competing hypotheses five comparable studies have been chosen. The comparisons address virtual world design (Castronova, 2005) culture and identity in other popular multiplayer games (Boudreau 2008; Comeliussen & Rettberg 2008) and The Protus Effect how participants migrate positive social attributes from virtual spaces to their identities in the physical world (Harris Bailenson Neilsen & Yee 2009 ; Yee 2007 ; Yee & Bailenson 2007). These comparable works contribute to a composite of virtual world identity with regard to life motivation, and interplay that will be essential for this study. The first relevant study is Castronova s (2005) Synthetic Worlds: The Bu s iness and Culture of Online Games My book review of this study has recently been published in the Journal of Learning Media and Technology (Wise 2009) The book was something of a virtual worlds confidential study about how lucrative virtual worlds are and the economic engines behind them, from deliberate design by the games developers to the free-market economics and social pressure that makes the buying and selling of goods and services just as profitable in virtual life as in real life. Castronova states The default and unconscious assumption of the brain is that everything seen [on the computer] is absolutely real (2005 p. 73). This realism is enhanced by the stimulus-response that we create: Our stimulus affects the simultaneous response of someone who 64

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might be on the other side of the world. A synthetic world can be anything we choose to make it because it is the domain of its participants. He suggests that people who are unsatisfied, isolated, restless, bored, and discriminated against in contemporary life may feel connected and accepted in a synthetic one. This acceptance supports my hypothesis that we are motivated in a virtual world to act out the identities that have not found salience in our real lives. The second study I build on is that ofNick Yee. By the time Yee (2007) wrote his dissertation, he had already been well published for what he has termed the Proteus Effect (Yee & Bailenson, 2007). This process (similar to priming) is where people develop avatar characteristics which they feel will give them social advantage. The Proteus Effect assumes there is a larger behavioral change when one interacts with others as an attractive avatar, as opposed to interacting with an attractive avatar (Yee & Bailenson, 2009). Yee's work experimented with relative attractiveness and height as part of a mock dating site, where study individuals were assigned avatars with faces that had been pretested for attractiveness. (Confederates only saw avatars with attractive faces.) Regardless of what the person behind the avatar looked like in real life, if the avatar was attractive and tall, the person (as the avatar) began to exhibit the same social characteristics that would be expected in real-life interactions. The participant became more assertive and more aggressive in fmancial transactions. This result should not surprise anyone who has experienced an anonymous virtual life. What is very surprising 65

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however is Y ee s work proving that, once someone has interacted in these expected ways as an avatar the behaviors migrate into the participant s real-life interactions. This fmding is directly related to my question on embeddedness and how virtual identity interplays with real life. Yee was also involved in a six-week study of social involvement and activity and exploration in Second Life. Social involvement included how participants established social networks and interacted with other Second Life residents (Harris Bailenson Neilsen & Yee 2009). They observed a steady increase in both personal connections (as friends in a social network) and the number of groups joined that represented the participants interest. This interaction supports the idea that virtual environments such as Second Life are social spaces where meaning and significant relationships can be established The third study I build on deals specifically with identity. It is the thesis of Kelly Boudreau who wrote the study in partial fulfillment of a Master of Arts (Sociology) at Concordia University in Montreal. Her auto-ethnographic account of identity and gameplay in Everquest focuses on how identity is developed though interaction as Everquest is a battle game that requires "high levels of organization and cooperation among players to succeed (Boudreau 2008, p. 3). In addition to her own lived experiences the author used two other methodologies. Interviews were conducted (which included some preliminary coding based on online bulletin boards) over the course of a year and included not 66

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only the author s sphere of play (The game is guild-based, where many players log into the game via segregated servers in order to play together.), but also players from other guilds. Participant observation was also completed with a text copy of each chat log saved as a separate file on her hard drive. Bourdreau s research examined individual/social identity and how interactions with other players and the physical self contribute to a dynamically changing persona. My own work extends this research by looking at one specific group of people as well as the interplay between their real and virtual identities particularly the migration of virtual characteristics into real life. Two other recent studies are particularly relevant and relate directly to my study in popular three-dimensional spaces. Coming of Age in Second Life (Boellstorff 2008) journals the everyday observations of average Second Life Residents. Boellsdorff's book is specifically about Second Life lived experiences. As an ethnography done over three years the book chronicles the maturing of participant identities in the environment examining community; relationships; gender; and sense of place, Bourdieu s idea ofHabitus (Bourdieu 1977). The author s goal is to compare the epistemology of human nature--our human rationale of doing things a particular way-and what he calls techne or crafted knowledge which is dynamic and unfolds as a participant moves through a virtual existence. What I refer to as embeddedness Boellstorff calls embodiment stating that the ability to create an avatar as a method of embodiment is powerfully 67

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linked to vision and is significant because it challenged a longstanding presumption of cognition as disembodied" (p. 134 ). This later statement suggests a more posthuman perspective; this viewpoint is the only place where I might disagree. I fmd that everything begins in the mind-meaning symbols and identity-they are not body dependent. At some point however there needs to be a separating of real and virtual lived experiences-a posthuman mindset-as an order of consciousness and my hope is to study a group where real life and virtual life are closely interconnected in order to better grasp the concept Digital Culture Play and Identity: A World ofWarcraft Reader (Comeliussen & Rettberg, 2008) is more of an ethnography of World ofWarcraft, with as much detail about the observation of participant motivation culture, embodiment and identity in that environment as Boellstorff (2008) wrote about Second Life. The authors examine the influence of culture on identity from a virtual perspective. The authors mention play as akin to work; the game teaches us "know how" and "how to be" (p. 25), similar to Boellstorffs idea oftechne. The book also has contributors who deal with issues of feminism and how the female form is sexualized in gameplay. According to Y ee (2007) everyone seeks to advance himself or herself socially by creating an appearance that meets the expectations of a peer group. If someone is a vampire they then craft an identity that will give them social advantage over the vampire group (something that establishes the vampire as more advanced in the hierarchy, such as skin markings 68

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or larger fangs). This social advantage concurs with what Stryker, Swann, and others say about how social identity (gestures, language, etc.) gradually conforms to community norms. Reflection on the Literature Without an understanding of identity theory, social interaction theory, and orders of consciousness, it would be impossible to embark upon a study of what influences the crafting of an identity in virtual environments. I looked at how normal development progressed according to Erikson's framework, the importance of feedback and self-verification in the affirmation of identity, and how Kegan' s orders of consciousness mapped a shift from being self-oriented to seeing the self as a separate system that is part of a much larger global organization. A reminder: These theories assume a normal development that progresses from one step to another in sequential order (often with approximate timeframes ). With this firm foundation, it was possible to apply these same frameworks to virtual worlds, with consideration about how technology cultural migration, and structural interaction influence what happens when an individual assumes a virtual persona. Turkle (1995) aligns Erikson's work to virtual worlds: For example Erikson pointed out that successful intimacy m young adulthood is difficult if one does not come to it with a sense of who one is. This is the challenge of adolescent identity building. In real life, however, 69

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people frequently move on with incompletely resolved stages, simply doing the best they can. They use whatever materials they have at hand to get as much as they can of what they have missed. MUDs are striking examples of how technology can play a role in these dramas of self-repair. (p. 204) My own study hopes to add to this impressive body of research in the uniqueness of my focus group: virtually performing musicians. These creative individuals may be more predetermined to passionate engagement and embeddedness (immersion) with their avatar personae than participants in general. This embeddedness may be a function of the time they spend in Second Life relative to others, the self-affirming feedback they receive from a fan base, or an outcome of a persona that has no outlet for creativity in real life. While it might not be difficult to imagine real-life performers who have private personae that are very different from their professional identity, virtual performers may have two or more identities. In addition to forming a virtual identity in the same manner as anyone else, they also have a professional persona that might or might not be salient with their real lives or even their virtual lives. Regardless, they are pioneers in inventing the traditions by which the innovative culture of virtual performance is known. By including virtual performers who also are real-life performers as well as those who keep their private lives very separate from their virtual lives, it is possible to examine how salient these identities are, 70

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how much real life embodies virtual life and how real-life has changed-if at all-by having a virtual life as a performer. 71

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CHAPTER III SECOND LIFE "If people are to nurture their souls they need to feel a sense of control, meaningfulness, even expertise in the face of risk and complexity They want and need to fee/like heroes in their own life stories and to feel that their stories make sense They need to feel that they have mattered in other people s stories If the body feeds on food, the soul feeds on agency and meaningfulness I argue that video games are in this sense food for the soul, particularly appropriate food in modern times. James Paul Gee (2007, p. 1 0) User-created virtual environments such as Second Life should not be confused with video or roleplay games. In fact, it is questionable if they should be considered games at all. Second Life does not follow a prescribed set of actions with pre-determined consequences depending on which action is taken (as is typical with video games). The developers of Second Life did not design the game with attained levels of proficiency (such as in the World ofWarcraft), in effect designing a class structure for the game. There are also no determined roles for specific classes of avatars, and conquest is not a means for advancement. Compared to what has been typical in the design of computer games, Second Life does not appear to be a game at all but rather, a three-dimensional social network 72

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that is reliant on interaction and identity development. It might be classified as what McGonigal (2011) considers an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), promoting the idea that game technologies can be used to accomplish real-world ideals. She writes In other words ARGs are games you play in order to get more out of your real life as opposed to games you play to escape it (p. 125). Using this conceptual definition this study is a composite of methods that address the amount of latitude available in crafting a virtual identity; the artistic nature of the subjects and their music; the graphically rich visual medium of Second Life ; and systematic data collection that will enable an appropriate repeatable analysis. Second Life as a Social Community Just as with text-based chat rooms and multi-user domains interpersonal transactions are increasingly through electronic means because human beings usually use computers not because they want to interact with them but they want to reach their goals beyond the situation of the dialogue with the computer (Nardi 1996 p. 49). Second Life offers a third dimension as a graphically rich environment where residents can embody virtual selves that can engage in any number of activities that are strikingly similar to those in the physical world. As we increasingly utilize computers to participate in ongoing social structures where we form sustained alliances with other real people using electronic means of mediation we enter new figured worlds that are formed and reformed in relation 73

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to everyday activities and events that ordain happenings within it (Holland et al. 1998 p. 53). Self-perception in virtual spaces differs very little from that in the physical world. As we obtain feedback from others through interaction in new physical or virtual environments that feedback will either verify the self-perception (self worth) we have of ourselves based on our tools and the meanings we have attached to them as well as our memory of previous interactions or it will refute how we see ourselves in terms of our self-efficacy the ability to manage our environment (Tafarodi & Swann Jr. 1995). The use ofthese tools also considered resources is constantly in motion, and positive feedback will cause people feel good and competent about themselves and to continue the activities that verify a favorable self-worth (Stets & Cast 2007). It would be no surprise to discover that we tend to gravitate toward people who affirm our self-identity; this tendency is a fundamental feature of social interaction (Swann, Jr. Stein-Seroussi & Giesler 1992). Interestingly self-verification also seems to be valid when the self-perception is negative Swann and other researchers indicate that while most of us can understand gravitating toward people who affirm our positive self worth the opposite also seems to be true Swann s work supports the hypothesis that if we have a negative self-perception we tend to seek out interactions with those people who will affirm that perception (Hixon & Swann Jr. 1993; Swann Jr. et al. 1992). 74

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At its core Second Life is a social community where residents create a persona and perpetuate that narrative thought interaction and feedback regardless of whether the persona is the representation of a positive or negative self image. We become who we see ourselves as being (F. Smith 1998) Communities of Practice There is a profound connection between identity and practice. Developing a practice requires the formation of a community where members can engage with one another and thus acknowledge each other as participants. As a consequence, practice entails negotiating the ways of being a person in that context (Wenger 1998 p. 149). Communities of practice draw attention to membership and the knowledge of who is an insider vs. an outsider. In considering the ritual of Carnivale, Bakhtin (1968/1984) describes the festival as a community event where all members are involved. This practice might lead one to believe that the festival might be different from one community to the next The dimensions of community are as follows: 1) Mutual engagement; 2) Joint enterprise; and 3) Shared repertoire. (Wenger 1998 p 73) Based on these dimensions Second Life is certainly a community of practice. Tens of thousands of residents can be logged into the environment concurrently with hundreds involved in smaller interest-based groups. Live music events can 75

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have as many attendants as a physical-world venue and all Second Life residents share at least a basic repertoire (avatar choices appearance clothing, land ownership, etc.). Figured Worlds A figured world is a socially and culturally constructed realm of interpretation in which particular characters and actors are recognized significance is assigned to certain acts and particular outcomes are valued over others (Holland et al. 1998 p. 52). They add, Figured worlds are evinced in practice through the artifacts employed by people in their performances Such artifacts are pivotal in the sense Vygotsky attributed to them in play (p. 61). If we can apply this definition figured worlds become focused on the outcomes of the actions and behavior of the participant given a particular context. In a figured world the constructed realm of interpretation, which is influenced by habitus forms the foundation for interactions within the social group by its participants Consider how play among young children has changed A generation ago if young boys were asked to play superhero they might envision becoming Superman complete with capes Kryptonite and familiar phrases such as faster than a speeding bullet. Their actions or outcomes are influenced by the commonly accepted interpretations of the time and place in which they live. If the same superhero request were to be made of two young boys in 2011 they might not be able to make any of the same references to Superman preferring instead to 76

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portray a character from a video game. Our habitus influences how we interpret our context yet the outcomes from one context to another are not expected to be the same. With application to Second Life the residents cultural footprint prior to entering the environment forms the basis for how they interpret the space once they become participants The social groups they join and the relationships they enter into after becoming residents create a space of authoring with regard to personal and social identity. As a user-created environment Second Life is dynamic and interactive outcomes are rarely static In this respect figured worlds offer an understanding of Second Life as a place of migration from a physical life to a virtual one an example of the concept of portability. Semiotic Domains Unlike a community of practice that appears to focus on members or a figured world that seems to depend primarily on a situated context, Gee (2007b) calls a semiotic domain any set of practices that recruits one or more modalities (e.g. oral or written language images equations symbols sounds gestures graphs artifacts etc. ) to communicate distinctive types of meanings (p. 19). As a semiotic domain Second Life is a definitive example: there are words meanings, gestures and sounds that are specific only to this environment; the mastery and use of these modalities are what separate insiders from outsiders. Gee writing specifically about first-person shooter games says: 77

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I will call the group of people associated with a gi v en semiotic domain in this case first person shooter games-an affinity group. People in an affinity group can recognize others as more or less insiders to the group. They may not see many people in the group face to face but when they interact with someone on the Internet or read something about the domain they can recognize certain ways of thinking acting interacting valuing and believing as more or less typical of people who are into the semiotic domain. (p. 27) While Second Life itself can be considered a semiotic domain the live music community can also be considered separate from the larger Second Life community because there are sounds processes jargon and images that are unique to this subgroup In addition the modalities that are unique to this affinity group (live music) are not limited only to the Second Life environment. Many artists who perform virtually also perform in the physical world marketing their real-life performances within Second Life. This virtual-physical connection of modalities helps keep the interplay between real and virtual identities active without defining who is and who is not a member of the group. Researcher Experience in Second Life While I started my Second Life adventure as an educator in August 2006, it did not take long for me to become interested in activities other than education. There was a vibrant live music scene and I quickly became immersed in the 78

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technology that enabled a guitar player in Germany to broadcast a performance from his living room to a virtual club in Second Life via an Internet connection and a streaming server account. I found myself (as Flameheart) spending many nights in Second Life watching animated musician-avatars playing one instrument or another with their real-time performance originating from places such as New York Australia or Chile. As someone who is entrepreneurial by nature and a former musician I quickly saw the opportunity for improvement in this early performance model. First virtual venues typically used one Internet address to stream sound. This singularity created a situation where one performer would finish his set leaving a latent silent pause before the next musician picked up the stream and began to play. A set would then usually start with the new performer asking fans Can you hear me? In a real-life club there might be a set change but there would be some background music to keep customers involved and hopefully visiting the bar Another area of improvement was in the reliability of the acts. In 2006 many performers in Second Life were not professional musicians They were software engineers artists and lawyers : people who found a music identity in Second Life as an adjunct to their day job. In most cases musicians played for virtual tips where those in the audience could click on a performer-avatar or a tip jar to contribute Linden Dollars (approximately $250L=$1 USD). No one was becoming rich by performing in Second Life; the musicianship was often average; 79

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and if something came up in real life that trumped Second Life the performer might not show up at all. The result was a grassroots music scene that was informal at best. Second Life is a haven for the imagination ; if something can be envisioned it can probably be built and tested for a fraction of real-life cost. While I never would have seen myself as a bar or venue owner in real life the idea of creating a live-performance venue in Second Life was completely within reason. My vision was to create a venue that would be intimate that would look for the best talent Second Life had to offer, and that would be profitable With the help of a core team of experienced friends (including my partner, the avatar Schuyler Kent ), the House of Flames (named after my avatar Flameheart Sol) had its first public concert in January 2007. As a business model the House of Flames differentiated itself from other venues by holding showcase events once every two weeks ; time between showcases was spent fmding new talent marketing the artists (We had a MySpace list with thousands of contacts.) putting artists and their bios on our own website that was outside of Second Life and creating custom graphics for each show. We hired the talents ofCybster DJ an Australian who became the Master of Ceremonies for the House of Flames broadcasting our showcases from his home studio where he would take the incoming artist s stream and do a sound check while his own stream played the venue s warm-up show and then bleed from that 80

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stream to the performer's stream over an applause soundtrack, leaving no gap between artists (and a perfect sound check). Our stage was built by avatar Konny Kembla who was (in real life) from Sweden and worked as a paramedic at summer music festivals. With Konny as the project lead, it was no wonder the House of Flames was able to successfully present BONFIRE, Second Life's first 24-hour live continuous music festival. As a result of BONFIRE the House of Flames got a reputation for being the venue that handled the big shows. We had no problem getting acts to play at the House of Flames because another of our distinctions was that we hired musicians to play just as they would be hired in real life. We had a contract that stated what the House of Flames would do for the artists and how much they would be paid; in return the artists had to be on the House of Flames site at least 30 minutes before their shows, had to have a completed sound check the day before the shows and had to keep their shows professional which can best be described as presenting nothing that you would not want your mother to hear. This policy attracted avatar-performers who were professional musicians in real life and as a result it was not hard to attract sponsors for House of Flames events. This same professional demeanor paved the way to work with the subjects in this study, many of whom were excited to be involved. 81

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CHAPTER IV METHODS "When we have to turn research into a text we become narrators and to this extent all social science research is narrative and all researchers are storytellers" Arthur P. Bochner (2002, p.77) Second Life is an environment that is graphically rich and imaginative, limited only by the creativity of the participant. The ability to enjoy life on a virtual beach sim on any given day can be replaced by a day of virtual skiing down a snow-covered mountain on the very same region a day later. Performances that occur at a given moment in time may become nothing more than memories if the virtual land owner decides to leave Second Life or cannot pay the monthly region fee, or tier. Many of the venues that served the early music community are no longer in existence; events held at the House of Flames have been preserved through desktop photographs and videos taken at the event, which have served as a reminder of the five years, three locations, and custom designed ballrooms that were part of the House of Flames experience. This ability to alter an environment, and the user s experience at the same time, makes Second Life an unusual, innovative space that requires equally unusual and innovative methods for data collection and analysis. 82

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Using many of the same media tools to collect data that the performers use to perform it was possible to observe the unfolding of the stories of the performers those moments and experiences that are shared between friends and fans that reveal aspects of the interplay between who the subjects were in Second Life and their personalities in the physical world. The collection and analysis of the stories and observations used in this study were influenced by portraiture, a narrative method that uses symbolism and metaphor to capture the reader's attention and create associative imagery (Lawrence-Lighfoot & Davis 1997). In this study, the associative imagery is between the physical and the virtual as well as between the researcher and the performers. The researcher as the portraitist creates a narrative that weaves the autobiographical experiences of the researcher with his or her subjects. It seemed appropriate to use a narrative method influenced by portraiture for a study about musicians-who also use imagery and metaphor-to transform and inspire listeners. This study also makes use of multi-voiced ethnographic narrative methods (Bochner 2002; C.S. Davis & Ellis 2008) including auto-ethnography (Ellis, 1998) to explore the interplay between physical and virtual identity within the larger context of psychosocial development in a virtual space. The aims of the study are to understand what physical-world processes contribute to crafting a virtual persona and how the practiced narrative of this alternate identity might influence the physical identity of the subject over time. Virtually performing 83

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musicians were chosen as a subject group due to the possibility that they may become more embedded in their avatar personae over time given their performance as a personal extension of their identity In this study eight subjects (including the researcher) shared his or her narrative stories. The subjects related stories of their lives before Second Life they expounded on life as virtual performers and they reflected on how their second lives have impacted their physical personae. The study is auto ethnographic and multi-voiced with my own stories making up part of the data, bringing depth comparison and context to the subject of real and virtual identity interplay in Second Life. Using data gathered from interviews and live concerts observations conducted in both Second Life and the physical world the identity interplay at the focus of this study is best presented as a co-constructed narrative between the researcher and subject. As a method this multi-vocal narrative captures the stories and symbolism of these subjects within the context of their virtual-world performance. The use of narrative as an analysis method represents these stories and associated data, while weaving the virtual and physical experiences of both the subjects and the researcher into a coherent and understandable whole (Frank 2000). This ability to contextually capture the imagery and symbolism of the subjects and their environment makes narrative as a co-constructed multi-vocal method well suited to address the particular research questions in this study. 84

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The discussion of methods used in this stud y begins by addressing the relationship between the researcher and subjects and how these relationships are represented. The conversation then turns to the multi-faceted aspects of narrative that are used in this study in order to address the research purpose: The auto ethnographic depth and context offered by the researcher the multiple stories representing the voices of the subjects and the co-constructed nature ofthe study that includes visual representation using photographs and other media The chapter then considers the participants in this study as well as how the data were gathered and analyzed before concluding with researcher assertions and the role of the researcher in this study. Ethnography as a Representation of Relationships Recent literature on the representation of personal narratives in ethnographic research has advocated for an approach that minimizes the power differential between researcher and participants (Gergen & Gergen, 2002). This new view seeks to disrupt; it takes the cultural backgrounds of both the researcher and researched, and crosses them into new territory transforming the traditions of both and opening the possibility for new relationships (p 13). Traditional representation of participant voices not only distanced the researcher from subjects but it also distanced the researcher from the audience by creating a hegemony between the writer who was seen as the source and the reader who was viewed as passive or ignorant (p. 14). 85

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Newer forms of representation create collaboration among the researcher subject and audience as co-constructors of meaning by inviting all to identify themselves in parts of the unfolding story. The use of narrative co-construction creative modes of data collection such as visual media, and multiple first-person accounts crafts a story that is interpreted as individually as the crafting of an identity. Narrative This study was designed to be presented as a narrative-an analysis of stories-where meaning is made in the relationships among the researcher the subjects, and the reader (Bochner 2002). I asked subjects to tell their own storyto co-construct a narrative of their own identity journey-prior to entering Second Life. Narrative inquiry as an interpersonal communication method looks to act well to present an analysis of the subjects in the proper moral and ethical light. In a study that looks at language as significant in developing meaning and identity it is appropriate to use a method that considers language not simply a tool for mirroring reality but rather an ongoing and constitutive part of reality using language to describe and change the world (p 76) Bochner (2002) considers five central concerns in using narrative research: The connection between researcher and researched The researcher is part of the data and writes from within his or her experience. 86

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The researcher s voice is authentic. The first-person voice of the researcher does not attempt to hide how his or her observations and experience have influenced the data. Cultural transmission of narrative practices Cinema television, and popular music (media) shape the meanings we have to love romance and sexuality, and are woven into our cognitive and emotional experiences and form an important aspect of our identity. Alternate modes for representing interpersonal experiences Bochner emphasizes forms of representation that would be reader or "viewer friendly, encouraging interactive and evocative participation. Co-constructed narrative art-based ethnography and documentary ftlm are among the alternate modes suggested. Relational concerns between writer and readers. Narrative inquiry promotes the inclusion of multiple voices encouraging dialogue and ongoing conversation. It emphasizes the collaborative dimensions of composing a life. (p. 77) This study featured my experience as the researcher as part of the narrative; my own role as a venue owner in Second Life offered depth and context to the understanding of virtual performance in Second Life and my relationships with 87

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the subjects presented a story not only of the performer but the history of the relationship between researcher and subject over more than four years. Perhaps the most significant aspect of this study in a comparison with Bochner s concerns is the use of media as a way to invite the all parties-researcher, subject and reader-to make their own meanings from the photographs and video in this study and to open a dialogue that celebrates the relationships among them Addressing the Research Purpose As with any form of inquiry the research method needs to address the focus of the study including the right questions as well as a sense of what form the answer should take (Poole McPhee & Canary 2002 p. 23). This inquiry needs to balance assumptions methods of inquiry and modes of explanation. The authors describe narrative research as not requiring the researcher to be independent, combining the aspects of causal influences (e. g., embeddedness as a function oftime in Second Life real-life role, and creative product) and conventional explanations in an array of prototypical events (the construction of identity) developed in a space and time (during the duration of the study) and in a manner shaped by a formal cause (the interplay of real and virtual identity). Narrative as a method is defmed by the interactive nature between the researcher and subject where the response of each is determined by the action of the other, creating something of a feedback system. This feedback becomes an 88

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iterative cycle that results in a closer dynamic relationship. Using this definition a narrative method echoes the purpose of this study. Autoethnography Autoethnography establishes the researcher as the main character in a story as well as being the writer and the researcher (C. S. Davis & Ellis 2008). It demands a higher level of transparency from the author as a way to establish relevance to everyday life. The nature of autoethnography is to be compelling; creating a story that reads more like a novel. "It blurs the distinctions between social science and literature the personal and the social the individual and culture self and other and researcher and subject (Ellis 1998 p. 49) This study is autoethnographic in the sense that it establishes the author as a participant in the culture of Second Life and more specifically the music community. It also gives credibility to the researcher for the remembrance of shared events with the subjects and in the greater music community. Criticisms of autoethography as a method include privacy, consent and harm not only for the autoethnographer but also for the easily identifiable others who become actors in the researcher s story (Ellis 2007). The method has also been criticized for using the researchers own frame of reference as a lens which might be highly subjective and unable to produce repeatable results (Atkinson 1997). 89

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MultiVocal Ethnography Other ethnographic methods expand on the modality of a single voice to include the voices of several authors or participants. These additional voices promote more narrative and poetic forms, drawings and live performances (Gergen & Gergen, 2002). Multi-vocal studies place the interviewees as the research focus but can include the interviewer s own reflections or his or her own story as part of the narrative: The interviewer s account might involve telling what brought him or her to this research in the frrst place and how this knowledge or topic is used to understand what the interviewee says. This account might also show the researcher s emotional response in the course of the interview. In any case the researcher s story isn't the focal point; instead it enhances the understanding of the topic. Including the subjective and emotional reflections of the researcher adds context and layers to the story being told. (C. S. Davis & Ellis 2008, p. 287) Co-construction Evolving a step further for the inclusion of multiple voices in research is the technique of weaving the story of the researcher with that of the subjects [similar to a portrait] in an effort to reflect the relationships among participants. These co-constructed narratives reflect a fuller understanding of the "lived experiences and relationship practices of ourselves [the researchers] and the 90

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multiple interpretations experiences and voices emergent in our lives and in our stories (C S Davis & Ellis 2008 p. 289). As a co-constructed narrative a collaborative approach was taken with interviewing, where multiple interviews established a sense of trust between the researcher and subject. This approach also enabled subjects to direct part of their own narrative through the use of personal photos and reflection on their own stories. This act of telling is a process where the researcher and subject collaborate in sense making connecting experiences to meaning (Bochner 2002 p. 81). Reflections on Narrative This study considers created avatars with crafted identities in a graphically rich space so realistic that many participants spend several hours at a time within its borders. As a method narrative has an emphasis on the relationships among the researcher subjects and readers ; on culturally transmitted methods that emotionally engage others ; and on its departure from more traditional models (Dixon Chapman & Hill 2005) As a method narrative is ideal for this study. The multi-vocal aspect of narrative enables the story of the researcher to be intertwined with that of the subjects. The researcher does not require an equal voice with those people being researched; his or her voice is included to give context and meaning to the story My personal experience with the environment and with the subjects has enabled me over time to become privy to 91

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information that might present the subjects in this study as imperfect as human My preference however is to focus on the sense of community and belonging the acting well that illuminates the subjects in the proper light Co-construction of the narrative was assured through the unilateral consent of subjects in the coupling of their interviews and photos with their physical and avatar names This consent enabled a more holistic balanced view of the subjects to emerge with regard to their identity-crafting experiences. The same data-collection and analysis methods that give rigor to other qualitative methods were employed in this study. Multiple sources of data, triangulated to determine emerging trends were collected and analyzed in order to assure adherence to a scientific method that would produce repeatable results. Visual Ethnography 'Visual methods are not purely visual. Rather they pay particular attention to the visual aspects of culture. Similarly they cannot be used independently of other methods (Pink 2005 p 17). Unfortunately the use of narrative photography has not been widely used in education anthropology or sociology because of its documentary nature (Holm 2008 ; Mason 2005). Pink (200 1) contradicts the idea of purely documentary visual tools suggesting This means abandoning the possibility of a purely objective social science and rejecting the idea that the written word is essentially a superior medium of ethnographic representation. While images should not replace 92

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words as the dominant mode of research or representation they should be regarded as an equally meaningful element of ethnographic work. Thus visual images, objects descriptions should be incorporated when it is appropriate opportune or enlightening to do so. Images may not be the main research method or topic, but through their relation to the other sensory material, and discursive elements of the research images and visual knowledge will become of interest. (pp. 4-5) It made sense to use the images and video collected as part of this study due to the nature of the subjects musicians the nature of the environment a graphically rich virtual world and the interplay between the real and the virtual worlds. Motion pictures, video, the World Wide Web and virtual reality offer new connections between human existence and visual perception. These new instruments influence the meanings of images their relationship to spoken words and sounds and the emergence and development ofvisual sociology" (Harper 2003 p. 178). Technological imagery has become the gateway between the natural and the artificial: "Photographs suggest some of the jockeying that regulates a complex mix of human interaction mediated by machines. If they are read carefully with the help of a cultural insider they begin to offer evidence of normative behavior (Harper, 2003, p. 182). My study used photography and video in an effort to document life as lived in Second Life and to add greater depth and understanding for readers who 93

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may not be familiar with the environment. For example, in my pilot interview with JueL Resistance, a.k.a. Suzen Juel, I could provide a thick description that would describe the setting of our interview, which was JueL's own venue through my own lens, yet miss aspects of the true reality of the setting (see Figure 4). Figure 4. Living room #13(a): Second Life venue of JueL Resistance. My own description of Living Room #13(a) would highlight the roving eye that follows the movements of the visitor from its position at the bar as well as the red, neon sign that says The Customer is always WRONG. These artifacts are representations of JueL's personality as I know her: irreverent, political, and a general desire to march to the beat of her own drum. Someone else might be drawn to the paisley wallpaper, the rough-hewn beams, or even the artwork on the wall as aspects with which to make assumptions about JueL's nature. Visual media are a medium where knowledge and critiques can be created outside the 94

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text. In this manner photographs or still images can be legitimate resources in the ethnographer s armoury (Mason 2005 p 329). Today's ability to manipulate digital media has "forever severed the perception that images are the same as the truth (Holm 2008 p. 331). This perception may in part be due to the historical nature of media used in entertainment and persuasion as opposed to objective science (Mason 2005). Inexpensive and free software packages enable simple video and photo editing that might easily distort the voice of a media segment : However it should be recognized that claims to realism as is often claimed for the television or film documentary may often in fact be a distortion of events with a portrayal purposefully selected in order to achieve persuasion With the development of digital technology it is also increasingly easy to manipulate images giving an impression of events that is wholly inaccurate (Ball & Smith 2002 p 330) Mason concludes that an appreciation of context i s crucial in the use of images in research (p. 330). In his own work he states that videotape could not substitute for researchers field notes (p. 336). Pink (2001) adds the ethnographicness of any image or representation is contingent on how it is situated interpreted and used to invoke meanings and knowledge that are of ethnographic interest (p. 19). This idea is further extended to video in context: 95

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When the image moves it qualifi es the character of human behavior. Refinements of interpersonal behavior are suggested in still photographs but conclusions must still rest on often projective impressions that fill in what the photograph does not contain With moving records however the nature and significance of social behavior becomes easier to define with responsible detail for it is the language of motion that defines love and hate anger and delight and other qualities of behavior. (Collier & Collier 1986 p. 140) The use of media in reporting study results also raises concerns regarding confidentiality and ownership. Not all subjects in a particular video or photograph might be aware if those media were made public (Holm 2008) In my own work in digital media there are rules that cover copyright infringement and what constitutes fair use; in research we promise to do no harm and to respect a subject s right to anonymity. The personal dimension of ethnographic research the moral and philosophical beliefs of the researcher and his or her view of reality impinge greatly on the ethical practices that he or she applies in research and presentation (Pink 2001). Four types of media were used in this study: (a) video capture of the initial Second Life interviews with subjects (b) video capture of two participant observation concerts (c) video capture ofthe real-life interviews with subjects and (d) digital storytelling with photos from the personal collections of the 96

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subjects. While research protocol demanded every subject to give consent to interviews and videotaping (with generous opt-out ability), the rules governing video capture for public events (even in virtual spaces) were a bit more vague: The question of whether an ethnographer has permission to photograph or video differs from situation to situation and according to whom we listen. Often it seems obligatory initially to negotiate official permission to video or photograph with institutional gatekeepers. However permission to video or photograph individuals in their capacity as participants in events is usually best negotiated with each individual or group. (Pink 2001 p 42) Avatar names are partially generated by Second Life; it is rare that an avatar resident in Second Life would have the same first and last name in real life. Where videotaping is concerned this naming convention assumes a level of anonymity and protection at public events such as concerts. To add another layer of protection signs were posted at videotaped concerts that offered the ability to have the chat of any avatar muted on request. Most performers also made announcements that the concert would be taped giving anyone the ability to opt out of attendance. Subjects also had the ability to opt-out of providing any visual narrative with regard to what factors influenced their real-life identity as a musician. This narrative would normally be presented as a photo collection telling a digital story however the consent of all people who might be included in a photo could not be 97

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guaranteed. In this case, subjects produced the photos they wished to have included. Pink (200 1) offered: These decisions should be informed not only by the willingness of informants/subjects for their photographs to be published, but also by the ethnographers' knowledge of the social, cultural and political contexts in which the published photographs will be viewed and interpreted. (p.135) Making the selection of photographs part of the co-constructed narrative is consistent with a microethnographic approach: Because photographs are examined by the anthropologist and informants together the informants are relieved of the stress of being the subject of the interrogation. Instead their role can be one of expert guides leading the fieldworker through the content of the pictures. Photographs allow them to tell their own stories spontaneously. This usually elicits a flow of information about personalities places processes and artifacts. The facts are in the pictures; informants do not have to feel they are divulging confidences. All they are doing is getting the history in order and the names straight. (Collier & Collier 1986 p. 1 06) Reflections on Visual Ethnography In this study media was only used as part of the data-gathering process; it was used as part of the digital storytelling process that is a component of a co constructed narrative. While it was entirely possible for the researcher to 98

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manipulate what the reader/viewer ultimately saw, the primary goal was to bring a depth and understanding of Second Life and of virtual performance that might not be possible without the use of media as a resource. "Photography has a potentially important role in these refined understandings, both because of its specificity and because of its ability to present interrelated wholes" (Collier & Collier, 1986, p. 117). It is this same interrelation between physical and virtual identities that was at the heart of this study, however, data obtained as a result of video or photographs still needed to pass tests of accuracy and validity to be useful for the study and to be replicated by others. The authors caution, "When anthropologists become filmmakers they often enthusiastically leave inhibiting research strictures behind and produce films that are far more artistic than scientific. This can be dynamic, provided cultural authenticity is retained" (p. 151 ). This study placed significant weight on the observed interactions between the artists and their fans at live concerts. The close, repeatable analysis of these videotaped events encouraged a rnicroethnographic approach to vocal and textual interactions between the artist and their fans (Le Baron, 2008). This study sought to achieve a holistic balance between science and art. Participants The performing musicians at the heart of this study represent a small percentage of the overall Second Life population. They are geographically disbursed, have varying real-life roles with respect to performance, and are 99

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representative of the performer community, not necessarily the entire population, of Second Life. Five of the seven subjects had previously performed at the House of Flames, having an existing professional relationship with the researcher. Population Size With millions of resident members, Second Life is a haven for performance. When someone chooses to become an Second Life participant, Linden Lab collects his or her real-life first and last names, an email address, birth date information-Participants must be over 16 to be a part of the main grid-and gender. Unfortunately, none of that information designates a person as a performer. If a Second Life landowner would like to be listed as an interest specific orientation area (i.e., music), there is an approval process for that opportunity, but entry still is not limited to only those who perform. Within Second Life, there are many music-related groups a participant can join, from the venue-specific to music-genre related. Again, there is no restriction on performance as a requirement to membership. Anyone interested in hearing live music only needs to check the listings for any particular day to realize there are hundreds of live performers playing around the clock. When requesting any information official or not, from a representative at Linden Lab, I was told, "I don't have a number and probably won't have time to try to track one down." This 100

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response is not really an indicator of unwillingness to assist; it shows the difficulty of compiling a reliable number which can change daily. Population Characteristics Qualitative researchers usually work with small samples of people nested in their context and studied in-depth" (Miles & Huberman 1994 p. 27). Musicians who play in Second Life, regardless of actual musicianship are residents in the larger context of Second Life participation and over time become nested in the role of performer. It is not necessary to have one before the other ; the House of Flames has worked with musicians who had never been in a virtual world before their first live performance. In our partnership with SonicBids, an online organization that matches performers with gigs (performance opportunities) we held a virtual crash course for performers to give them the skills necessary for their first Second Life performance Maxwell (2005) reminds researchers that a population is not just people; it is the settings events and processes that surround subjects. In Second Life, an individual is part of the setting that is Second Life as well as a member of the performer subset. Selection-Eligibility Characteristics In order to realistically represent performing artists I looked at individuals performing in the physical world and those who did not including men, women, and performers who chose to be something other than human. I also included performers who were not in any specific geographic area although for the sake of 101

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data collection, I limited the study to U.S.-based performers. It was important to study people who were newer to the virtual environment as well as those who were more experienced. The goal was to show purposeful maximal sampling (Creswell, 2007; Maxwell, 2005) and different perspectives on the issue. As a result, I observed, interviewed, surveyed, and recorded two musicians each from the following role-based classes: Professional musicians who earned their entire real-life income from performance, in addition to performing in Second Life Musicians who did not make their primary income from performance in real-life, holding jobs in other disciplines and occasionally performing in the physical world; and Individuals who had a performance persona only in Second Life and kept their real-life and Second Life identities separate. There are many other characteristics that could have further filtered the sample, such as the number of performances per week, average revenue per week, or the use of electronic enhancements such as soundtracks. The focus of this study was the interplay of identity, and additional selection characteristics were counterproductive. My intent was to choose subjects who met Creswell's (2007) four possible goals for purposeful selection: subjects who were representative of the whole, captured the heterogeneity of the population, were critical for the 102

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theories I am using, and revealed the unique characteristics that came to light as part of comparison. Sampling Scheme As much as was practical my goal was to choose subjects for cases in my study from among those with whom I already had a relationship as a venue owner as a bounded territory (Miles & Huberman 1994). Having a prior relationship with my subjects as part of their community enabled me to be an insider in the virtual music industry; the relationship also allowed me to enjoy an ongoing knowledge of my subjects; their performance schedule; and enough personal information to be able purposefully vary their roles genders and geographic locations. I began my sampling choices by creating an informal spreadsheet with the names of all those virtually performing musicians who had shown an interest in my research I had begun to poll people who had performed at the House of Flames about whether they might be interested in participating but did not limit selection to House of Flames artists. In addition to name the spreadsheet included their real-life and virtual-life gender as well as virtual species, their real-life role class and where in the country they were located. This last factor was important because I intended to include for those who have already revealed their real-life identities to their Second Life fan base a live cross-feed performance with 103

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streaming media in both Second Life and real life in order to observe the interplay and interaction between the real and virtual audiences. Based on the results of my spreadsheet, 56% of those performers who e x pressed an interest in my study were performing on a part-time basis in real life-role class B. Another 31% of respondents were earning their entire real-life income by music performance--role class A. This number was a surprise because I did not think there were that many as a percentage of the total. Lastly 13% kept their virtual lives very separate from their real life--role class C-to the point where they did not share their real-life identity with their fan base. Rather than have a sampling that reflected these percentages I chose to sample in equal numbers across the three representative groups in order to observe my theoretical interest in identity formation. As a result I decided to study the cases of two full time musicians two part-time musicians and two cases where the individuals did not share their identity outside Second Life. One of these last two cases was comprised of two individuals performing as a duo. While this sample was larger than the suggestion by Creswell (2007) to have four to five cases in a single study ; however given the artistic nature of the subjects and their possible desire to opt-out of the study at some point my desire to include the additional subjects seemed warranted. 104

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Sampling Characteristics Of the people who agreed to participate in the study one was female. This fact was consistent with gender proportions in the music community, as I had experienced them. Most of the subjects were regular Second Life performers who had been in the space for at least one year and three of the cases had performance experience in a virtual world other than Second Life but performing in Second Life first. All performed in the same gender as in real life and one case was comprised of two subjects who performed as a duo of animals as opposed to humans Given economic constraints the musicians were grouped geographically in the Pacific Northwest Midwest and East Coast. Most important the characteristics of those subjects in the sample were representative of the subculture that was the focus of my research questions (Miles & Huberman 1994). In this study full confidentiality or anonymity could not be assured to subjects. The research purpose required a detailed exploration of the relationship between real-life identity and avatar identity. In many cases real identity was already linked to avatars through web-based communication making it impossible to provide confidentiality through the use of pseudonyms This aspect of the study was included as part of the Internal Review Board process at UC Denver and was approved with general consent obtained from each subject prior to data collection. Once data were collected and draft text segment of 105

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each subject were prepared all participants were sent a copy of their individual segment for review and approval. Subjects could then make any requests for changes in data before giving their explicit written release to use their segment which identified their real-life name their avatar name and the personal data included in the segment. Each participant after reading his or her segment, responded giving the researcher explicit consent to use the segment with his or her actual name. Data Collection Instruments Physical and virtual interviews used questions tightly linked to the research questions presented in this study ensuring consistent data gathering and analysis which resulted in a highly accurate narrative of identity interplay. Video observations documented the interactions each subject had with his or her fans as well as the level of transparency shared with his or her avatar persona. Interview Questions By combining the psychosocial development work of Erikson (1968) with Kegan s (1994) subject-object theory (grouped by approximate age; see Appendix A) one can see how normal identity development corresponds with an individual s ability to move from being the center of one s own universe to being a participant in a much larger system. My research questions corresponded to the places where these two theories overlap enabling me to craft interview questions that related to particular theoretical phases of development (Creswell 2007). 106

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My first research question addressed input: what processes contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity before any entrance into a virtual environment. My second research question regarded output: how the real life of the individual changed over time as a result of the interplay between real and virtual identities. However a question emerged between the two main research questions (due to its relevance to virtual life) that was not fully reflected in the combined theories. This became a sub-question of the first research question: how emotionally invested was the subject with regard to their avatar persona. According to Kegan (1982) moving from a fourth to a fifth level of consciousness enabled individuals to completely separate their real existence from the activities of their avatar They had a relationship with the avatar but they were not the avatar. Their avatar had relationships but they were able to emotionally separate what happened in the virtual space from what happened outside of it. Huizinga ( 1970) stated that artists and musicians (due to their level of passion and creativity) were more likely to be embedded in their identity than those who were not in creative professions. This embeddedness raised an interesting paradox among people who performed virtually, especially if their creative identity was largely confined to a virtual space. As a result a sub-question of the first main research question asked As a performer how embedded are you with your avatar identity? It was designed discover a causal relationship (if one existed) between individuals real-life role as a musician and how much of their real-life identities were tied to their 107

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performing-avatar identity. I also anticipated this causal relationship to have an intervening variable of time spent in virtual worlds in general and in Second Life in particular Time spent as one s avatar might have been the join that connected real-life music role to embeddedness (Miles & Huberman 1994). The interview questions that were developed (see Appendix A) reflected patterns not only in the research question with which the y were associated but also in what I hoped to reveal through the questions. For example the interview questions associated with research question #1 had to do with the participants lives before they came to Second Life, what influenced their decision to enter the space, and if there was anything symbolic about their avatar name. The questions also queried the amount of time they spent in Second life (a possible indicator that they preferred their virtual lives to their real ones). Question #2 looked for signs of immersion or embeddedness. These questions reflected how seriously subjects regarded virtual life in terms of residency (land ownership) earning and income and salience with real-life performance. Question #3 sought to fmd the interplay between successful avatar social attributes in Second Life and the participants' real-life social interactions. Observational Video Data for each subject included two concert observations of live performances. These observations were recorded, and documented what the subjects did as opposed to what the subjects' said as part of the interview process. 108

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These instruments were coupled to interview question #2 regarding the comparison of physical-world and virtual personas in terms of revenue marketing and identity transparency. Protocol Instruments Both interview and observational protocol documents were developed in order to record descriptive and reflective notes (Creswell 2007). These documents contained information about the date and time of an interview or observation the transcribed contents of the session and any technical or situational constraints during the session. Protocol instruments were designed prior to my pilot study and used in this inquiry for every subject interview and observation. The use of protocol documents ensured the same data was being collected across all subject narratives Pilot Study Every researcher approaches fieldwork with some orienting ideas (Miles & Huberman 1994) They go on to suggest that without some structure it is impossible to know good data from all data As a result my own interview questions were tightly coupled with my overarching research questions in an effort to stay on track and keep interviews highly structured My research questions addressed: (a) what processes contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity with the subquestion (al) how embedded or emotionally invested was the subject toward their avatar persona and (b) how the real life of the individual 109

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changes over time through the interplay of real and virtual identities Once I had my questions neatly packaged this way I realized that they did not uncover the artistic need to create that accompanies most performers. As a result there were additional questions that would be considered unstructured in an effort to allow the subjects to reveal more about their real-life history and how that related to their avatar-identity effectively bridging elements in other interview questions. Using a pilot test (Yin, 2003) was helpful in revealing these weaknesses My informal pilot study was conducted with Suzen Juel a.k.a. JueL Resistance in Second Life. At the time of the pilot study fmal interview questions were not developed and the questions asked were an effort to develop the instruments that would ultimately be used (see Appendix B). Both the interview protocol instrument and an observational protocol instrument were used during the pilot study. In using a narrative analysis of my interview with JueL I compared her responses during this brief session to my own research questions and variable assumptions. During the interview I compared my research question of what real-life factors might contribute to a virtual identity to her responses with regard to how she chose her name and how her virtual appearance compares to how she appears in real life. JueL made a clear connection between who she was in real life and her virtual persona. Even her name had a special meaning: she named her virtual persona JueL in honor of her grandfather (Jule) who was also a musician/artist. 110

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This connection was further strengthened in the appearance of her avatar, which JueL crafted to appear very similar to her real-life appearance (see Figure 5). Figure 5. JueL Resistance in Second Life and the real Suzen Juel. The sub-question to the first research question looked at a possible connection between the subject's real life performance role (called "role class") and the level of subject-object orientation-also called embeddedness or immersion-an individual feels with his or her avatar persona. For most of us who were neither artists nor performers, the level of immersion in our avatar persona, or the degree to which we personalized the activities of our avatar, tended to decrease over time in virtual world participation, as we matured in the relationship we had with our avatar. As we became more established in the environment-which means having a good use of tools, cultural understanding, and relational acceptance-we separated what happened to our avatar from that which happened to us personally. Oddly enough, there was research that said 111

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people who were in the arts-artists or musicians-tended to have the opposite effect. Huizinga (1970), for example, said that people who were in the arts were more likely to become immersed with their artist persona over time, in part, because what they produced had a high level of personal attachment. If that were the case, then while most of us became less immersed in our avatar personae over time, artists and musicians became more so, particularly if their creative production, via music performance, was limited to virtual worlds. Simply stated, how embedded a performing musician was in the persona of his or her avatar may have a plausible link between (a) time spent in virtual worlds and (b) role class. Based on what JueL stated in her interview, she was involved in gardening and art in real life, but her music performance experience was largely limited to virtual worlds, although not entirely. She had been a participant in virtual worlds since 2004. This response can be considered an affirmative for both (a) and (b) above, and is further evidenced in her last statement: JueL is about as close to me as I can get her to be. She is 63 inches high, as I am in RL, she is petite and freckled as I am ..... Avatars tend to be a bit more youthful than our real life selves I think ..... the 'fine details' of ourselves are often left out in the avatar ...... as far as personality, this is me. 100%. Based on this information, one could conclude that JueL had, indeed, created a link between her real and virtual identities, but the questions, as I asked them, 112

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failed to reveal if her immersion in her avatar persona became more pronounced over time This inclusive data caused me to re v ise my interview questions (see Appendix A) Data Collection Procedures Data were collected in two phases during late 2010 and early 2011. Phase 1 data were gathered from within Second Life and included an interview and concert observation. Phase 2 data were collected outside of the virtual space with researcher and subject physically together. Data were collected then coded into groups and categories that best reflected the research purpose Consent to collect data was received from the subjects prior to interviewing and public consent was granted via posted sign at every public performance. In addition, permissions were waived by the subjects in the use of personal photos as any personal photos that were included in the study were chosen by the subject as part of a historical narrative Virtual-World Data Collection Phase 1 data collection was conducted within Second Life with both the researcher and subject participating as their avatar personas. Each subject had an initial interview of approximately 60 minutes during which the structured interview questions were asked. These interview questions were given to the subject in advance in an effort to make the subject aware of what topics would be discussed as well as to enable the subject to prepare answers ahead of our 113

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meeting. The interview was conducted in real-time text chat at the location of the subject's choosing This initial interview was followed by a videotaped concert observation of the performer in Second Life during a regularly scheduled performance. This follow-up observation was not a structured interview as such but an observational exercise. This observation was conducted from within Second Life with the researcher present as a fan at the performance. A consent sign prominently placed at the venue gave any concert attendees the option of not attending the show or asking to have their chat muted from the researcher s computer This qualification would still enable the avatar to hold text-based conversation however the researcher would not have that avatar s chat appear on the recording Each concert observation-only one of which occurred at the House of Flames was approximately 60 minutes in length. Data Collection Outside of Second Life Phase 2 data collection included a physical-world follow-up interview that served two purposes: To briefly review the data from the initial interview and to expand on research question #3 regarding the interplay of the subject's identities in and out of Second Life. The researcher traveled to the subject s home or other location to videotape the interview and a second concert observation. This second performance observation included not only a recording from a Second Life perspective as in Phase 1 but an additional recording of the artist performing and 114

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interacting with fans from a physical world perspective This second concert was also live streamed into Second Life if the subject was open to that opportunity. Only two subjects chose to be streamed Format of Interviews In an effort to make the subjects as comfortable as possible all interviews were informal and held in the location of the performer s choosing. The ballroom at the House of Flames in Second Life was available in lieu of another choice; however most performers had a Second Life venue they considered home which was suitable. The interviews were one-on-one with the researcher which contributed to a sense of informality. Because questions were given in advance of the interview it was important to keep responses in the order the questions were given since each question related to a specific developmental phase and research inquiry in the theories that were central to the study. To continue the informal theme physical interviews were also conducted at the location of the subject's choosing. These interviews were conducted one on-one with the exception of the case that had two subjects where an additional person recorded video and audio. Length of Interviews Interviews in Second Life had the option of being conducted using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) This type of communication would have enabled an interview to be conducted in the same timeframe one would expect for a 115

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physical interview. I chose to keep the initial interview in text format in order to have an immediate transcript that could be printed and analyzed. Because typing took longer than speech in most cases, subjects were given interview questions in advance in order to have responses ready thereby capitalizing on the ability to copy and paste them into the chat field in response to my questions. While remaining open to a subject's desire to reveal information, the expectation communicated to any subject was 60 minutes, the amount of time they are used to performing (see part B of Appendix C). The follow-up interview was more open ended because any additional questions that developed from emerging trends during the first interview were asked. With respect to the subject's time, the second interview had the same 60minute schedule as the initial interview. Ethical Nature of Data Collection In my study, the issue of trustworthiness was a highly contested issue. There were some people in Second Life who drew no line between their virtual and real lives, but there were others who wanted to play the Vegas rule: What happened in Second Life stayed in Second Life. In my role as an events promoter who had worked with many of these artists, I had personal knowledge of activities that would make some artists' real-life family members' hair curl. These things happen in the real-life arts community as well; maybe virtual life was imitating art. 116

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It is this very role I had within Second Life that made the issue of trustworthiness so important. I was part of the community, and as such, I took what Miles and Huberman (1994) called a relational view toward analysis. They stated that this type of analysis placed both the researcher and the subject in a symmetrical, equal-status relationship. They believe fieldwork should "confirm, support, and even celebrate people who are defmed as friends" (p. 289). As a long-time supporter of live music in Second Life, my goal was to celebrate this expression of the arts with my friends who had devoted the time and energy to provide it to any participant who wanted to listen. The design of my study also celebrated this friendship-symmetry. The study was designed to highlight each artist as an individual and performer, taking the time to submit interview questions ahead of time in order to give him or her time to think of responses. Where the videotaping of concerts was concerned, the artists had the latitude of determining which concert they would like to have observed in order to present himself or herself in the best possible light. As such, each subject was asked about details that needed to remain confidential even if that subject did not want to remain anonymous (Creswell, 2007). It was not unusual for performers to reveal their real-life identities to their Second Life audiences; many used the space as a marketing tool. The issue of anonymity and confidentiality was extremely important-and complicated-and any information 117

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or permissions required for the study had a prominent opt-out clause if, at any time subjects felt their privacy or anonymity were being compromised. Verification Procedures A study is valuable when its results can be repeated and applied to other, similar subjects (Maxwell 2005). It is important particularly with a sole researcher to have data that are well documented and exhaustive in their analysis. This verification includes looking for variables that are present or absent together as well as variables that appear to be random or unconnected (Miles & Huberman 1994). In this study the research goal was to affirm the theories ofErikson (1968) and Kegan (1994) within the realm of virtual identity -if that affirmation emerges-as opposed to espousing my own claim based solely on data from this study. Still, there existed the issue of potential bias because of my own virtual world experience crafting an identity and as being part of the music community in Second Life Having multiple data sources as a triangulation procedure was one way to minimize bias and to ensure data verification (Creswell 2007). Analysis As the sole researcher in this study my responsibility was to analyze all the stories and look for answers to the research questions and assumptions that were proposed and make conclusions that would be repeatable should anyone undertake a similar study. This analysis is an aspect of narrative the overarching method of representation in this study. My burden as a researcher is to represent 118

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the stories of all context imagery and symbolism of live performance and identity interplay in Second Life. Additionally this representation needs to be balanced and holistic doing no harm to the subjects who have agreed to be completely transparent with regard to their identities (Riley & Hawe 2004). Method of Analysis The method of analysis for this study was driven by the need to answer my two main research questions and one sub-question: (a) what processes influence the crafting of identity for performers in virtual worlds?, (a1) how embedded or emotionally invested are the subjects in their avatar personas? and (b) how is physical-world identity influenced as a result of virtual-world participation? Interview questions developed as part of the data-gathering process were driven by the need to closely associate research questions to the theoretical frameworks of Erikson ( 1968) and Keg an ( 1994). The primary method of analysis was the coding of transcript text from interviews into themes patterns and causal links as well as the transcription of video and memos from observations into text that were also coded (Maxwell 2005). For example, a virtual performer who also performed in the physical world may create an avatar persona that appeared more like himself or herself physically in an effort to create a real-life / Second Life connection among fans. This transparency may not have been true for people who did not perform outside Second Life and felt they could create an idealized version that they envisioned their identity to be within the environment. All data 119

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were housed on my personal, password-protected hard drive with a redundant backup. Due to the holiday season and winter weather all data were collected before any coding took place. As data were collected, they were formatted for use with the research software as either movie files or protocol instruments in rich text format. Any other participant contact information, such as email was also saved and coded Data were displayed in the best format to highlight the connections among categories the conceptual framework and the research questions (Miles & Huberman 1994). The pilot study used a text-based chat log as well as concert video from which interactions between the artist and the audience were transcribed. In the pilot concert observation the issue of latency or time lapse between when an action in a virtual world is initiated and when it is actually viewable on screen was prominent and was the subject for most of my memoing. Miles and Huberman (1994) describe memoing as the theorizing write-up of ideas about codes and their relationships as they strike the analyst while coding. They don t just report the data ; they tie together different pieces of data in a recognizable cluster often to show that those data are instances of a general concept. (p 72) Using my earlier example about latency the pieces of data that would tie together under the heading of latency are within the video: mentioning of not being able to see everyone in attendance not being able to re z or to make something visible120

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like a tip jar, and having the client, Second Life, automatically log an individual and in this case, the artist out. Even though I was recording video of the concert with JueL, I was also memoing to include these references about what ultimately became my observational protocol. As someone who has dealt with latency issues for three years I realize that this latency comes with the territory of virtual performance but someone who would have been watching that video for the first time without the same background would not have been able to link the comments above to the larger issue of latency. These issues were present in the actual data collection for this study and were coded as such. Qualitative Software This study utilized video and audio media as well as text that resulted in large-sized files. The study also used Apple computers, which were not often natively compatible with qualitative research software. Miles and Huberman (1994) mentioned several software packages among them HyperRESEARCH ( http://www.researchware.com). This program was Mac-friendly and also facilitated the coding of audio, video, and picture files. As part of my research I purchased the full version of Hyper RESEARCH finding the software to be intuitive and the coding feature to be easy to use. Linking a portion of a photo, video, or audio file to a group category or subcategory was particularly helpful as was the ability to link a portion of text that described a photo to the photo itself. An example of this grouping was the ability to link the category or code offamily 121

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response to music to a subject who mentioned similar data in not only our first interview session which was text based, but also in our second interview which was videotaped Responsibility/ Authority for the Creation of Categories As the sole researcher I created the categories for coding based on the nature of the interview questions and patterns that emerged in the data. Categories were created from the conceptual framework; research questions; possible causal links; and other variables I brought to the study such as my own knowledge of the subject (Miles & Huberman 1994). In the pilot example the data collected were in response to one set of questions that were directly related to research question #1. This research question in tum, was directly related to one ofthi theoretical frameworks used. In the study the data collected were also in response to both research questions and tied to the frameworks of Erikson (1968) and Kegan (1994). In addition recorded concert observations produced data concerning how often artists interacted with their fans how frequently they coupled their real and virtual names and how much information about the real life of the performer was available to a fan (through signage and marketing materials). Justification for Existence of Given Set of Categories Miles and Huberman (1994) offer an accounting scheme for categories from the work of Bogdan and Biklen that includes headings such as setting perspectives process events and strategies. Given the theories of psychosocial 122

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development (Erikson 1968) and subject-object orientation (Kegan 1994) that are at the center of this work more appropriate group headings for this study included Real-life identity prior to Second Life Migration into Second Life SL identity change over time RL identity change from SL participation Avatar-identity embeddedness Performanceidentity embeddedness Concert activities Performance technology Personal narrative photos RL / SL performance space This accounting scheme was a starting point for naming or coding resulting in over 130 codes established for the data. Many of the codes were specific to a particular subject. For example each photo offered by a subject as part of his or her storytelling narrative received an individual code as did every photo I took of his or her real-life or Second Life performance space This specificity afforded me an opportunity to assign the code of the photograph to the section of the video transcription where the subject described the photo. In 123

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another example, the pilot interview with JueL Resistance took place in JueL's own venue (see Figure 6). Figure 6. Living room #13(b): Home venue of JueL Resistance. Officially, this photo might have been classified under the category of setting/context from the above list, but clearly, there were far more descriptive data in this photo. This one photo might have had several codes, from SL performance space to artist theme. My own description of JueL (and the real-life Suzen) was something of a cross between Joan Baez and Janis Joplin (Bluesy, folksy, Hippy, barefoot soul). This photo from Second Life confirmed that description but would need a much wider set of subcategories because this picture might have a data presence under perspective as well as setting/context. 124

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Source of Name Used to Identify a Given Set of Categories As often as possible names came directly from the interview questions which were tightly coupled with the overlapping theories of Erikson (1968) and Kegan (1994). In addition, names were developed to describe the activities of the artist and fans during concert observations. An example of such a category was mention of researcher / study which verified how often the artist or manager or venue host made mention of the study and the fact that the concert was being filmed. Knowing this information might or might not directly relate to one of the frameworks but it could be a potential indicator about how subjective an artist is with regard to performance as some subjects said far less about the study from the stage because they thought it might affect the amount of tips they received for the performance. A consent form was posted at the landing point for every show To use an example from the overlapping theoretical frameworks in Appendix A (see Table 5) we can see that research question #1 from the pilot study relates to stages in both frameworks. From this example categories such as role experimentation or even the existence of alternate avatars (alts) could be used either as subheadings under categories listed above. There were codes for the existence of alts and also for how avatar appearance compared to real-life appearance 125

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Table 5 Research Question #1 Compared to Overlapping Frameworks Research Question Erikson Keg an #1: What real-life Phase 2: Self-certainty 1 51-order consciousness: identity factors (self-esteem) Cannot distinguish one's contribute to the Phase 3: Role impulses from oneself-crafting of a virtual experimentation is embedded or driven by identity? one's impulses (no selfcontrol). In JueL's interview, she mentioned originally having a different avatar persona: Flameheart Sol: you have been here since 2004 then? JueL Resistance: Yes, my first Avatar was JueL Edison Flameheart Sol: How did you choose the name JueL Resistance? JueL Resistance: I had no intention of returning to SL, so I deleted my account.. ........ .later I recreated JueL Resistance JueL Resistance: Resistance was a name I toyed with for HOURS before fmally saying YEP that's the one ... 'resist.' I liked the 'sound and flow' of it, when put together. 126

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This data excerpt could have been coded under Role Experimentation if it were determined that it was important to the study. In this study, the subject of role experimentation was addressed under Created alts. Point When Categories are Specified Each individual case in this study was its own vignette. Miles and Huberman (1994) consider a vignette a focused description of a series of events taken to be representative, typical, or emblematic in the case you are doing. It has a narrative, story like structure that preserves chronological flow and that normally is limited to a brief time span, to one or a few key actors, to a bounded space, or to all three. (p. 81) In this study, each subject performed live, and that performance was a vignette that captured the individual artist and his or her fan base at a particular venue and moment in time. The vignette not only revealed the subject in his or her performance identity, it also documented the affirmative feedback of the audience. The idea of identity formation and performance was common to all subjects; there was an iterative process at work not only within each subject, but also across subjects. Every subject has performed, dealt with fans, gotten paid by tipping, and suffered the effects of latency: these variables were common to performing in Second Life. Group categories were common to all and included codes that were tightly coupled to the interview questions that were the same for 127

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all subjects. Additional names or codes for subcategories were established for situations that were unique to an individual such as a photograph. Exploratory or Confirmatory Nature of Data Analysis The validy of a study reflects how the researcher relates his or her conclusions to reality (Maxwell 2005). Validity is assessed according to the purposes and circumstances of the research not as a property of methods. The goal of researchers is to have their fmdings repeatable by others using similar methods. In this study it would mean that another researcher who is studying the interplay of real and virtual identities among virtually performing musicians in Second Life would have similar results. I hypothesized at the beginning of my study that were causal relationships supported by the presentation of data (i.e. length of time in Second Life). Similarly there was a different causal relationship at play about which I was completely unaware (how the feedback system inherent in games causes a compound effect for the identity of both artists and their fans and is very similar to real life). Reflections on the Use of Research Software Using qualitative research software for this study was necessary because of the amount of data collected There were seven first interviews and then 18 hours of video data comprised of concert observations and second interviews In the case of the duo performance act each person was interviewed separately for the first interview and together for the second. Given that I was the only 128

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researcher much of these data could be retrieved manually by looking at slips of paper protocols and snippets of video. By using HyperRESEARCH I was able to see trends develop as I coded concert video data. One of the category groups I had established was for activities during concerts. One of the subcategory codes under this group was fan comments directed at other fans. I had hypothesized that fan interactions with other fans at a concert without the involvement of the artist was a sign of a mature fan group people who had established identities who were used to seeing each other at a particular artist's show By coding these interactions as part of a concert observation I noticed that there was a large discrepancy in the number of these interactions between the two artists who were full-time musicians in real life and the remainder of the subjects. If I were using the software as a rote tool or if someone other than myself was coding I would have looked at the number of references to that code and assumed these musicians were just very popular. Upon further investigation I realized that both full-time musicians had either a manager or an assistant present during the show and the venues where they performed as part of the concert observations had at least one owner and one venue host in one case two present. The role for each of these people was to welcome every fan who came to the venue. In one example, three people were welcoming each fan which in turn caused the fan to acknowledge three individuals in return. These interactions artificially inflated the number of 129

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instances in this category for both full-time performers. Knowing this trend, I could sort through the multiple welcoming interactions and adjust for what was part of true fan interactions and what was not. Researcher Assertions When I became Flameheart and founded the House of Flames, I was Flameheart. What happened to Flame heart happened to me personally. This subjectivity was consistent with Kegan' s (1982) idea of embeddedness. If a musician wanted too much money to play or had some request that seemed ridiculous-like the artist who actually had a hit on the Billboard record charts and wanted to make his House of Flames entrance by having a virtual helicopter land on the roof of the ballroom-it was me they were making the request of, not Flameheart. In time, this embeddedness faded; I stopped seeing Flameheart as the subject of everything that happened to her, and instead, Flameheart became an object on the larger Second Life stage. Did this sense of virtual identity happen the same way for a performer? In addition to real-life identity, it was important to understand how someone saw himself or herself in the context of the environment of Second Life. This matter of subject-object orientation, taken in the context of virtual identity, was an indicator of how embedded, or immersed, a person became in his or her avatar persona. It was the difference between what happens to my avatar happens to me personally, and I have an avatar, and that avatar has experiences that are not personally my 130

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experiences. In the case of musicians, their artistic nature could cause them to remain more subject-oriented than most people in virtual worlds (Huizinga, 1970). Another factor in the crafted identity of performing musicians was their real-life role. One could come into Second Life as a professional musician seeing Second Life as a marketing channel. Another could have created the image of a rock-star in Second Life yet have kept their personal non-performing life very separate. Yet another might try to recapture a music career that ended when family life intervened. These complex roles created identities that might not have ended when the logout button was pressed. I could not predict what real-life factors contributed to how a virtual performer crafted his real identity. In this respect, my hypothesis agreed with the research of Castronova, Turkle, and others who suggested that our Second Life identity might be an opportunity to resolve or act out an identity that did not have its outlet in real life I also hypothesized that how embedded performers remained in their avatar might be a function of (a) how much time they spent in Second Life performing and (b) how much, if at all, they performed professionally in real life. If a performer spent significant amounts of time performing in Second Life and did not have a real-life performance career, my hypothesis was that the person remained embedded in his or her avatar persona, which was different than the general maturation process, as an avatar, for those who did not perform. As a 131

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result of this embeddedness as a subject as opposed to an object orientation my initial assertion assumed that the real-life identity of the subject adopted positive attributes of the avatar-performer to fmd equilibrium between the real and virtual identities Researcher Bias My role as a professional venue owner in Second Life enabled me to work closely with Second Life musicians for over three years ; I was considered a friend of live virtual performance and while I might have been on the opposing side where escalating performer fees were concerned I would like to think that my reputation for being a fair and honest business person remained intact and that I enjoyed the respect of everyone with whom I worked. As such my role as the researcher in this study was more of a colleague and friend because I was intimately involved with music performance as well as the crafting of a virtual identity. As the global economy shifted after 2007 so did the economy of Second Life Companies that thought nothing of spending thousands of dollars to establish a marketing presence in 2005-2007 removed their staff and their money from Second Life in 2008-2009. Without sponsors the costs of running a showcase event became prohibitive; it cost less not to hold shows than to hold shows that I had to fund personally. The House of Flames did not hold any showcases after mid-2008 and has instead moved its streaming model to the 132

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physical world where the House of Flames is now a legal entity and a live streaming event company (see http://houseofflamesmedia.com). The future revenue model for the House of Flames as far as virtual worlds are concerned is to hold dual-stream events where a live broadcast from a real world venue will be streamed into the House of Flames in Second Life and a reciprocal stream will come from Second Life into the real-life venue. This boundary crossing between real-life performance and virtual performance has not received a positive reaction from Second Life performers who believe it is the responsibility of virtual venue owners to exclusively support the Second Life music community rather than go outside Second Life to fmd talent. The House of Flames first crossed that boundary in late 2006 but it invited bias against the researcher from those people who only perform in Second Life as one threat among others against their ability to earn an income as a virtual performer. Composing the Story In this study I adopted the role oflive music supporter researcher and friend to those who agreed to be part of my work. While I had structured interview questions a series of contacts, and methods to analyze results my goal was to listen for the story: those emergent themes that gave evidence about how musicians performing in Second Life crafted their avatar identity and migrated between their real and virtual lives These stories have been carefully analyzed 133

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arranged into a narrative of their experiences as well as my own, in a presentation to include their interactions with their fans the music that reinforces life as art. 134

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CHAPTERV NARRATNESOFTHEPERFORMERS This analysis of the data will revisit the research questions that are central to this study the hypotheses of the researcher at the beginning of this study and the factors that either confirmed or disproved the assertions and an introduction to each of the subjects as part of the co-constructed narrative. The chapter will then compile the data collected to answer each research question and provide matrixed data to support the researcher s fmdings. Analysis of Research Questions Data were collected and analyzed to answer two predominant research questions: (a) what factors contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity and (b) how the real life of the individual changed over time through the interaction of virtual and physical identities The first question addressed normal psychosocial development as a function of musical identity examining how significant the identity of a musician was to each subject prior to entering Second Life and if the identity as a musician was in conflict with other identities. The question also established a cultural footprint that encompasses the age when the subject began to play music the instrument the subject played family and spousal support of the subject's musical 135

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effort formal musical training and what attracted the subject to Second Life. In essence was it specifically to perform in Second Life? The question also considered the physical appearance of the subject's avatar with the real-life subject and the existence of alternate avatars (alts) The existence of alts might suggest alternate role-playing opportunities for the subject. The subset to this question specifically addressed embeddedness or the subject orientation of the performer according to Kegan s orders of consciousness (the idea that whatever happens to the performance avatar happens to the performer): As a performer how embedded are you with your avatar identity? Questions under this heading asked more about the subjects role as performers in Second Life. The question was meant to uncover how much like real life they considered their role as a performer to be: performing for compensation how many shows per week the sale of product marketing strategy and if the subject's RL name was used in SL marketing materials. This series of questions ended with the subjects' recollection of a memorable performance moment and whether that moment affected the performers real life as well The second predominant research question addressed the migration of Second Life behaviors into the real life of the subject. It focused on how the real life person behind the avatar has e x perienced change as a result of this identity interplay similar to the Proteus Effect. It looks at positive attributes of the 136

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person's virtual existence such as creativity voice, and passionate causes that have affected the real-life subject. It also inquires about whether the identities of the avatar and the real-life subject achieved some equilibrium over time This equilibrium is consistent with the maturity phase of Erikson s theory and the higher orders of conscious in Kegan s model. If the subject is a RL performer, how does their performance in RL compare to their SL performance? Finally, a question is asked: How emotionally tied would you consider yourself to be with your avatar identity? Technology in Data Gathering As much as I am enamored with the technology for streaming media from a House of Flames perspective the technology required to perform is equally impressive and far more involved requiring the subjects to multitask through the entire show: send out notices unless they have someone who does that for them watch their stream matrix that shows many listeners bit rate etc. and usually done on a separate computer be aware of the text chat that is occurring while they are playing, and acknowledge tips and fan comments all while performing. In addition performer streaming is complex. Most performers are using more than one computer with multiple inputs-backing tracks instruments and microphones-to a mixer board that is then connected to the streaming computer Because the performer is broadcasting audio over the Internet there is latency between the time the performer says something and the time it can be heard by 137

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fans in the Second Life venue Therefore the performer can say or sing something, but it might be 15 seconds or more before fans will hear it. Despite all the technology, a performance can be doomed unless there is sufficient bandwidth to broadcast the stream run both computers and anything else that may be connected to the Internet. The comic irony in this complexity is the fact that all the subjects commented about the learning curve in Second Life Added to this mix was my presence in collecting Phase 2 data. The technology requirements between researcher and subject became a dance between bandwidth and space because I met with all but one of the subjects physically to collect data. The outlier in this case agreed to allow me to interview him and captUre the physical perspective of a concert via a Skype video connection. In the case of Phase 2 concert observations video was captured by two different methods. If the concert was to be live streamed streaming was broadcast on one of the researcher's computers while a second computer recorded the concert from the avatar perspective In these instances both computers needed Internet access. A video camera also captured the live performer during the concert as a redundant backup (see Figure 7). 138

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Figure 7. Performer and researcher technology for Arimo Teixeira. Two of the subjects agreed to be live streamed during their performance. Oddly, neither of these people were full-time performers who one might assume would be most interested in pairing a physical identity with a virtual one for their fans. In cases where the concert was not live streamed one video camera taped the live performer and one computer recorded the concert from within Second Life. The technology was vastly different among artists but it was possible to successfully capture data in all cases. Photos were taken during both collection phases. Phase 1 photos were screen shots, and Phase 2 photos were real-life digital photos photos provided by the subject, and concert screenshots in Second Life. There were enough data collected to make a short video for each subject, as part of my dissertation presentation. These videos used both Second Life and real-life video and images, creating a short composite of subjects involvement in the study and addressing items such as musical history performance in Second 139

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Life, and emotional attachment to their avatar, if it exists. The videos were done for my own research purposes but quickly became requested marketing videos for the performers. The videos were done in the order I met subjects for Phase 2 data, and each time a new video was completed, the video link was shared with the study subjects and then posted to Y ouTube. Subjects were asked in advance if they wanted to see the videos before they were published. As subject videos were released, they became something of a badge for participation, with links to the performer's Facebook account, performer group, and other social media. There were even friendly competitions among performers to see which videos had the most views. One performer, who kept real life and Second Life separate until this point, called me from a parking lot where he had just dropped off his daughter, saying he actually teared up as he watched the video for the first time because it so accurately captured the essence of who he was in both Second Life and real life. This interest is significant because, as much as the data collecting was for my own purposes, the videos because statements of the subjects' purpose: their histories, their passionate causes and their relationships with their avatars. The videos became their way of telling the world who they were, both as an individual and as an avatar, and as a result, there have been interesting developments in the real lives of some subjects. When I completed the videos, I was reminded of the role I adopted as the researcher in this study: that of live music supporter 140

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researcher, and friend to those who agreed to be part of my work. My goal was to listen for a story and to create a portrait of their experiences as well as my own. The videos were a part of that story. All subject videos were published, and may be viewed, on YouTube ( http: // youtube.com): JueL Resistance: http://tinyurl.com/3s82zjx Arimo Teixeira: http://tinyurl.com/3bjpkze Niko Donburi: http://tinyurl.com/4xegftx Louis Volare: http://tinyurl.com/4xcc8vb Ganjo Mokeev: http://tinyurl.com/3qne6kz Frogg & Jaycatt: http://tinyurl.com/4y5veh6 The Performers In order to understand the subject data, it is necessary to understand the subjects themselves: their background, their motivation to perform in a virtual world, and how their participation in the music community of Second Life has affected their real lives. Following are data that are specific to each subject in the order of the physical Phase 2 data gathering. Composite data that can best be presented in graphic form (matrices) follow the individual portraits. JueL Resistance JueL Resistance is one of the earliest music performers in the environment. In real life, JueL is Suzen Juel, a part-time performer and artist who 141

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lives in a rural area north of St. Paul MN. On her website http: // suzenjuel.com she describes herself as follows: Suzen Juel a.k.a. JueL Resistance is a self taught musician who has been performing since she was 13 years old. She has perfected the weaving of her mind s eye and heart s passion into lyrical paintings richly embedded with emotional hues from her personal experiences. Her lyrics feed the listener s soul and stirs the heart and sentiment of any who have been privileged to hear her perform them. JueL and I have known each other as avatars since late 2006 when she was asked to be one of the opening-night performers for the House of Flames. I got her name from my business advisor avatar Schyler Kent, who had been in Second Life longer than I had and who had worked with many of Second Life s early performers. I remember Schuyler telling me that JueL was known to be a bit of a free spirit musically appearing partially naked during shows (by accident as I later discovered) and not above the use of profanity during a set. Because I saw the House of Flames as a professional business and because it was our very first show, I asked Schuyler if he would talk to her and let her know that it was an opening-night show one I would want anyone to be able to enjoy. As I recall JueL was able to keep her clothes on but there were a few choice expletives that managed to slip through her lips. When we fmally met in person for this study 142

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JueL went into more detail about being known for nakedness as she described her most memorable performance experience: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol : JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Blarney Stone the naked bald and barefoot avatar 2005 LMAO [Laughing My Ass Off] or 2006 it could have been. Did others see you naked? EVERYONE did even those not in SL as people posted it everywhere . .! was still new and quite shocked. Damn near lost my coffee all over my screen LMAO LOL [Laughs Out Loud] ... haven't we all had THAT moment. omg [Oh My God] Did the experience described above affect your real life as well as your virtual life? Aside from you almost shorting out your keyboard? For a briefmoment.. . we all thought OMG YOU ARE NAKED .... . well ... . .! said .I'm a cartoon ... and back in 2005-2006 we didn't have much worth seeing LMAO my guitar covered the goods. Hahahahaha Except from the backside. LOL For anyone who knows her this is JueL able to laugh at herself and poke fun at the foibles of Second Life. Still she is one of the most consistently visible 143

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musicians in the Second Life music community in terms ofher involvement in live music and other activities, as well as promoting the work of other artists. Artistic identity. As previously mentioned, I have likened JueL to a cross between Janis Joplin and Joan Baez; she is a raspy, irreverent storyteller who sings songs that seem as if they are autobiographical. Her original work has a similar oppression/perseverance/overcoming tone as what many might associate with Negro spirituals. That is where the similarity ends; JueL's songwriting is decidedly sensual: many of her songs have sexual innuendo and alternative lifestyle overtones. Having listened to her perform over the years, I realized that she is what we tech people call WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get; see Figure 8). Figure B. Suzen Juel in 1994 (l) and in 2010. I have been to shows where she would stop singing to talk to her dog and tell the audience about her favorite foods; in fact, there was one show where she left her 144

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fans to use the restroom. Her sets were so full of girlfriend chat-the kind of banter that would go on between two friends over a beer-I used to joke that it would be a miracle ifl was able to get five songs from her in an hour-long performance. This improvisation was evident in my first of two concert observations where JueL spent several minutes during the show talking about her love for fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Unlike some concertgoers who might feel that several minutes of a diatribe about food might have cheated them of a musical experience JueL s fans join right in with her expanding the conversation about the sandwich for several more minutes as JueL performed her next song It was this unassuming nature that made JueL transparent even before I met her in person. I knew who she was, what she liked to eat and what pets she had just by listening to her perform. We had talked on the phone a few times over the years and I found her to be exactly as she was in a performance: marching to the beat of her own drum opinionated on subjects and people she felt were unjust and a champion of the grassroots nature of virtual performance. She had to be in my study as a representative of a female who had a long history of playing music in Second Life. In the beginning JueL was just rebellious (Resistance was as much a descriptor as a name) ; she would sing about anything and everything and use her popularity to espouse on many topics. Over time, however maturity and experience mellowed her somewhat; her appearance was less shocking ; she became focused on causes such as the Relay for Life (see Figure 9). 145

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Figure 9. JueL Resistance in 2007 (1) and in 2010. She also found the genre of music that is truly hers complementing her raspy vocal style and garnering a following that has been extremely loyal over the six or more years she has been performing in Second Life. JueL and I met for our Phase 1 interview at her newly redesigned SL Living Room # 13 that was redesigned since the pilot study and was built on land donated to her efforts by a generous benefactor. While she plays at several other venues this venue is hers and reveals her creative mind in a way few other venues in Second Life do. The Living Room is a statement to her extremely artistic nature as she is also an artist and her savvy as a marketer reflecting the transparency of her real and virtual identities. There are references to identity coupling all over the venue (see Figure 10). 146

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Figure 10. The redesigned SL Living Room# 13. Our first interview together was to talk about how Suzen Juel developed an identity as a musician in real life and how that identity has found a home in JueL Resistance. It began by us having girl-talk about her musical background and mine: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: At what age did you begin to play music? I was about 4 or 5 ... on my grandparents organ .. .learned to play songs on the radio that I heard ... on the 'organ' So your grandparents were musical as well? It's so embarassing to have started out on an organ LOL. .. keyboard:) JueL Resistance: yes!!!! My Grandpa Jule was an artist and musician hey .. .I started out on a keyboard. Did you begin playing music on the same instrument you play currently? An ORGAN? lol 147

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Flarneheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flarneheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flarneheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flarneheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flarneheart Sol: blues JueL Resistance: Flarneheart Sol: I guess that is a N 0 No . .I play guitar now ... How many other family members also play an instrument? About 15 ... including the dead lol. Immediate family my mother and I.. .my grandpa Jule passed away. what does your mom play? My mother plays banjo piano guitar accordian I used to play banjo :) I know! Isn't it FUN! I went from Keyboard to banjo to horns. I was a trumpet player HORNS? Wow!!!! And BLUES? OMG deb!!! [note the coupling of my RL and SL names] melts Hahahaha but I sucked:). Not for lack of hot air LOL JueL went on to tell me that her family was supportive of her songwriting, but as is the case with many musicians I know her parents did not support music as a profession at least not in the beginning. She also has a spouse who is as supportive as a non-musical spouse can be. In her own words He supports what I do still on a different level than he did, when we first met. My songs come from such a deep emotional level that I believe it's 148

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sometimes difficult for him to hear the lyrics when he knows what many of the songs are about-sometimes old relationships, or odd compilations of mixed emotions brought on by various events that occur in the lives of those around me or my own Whatever her husband s lack of understanding might be about her music, he is an avid video-game player ; we had to negotiate for bandwidth when I visited her to physically observe her performance in Phase Two of my data collection. Self-taught as an artist and musician JueL likened her lack of formal training to the differences in formal training between Matisse and Picasso: My inspiration for art .. .I love Picasso's colors ... his abstract.. . so I use that analogy a lot.. .. yes ... .I call it more 'street. There is an old story of Matisse and Picasso .. .! relate to that story with music. Matisse was formally trained .. Picasso was street trained ... natural. They competed a lot-made each other better actually. But the point of the story that I heard on NPR was ...... what is the difference? There are those that WANT to .. and those that HAVE to .I'm a have to .. or I would go mad . wait.. .I'm already mad. But lets say I keep myself from being sane ... by doing my music Her first public music performance was at the age of 16 in a national high school competition. She received second place but suffered from such severe shyness that in her words she turned purple/red. Her parents still considered her a dreamer her mother saying "I KNEW you would always take the hard road 149

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Suzen ..... and you are doing well at it!!!! JueL said her mother always supported her even with sight skepticism. As the mother of a musician, I understand her mother s perspective One of the interview questions I asked all the subjects in this study was what I called my cocktail party identity The question was as follows: "If we were to meet for the first time at a cocktail party and I asked you to tell me about yourself (the short version) what would you say? The theory behind the question is that we are most likely to first name the identity(s) we highly favor. In my own case despite everything I have accomplished in my life and career including three amazing children my role as a Ph. D. student would be the first identity to be mentioned. It is not that I do not value being a mother but it seems my academic pursuits have been at least as much work. As we spoke it became clear that JueL had a very strong identity as an artist. She called herself a crazy artist who can't satisfy my urge to create I HAVE to create. Her creativity is not limited to music; she is also an artist in a style I would liken to Art Nouveau (see Figure 11 ). 150

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Figure 11. The art ofSuzen Juel. As someone who is completely self-taught and considers herself non technical Suzen Juel has embraced social media and virtual spaces. After trying the game The Sims Online ( http :// thesims.ea.comL) she was introduced to Second Life but felt it was more complex an environment than she would have liked. After a short hiatus she returned to Second Life in 2004 when the idea of live music streaming into a virtual environment was in its infancy When I asked her how long it took someone who considers herself to be nontechnical to figure out the complexities of streaming live music, she laughed and said omg i'm still fig uring that out. But basically a couple months of figuring out the stream and all the tech that goes with that, back in 2005 it was very new. The birth of JueL Resistance. In a tribute to her grandfather Suzen Juel poured her collective memories into her avatar JueL. Flameheart Sol : How did you choose the name for your avatar? 151

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JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: My grandpa Jule who hand made my flrst guitar .... he was my beginning .. and my life! When he passed away ... 11-12 yrs ago I took his name. Awwwwwwww :) he left a great legacy The entry into Second Life can be compared to the phase that Erikson ( 1968) called a psychosocial moratorium: the trying on of roles without regard to consequences (p. 156). Despite the attraction to what many (including myself) considered a do-over we all come into this new space with our cultural footprint. It is impossible to leave who we are completely behind when we log in. The very choice of her avatar name was an invitation to bring her past with her through the portal that was her computer. She created an avatar that best described her past and who she found herself to be in this new world: JueL Resistance. For Suzen, it was not about becoming something completely different in appearance; Suzen and JueL look very similar. This transparency was by design: JueL Resistance: I made her at flrst and the way that I see myself and the way that others do apparently are very different. So [laugh] I had a I was a scary looking woman is what I was. Everything was just pointed, pointed chin, sharp cheeks, cheek bones came out to here. Cuz I didn't know how to do all this, so I had a friend that that made Jewel out of real life photographs of me. Head to toe, took my measurements, made her just like that. Urn, so that was in 2007 and she's been that way since I, I added 5 pounds to her a few months ago. 152

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Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: What do you estimate the age of your avatar to be, compared to your actual age? Hmmmmrnmm JUEL seems to be about 30 something. and you are not.. .. :) LOL I would guess there is a 7-10 yr gap .. ... depending on how you see ME in RL LMAO As an avatar JueL Resistance spends five or six hours per week performing. She admits that this time is a dramatic drop from the old days when she and I all but lived in the environment. The state of the global economy during the last two or three years impacted live music in Second Life and with the entry of hundreds of new artists live music as an industry is not as individually profitable as it used to be Still about 70% of Suzen s real-life income comes from her activities as JueL Resistance in Second Life. JueL earns money through performance the sale of music to SL fans via iTunes and other digital music sites, and the sale of art through her artist webpage on Esty.com. She plays for tips in her own venue but is paid to perform in other locations throughout Second Life. JueL is also one of the most creative marketers I have seen in Second Life Aside from the ability to link JueL Resistance and Suzen Juel at any number of points in her venue and telling her audience at several intervals during a performance JueL wears objects (a book strapped to her leg and a swimming fish 153

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over her head) that can be clicked on to open a separate browser window to go to her website or to her virtual art store both sites with the name Suzen Juel (see Figure 12). Figure 12. JueL Resistance's RL-SL marketing. It is this quirkiness that endears her to her fans to whom she refers with great affection: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: How would you describe your typical fan base? VERY down to earth laid back accepting lyrical whores:) LOL!!!! they LOVE lyrical styles ... singer songwrite stuff. lol 154

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Fans also love her. They are an eclectic group of people who love her lyrical tapestries, love her alternative style, and fmd her association with nakedness to be liberating (see Figure 13). Figure 13. Representative fans of JueL Resistance. Capitalizing on this early au naturale association, Juel hosts a jam session called Naked Acoustics, where she invites other singer-songwriters to come to her venue for hours of indie-style music: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Also, with having Naked Acoustic Sessions, my ears are always open for a unique, soulful or 'different' kind of special something So are Naked Acoustics an open mic type of thing? No one gets paid to do that, right? It's a songwriter showcase ...... featuring only musicians .. one instrument, one voice ... All Originals is the focus .... and they participate with Tips Only 155

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Identity interplay. Clearly Suzen Juel has poured her identity into JueL Resistance, but then it seemed as if JueL Resistance took on a life of her own: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: The observations that I have not only as a fan and a researcher. But as somebody who, you know, was back with you in those early days because you played at the first House of Flames event. Back then, it was almost as if you needed to be different in order to create JueL as a unique identity. I mean you were kind of off the wall. You were kind of on the fringe of what everybody else was doing, showing up naked and cussing during the shows. Geez. You bring all that up. [laugh]. You know, just showing up naked and all that stuff. In that frrst show we kind of had to say, okay this is going to be a family show. Please don't cuss and please wear all your clothes. But what I've noticed over time, especially now that I've gotten a chance to meet you in person is you and Juel are completely transparent. I don't sense anything hidden between the two of you and what you project yourself to be, when you perform. And even more so, I think that you couldn't be who you are in real life unless JueL was who she is in Second Life. There's an inner dependency between the two of you where you both need each other. And as I said just a minute ago, while you may have thought that who you were in real life was odd and maybe not normal, that same personality in a virtual world is completely normal. In fact, JueL is probably one of the most normal people I associate with because she tells it like it is. She has her causes. It's clear that she's got a good heart and if she doesn't like something she's just going to tell you. Is it fair to say that the identity interplay between the 2 of you has come to not only an equilibrium but it's a healthier equilibrium for both 156

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JueL Resistance: of you, because without one of you I don't know that this delicate balance could be maintained. Right. Yeah, yeah. She's a stepping stone, a foundation. When I asked Suzen "What statement did you want JueL to make that maybe you weren't making in real life at the time?'', her initial response was, "It sounds so strange to talk about your avatar, as a separate identity." She then went on to talk about the voice into which Juel has been able to mature: Don't follow the herd, don't kiss ass, don't kiss corporate ass. Just because it's something that makes you feel good for five minutes. Because in the long run you can only sustain yourself. And you don't lose friends, for standing up for yourself. You gain friends. Which was shocking to me. Cuz, I thought for sure if I stood up to the people that I have stood up to, people wouldn't take me seriously. In tying her identity as JueL Resistance as potentially revisiting her search for a musical identity (which was sidelined once she married), she referred to JueL Resistance as a bridge: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Maybe you could say JueL helped you go back and revisit an identity that you had, in your own words, suppressed. Yeah, not even suppressed. I think it's something that wasn't allowed to exist. They say you don't find your true voice as a performer until you're in your forties. I think personality is the same way. You just 157

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Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: don't even know it's there until one day it veers out and you realize you've got color in the weave of your own spirit. So JueL Resistance the avatar was more of a conduit. Kind of like a bridge that she built with. I'm gonna get all emotional now. [laugh] Like a bridge that she built for me. And it just blows my mind cuz I think, JueL is me. Your mom doesn't control your avatar, you do. Your avatar is you. So are these two people truly 1 person? Because you seem to be completely transparent. Is there anything that you're not sharing with your audience? If there is, I don't know what that it is. I talk about life, I talk about my music, and I talk about my song writing experience. I'll talk about what the song might be about. From our conversations, it was apparent what real-life factors of Suzen Juel contributed to the formation of JueL Resistance, and the level of transparency between Suzen and JueL was probably the most significant of any of the subjects. A question remained: Has this interplay had an effect of the real life of Suzen Juel? Suzen says it has: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: How has Susan Juel changed over the last several years as a result of the existence of JueL Resistance? I really feel like, as far as the artist in me, she's fully out there now. I don't believe there's a conflict of 158

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Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance : Flameheart Sol: JueL Resistance: interest in my own body anymore; where I'm going. I don t say I should do something because that's where the money is. I don't do that anymore. I am all about promoting what I have Would you consider yourself to be more personally at peace with your identity as Susan Juel? Yeah more than I was, and it's because my avatar is the one who got to present herself on the virtual world. And and look the way she does on stage without you know makin all the faces when she sings [laugh]. This lead the way for me to go to Georgia play to go to North Carolina, and to do the SLCC in San Francisco. It also allowed me to meet up with all the second life musicians that I do here. It's all her you know it's all thank you JueL. It's all her and my fans Do you feel you are a better RL musician because of your SL performance? Absolutely How so? I've loosened up .... .... became more personable .... allowed more contact..where as before I was so shy I played and left. The sales of my CD's and art had a positive affect on my real life which allowed me to continue using a stream to broadcast help pay for strings and guitar maintenance and some better equipment for the enhancement of my online and recording experience in Real Life. For me using Second Life gave me a nice stepping stone to overcome an incredible shyness and stage fright.. .Even though I had been performing in RL for many years. I never really knew my emotional flavor until Second life .. the community the friendships and 159

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Arimo Teixeira support have been SO helpful. It s added a whole new color of confidence and a JUST DO IT" kind of attitude : ). In a study about musicians in Second Life it is hard to admit that I frrst met Arimo Teixeria who was Mario Torrez in real life in another virtual world. He was performing in Inworldz a newer 3D environment that was extremely similar to Second Life. In fact many of Inworldz 18, 000 residents were Second Life transplants who were looking for less-expensive land ownership and a smaller community atmosphere. The performance I heard was Blues focused. Being an avid blues fan particularly Chicago style blues was impressed to hear someone so accomplished playing in such a fledgling virtual world. I later learned that just as residents were looking for greener pastures from Second Life musicians were also looking for new environments as additional revenue channels. Hearing Arimo tell the crowd that he was from Chicago playing locally as well as virtually, made me determined to find out more about him and his music. Soon after that frrst concert I heard Arimo play an entirely different type of show in Second Life. My second experience was a Spanish guitar fusion show with no Blues in sight. I remember thinking how accomplished he was and how 160

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unique he was compared to the musicians I had worked with in almost five years of live events. After meeting with him at the House of Flames as well as trading stories about our background and love of music and performance I asked if he would consider becoming part of the study. I was interested in his participation not only because of his mastery and formal music training but also because he had worked in research which made him sympathetic to my research effort. Among the aspects that made Arimo most attractive as a subject in my study were his heritage as a Mexican Native American (Mexica) and his use of Second Life as a global platform for vocalizing the plight of indigenous populations in America Why was Arimo s heritage so appealing? As a whole Second Life is a haven ofBarbies and Kens: White slender tall avatars with sexualized features that sometimes make me think of the environment as a 3D happy hour as opposed to a serious field of inquiry. While I have seen more people who choose to create avatars of color in recent months meeting an avatar that appears Native American and uses the space for cultural education was something unique. His willingness to be part of the study added depth to what I was trying to accomplish. Identity conflict. There were two themes that were prominent in my work with Arimo: his identity confusion in RL and the discovery of an identity through Arimo the avatar His involvement in Second Life as a representative for an identity that would have been confusing and a voice that has historically been 161

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subaltern, has had a transformational effect on his real-life identity and given him the courage to move forward in real life with some of his identity issues resolved. Arimo is an example of mixed cultures. His mother is Finnish, and his father is a product of Mexican and Native American parents. These cultures might be considered disparate economically, religiously, and culturally. They can also cause identity confusion in a young boy who looks very much Native American and Mexcian (see Figure 14). Figure 14. Mario Torrez with his grandfather (1) and grandparents. Raised primarily by his father's parents, Arimo found his primary influences to be tied with this culture: Even though my dad wasn't around very much over at the house, they were. They were always there. So, my grandfather would sit the grandchildren on the floor around him in a chair and he would tell us 162

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stories of the old southwest and tell us stories about riding with Pancho Villa. He was an amazing man. He would tell you don't gamble don't drink, stuff like that. It's funny but then he'd tell you all these stories and Grandpa being Aztec as well we always had Aztec stuff around the house. And they would remind you . okay yes you're Mexican ... you should be proud of that. You're beautiful we're beautiful people. But then there's Grandma Grandma she's Aztec as well but then there's always this thing my father would say, that Grandma was part Apache. Now, how much truth there was in that I don't know or if he was kidding or joking but at some point the books would come out with all the Native American photos of great warriors and tribes and stuff like that and so we would learn about that. While Arimo appeared to be Mexican and Native American he was equally of Finnish descent. This clash of cultures created an early identity conflict based on how he appeared because he was raised by grandparents who shared his cultural identity: In the one photo [Figure 13, above] I've got a pistol and my cousin there with my grandfather. We're playing banditos. You didn't play cowboys 163

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I was sent to boarding school in England. I lived in Belgium. I had a wonderful uncle there my Uncle Albert. He is not in the pictures; I don't have many pictures of him. I was recently sent some pictures from one of my cousins and it was a totally different lifestyle. You know they cut off my hair dressed me up in a suit. They sent me to boarding school. I wanted to play guitar, wasn't rock guitar. It was classical guitar and I was like okay. The good thing was that the school I went to it was an Episcopal school and they're very musical. So there was always a musical play going on. I was in Joseph and his Technicolor Dreamcoat. I was one of the brothers that throw him in the pit. There was choir. There were private music lessons. So I learned to make the best of it you know? That was my sanctuary. My music It has always been my sanctuary. Once his classical training ended and he was back at home in Chicago he was exposed to yet another set of musical influences Chicago Blues : Buddy Guy ; I heard him for the first time and he's live. So it's like okay cool. I'm going to go see Buddy Guy. And I've seen Buddy Guy several times. And his show is never the same He has this tendency to improv not just like on lead guitar he just wings it sometimes. And I'm always enthralled by it. Because it's like he's just making this up as he goes. But you know there's a form and there's structure. But it's just so free And and it's so Bluesy And and sometimes it's even sloppy. I admire him for 165

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that because it's kinda like things don't have to be perfect. Things don't have to be totally planned. They can be somewhat improvised and you can wing it and still be having a good time enjoying the music that you play. Resolving the past. It was this classically trained, Finnish MexicanAmerican Spanish guitarist from Chicago with a local Blues influence who became Arimo (rearranged letters in Mario) Teixeria in Second Life. It was Arimo as a separate identity who began to address Mario s real-life identity conflict: When he [Arimo] fust went in he was playing strictly Spanish style guitar. And that wasn't my idea. That was the person that brought me into Second Life. They said there's no one doing this. You should do it. There was one other person doing it but they were doing like something from Argentina. And it wasn't it's not the same. So Arimo yes he does encompass all 3 of those things (music, Mexican and Native American influences). And he shows it in everything that he does and in the music that he plays. He's not limited to just playing Leyenda He will play a Blues piece He will play a jazz piece. He'll play a fusion piece. He'll incorporate sound effects He's free to do anything he damn well pleases. Arimo also became a transparency of Mario s identity as a Mexican/Native American (see Figure 15). 166

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Figure 15. RL Mario Torrez (1) and SL Arimo Teixeira. What is particularly interesting is the level of attachment Mario has to Arimo yet he often refers to Arimo as someone would speak about a friend With regard to Arimo s appearance Mario said I don t have any tattoos. He he wanted to do that. Mario considers Arimo a muse who had more creative latitude: I gave him permission and credit permission to do whatever he wanted to create. You know when I said or when he said no we can't do that remember. I said no we can do whatever we want. There are no rules. Just do Mario is not a man who has a multiple-personality disorder ; it is almost as if he has a reverence for the created personality he made. It is this persona, Arimo 167

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who has achieved more musically than Mario has been able to accomplish in real life during the same amount of time: Flameheart Sol: Arimo Teixeira: Flameheart Sol: Arimo Teixeira: So Arimo is really for lack of a better term a living entity because he is a side of you that doesn't necessarily get its air time in real life. He gets more air time than I do Yes absolutely. He gets more airtime than I do because it's easier. To do what we did today (live stream his performance) I had to make sure I had all the right equipment. I had to move all the equipment. I had to test all the equipment. I had to plan it in advance. We had to find a facility to do it in. In, in second life things move much faster. A show can happen like that. You can build a club like that. You can put yourself a club like that. If, if you're looking to to be a quality musician it can happen very quickly. And you could have several shows. In real life things don't move that fast. In terms of embeddedness the level of identity with which you identify with your avatar. Would you say you are strongly embedded in the identity of Arimo? It's hard to walk away from Arimo Now that I've created him and he exists. He has 1 0 videos on YouTube. [laugh] I don't have any. I have a couple of videos of my own on My space. I've never posted them on Y ouTube. But, I mean he has not only live concert footage he also has music videos. He's been able to make friends with other creative people like himself. And unite with them and network with them, and create with them. That's been a a wonderful fantastic experience for people around the world. 168

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As much as Arimo has been a musically creative muse for Mario perhaps the bigger impact on Mario has been what Arimo has been able to accomplish culturally. Unlike JueL Resistance who is so transparent that her fans probably know everything Suzen has eaten for dinner over the last week Arimo s fans are not appraised of the personal details of Mario s life. In reality they are part of a much more emotional transparency, who Mario is as a Mexican/Native American: Arimo Teixeira: Flameheart Sol: Arimo Teixeira: Flameheart Sol: To communicate to the world that there is beauty in me in my culture and in my music. I created this stereotype that sits beside me every time I perform. It's Poncho sitting up against the cactus He's a womanizer ; he's a boozer. I'm none of those things. [laugh] You know? I'm breaking down the stereotype it's hard to look at someone that's Mexican when they're not living up to your stereotype that doesn't apply to them. And say they're all those things cause they're not. You know the reality is those stereotypes have put there for a reason. To keep us separated as people, to repress us as a people. And perhaps even to make us believe that those stereotypes are true. So you feel that your purpose in part is to be an example of a Mexican Native American who is not that stereotype Who is an accomplished creative artist? Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely. An intellectual even. Given that do you think Arimo accomplishes that to a greater extent because of the ability he has to reach the people he can reach then you have as Mario? 169

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Arimo Teixeira: Yes, He has a broader audience that he appeals to. And they don't care that he's Mexican. They don't care that he's Native American even though he puts it out there. You know, he wants you to know, "oh by the way, this is my identity; just like your identity is German, or Italian, or Irish." But I don't think people come to his show just because he's Mexican or Native American. I think they come to his shows because they enjoy his music. He's a person; he's a human being. That's the most important thing. If you prick us do we not bleed. Arimo embodying Mario. Arimo has, in some respect, made it acceptable for Mario to be Mexican/Native American. As a physical being, Mario was raised to accept the stereotypes that were heaped upon him as a member of these cultural groups. This perspective might have been entirely different had he physically favored his mother. As someone who looked Mexican and Native American, Mario was subject to all the prejudice given to these cultures, despite the heritage these groups have in America: Our ancestors have reigned for thousands of years. We didn't draw that line that they call the border and we didn't move the line; it's been moved several times. We never did that, somebody else did. And you know, when you see the video The Blue Bandito [one of Arimo's marketing tags] and all the symbolism I put in my videos and the story that it tells, you know that's my grandfather. He's telling me the stories as a child. This is where my people have been since the beginning of time. And to tell us that we're 170

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foreigners is very insulting It's sad you know. So my message is to say no we re not. And then please acknowledge that. As I was coding the transcript of my physical interview with Mario I realized his identity interplay was perhaps more significant in the area of his culture than of his music. The most frequent data codes used in our interview were in the areas ofidentity Transparency Emboldened SL Voice Emotional Ties to Avatar and RL Benefit from SL Involvement. There was not the same level of personal transparency that there was with Juel (who was more transparent than most others). In fact Mario requested that the Phase Two interview take place at a third-party site as opposed to his home studio and I was never given his personal phone number ; he had a pre-paid phone that he used during the study. While there was an increase in transparency as our time together progressed the existence of Arimo in Second Life gave Mario a platform to speak passionately about the heritage with which he more closely identifies and caused changes in his real-life identity as a result: Arimo Teixeira: You'd have to ask my family cause they tell me I've changed. I don't have the patience for bullshit. I just don't. It's a waste of my time. But neither is does Arimo. He learned that; not to let other people stand in the way That there will be people that will try to drag you down with them. There will be people that are mean nasty, petty and jealous. That's their problem not yours Selfish self centered; that's their issue not yours. 171

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Flameheart Sol: Arimo Teixeira: So would you say that Mario has learned that lesson from Arimo? Yeah. I've learned it from the interactions I've also learned that there are great wonderful people out there. And if you surround yourself with those great wonderful people instead of these people that are filled with drama and pettiness then you can accomplish much more. Just as the young Mario used music to bridge the cultural gap between his parents Arimo is Mario's vehicle to use music to deliver the message of indigenous populations in the United States: It's like me saying, Oh by the way I'm actually a real person. [laugh] And I really am. I really am Native American. I really am Mexican. I'm not pretending. There's so many people in this world that pretend to be things that they're not. I'm real you know? I know a lot of people play out their fantasies and like to role play and and play games and stuff like that. All I've done is taken who I really am and put it on a palette or made it palatable for everyone to see. You know it's hard to explain. I play music because I love music. Arimo s my vehicle. He carries the message in a manner that I think is palpable for mainstream society. Because when you start talking about all the facts I think they get scared. And they don t want to talk about it. So he is able to put it out there and say hey ... You know ... nicely beautifully. We are the indigenous peoples 172

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Please treat us with respect at least. Niko Donburi By early 2007, I had what amounted to a full-time job running the House of Flames for our twice-weekly shows. Most nights of the week I was scouting talent determined not to repeat an artist performing at the venue as long as there was more talent in SL to be found. During this search I met Niko Donburi, who in real life is Tre Critelli an attorney residing in the Midwest. Tre was the first of my study subjects who had chosen to keep his real and virtual lives very separate. In order to understand Niko s popularity, one has to understand the state of Second Life at that time. The environment was still young; everyone wanted to be there; the population was growing exponentially. It was a BIG DEAL if 5 000 residents were logged in at any one time (compared to the 70,000 concurrent users I have recently seen). Second Life had growing pains; Wednesdays were update days. The entire grid would shut down preventing residents from logging on, sometimes for hours This separation would cause a near panic among the faithful; we went to any text-based chat where our friends might be just to be connected until the grid came back up. Many residents went through the Second Life hazing process teleporting to a location completely naked (ala JueL) because our textured clothing did not move as fast as we did. There was also the blight of being "Ruthed." If a resident logged in and his or her inventory did not load he or she appeared the same: as 173

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and Indians; you played banditos. Even when I played with my friends if it was cowboys and Indians I was the Indian by choice. [laugh] What's the point in being a cowboy? [laugh] So they were teaching us they were teaching us in the old style in story telling and the pictures helped cause they give you visuals Musical heritage. Music was the language that bridged all these cultures. It is no surprise that Arimo used the guitar to bridge the gap between his father a mariachi musician and his mother a music lover. While his father s family may have had more of a cultural impact on young Mario his mother and her family had an important musical impact: And my mother was a music lover as well. So we were always watching things on TV even if it was Lawrence Welk. She would make us dance to Lawrence Welk, my sister and me. My grandfather was always playing Mexican music in the house. I was just always surrounded with it so for me it was really natural And my father was also an artist. So there's that creativity there. My mother s side of the family they were artists as well. You know if you're surrounded by it, it becomes part of you Eventually I was given traditional lessons but to get traditional lessons it was from my mother's side of the family. This classical training further conflicted Mario about his identity because he was sent to Europe to study music looking very un-European: 164

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the default-loading avatar that looked like a hobbit with breasts. The problem with Ruthing was that it might appear to the resident that everything was fine (on his or her computer) but others saw the famous Ruth. Onlookers could only laugh take a screenshot and send it to the affected resident usually resulting in a very quick relog in an attempt to reload correctly. Sim crashes were also fairly common. When a sim (simulator) region got close to its capacity through avatars scripts, and complex textures all in close proximity, it commonly caused a reset for the sim, crashing all activity and forcing the logout of everyone on that sim at the time. Sim crashes became a badge of honor for some performers similar to performing for a sell-out crowd because you can only crash the sim if it exceeds capacity Along with the technical growing pains of Second Life there were the broken hearts that went along with people recreating themselves anonymously in a virtual space. As a user-created social network Second Life attracted people who looked to escape situations that they found unpleasant in their real lives, who looked for meaning in a place where they could be anyone they wanted and who came for the thrill of being able to create anything that could be imagined . while making money. These early days were truly a time of trying on of roles without thought to the consequences. The problem was that even in a virtual world there are consequences. 174

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Stories began to make real-world news outlets about spouses fmding out their mates were married in Second Life. Residents were replacing time with their families with hours living an entirely different life, making intimate personal connections with people who were only known by their avatar names. There was not nearly as much time devoted to reporting the creative uses of Second Life in education, in collaboration, and the like because Second Life was big news and because the media loves a good story. Second Life Fame. This climate was the state of Second Life when I met Niko. He did not play cover songs; he played "warped" cover songs. He took songs most people knew, changed the lyrics to be about the state of Second Life, and then sang the songs as a parody. He was singing a tune that most people knew, about a subject to which everyone present could relate: As to how Niko got put on the map, I don't think it was so much a discovery as opposed to a calculated effort on how I could carve out a little area to stand out from all the other performers. Hummingbird Cafe was the first time I ever got on stage. Like most people I did covers. I did some originals. I did my old band songs from my past bands. One day, for want of something to do, I took the lyrics to Cheech and Chong's "Up in Smoke" and I rewrote them to be "Second Life, That's Where I Want To Be." The new lyrics actually fit amazingly well. It's a three-chord song so I went ahead and performed that, and people really liked it. 175

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That got me thinking: with this mad rush of people coming into second life and musicians that are far better than I am and songwriters and performers that can play every cover song that's ever been created -how can I stand out? I wanted to do originals ; I wanted to do my own songs but I wanted to keep the audience coming you know ; they don't know my songs. Why would they want come and see me? And I've never been a big covers fan but I thought I could take these cover songs and make fun of the cover song and make fun of Second Life at the same time. Being an attorney I'm always concerned about copyright infringement issues. So I looked up the legal standards involving parodies and noted that they have to make fun of the song. So I tried to parody the song doing my best to make fun of the song at the same time I was also making fun of Second Life. They became almost like the writing of a sonnet. We all know the words to My Favorite Things from the Sound of Music. You know how the song goes. So how could I change it to make fun about it but also make it about Second Life? So I then began focusing on songs that I could con v ert over and I started with one or two and it picked up after that. Then I started to realize that I could brand myself as the comedy act. So I could start doing those songs and I could interweave my own original songs because people would come and they'd listen to Dear Linden Dear Linden ," which is 176

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based on John Prine's song "Dear Abby Dear Abby." They would listen to that and then they'd listen to my next song because they'd wait for the next parody. So I could start to alternate my own original songs and they'd put up with my other songs. You know, my little bit of self-indulgence because they want the laugh of the parody song. So I sat down and thought of songs that had certain criteria as the types of songs I would pick. It's actually more difficult than you would think. I had to pick a song that everyone knew. I have a worldwide audience in Second Life and everyone in Second Life has that experience in common So let's make fun of Second Life. I would pick things about Second Life that everyone could relate to. So I would have a song that everyone knew and I could make that song into something that was funny. Like the Rupert Holmes song Escape (The Pina Colada song) ." I made it the Second Life song about a guy whose wife changes his password ; everyone can relate to that because we know what the humor is. As I developed these songs I began to think of how I could brand myself. No one knows who Niko Donburi is but everyone knows who Weird AI Y ankovic is and what a great parodist he is. So I started to brand myself as the Weird AI of Second Life. 177

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Niko' s strategy worked. The fans loved him because he spoke to the one thing they all had in common. He was the first performer I found who invited the audience to interact. He did a number called "The Alphabet Song," where he invited the crowd to type the alphabet as he sang the chorus. In 2007, he was a premier performer in Second Life, and after a show, I approached him about playing at the House of Flames (see Figure 16). Figure 16. Niko Donburi (1) and HoF concert marquee. To my surprise, he already knew about us. He had even been to a show at the House of Flames and had been greeted by me at the landing point. He agreed to perform at the House of Flames, and over the time I have known him, he has become one of the people I most respect in virtual music. It is a mutual respect 178

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because we both have educated ourselves about the business we are in we both are passionate about the possibilities of live music in virtual spaces and we both have a deep personal faith that steers our ethical compass when dealing with others. Niko and I have had many phone conversations over the years about the House of Flames and its direction along with his involvement in that process Identity compromise. I consider Niko to be a trusted ally outside Second Life because aside from being a very smart virtual performer he is an expert in contracts and copyright law. He is also one of a few people in the United States who can deal directly with the State Department regarding international child abductions If his domestic law career is not impressive enough he is also licensed to practice law as a Barrister in the United Kingdom. When talking to him however his first love is music (see Figure 17) Figure 1 7 Niko Donburi : The early 1990s in Iowa (1) and Japan 179

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Flameheart Sol: Niko Donburi: You've been holding out on me. Aside from law which is your profession you're clearly not just a casual musician. I mean you spent a significant amount of time pursuing this immersing in a culture. This is not just a weekend hobby thing as far as its importance to you as an identity. Is this a fair statement? Oh yeah I think it's a fair statement that music is much more than just a hobby thing. I mean music is my life. If I could have only one thing to do it would be music. So that's what I do. Niko s passion for music and his desire to deepen his spiritual awareness led him to Japan, where he spent several years teaching conversational English playing music and also learning the Japanese style of pottery making: Strange that I wound up doing pottery ; especially as a Japanese potter. When my year came up [ESL teacher in Japan] I decided to extend it to get a cultural visa and to study pottery. I was doing some work and some art shows; I'm one of the only Westerners that I've ever run across who is actually originally trained in the Japanese style of pottery as opposed to an American potter who goes to Japan. The wheel spins a different direction in each country. I learned the Japanese way and did some shows and was the only Westerner with 80 Japanese potters in Kyoto who would do some of these pottery shows. So my life kind of went down this pottery route. And then I couldn't get a cultural visa. They weren't giving them out that week. So I eventually came back and decided to go to law school. 180

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How did someone who is so clearly artistic decide to become an attorney? Why didn't he just become a professional musician? Niko does not want to compromise: It s the business portion of music. I've got all the books and I read the contracts and I'm legally trained. And the business of music is not about music it's about product. It's about getting out and selling units. That is what it's about and moving these units ; not necessarily the creative music portion that I like. To me the whole goal of the job is to get little green pieces of paper. In this country they are green, in other countries they are different colors. I can get more green pieces of paper by practicing law and helping people, because people need help. People don't understand contracts. Their loved one dies they don't know what to do. Or they break up in a divorce or they have a contract dispute or a spouse takes their child across the country or across the globe. I can step in and I can fix those problems for people. Niko also had gentle pressure from his father who had built a law practice and felt his son would be wasting his education and talents as a musician. In our first interview Niko described his familial support : 181

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Encouraging I suppose. At least as far as school-based musical performances go. They rented a saxophone for me so I could play. After college however, I would characterize my mother s response as supportive and my father s as neutral at best, tending towards disapproval. Finding an outlet. Herein lies the conflict: Niko is a talented artist and a musician with a very strong identity as a musician with no outlet for it in the physical world. While he played in public when he was younger Niko chooses not to perform in real life: I've played coffee shops I played the bars ; I've done all that here in Des Moines as well as other locations. I've got to fight this espresso machine in the comer. People are talking and no one can really hear the lyrics anyway I don't mind playing restaurants because I did some of that when I was in Indonesia. I'd play the restaurants for my meals but I'd have an audience of people that were pretty much quiet because they'd eat. They could listen to music but they're not there to listen to me perform they are there to eat or to socialize. When you are in Second Life you are there to hear the music. You can be IMing your friends you could be cleaning out your inventory ; but you re at a specific place at a specific time to hear those songs and that's why you're there. And there's a reason; if you don't like it click the button to teleport and you can leave. 182

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I kept my virtual life and my real life separate really up until now (for purposes of the study) for a couple of reasons. First it's none of the business of my clients my co-counsel and colleagues what I do in my spare time (as far as performing music and those things). I try to keep that separate. I try to keep it alive as well ; it's very easy to be subsumed into my profession and to be sucked into the life of, you know being married and with kids and running around with the kid stuff. I call it the real world concerns. By being able to keep Niko alive I think it's given me an escape from all of those things. Where I can go in and I can perform. Identity maturity. As Second Life has grown bigger and become more technologically able to handle the thousands of people who are online concurrently Niko s audience has changed His parody songs are more like golden oldies because the only people who remember the problems from the early days of SL are the people who were residents during that time. This situation is both a blessing and a curse. The silver lining in Niko s cloud of obsolescence is that people who come to his shows are usually more mature in their identity as avatars because they have been residents longer and that they have also established themselves as his fans over a long period of time. It was during the observations ofNiko' s concerts when I saw the trend emerging that would test an assertion mentioned earlier. In Niko s concerts there were frequent interactions among people in the audience. These interactions were 183

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not just polite "hello again" pleasantries; these conversations were among people who have been in SL longer, were more mature and had previous relationships with fellow fans. An example was an encounter I had with a fellow Niko fan at one of the concert observations, Held at the House of Flames (see Figure 18). Figure 18. Phoenixa Sol (1) and Niko Donburi at phase 2 concert. Phoenixa Sol: Flameheart Sol: Elwood Ensch: Flameheart Sol: Phoenixa Sol: Flameheart! A sister in the very small exclusive Sol family! [Having the same last name means we came to SL at the same time] I know .. .I thought-you must be old:)). [Laughs at the discourse between the Sols] 2006 right? Thanks to dancing, I'm forever young! Y ep ... most of the names (avatar last name choices offered by 184

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Linden Labs when we joined) were street names of San Francisco. This type of banter was common throughout the concert, with fans interacting with other fans and Niko himself becoming part of the conversation. At one point in the Phase 2 concert, where I was physically with Niko in Des Moines, Niko asked me a question in RL and then mentioned to the fans I was physically with him. He said it was strange to have anyone in the studio with him when he performed. He jokingly said it was like a violation because he could not wear his gorilla suit. His fans in Second Life who were present at the show decided to join the conversation. Esch responded, "And it forces you to keep your pants on." His comment caused laughter from several other fans. Phoenixa then said, "Flarneheart, you rock." Flarneheart responded, "Oh thank you-coming from a fellow Sol...LOL." This ease of interaction could occur because I had a previous relationship with Niko both as an avatar and as a physical being, having first met him in 2007 at a Second Life conference in Chicago. He was not only comfortable with me in his studio, he was also comfortable because the people at his show were people who have followed his work over time. Niko was not playing to fans; he was playing to friends. This is similar to what I had observed with JueL. It was then that I realized I had been trying to explain the idea of embeddedness according to Kegan's (1994) levels of consciousness and was looking at the idea of subject 185

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orientation, where everything is taken personally without considering the level of emotion that is present (or not) when someone is embedded. According to my assertion, Niko is embedded; he has no other outlet for performing and there is only a minimum level of transparency. The memories he shares with fans are all occurrences in Second Life. Is Niko embedded ... or emotional? Embedded ... or emotional? Telling your SL fans your RL name as Arimo does at the beginning of a show is not terribly emotional; it is identity coupling. Giving someone an insider s view of who your pets are and what you love to eat as JueL does requires a higher level of emotion because you are sharing more of yourself with your fans This level is identity transparency. Getting to the point where you will admit to someone that you could never delete your account because it would be like killing a part of yourself and if you ever made and performed with another alt, it would be like cheating ; that is emotional: Flameheart Sol: Niko Donburi: In your opinion what is the inter-dependence between Tre and Niko? Is there One? You know, you've managed to keep life pretty separate. But do the two -I don't want to say co-dependent but are they interdependent? I think they are very interdependent. That would be my assessment. I could never kill my Niko account; I don't think I'd be able to do that. It would be like killing a part of myself. At the same time I feel guilty if I ignore the Niko account. But I could never get rid ofNiko. I've often thought of starting up another character and performing songs but that would be like cheating on myself. 186

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This level of embeddedness is expected in Niko s case because of the deliberate separation he has between SL and RL. He does not couple his identities, and he does not reveal a lot about himself personally (which is in the process of change as will be discussed shortly). What Niko does have is years of regular interactions with the same core group of people where the identities of both fans and performer have been reinforced. It is not just about performance any longer It is about whether Niko mentions from the stage that he remembers back in 2008 when a fan wore some crazy costume or if he plugs the business of another fan because he has been associated with this fan since his first days in SL. There is a feedback loop that has a long history of completion between Niko and his fans. In a manner of speaking they are all embedded. Transparent interplay. If there is a curse in becoming obsolete, it is that Niko cannot sing about parodies that do not exist forever Even when he was at the height of his popularity, Niko had a trick up his sleeve When I fust heard him play Niko sang a song where the lyrics began God doesn't care how much money you make ; he only cares how you spend it. As someone who considers herself to have a spiritual center I paid close attention to the remainder of the song which was anything but a parody. As it turned out Niko had been transparent all along writing several original songs like this one and highlighting the existence of a supreme being who is ever-aware: 187

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I have always been very interested in religions and spirituality; from the occult to Eastern religions. You know I was very involved in meditation and these things. That brought me around to an exploration of faith and religion. And of course as these two paths music and God go together they merge into a collection of songs. What I found is I had an audience with these comedy pieces. People would come to the shows to hear them. I called that the cake and the ice cream. That's the fluff. How could I utilize this audience and this platform I have to try to do something with it? To try to maybe give people some guidance and try to help them in some way or some area. And my way is always one of spiritualism and religion in particular. People have a lot of issues and there's a quote that I operated on by that says that which is most intimate is most familiar. That means the things that I keep with inside myself everybody keeps inside themselves. So I thought if I could share those things through my music maybe I could touch some people And they could ask some questions and we could have a discourse As a result I started to take another collection of songs I have from my fust CD collection I call them CD collections because I kind of work in a group of about twelve songs at a time. They are all songs about religion aspects and teaching tluough music like what is the meaning of life. Our Father ," some ofthese prayers and things put 188

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to music. And so I started to sprinkle those into my show calling it a completely secular show. Then I had one show where all I did was inter-space those songs with the parody songs Which I think was probably too much for most people; I got some interesting discussion afterward. They felt like I was forcefeeding them things. So I backed off of that and now I sprinkle two or three religious based songs into my parody songs. I found that to be a pretty good number. What's interesting is it's often those songs that people respond to. Niko has found a new direction for his music which corresponds with a renewed dedication to his Roman Catholic roots. How he will pursue this direction will be discussed further as part of the study discussion but he is as dedicated to this new path as he was with his parodies. Louis Volare In writing about Louis Volare-Louis Landon in reallife-I found myself at an impasse. No matter what I wanted to write I found myself struggling with my own emotions toward Louis over the time I have known him. It is not that I do not respect Louis; it is just that I find him difficult. When I finally stopped to try and examine what exactly I did not like about Louis I had an epiphany. Louis and I may be more alike than different and Louis directly impacted the music scene in Second Life in much the same way I impacted how music was presented in 189

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Second Life. We both raised the bar in our respective areas and moved music in Second Life from a passionate grassroots effort to the level of a business. The impact Louis had just made it harder for venues to thrive. I met Louis shortly after he came into Second Life. By this time the House of Flames had made a name for itself as a venue that was doing big events with a business-like model. It was not as if the House of Flames was the only large-scale venue in Second Life at the time and it certainly was not the first. Circe Broom and Slim Warrior (avatar names) were pioneers in bringing live music into Second Life Venues such as Old Salt's Pub the Hummingbird The Lilly Pad Lounge and Menorca Island were synonymous with live music in the early days of the grid. The House of Flames had a real-life business model and, right from the beginning looked for partnerships with people and sponsors outside Second Life in the hopes of migrating to the real world. The House of Flames was not better than what had come before ; it was just different. Musical Pedigree. Not so for Louis Volare. Louis was better much better. He was far more accomplished as a musician than anyone I had heard perform in Second Life until that time. Before Louis there were good musicians people who often had day jobs where Second Life was their way of living out an identity that real life never offered them. Louis was an exceptional musician and one of the first performers I knew who actually was a successful performer outside Second Life. As Louis Landon Louis had played professionally all of his 190

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adult life, had several CDs to his credit and supported a family with his income as a performer. He had a performance legacy; his father was also a performer who played on the Borscht Belt, the summer lodges that dotted the Pocono Mountains in the Pennsylvania-New York area. In fact during one of our early conversations Louis told me that his father had something to do with the theme songs for one of my favorite childhood cartoons Top Cat. Louis himselfhad a pretty impressive history: I decided to go to Berkley College of Music. I heard uh, Chick Corea's Light As A Feather and it changed my life. I said I want to play a piano like that. Whatever he's doing, that's what I need to do." I went to Berkeley practiced 8 hours a day took lessons practiced ... I took lessons with Alan Pasqua, who's an incredible piano player. Got into jazz, played ... got out and jammed every night-it was just crazy. I had gigs and then I met this guy John Payne; he played with David Bromberg and Van Morrison -I recorded with him. And we put a band together that ended up having a manager we got have records out, and we started touring. I dropped out of school ; I kind of did enough of Berkeley enough to know that I didn't want or need a degree. I wasn't going to teach music for a living; I was just going to play and that was that. So pretty much in '72 or 73 I knew that's what I wanted to do and then in about 77 I moved to New York city 191

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When I was in Boston I started doing sessions and playing with different people and wanted to do my own thing. That didn't really happen but then I ended up touring with John Hall opening for Little Feat. I also got a gig with Rupert Holmes Mr. Pina Colada Holmes; played that song till I wanted to vomit. I got into the ballet world and toured with Mikhail Baryshnikov which was an amazing four summers in Paris and Japan Louis understood the potential for performance in Second Life right from the start. He saw it as a marketing channel, a way to have a global audience for his music and a way to sell CDs; he saw it as busine s s much the same way I viewed the House of Flames. I am just not sure that venue owners were ready for the sense of entitlement that Louis brought with him. Louis believed as a professional musician that he was entitled to be paid to play just as he was paid to play in real life. As a venue owner who started paying performers to play before Louis arrived I was in complete agreement with the idea of paying people for their time The difficulty with Louis was how much he wanted to be paid. From Grassroots to primetime. Before 2007 music in Second Life was relatively simple. People who loved to play would perform at any venue that would have them usually for nothing more than tips and the use of the venue s stream. An artist would set out his or her tip jar, hoping that appreciative patrons would give generously for the artist s efforts. It is much the same in real life. What differs is in how the venue keeps the digital doors open. The early days of 192

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music in Second Life were about music not about business. No one got paid to play ; no one was charged to hear music; and venue owners kept venues alive with their own resources because they were often musicians themselves and because they saw the potential reach of the environment. Venues did not have cover charges liquor sales and food revenue to help offset the costs of entertainment as they do in real life. No one was making money unless the token tips that an artist might receive could be considered an income stream. As the founder of the House of Flames I had seen this situation firsthand and certainly could appreciate the efforts of venue owners and musicians in bringing music into the space. I also believed that there could be sponsorship opportunities for companies that normally would not have exposure in Second Life to potentially fmd customers there. This business strategy was adopted by the House of Flames and as a result of corporate sponsorships we were able to pay performers more than the sporadic tips they might receive at another venue. This strategy enabled the House of Flames to choose the best talent to perform and to have those performers treat a House of Flames gig with the same importance as a real-life gig. We did not have any of the absenteeism that some venues had if something more important came into performers real lives. We contracted with musicians, did their sound checks marketed them on our website, and brought virtual events management to a higher business level. Sponsors also had announcements during shows had click-through banners from our website and 193

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had click-through signage at each show. This type of marketing was a delicate balance; sponsors felt that this type of advertising was experimental. Each venue had limited capacity for visitors depending on how much space each venue encompassed. Back in those early days an entire sim could only hold 40 avatars; selling enough sponsorships to pay musicians and cover the tier on the sim space was tough. There was never a thought of a venue owner actually making money above the costs of running the club The idea of paying Louis was not an issue. Full-time musicians make money by performing and selling product-those units Niko mentioned Louis knew what his time was worth yet he was a very savvy businessman and realized he was new on the scene and would build his reputation over time. The problem with Louis was that he was going to charge to perform which changed the relationship between musicians and venues. Louis may not have been the first musician to charge a fee to perform but he was on the leading edge of a movement that changed the dynamics of performer-venue relations from a partnership to something more adversarial. In Louis' case he deserved to be paid for his time; he was an exceptional musician who had taken years to perfect his craft Louis was a sure bet to pack the venue because there were very few-very few-musicians of his caliber in Second Life. The problem was that all musicians in Second Life now believed they were entitled to the same thing regardless of their level of musicianship 194

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What had started as a s y mbiotic relationship between venue owners and musicians had now become something much different. Musicians saw Second Life as a means of legitimate income while venue owners had no additional means to produce revenues. Some venues closed; some stopped holding regular shows (the House of Flames among them) and some grasped for other solutions such as tip splitting between the artist and venue. This solution was futile at best requiring multiple shows 7 days per week in order to split enough tips to make any difference and the artists would still want to be paid. Music with a message. No one could argue Louis musicianship and everyone wanted him to play. Louis played to a different crowd than most musicians. He came to Second Life with a mission of love and peace with CDs titled Solo Piano for Peace Peace Revolution, and Jo y ous Spirit: I have a message My group is called Love Peace and happiness and my mission in the world is to create a more loving and peaceful world by writing recording and performing music from the heart. That's my mission and what I see now is that my mission is almost more important than the music I mean the music is a vehicle to do that but it's how I live my life and who I am and how I reach people And my message like my talking in between songs when I do concerts, is where I talk about this stuff. I consider it teaching. It's almost like ministry I feel very connected to God and I feel that it's my mission to show people. Like I will go into 195

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the post office and I'll say how you doing? And they say you know fme how are you doing? And I say I'm doing great, I could never be better. And they like look at me they go like what's wrong with this guy? And I say well you know I've learned the secret of life. And they look at me like, well what's the secret of life? And I said well it just means living in the present moment. And here we are this is real past is gone future isn't here and the present moment is called the present because it's a gift; it's a present. His early shows were packed with people who had a more refmed taste in music. If I were representative of his fan base we were people who were older ; had more disposable income; and were willing to purchase his CDs just as he had purposed himself to do. Louis could play 7 nights per week if he wanted to and if people did not want to hear him play his solo piano songs about peace they could come to hear him play as his alter ego Luigi Volare (not an alt just a different theme for the evening) and hear old Gershwin and Sinatra tunes all with the quality people would expect if they were sitting in Radio City Music Hall-with a packed house. Louis and I reminisced about our memories during our first interview: Flameheart Sol: Louis Volare: Flameheart Sol: What is your most memorable performance experience? Used to bring down double sims all the time; played to 75 to 100 people back in the old days. Anything stand out for you? 196

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Louis Volare: Flameheart Sol: Louis Volare: Flameheart Sol: Not one in particular I remember you taking down the sim for our 24hour festival That was a cool gig Not a lot of people have done that :) Rock-star interplay. Early 2007 also saw the release of Class 5 sims, those that could hold double the number of avatars. Now, a venue could not only pack potentially twice as many avatars into the same space, but large venues were also crossing sim lines to utilize the capacity of multiple sims. The House of Flames ballroom was built over two sims, raising its potential capacity to 150 people at a show. This capacity took live music in Second Life to an even higher level as new venues became bigger and held more shows. It also ushered in an even bigger problem for venue owners: artist managers. The first time Louis played for the House of Flames, it was an arrangement negotiated between the two of us. I always invited potential acts to the venue, showed them around, and talked about price. I could always negotiate favorable prices with artists because, once they saw the venue, checked out our website, and realized we were doing things no other venue was doing-stage backdrops that changed during the show, a master of ceremonies who did introductions, and stream switching behind the scenes-artists wanted to play at 197

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the House of Flames. Louis was no exception, and as I recall, we had a great first show with him, for a reasonable rate. The second time I approached Louis to play was for an event that would become a milestone for music in Second Life: the first 24-hour, live, continuous music festival. It was to be held on a new, Class 5 sim to celebrate the grand opening for the Second Life campus of Colorado Technical University. This time, Louis told me to talk to his manager about the gig. His WHAT??? He now had a manager who was paid based on a percentage of his fees and tips. Once again, Louis was making Second Life look more like real life by hiring a manager to book his Second Life performances. It was Second Life, not the Academy Awards. Why in the world would an avatar need a manager? Of course, this manager would need to be paid which, once again, spiked the amount of money Louis would charge to perform. Once again, the pack followed suit. Performer management was the "it" job to have in Second Life. I rebelled by refusing to hire a performer if I had to go through a manager. If I could book my own gigs, so could the artist. My heels were dug in on the management issue. I ended up dealing directly with Louis; I negotiated a flat rate that was going to be the same for all 24 performers; and Louis crashed a brand-new Class 5 sim by packing the house. Almost 4 years later, he still remembers it as a cool gig. As much as I found Louis difficult because of the changes in Second Life music that seemed to be happening in his wake, I had to respect Louis as a 198

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businessman. M y hope was that the respect was mutual. Louis saw Second Life as a revenue stream, and right from the start he coupled his real-life identity with his Second Life avatar. He was not in Second Life to be anonymous; he was there to broaden his market sell CDs and make connections. Louis and I would frequently talk on the phone about the music business in Second Life how he was marketing himself and whatever activist passions he had. He was very politically astute and our conversations would go from business to peace, to politics to how we are destroying our planet. Real-life benefit from Second Life performance. Louis was (and is) a master at marketing. He recently offered a free song download if his fans would Tweet on Twitter about him. He pays attention to who is joining his group and who comes to his shows. He is unique to many Second Life performers in that he actually has a product to sell. He self-publishes his CDs, without being under contract to a music label and he has even gotten his Second Life fans involved in choosing what songs go onto a CD fmancial backing and what the CD cover looks like: I've made really great connections. I had to raise money for this last CD. I mean I I spent a lot of my own money -a lot. But about 25 percent of it came from backers. And half of those backers were from SL. That was just amazing. Like I made enough of a connection with people there that they gave me money. It ranged anywhere from $3 to $500 a 199

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person. It was kind of like a buy-in share. And you get a certain amount of CD's when I do it and special thanks on the CD for being a backer. You know, about 50 percent of the people who backed me were from Second Life. So the connections I've made there have been with authentic and real people who've come to my shows; they've gotten to know me. They are from around the world, from Second Life, and I wouldn't have touched them or met them without that. That's a real concrete way that being in Second Life has impacted on my real life. Fans actually came up with a song order for 'Peace Revolution' and in fact the cover. I had a contest and the winner of the contest designed the cover I used. And this guy, he happened to be an Egyptian guy, I thought it was the best cover-I chose it and I paid him money and it was a great thing. It was [laugh] later on I remember, yeah it was after 9-11 so I was thinking, Yeah they're gonna come after me anyway." Peace Revolution; I'm on the list, FBI guys watching me. But our Homeland Security Department and FBI could care less about me. They're probably also on me because I paid an Egyptian guy something. You know it's like that's all I have to do is support some guy that's an artist you know and I'm on a list somewhere. 200

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Louis also sells his products within Second Life through the use of vendors that enable residents to pay and download MP3s directly to their computers. He is one of the few artists I know who has had success with them, but it is probably because he mentions the vendors several times during his concerts: Flameheart Sol: does the vendor work for you? Louis Volare: yes Flameheart Sol: not everyone has a lot of luck with them Louis Volare: I have had very good luck with them Flameheart Sol: the vendor downloads songs, correct? Louis Volare: they work very well Louis Volare: someone just came to the store after hearing a concert Louis Volare: and bought all 4 of my solo piano CDS Transparency. As an artist, Louis is transparent. He marketed CDs under his real-life name; he espoused a world of peace; he invited fans to come to his real-life shows; and he used social media under both his real and SL names. In fact, Louis utilized the ability to add a display name to an avatar by adding his real name to his Second Life name. Now, residents can see both his real and avatar names at the same time. Following my assertions, this strategy would be expected from someone who was a full-time musician in real life. According to Louis, Landon and Volare are one in the same: There really is no difference between Louis Volare and Louis 201

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Landon. I hate to say that. But you know the only thing Volare can do is fly. You know and transport and get TP places. But as far as who Louis Volare is and of course I don't look like him; I'm not 7 feet tall and I'm no longer 20 years old which is what Louis Volare could be. I'm the same musically. I'm the same person and I have my CDs available and all my music comes out there. I have great fans in Second Life who buy my stuff and who follow me over into Facebook. I now have the Louis Volare Facebook page; I try to keep it a little bit separate but there's overlap and eventually it won't matter anymore. I kept it separate because that was my private world to go to for a while. But now there really is no reason to keep it separate. I'm pretty sparing about who I tell about it in terms of the music world because as it is there's so many performers in Second Life now It' s not like the old days where you could actually make it an income stream. I don't play the game. To me it's real life there's a real person behind the computer and you have real feelings in there. You know? People do things you have interactions but you can only hide it for so long. Ultimately if you do it long enough people will know who you are. It's really hard to run away from who you really are in my opinion you know? [laugh]. 202

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In the beginning Louis used Second Life to escape from unhappiness in his real life. He was struggling to fmd peace in his own life and Second Life enabled him to be an immediate rock star with all the accouterments of a rock-star life. In real life Louis was a curly, brown-haired musician from New York, but in Second Life Louis was a tall blonde Adonis. This disparity between real and virtual appearance reminded me ofYee (2007) and his Proteus Effect (see Figure 19). Figure 19. Louis Landon in RL (1) and Louis Volare in SL 2007. In my many conversations with Louis during 2007 and 2008 it was clear that he was driven but it was also clear that the peace he wrote and sang about seemed to elude him. That aspect was another part of my epiphany: the same could be said for me We were both driven to succeed in Second Life possibly as an amends for where we seemed to fail in First Life. We both struggled in our 203

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real-life relationships and Second Life was a place where we could escape. By late 2008 Louis and I had far fewer interactions as the global economy outside Second Life had taken its toll within Second Life. Venues were closing ; musicians were not making money as they had; and people had moved on with their lives Louis was playing more in real life and I had devoted my time to my studies. An equilibrium. By the beginning of 2010 the tide had turned. My coursework was complete; the House of Flames had become a real-life corporation; and I was about to collect data for my dissertation about the interplay of real and virtual identities among performers in Second Life. Louis had agreed to be in the study and was performing more regularly He had shed his blonde lifeguard look for a darker more edgy appearance that seemed more consistent with his real life (see Figure 20) 204

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Figure 20. Louis Landon in RL (1) and Louis Volare in SL 2011. Whatever had been eluding him in his real life had now been resolved; he was more at peace, and his message also reflected this serenity. His concerts were more about love and the absence of fear, and living in the moment: Life now my idea, my definition of success, is am I living in the present moment or am I not and everything else doesn't matter. Yeah, simple as that. Either I'm here, or I'm not here. Either I'm in my head and imagination about the future, or the past, or whatever. But that's all bullshit. Either I am where I am, and everything is real, or I'm not. I totally believe in the oneness of all human life and consciousness. I'm connected to God; I'm serving God. And the creator has a master plan and I'm just trying to watch it happen as it happens, and be there for it. And take, and take whatever cues I can because the world needs 205

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what I'm doing. There are other people like me out there. And the more people that I come in contact with and can help the more chance we have as a race. Because if we don't we kill each other and be gone. And its it's not that I'm afraid of that because that looks like that's the way it's gonna go ... but maybe suddenly because of that more people will become to understand that they have to do something internally to change the outcome of the world. It is not as if this message were not always Louis mission; it is clear something in his life has changed. He still performs frequently still sells CDs, and still promotes his real-life performances in Second Life ; he knows that whatever he makes in Second Life is a very small percentage of his overall income and he feels that his greater responsibility is to promote his message. Ganjo Mokeev Ganjo Mokeev came onto the Second Life music scene about the time the House of Flames stopped holding regular shows. Studies beckoned, and the costs of holding regular events became prohibitive without regular corporate sponsors. While private events were held at the ballroom I was not looking for talent and was only coming into Second Life sporadically to make sure the island was still there. I had heard of Ganjo during that time but thought he had a funny name and really was not interested. 206

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Oddly I heard Ganjo play for the first time in another virtual world. I had been spending time exploring a substitute environment for my entrepreneurship students and had happened upon Inworldz (b ttp://www.inworldz.co m/) which had a currency was built on a similar platform as Second Life and was growing in numbers with Second Life expats who were looking for a new place to settle at less cost. Another benefit was that anyone entering Inworldz could choose his or her own avatar name which meant that if someone had established an identity in Second Life that identity-although not the avatar--could be ported to Inworldz. The similarities in the platforms meant that anyone who had mastery in Second Life also had mastery in lnworldz almost eliminating any learning curve in the new space. It was here, on a Monday evening that I first heard Ganjo Monkeev perform As soon as I heard him play I thought where has he been all my digital life. He certainly was the caliber of musician who would have played at the House of Flames and he had a bluesy funk style that made me want to get off the chair in front of my computer and dance. He was a talented musician and he already had a following of fans that were regulars at his Second Life shows. Ganjo was performing in both environments as a way to extend his reach. As the show progressed and Ganjo spoke to the crowd he made it apparent that he was a full-time musician who also played in Second Life and now lnworldz Knowing I still needed a musician who was in that role class for 207

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my study I asked him where he was from in the open chat. As fate would have it we both lived in the same city. I text messaged him and asked if I could talk to him after his show or make a time to meet him in Second Life to tell him about the House of Flames and the study I was undertaking. When we finally had a chance to talk about the study and his potential inclusion I found out that I had already seen Gary Olivas (his real name) play. Gary s band Phat Daddy was a regular attraction at my favorite wine bar and played there regularly. The band played cover tunes for baby boomers and packed the house with people looking to dance like when they were teenagers (see Figure 21) Figure 21. Phat Daddy: Gary Olivas (Ganjo) far left. 208

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What makes Gary unique compared to the other subjects in the study is that, while he is a full-time musician, he is not a solo act. He is part of a band and gets lost as a guitar player behind the lead singer. He describes his band as a cover band that plays what people want to hear: I was an original founding member; we started Phat Daddy about 12 years ago. We do Rand B dance stuff; basically it's oriented for dancing to a party type of atmosphere. We don't do obscure material; we do material because the people want to hear it. We play a lot of hokey material but that hokey material is what people want to hear and it pays the band. There are 5 members of the band: keys, base, drums, guitar, and a lead vocalist. We play all over town and are booked every weekend. I'll be playing in real life until I die; we play all over the metro area. We've been to Utah, New Mexico that kind of stuff. It is a full time job, even though I only work 2 nights a week, sometimes 3. It's still full time, because I have to worry about songs to learn. I also do the web page for our band, so I have to keep that updated. And, and just little tiny things that go along off of the stage. Accoring to Gary, Phat Daddy is a very popular cover band in Denver, and he is busy almost every weekend. Coming into Second Life as a solo performer gives him an opportunity that he does not have in his physical life: 209

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So now I get the chance to play some blues or some 80's rock that I really like or some jazz or some originals that I like It gives me that chance because I don't have to worry about whether or not the audience is going to be dancing and paying the bar and buying drinks none of it. It's not a monetary thing it's not an economic thing; at that point it's a personal musical thing. So I get play with the music that I want to do; not only that but I get to sell CD's. I have two CD's and I get to sell them worldwide. This is something that is not afforded to me sitting here in my small town. I can't just go pooftake my CDs and sell them worldwide. It just doesn't work like that in the business. So SL does give me that chance. I can direct people to my website and they can listen to the clips ; they can buy what they want they cannot buy what they want. So that's another thing that it affords me. It also affords me a chance to be a little bit nuts. On stage and in real life I have to play to fill a role I'm the guitar player; I sing my parts I do the stuff. I I'm happy and I'm joyful so I don't have a whole lot of room to step out. In Second Life I can be an idiot if I want to be. I can be a blithering drooling idiot if I want to be Of course I don't want to be that but I can do whatever I want. I can be the person that I want to Transparent, not embedded. Gary is an interesting choice for this study ; he performs as a full-time musician but with regard to Second Life it is as if his 210

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real life and Second Life are separate. His Second Life fans can find out who he is in real life by looking at his profile or by visiting his website, which his assistant announces during Ganjo concerts, but for the most part, Gary and Ganjo are separate. Gary has a reasonable transparency with his Ganjo persona, but a fan would need to do the work to uncover the identity coupling and website transparency. Gary does not have as many real-life photos posted as Juel does; he is older and grayer than his Ganjo counterpart, and likes his fans interfacing with a more youthful Ganjo (see Figure 22). Figure 22. Ganjo Mokeev: The SL persona of Gary Olivas 211

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This perceived image was the primary reason he chose not to be streamed live as part of our Phase 2 concert observation. Appearance aside, Gary said that he and Ganjo are one in the same: Flameheart Sol: Ganjo Mokeev: Flameheart Sol: Ganjo Mokeev: Flameheart Sol: So there is transparency between Gary and Ganjo? In my opinion, yes. I don't want to be anything more than I am. And I don't want to be anything less than I am in real life. So I transferred my persona in real life to my persona in Second Life. It's one and the same. It's just one and the same. Do you think that Ganjo and Gary are interdependent? I guess the question would be if somebody said to you, I want you to delete that account, how difficult would that be? My impression is that it would be very hard for a performer to do that. Well if someone came up to me today and said, you no longer have Ganjo Mokeev and Second Life it's got to be gone and you have to be gone, I would say (of course), well why? I'd freak for maybe 1 0 seconds and then I'd say, if that's the way it has to be then fine. Ganjo is not separate from Gary; in other words it wouldn't kill me because I still have what I have. I would be sad that I couldn't have my friends in second life because I don't associate with a lot of them unless I am online. The musicality part; it's fme. Ifl didn't have it, it would be fine. You're telling me there really isn't an interdependence between you and Ganjo; If you had to leave Ganjo tomorrow, that's okay because you're not so attached to him that you couldn't walk away? 212

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Ganjo Mokeev: Flameheart Sol: Ganjo Mokeev: Ganjo is Gary; that's my point. I'm not sharing my personality with another entity-based fear. I'm not splitting my personality. It's all the same. So ifl had to walk away from Ganjo it wouldn't bother me that much; I don't have a dependence on Ganjo. I think because he's not your alter ego; you don't really have an alter ego. Your personality comes through in Ganjo when you're on stage, when you're playing. They know its Gary 0. That's a good way to put it. It's not an alter ego. This perspective is more consistent with what I would expect from someone who was a full-time musician in real life. Louis Volare has a similar professional viewpoint (as would be expected) but has a far more active social life as Louis Volare, which might keep him more embedded to his Louis Volare persona than he might be otherwise. Gary-and Louis-are full-time musicians; they make money by performing and selling product, whether it be in real life or in Second Life. For them, it is about bookings and CD sales; friendships and potential RL contacts are an added bonus. Music as a family identity. Gary is genuinely one of the most cordial, humble musicians I know. This humility might be due to the fact that he is the fifth of ten children born to a musical family. He has been playing music all his life: When I was young, my mother used to sit in front of the television on Saturday nights watching Lawrence Welk. And as a little child, I was 213

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probably 3 or 4 I would go and get the broom and stand in front of the TV and rock and roll with the broom. My mother just thought it was the cutest thing so then the next week I would drag out pots and pans and some butter knives and I'd sit on the floor and I would watch the drummer and I'd start pounding and my parents would go crazy. Ooh shut up shut up they said but I still did it. They allowed me to do it. And that was the good thing because they never stifled me as far as my music. They always promoted me; they always backed me. When I was five years old, my mother and father decided he loves music so much let's get him a guitar So they bought me a guitar from Sears and a little amp. And I started taking lessons shortly after that here in town at a place called Happy Logan Music where my teacher was Eddy Hernandez; he also played in nightclubs So when I was young my parents would take me to the clubs because I couldn't go by myself obviously I was too young So they would take me to go see him do a gig every once in a while and they said that my eyes were just shining. So I took lessons for about 8 months After that my guitar teacher said to my parents I have nothing else to teach him I have taught him everything I know. He is better than me. So we started going to jam sessions where all the other musicians were probably 15 and older up to maybe 30. I was 5 and 6 years old just kicking their butts That's when my parents said to themselves you know 214

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we better concentrate on this guy because loves music; he's going to be good. We have to help him out. I just thank the Lord so deeply for the help that they gave me. Without it I'd probably be a painter somewhere. The entire family was involved in music and in a family band that received the attention of the local news something of a Denver version of the Partridge family (see Figure 23). Figure 23 The Olivas family band : Gary (1) with guitar. Success as a solo act. Of the musicians in this study Ganjo had the most interactive show. Each show had a lot of fan discourse with other fans as well as Ganjo. On the night of the Phase 2 concert observation, Ganjo played at a venue called the Brick where there were ladies dancing in unison as part of the Bod Squad the volunteer house dancers. This particular show also featured a Best in 215

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Red contest where people in the audience could nominate themselves and where other fans could vote for the best red costume. This contest made for a very festive atmosphere and was only the second time in the study where I crossed from researcher to participant (the first being when Niko asked me to join in the on-air chorus for the last song of his set). I asked the venue owner if I could take part in the show as a fourth member of the Bod Squad for Ganjo s last number (see Figure 24) Figure 24. Flameheart in the Bod Squad (r). Significant other support. Having seen Ganjo play as Gary in real life the shows are very similar The band plays music to get the crowd up and dancing talks to the fans between songs and keeps people in attendance until closing time. The only thing about Second Life is that Gary is not playing the role 216

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of a backup band member: he is center stage. He is also keenly aware of making an income in Second Life through performing and the sale of CDs. In my inperson interview with Gary his wife sat in with us, and she was completely supportive of Gary s Ganjo persona as a way to make extra income and further the global reach of Gary s music. In fact it was Gary s wife who persuaded him to perform in Second Life): Gary : Mrs Gary: Gary: Mrs. Gary: Flameheart: Flameheart: At the time the economy was going South. I could see things happening in the bar business that weren't real conducive to making a good living Although we do make a good living. Yeah. Booked every week. I was looking for extra income. And although Second Life doesn't replace a full time income it affords me a lot a things. I mean I I make enough money to pay car payments and public service bills; that kind of thing. So it works out it helps. [Looking at Gary] But it's more important that you have the contact and exposure and that you're able to do your originals and work on these things. Okay for you Mrs. Gary: He works most weekends as a member ofPhat Daddy; you don t see him most weekends. With him performing as Ganjo now you are not only without him on weekends he can be at home performing 2 or 3 times a night from his home studio and you don t have time with him here either. How do you feel about that? 217

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Mrs. Gary: Well, in all the years of our relationship and we have been together about 20 years -we have never worked the same schedule so I just go with it. I married a musician; I knew what it was going to be like. For the purposes of this study, Gary and his Ganjo persona were something of a perfect storm: there was no identity conflict where the music was concerned; Gary had the complete support of his parents and was surrounded by music. He had a spouse who encouraged him to cross into Second Life as a way to expand his reach, and he straddled the balance between his real and virtual personae, as one would expect based on the assertions from a full-time musician in real life. Second Life affords him the creativity he does not have in the physical world as a member of a band, and as a result, he has built a group of loyal Ganjo followers. Frogg & Jaycatt In terms of Second Life music, Frogg Marlow and Jaycatt Nico (Second Life names) are legends. They pre-date everyone else in this study (even Juel) and can remember being asked to perform in order to load-test the Second Life grid to see if 5,000 people could be logged in concurrently. Now, it is not uncommon to log in and see a load of 70 000 concurrent users. They were among the first handful of musicians in Second Life, were interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine, and had one of the most mature fan bases I have seen. They still 218

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perform regularly in Second Life but rarely outside of it. Even if they did it would not be the same: in Second Life they perform as animals (see Figure 25). Figure 25 Jeremy and Mark in RL (1); Frogg and Jaycatt in SL. I first heard Frogg & Jaycatt-also known as F&J" or effinjay-in late 2006 or early 2007 when I was looking at acts to book for the House of Flames. I attended their show at a venue called Amphibicatt Gardens, their own venue named for Frogg the amphibian and Jaycatt, the cat on a Friday night. The venue was packed ; they were a popular act and they were truly unique for acts in Second Life. What was most obvious was that they were not human It was not as if that was unheard of; there was also a Blues-playing alien and a vampire performing at the time, both of whom I had talked to about shows. What was different was that there were two of them, sharing the stage and playing at the same time. Their 219

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personae were completely different: Frogg had a low gravely voice-hence, the name-and Jaycatt seemed to be this voice that danced around Frogg like a kitten with a ball of yam. As much as they would sing they bantered. It was like watching Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis although much more subdued. They finished each other's sentences and engaged in banter between songs that was completely improvisational and may have nothing to do with the song or the chat in the audience. I was in awe at how two people could do that without having a long history together (as it turns out they did). The audience bantered as much as they did and it was a different kind of banter The audience members were smart ; they were people who had also been around since the dawn of Second Life civilization and who were technical and cerebral: an affinity group of virtual pioneers just as Frogg & Jaycatt were. The concert would have been worth attending solely on these points yet there was more. Frogg & Jaycatt were talented musicians Their vocals were better than any other performers I had seen in Second Life. One sang harmony to the other but the lead voice Frogg as I found out later reflected some kind of professional training; people rarely had voices like that without help. They were also famous. Having them perform at the House of Flames was like booking the Rat Pack. They agreed to play for a surprisingly reasonable fee; I have a vivid recollection ofFrogg sitting on top a half-wall that bounded the 220

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dance area at the original venue, waiting for his place in the night's lineup. I had never seen anyone sit on the wall before, but after that event, it was a great vantage point for many visitors. Of course, the show was a success; the pair had a formula that drew a very unique audience. When I realized my study would be about virtually performing musicians, Jaycatt was one of the first people with whom I talked. Jaycatt was very excited about the study. Frogg, however, was not as enamored. While outgoing on stage, Frogg was reclusive in real life and not inclined to have a researcher in his personal space. In a study that would ultimately look at transparency, I needed to be more transparent with Frogg and to explain why I was so passionate about the study and why I felt his involvement was significant. I wrote to him about my own family background and my experience around music, as well as about my former husband-mentioned in the study dedication-who had died suddenly without reaching his own musical goals. This body of work is named "Life as Art" because that phrase governed his life. Jaycatt later told me that Frogg agreed to be in the study after reading that letter because "being in the study was uncomfortable but not being in it didn't feel right either." As I collected data, I found out much more about this unique duo, why they work so well together, and how much their involvement would add to the study. 221

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A Lifelong Duo. Jaycatt Nico (Marc IePine) and Frogg Marlowe (Jeremy Works) have known each other since the first grade when they lived a block from each other in the Pacific Northwest. While they ultimately chose different musical paths (Marc on the piano and Jeremy on vocals then guitar) they both began in the same school choir. Marc is in the red shirt behind the microphone and Jeremy is next to him with the blue sleeves (see Figure 26). Figure 26. Jeremy and Marc in elementary school choir. Marc stayed in their hometown and went to work as an analyst for a utility company, and Jeremy is what I might call Bohemian, a highly intelligent, abstract personality who when we finally met, told me the story of his travels which included an adventure working in Mexico at an Italian restaurant with a Dutch guitarist. When Jeremy came back to town he and Marc ultimately took up 222

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residence together as housemates joined by Marc's cats and more recently Marc's partner, with whom Marc is also partnered with in Second Life. Yin and Yang. In real life, Marc is shy, but he was happy to be in the study and was quick to respond to any request or question. He was easy to schedule time with; was willing to amend his schedule if necessary; and when I had asked for a few photos for a personal narrative gave me a disk with dozens of digital photos of Jeremy and him from which to choose He is practical about his Second Life experience and his need to have a day job: Flameheart Sol: Jaycatt Nico: Flameheart Sol: Jaycatt Nico: Flameheart Sol: Jaycatt Nico: Flameheart Sol: If we were to meet for the first time at a cocktail party and I ask you to tell me about yourself (the short version) what would you say? I'm an analytical person who enjoys numbers and data, methodical detective fiction rhythms and chords in music and things that make me laugh. So your identity as a musician is not the one that necessarily rises to the top? Not really I think more of the mathematical parts of music the timing and the ratio of one note to another to produce harmony, than actual emotion. So you are a math geek :) (I never focus on the lryics lol) In a way more methodical though logical How accomplished a musician do you consider yourself? 223

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Jaycatt Nico : Flameheart Sol : Jaycatt Nico: Jaycatt Nico: Not very accomplished I treat playing music as more of a hobby keeping it light and fun. What do you base that self-assessment on? The amount of drive I have to further a career in music which is not much Although it would be nice I would not expect to obtain the steady income I would need to have the lifestyle I want. I'm very practical :D Jaycatt s idea of not very accomplished includes years of piano study and early experience with synthesized piano effects. If Jaycatt feels inadequate it is because of what he terms terrible stagefright. He says it is better than it used to be but back then I wouldn t have gotten up in front of anybody ." In contras t, Frogg had spent more time in front of an audience was formally trained as a vocalist was self-taught on guitar, and was recently the host of a regular open-mic event at a local club: Flameheart Sol: Frogg Marlowe: Flameheart Sol: Frogg Marlowe : So you have been playing guitar for how long in total? Maybe 8 years? But your singing ... did you say you have 14 years of vocal training? Yes choirs pretty much all the way through school from elementary school through college private voice lessons for a few years in highschool vocal coaching in theater etc 224

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Over the years when I had heard them perform in Second Life, I had assumed Jaycatt was the lead vocalist. The singer was a tenor, which was more similar to Jaycatt's speaking voice. In my initial interview with Frogg, I told him I was confused; his voice was much lower: that couldn't be him singing: Flameheart Sol: Frogg Marlowe: Flameheart Sol: Frogg Marlowe: Flameheart Sol: Frogg Marlowe: Which one of you has the deeper voice? My speaking voice is deeper, but I sing in a tenor range. Ok. .. that is why I am so confused. I think that's where the confusion comes from 8) Now it makes sense. You have a great voice :) I sang bass to tenor in college 8) I used to have around a 4 octave range, but then I smoked cigarettes for 15 years. Marc may be the more stable, more fmancially consistent, more practical one of the two of them, but Frogg is animated, is abstract, and weaves stories that are larger than life. In person, he is extremely personable, laughs frequently, and baits Marc in banter. The Phase 1 interviews I conducted with Frogg & Jaycatt were done separately in Second Life, but it seemed far more natural to interview them together for Phase 2 to reflect this banter that is as natural in real life as it is in Second Life: Debe: Marc: So who got into Second Life first? And who convinced who? And how did you convince? It was me. I got into Second Life first in June 2005. 225

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Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: It didn't take any convincing. I was watching over your shoulder for a week. Yeah. Well, back then you had to pay for it but they had a 3 day trial. A week long trial. I was going to be Memorial day. Oh no, mine was three days. Really? Yeah. They changed it. We had a week. I don't know, because I had a 3 day trial and I had a 3 day holiday coming up, and I thought, "Perfect, I'll have 3 days off; I'll know by the end of 3 days if I really like it." And if not, then I can back out of it and not pay the $9.95 you had to do on day four 4. Well no, it was just a one-time fee. Oh that's right, it was a one-time fee. It was a one-time fee. But then I liked it so much, I became a registered, paid, landowner the second day. I liked it that much. I thought, this is exactly what I was looking for. I'd been looking for something casual that was multi player. This is what I so I took a vacation. I put in a couple of months. Second Life, I took time off working and was just in the Second Life the whole time. [laugh] 226

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Jeremy : Marc : Jeremy: I watched over his shoulder for like a week. And I tried to decide can I afford 10 dollars? [laugh]. Since I was living off of about $10 a week at the time That's right. Uh, uh. I was. Fan and performer maturity. Consistent with my earlier assertion regarding fan and performer interplay over time Frogg & Jaycatt s fans are a truly unique mix. Over the course of my Phase 1 and Phase 2 concert observations I saw many of the same people who attended F&J's shows at JueL's concerts most likely because they both share an irreverent cerebral theme and because fans have been interacting with the same fans for over five years. At one ofF&J's concert observations this cerebral banter started early among fans when one fan, John Duke, made a comment about the new ability for residents to assign nicknames to themselves along with their screen names: John Duke: John Duke: Miyabina : John: John: Flameheart: Look at all the new names ... or nicknames ... You know ... I'm WORKIN on a nickname .. what do you all think of this: John ?? John, how profound Thank you I thought so too *hugs* I was gonna go with "Big John" but then people would ask me about the mine accident and how I survived LOL!! 227

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John: And if you get that reference you win a cookie! This banter was typical of the type that occurred while Frogg & Jaycatt were singing. The study consent sign that was posted at the entrance to the venue provoked another round of banter this time with Frogg & Jaycatt involved: Crap Mariner: Flameheart: Jaycatt : Ashara : Miyabina: Flameheart : Frogg : Um ... got a question about the research ... this doesn't involve anal probes does it? Because if it does just talk to the aliens that kidnapped me last week and share the results with them I'll make a note of that Crap :) Oh Crap don't even go there. I don't know if it does but I'm not wanting to fmd out. Hehehehe Snickers Does that mean you are opting out of the anal probe? I think everyone's going to opt out of that one Flame. Aside from the banter which was enjoyed by all fans present based on the video transcription something happened at this show that I have never seen happen in a Second Life show in all the time I have been there. One of the songs that Frogg sings particularly well is a cover song by James Blunt named Tears and Rain. Apparently this song is a standard at many ofFrogg & Jaycatt s shows because for this song one of the fans initiated a rain animation on the sim and other fans donned umbrellas (see Figure 27) 228

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Figure 2 7. Fan interaction at Frogg and Jaycatt concert. This interaction was of a level I had not seen before because these items had to already be in the inventory of the people at the show. At Ganjo s show the best in red contest and the Bod Squad were hosted by the venue not the fans As mentioned in the assertions this higher level of interaction is more typical of a fan base that has gathered as an affinity group over time. The interactions among fans for some of the younger performers in this study (Ganjo and Arimo for example) were primarily of the hello how are you nature or compliments to the artist in response to a particular song These interactions did not have the depth of relationship that the older performers had with their fans. Transparency and animal interplay. As introduced earlier the interplay of fans and artists comprises a feedback system just as the interplay between fans 229

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creates its own system. In the case ofFrogg & Jaycatt this feedback system is not only reciprocal with their fans but it is also reciprocal with each other. They are affirming each other as people and as animal personae. If any two performers should be embedded in their avatar identities Frogg & Jaycatt should because these identities could not exist outside Second Life. Much to my surprise these identities existed long before Second Life. It was Marc s father who named him Jaycatt: Well I have always had since I was about 10 years old the nickname J Cat. It was a name given to me by my father I say because of Johnny Cat cat litter. My given name is John. He said it was because I was sneaky like a cat. [laugh] So I had the nickname and my father and I even started an event management services company called Jaycat Event Management. He just even used the name for that. So it's been around for a long, long time and now, when it comes time to use anything online--an email, a log in anything-I usually use Jaycat. I think well you know, it's a nickname; why not use a nickname? And so I used that. When I got into Second Life I noticed on the first day or the second day that someone had a dog avatar. I found out where they got it and went there and saw they had cats. I thought okay yeah, cats sound good because I'm J Cat. I thought wow I'll look like a cat that would be fun. Now I rarely ever put on another avatar unless it's just to joke around ; try something neat for a half hour [laugh] 230

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Being named after cat litter by a parent might not defme highly valued feedback for a young boy, but Frogg's nickname was just as harsh. In his case, it was other children who nicknamed him: When I was in elementary school, my name being Jeremy, I would get "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog" sung at me. It really bothered me until one day I was able to differentiate between an action, and the intent behind the action. I realized that it was because they were singing the song at me to hurt my feelings, that's what hurt my feelings. So, I learned the rest of the song. Then, when they'd start the song, I'd fmish it. I just stole their power, basically, by acting like it didn't bother me. It still bothered me that they were trying to hurt me but at least I took that weapon from them. I still didn't want to be called Frog at that point. I'm not sure exactly when things started to change but it was after I moved to Salem. I often say that living in Salem is what taught me to sing the blues; before that I wasn't writing songs and I wasn't playing harmonica. But right before I moved back to Eugene, I started writing songs and playing harmonica. And this girl I'd been with had been giving me little gifts of frog things. That was around the time that I started thinking, I can be okay with frogs. 231

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One night, I was sleeping under an awning with a bunch of other hippies; Rainbow family that were lost from the Rainbow gathering or something. At that point I was saying, well, some people call me Frog. And this little old guy, he puts his hand on my chest and he says, "Your rainbow name is Frog." So I think that, from that point onward I'm just like, "Well, you can call me Frog." When Frogg told me about being teased by kids at school, I had to share my own scarring in that respect: Flameheart Sol: Frogg Marlowe: Flameheart Sol: As a kid, I had a vey ethnic last name Muglia. When I was about that same age, someone thought to call me Magilla Gorilla. Being a pudgy Italian kid ... that kind of hurt. But when they put the plastic Magill a Gorilla statue on my desk .... lolwhat's funny is that hardly anybody ever made fun of my last namewhich is where all the GOOD jokes would've beenmy last name is 'Works' (and I was the skinny nerd kid) Yea .. .I got the gorilla, Muglia Uglia, Mongolia ... The identities ofFrogg and Jaycatt were woven into the fabric of who they were long before they migrated into a virtual environment. Second Life afforded them the opportunity to visually match their already-established persona with an avatar appearance that was more appropriate. They already live together and play together; if there were no Second Life and they were to decide to pursue playing 232

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together in front of a physical audience, would they market themselves as Marc and Jeremy, or Frogg and Jaycatt? I asked this question of Marc: Frogg & Jaycatt. RL benefit from SL involvement. Some of the performers in this study have seen transformational changes in their identities outside of Second Life during the time they have been in the environment. Frogg & Jaycatt have grown as a performing duo over the last five years, but there have been other changes as well: Debe: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: If there were no Frogg, and if there were no Jaycatt this musical thing you guys have got going would end. Correct? This seems to be your outlet. No, No. Let's say Second Life was taken off-line. I would still want to try and do it, because I enjoy it. I mean, it would be more fun to have an audience. [laugh] We could do it on our own, but then it wouldn't feel like the real thing. [laugh] So I would try drag you out to open mikes and things, cuz we'd actually have the time then too. Oh my God, now I wanna go blow up Second Life.[laugh] [laugh] I've been trying to get him to play that for years. Before Second Life, I was trying to get him to come to the open mic that I ran. 233

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Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Debe: Jeremy: Marc: I came once in a while, I just ... Yeah but you never played. No, I never played. Never played. I think I had way too much stage fright. Yeah, yeah. Now though ... I have a long history of live performance in public spaces, so to speak. My first real experience as a musician, though as a working musician was in, oddly enough, an Italian restaurant in Mexico, with a Dutch guitarist. [laugh]. [laugh] It sounds like some bad joke. [laugh] I know [laugh]. It totally does. I was only playing hand drums and harmonica and singing on an occasional song. But we had this gig playing 5 hours a day, 5 days a week for a month, during this big international arts festival. That was my first experience as a working performer. So the two of you aren't playing in real life because, not because the opportunity hasn't presented itself, but because you have chosen not to. In the past. Yeah. Because of this stage fright thing. Stage fright has kept me from performing. I always want to be the wallflower-in any situation really. Like whenever I go to listen to his shows, I'd be the one in the comer table, reading my book. So, yeah I'm of a nerd, I guess. [laugh]. 234

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Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: Jeremy: Marc: I think your life very much became different because of 2nd Life. You became a musician. Well it's just ... you'd walked away from music before getting into Second Life. Oh yeah, that's true. I wouldn't have been playing music if it hadn't been for Second Life, so I guess yeah, it really has. I mean Second Life has changed my life in, in so many ways that, that I shudder to think what it would be like without it. I have a partner now. Not actually because of Second Life, but you. Well it's, it's indirectly. Your, your development. You became more who you are. Well, Second Life taught me about the furry fandom, which I am a big part of. That's where I met my partner and I got to meet other people from around the country, and such. I wouldn't have done any of those things without Second Life. And, if I hadn't put the cat on, maybe I wouldn't even have discovered that. I think it just kind of helped me keep going in the direction that I was aiming for. It might sound as if Jaycatt is the bigger beneficiary of a real-life change from Second Life involvement, but that assumption would minimize the effect Marc's stage fright has had on Jeremy. I have gone to one ofFrogg's solo concerts in Second Life; while it is the same voice, without the banter and the ability to bait Jaycatt, Frogg is just not the same performer. Marc's growing confidence in himself and his willingness to potentially perform in real life will affect both of 235

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them and will give Jeremy the ability to use his talents (particularly his theatrical gifts) in a completely different way. Revisiting Researcher Assertions Three assumptions, or hypotheses were initially presented and were represented in the data. Revisiting them in the light of data collection clarified each and determined if there were merits in the hypotheses. The first hypothesis questioned if identity formation, interplay or immersion was influenced by time spent in virtual worlds, specifically Second Life. The hypothesis behind this question made the assumption that if a subject had experience in other virtual worlds the assimilation into Second Life and the learning curve necessary to conduct the activities of daily avatar life and performance would be shorter. As the data will reveal there was nothing conclusive with regard to this hypothesis. Many subjects had previous experience in virtual environments (even multiplayer games) but found Second Life to be very different in comparison. There were no team raids and no specific roles to play The other environments were more chat or game oriented and Second Life was more of a social, alternate reality Subjects also found Second Life to have a higher learning curve even with previous gaming experience In all cases Second Life was the first environment where the subject performed. The second assertion assumed that the less a subject performed in real life the more highly favored the avatar persona would become. This hypothesis was 236

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consistent with research by Turkle, Castronova, Bartle, and others that suggested virtual worlds might be a good place to either revisit identity-development phases that were less than idea in real life or to act out identities that have no real-life outlet. If this hypothesis were correct, then the subjects who did not perform at all (or very little) in real life would be more immersed in their avatar personae than the two subjects who performed as full-time musicians in real life. This assertion was, for the most, part correct, but it also revealed an interesting distinction that combined aspects of my second and third assertions, which addressed the iterative feedback system, the interplay of real and virtual identities, and the result of an equilibrium between the two. The trend I found emerging as I interviewed successive subjects was that embeddedness-subject orientation-and emotional attachment are not the same thing. If we can assume embeddedness to be the idea that one is the center of one's experience and that whatever happens to the avatar happens to the real-life person behind the avatar, then all subjects initially were embedded (including myself, as explained earlier). In the beginning, we were all trying to get used to Second Life, to make friends, and to become more socially acceptable in the groups with which we chose to associate. Feedback was immediate and was not always positive. All subjects mentioned the initial learning curve in Second Life, making those early days ones of trial and error. It is safe to say that, in the beginning, we were all embedded ... and mostly anonymous. 237

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With the passing of time there seemed to be a growing emotional attachment between subject and avatar evidenced by increasing degrees of transparency between real and virtual identities. Using my own experience as an example, in the beginning I was Flameheart and whatever happened to Flameheart happened to me personally. I had an emotional attachment but it was more to protect my own feelings ; it was more defensive and inward facing I was also anonymous which enabled any number of experimental behaviors with me as the center of my actions. Over time however more of the person behind the avatar was brought into the avatar persona: my tastes in clothing home design furniture etc If I shared a dance with someone at a club conversation would revolve around subjects I preferred in real life. Because I was not playing any role other than myself my personal identity was the only one with which I had to work. This sharing of details can be considered a higher level of transparency and while I may not have shared my real-life name anyone who knew me in Second Life could be assured that we would have a similar relationship in real life. At the same time that I was becoming more transparent with regard to my identity I was becoming more emotionally attached to Flameheart. There was more of a personal stake in Flameheart as I poured more of myself into her in terms of personal investment and the transparency of information. I was not just looking for feedback on the dress I was wearing; I was inviting feedback about me. This transparency has much higher risk. It also moves more toward object 238

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orientation and maturity as an avatar as well as the sense I am only one person playing in a much bigger environment. My growing emotional attachment to Flameheart was one of maturing into an accepted part of a community and how what I contributed, via the House of Flames, might impact the greater society of Second Life. If the sharing of personal details can be considered a higher magnitude of emotional attachment, then an even higher order is to couple the real name of the avatar with the real name of the person. In the age ofFacebook and other social media, dropping the barrier of anonymity opens up one's personal life to the world. Sharing this information during a private conversation in Second Life is one thing; making this information public through an announcement at a concert or through marketing or profile data is another thing entirely. The emotional attachment to one's avatar at this point can be considered the level of the self: this attachment is the point where Turkle's (2011) idea of a life mix mash-up is valid. The real-life person and his or her virtual counterpart are no longer distinct entities; they are one in the same. In reviewing the concert data, there were varying levels of transparency. Some subjects had obvious linkages to real-life names and data, and some had this information less apparent; a fan would have to work to find it. In one case, there was no link between SL and RL, but even that changed by the end of the study. 239

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In analyzing the data it appears that embeddedness and transparency have something of an inverse relationship; the more transparent and attached people are with their avatars personae the more they see themselves as a part of a larger music community in Second Life and are less focused on themselves and are less likely to take comments made by fans personally. When people are transparent they are more open to being held accountable for their actions ; people who are subjective are no less emotional but are less likely to see things objectively. It is important to emphasize that both embeddedness and transparency are emotional states particularly in the lives of these subjects who are entertaining and interacting with fans on a regular basis Flameheart can have her down days but performers have to be up every time they take the stage. In this case emotion is not a good indicator of embeddedness A better indicator for purposes of this study is the extent to which the performers give back to the community: Do they perform benefit shows for charity? Do they go to other performers shows ? Do they do something to be recognized in the Second Life music community aside from performing? In revisiting the second and third assertions it was true that real-life role has an impact on how highly valued an avatar performance persona is to the individual, but only where full-time musicians were concerned. Both full-time RL performers expressed less of an emotional attachment despite high levels of transparency to their avatar personae than the other subjects. This lack of 240

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attachment was due to the fact that they embodied a performance persona in real life, which would continue whether the avatar existed or not, and the transparency they exhibited in Second Life was as much for the promotion of their musicboth had CDs to sell-as it was for any social advantage. The third assertion assumed an iterative cycle of feedback as a product of the real and virtual identity interplay of the performer, ultimately achieving identity equilibrium over time. This assertion is true based on the data, however, I did not take into account how this positive, iterative feedback was two sided, occurring not only between the real and virtual identities of the performer based on the fan feedback, but also occurring between the fan and the performer, affecting the identity maturity of the fan. Looking again at the concert data, specifically how often performers spoke with their fans, how often performers mentioned fans by name and any previous experience they had with the fans, and how the fans responded to the artist as a result, it became apparent that this idea of a feedback system was reciprocal; both the identity of the performer and the fan were reinforced. This reciprocity is consistent with the concept of figured worlds by Holland et al. (1998), where the individual is being reinforced not only personally, but also as a member of a group. An environment was created where fans established an identity as fans of that performer, seeing the same people who also had established identities as fans at successive concerts, which cultivated what Gee (2007b) considers an "affinity group" for that performer, and where 241

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specifics about what was shared at previous concerts become part of the history of the group. These affinity groups are actually formalized in Second Life; most performing musicians have a fan group that receives notices about upcoming shows, music releases, and other important information. Joining the groups was a central activity of performer marketing and was much more organized with the two full-time performing subjects both who had either an assistant or a manager encouraging people to join the performer's group. Now that it is understood how the feedback cycle has a reciprocal effect for both the performer and fan, it stands to reason that the more often the same fans gather with the same performer, the more mature the fan base will be, as identified fans of that performer, the more interaction there will be among fans who know each other, and the more feedback there will be among fans and performer, causing all involved to move toward identity equilibrium. Again, this assertion was true but was more apparent for performers who had been performing in Second Life the longest and was not dependent on the real-life role of the performer. These performers had more history in common over the life of the environment. (One performer branded himself as a parodist of early Second Life foibles.) These concerts were a mix of songs, conversations, and memories that may or may not include the performer during the show. 242

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CHAPTER VI CROSS-SUBJECT FINDINGS The matrices that follow present interview data that are significant in addressing the study s research questions To better understand the rationale for the first research question what real-life identity factors contribute to crafting a virtual identity it is beneficial to revisit normal psychosocial development using Erikson s (1968) theory and its application to a virtual environment such as Second Life. Erikson s eight stages of development assume normal development at an approximate chronological point in time. Each progressive stage of development depends on successful development during the stages before it in order for a healthy personal identity to emerge: Each successive step then is a potential crisis because of a radical change in perspective Crisis is used here in a developmental sense to connote not a threat of catastrophe but a turning point a crucial period of increased vulnerability and heightened potential and therefore the ontogenetic source of generational strength and maladjustment. (Erikson 1968 p 96) These stages begin with an infant's basic sense of trust toward primary caregivers in the first year of life something E rikson ( 1980) calls the first component of a healthy personality (p. 57). 243

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Healthy identity development is not assured solely on the basis of age. If there were an interruption or abrupt halt in any developmental phase (think about the effect the death of a parent would have on a child), the individual continues to chronically age even if the corresponding development has not been completed. This development is especially significant early in life, where basic trust is the cornerstone of a healthy personality. If a child cannot develop trust in the dependability and quality of primary caregivers, a lack of well-being develops, setting the stage for future problems (Erikson, 1980). An early disruption in healthy personality development can lead to challenges with self-image, intimacy, and identity confusion as the individual ages unless there is an intervention or psychotherapy to address the disrupted phase. Even if the disrupted phase is addressed, it is at the chronically developed age of the individual, which may be far removed from the age when the more healthy development might have occurred. How are these developmental stages impacted by the advent of online communication, chat rooms, and virtual worlds such as Second Life, where many of these phases can be revisited without the same consequences that might occur in real life? Do virtual environments, particularly those in three dimensions where there is a high level of customization with regard to appearance, enable individuals to revisit identity-development stages that may have been less than ideal in an effort to resolve conflicts and, ultimately, to develop a healthy 244

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personality? If this revisiting is possible can that healthy personality then migrate into the previously unhealthy real-life identity of the individual? Turkle (1995) suggests that the affordances of social media, virtual worlds and other multi-user domains (MUDs) make environments such as Second Life an ideal place to revisit identity conflicts: For example Erikson pointed out that successful intimacy in young adulthood is difficult if one does not come to it with a sense of who one is. This is the challenge of adolescent identity building. In real life however, people frequently move on with incompletely resolved stages simply doing the best they can. They use whatever materials they have at hand to get as much as they can of what they missed MUDs are striking examples of how technology can play a role in these dramas of self-repair. (p. 204) In these spaces there can be a virtual trying on of roles as Erikson suggests; however rather than sequential role experimentation that is typical of the physical world virtual worlds offer a multiplicity of concurrent available roles each with its own pseudonym and anonymity This multiplicity suggests the multi-lifmg that Turkle (2011) describes: a life mash-up of multiple concurrent identities in both real and virtual spaces. Now, roles can be tried on or discarded at will as the individual forms a more unified sense of self. What makes virtual worlds such as Second Life particularly effective in this effort is due to what Castronova (2005) 245

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considered believability: our brain believes everything we see on our computer is absolutely real. Phase 1 interview questions were coupled with Erikson s developmental theory to discover potential identity conflicts with regard to the subject s identity (as a musician) prior to entering Second Life : At what age did you begin to play music? Did you begin playing music on the same instrument you play currently? How many other family members also play an instrument? How did your family respond to your musical interests? How does your significant other respond to your musical interests? Have you formally studied music? At what age did you first perform publically? If we were to meet for the first time at a cocktail party and I ask you to tell me about yourself (the short version), what would you say? How accomplished a musician do you consider yourself? What do you base that self-assessment on ? These questions assessed how significant a musical identity the subject had before entering Second Life (from the perspective of the subject) The results of these questions produced data that showed most subjects had a strong identity as a musician prior to entering Second Life (see Table 6). 246

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N -....] Age began to play music Same Instrument as begiooiog Other family members play Family response to music Significant other support Fonnal Studies Age first perfonned publically Cocktail party identity Music self-assessment Rationale for self-assessment Role Class ---------Juel 5 No Yes Yes Yes No 16 Crazy Artist "Accomplishe d forme" What I feel, bowl live my life Part-Time Musician in RL Arimo Niko 4 6 Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No 10 7 Musician, Happily Married, Intellectual, "White Catholic Minority Semi Pro Fairly Accomplished Perfonnaoce Experienced in skills and solo and group ability; perfonniog constant growth Part-Time Does Not Musician in Perfonn in RL RL Louis Ganjo 4 5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No 13 7 Professional "I play music Musician and for a living Perfonner Expert Always trying to Jearn more Hours and Not as years of accomplished playing ashe would like to be Hours and Not as years of accomplished playing ashe would like to be Frogg 10 Yes No Yes N / A Yes 10 Musician Confident Vocalist, not instrumentalist 14 years of vocal training Does Not Perfonn inRL Jaycatt 9 Yes No Yes No Yes 9 Analytical; enjoys numbers and data Not very Accomplished Lack the drive to further music career Lack the drive to further music career c.., [ ;:$ ..... >-3 0"1

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All subjects were playing an instrument by the age of 1 0 and had performed publically by the time they finished high school. All but one had the family support one would expect for a child who wanted to play an instrument. Some subjects however found parental support waning when music became more than a youthful hobby Juel commented My parents were very much the Devil s Advocate with me while growing up always pointing out that the road I was on was very difficult and how would I support myself. Louis who had a father who was also a musician and performer said his parents tried to steer him away from a musical path because they saw how hard it had been for his father. The best family response was from Ganjo s family where everyone in the family played an instrument. The least responsive family was that ofNiko, whose father was neutral bordering on disapproval. Niko and Frogg had the only households where no other family members were musical although Frogg s mother was supportive of his efforts. In fact Frogg was the only subject who had a parent in Second Life; he had gotten his mother in the world during the load-test and said she made conversation with Phillip Linden the avatar of Phillip Rosedale the creator of Second Life) None of the subjects had a significant other who was a musician, and with the exception of Louis most significant others were generally as supportive as a non-musical partner might be) Frogg reported that he had no significant other. 248

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As a researcher in identity, it was interesting to discuss "cocktail party identity" with the subjects. Only four of the seven subjects mentioned "musician" as their primary identity. As expected, both full-time performers-Louis and Ganjo-identified with being a musician. Niko, who mentioned that "killing the Niko account would be like killing a part of myself ," said that his role as a "Happily Married, White Catholic Lawyer" came before "musician." Juel considered herself a creative being, and that identity was as much artistically as musically. I was fascinated (but not surprised) by the responses ofFrogg and Jaycatt. Frogg was a better performer with Jaycatt, but it was Jaycatt who seemed to inhibit future progress because he had a day job that pays the bills. Louis was the only subject who felt he was expert musically. He performs at a very high level and is probably the most commercially successful subject in the study. The other subjects had varying degrees of music self-assessment. The second matrix addresses another set of questions that was asked as part ofthe Phase 2 interview to address real-life changes as a result of Second Life participation: What has the creation of your performance avatar helped you to accomplish in Second Life as a voice? What has the creation of your avatar enabled you to accomplish in real life? How has the existence of your avatar changed life for you personally? Could you still accomplish these things without your avatar? 249

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How has your avatar changed over time? Do you think you and your avatar are interdependent? Who in your physical world knows about your Second Life identity? These answers were grouped into the general headings of Real-life Fans (for those who also performed physically) Emboldened Voice Passionate Causes Creativity, Stage Presence and Financial (fees for performance or the sale of product). Subject responses were mixed (see Table 7). Table 7 RL Benefit from SL Involvement Jucl Arimo Niko Louis Ganjo Frogg Jaycan Real life Fans Yes No No Yes Yes No No Emboldened Yes Yes No No No No No Voice Passionate Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Causes Creativity Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Stage Presence Yes No No No Yes No Yes Financial/Sale of Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Product This i s a general summary of the responses described in more detail in the section about each subject. The purpose of reviewing it again is to see which 250

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artists have had the greatest impact to their real lives because of their Second Life involvement, based on the data gathered primarily in the Phase 2 interviews. Both full-time performers gain financially from their Second Life involvement. Louis has been in Second Life longer, commands a higher fee, and has more products to sell. For Louis, Second Life has always been about business. Louis has also found a base of fans who will invest in his productions and come to his real-life shows. Ganjo, on the other hand, fmds an outlet for his creativity, stage presence as a solo artist, and an additional source of income. Ganjo's real life fan base is not as extensive because he performs more regionally than Louis does. For the performers who do not perform physically, the benefit of Second Life involvement is mixed. Niko, for example, does not even mention tipping at his shows. He is not performing for the money; he performs as a creative outlet for a very busy life as a father, husband, and attorney. As will be explained more in the Discussion chapter, Niko's involvement in this study has caused a "rebirth" of his Second Life career, this time including a level of transparency with his real life that is surprising. Frogg & Jaycatt perform as they have as long as I have known them. They play twice per week on a regular basis, with other shows as they are asked. They have a loyal fan base and have a steady income, yet Jaycatt felt it was necessary to thank me for including them in the study because they are part of the "old guard" in Second Life. Once, performers like Frogg & Jaycatt 251

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were the big fish in the little pond of Second Life performers. Now, that pond is an ocean. Jaycatt has far less stage fright has met his partner and is playing music again (which he admits he had walked away from). Frogg has a small but steady income ; can create at will; and comes alive when he is onstage. Based on the data Arimo and JueL have had the most significant transformations to their real lives as the result of being in Second Life. Arimo had the most obvious identity conflict; not only was he divided between two cultures but the cultures he identified most closely with contained less-than-ideal stereotypes. In Second Life he recreated himself; his avatar looks nothing like he does in real life This refashioning is consistent with Yee's (2007) Proteus Effect that proved persons of average attractiveness who created avatars with physically pleasing features gained more virtual social advantage in interactions with confederates ultimately causing behavioral changes in the real-life identity ofthe participant. Arimo also found his voice for his culture and has become extremely vocal about indigenous populations in America. This emboldened voice has transferred into his personal life not only in a refusal to be stereotyped but also musically. If the affordances of Second Life can help facilitate identity interplay and conflict resolution, no subject has taken advantage of that opportunity more than JueL Resistance More will be said in the analysis of concert activities but in 1995 Juel was a conflicted artist/musician who was irreverent brash and fighting 252

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some inner battle that no one knew about (possibly not even her). In many ways, we were very much alike. We needed to prove something; we needed to convince ourselves that we had something to offer. If there were ever two embedded individuals in Second Life, we were those individuals. What has happened over the last five years has been nothing short of a transformation. We have both matured into our personae; we have both stopped fighting our imaginary battles the Big Assumptions as Kegan calls them-that predisposition us to believe we are at some disadvantage. JueL grew as an artist and musician, found an outlet and an audience for her craft in Second Life, and used social media to leverage her talents and bridge the boundary-and her names-between the real and the virtual worlds. JueL Resistance and Suzen Juel are equal and interdependent. In my observation, she has achieved an equilibrium and a life mash-up that is unique to the people in this study. JueL is an excellent example of the comparative study by Boellstorff (2008) who describes crafted knowledge as techne, learning that is dynamic and unfolds as a participant moves through a virtual experience. JueL's persona matured over time, developed personal and community relationships, and created a unique sense of place. Her venue, Living Room #13, has seen several iterations, each revealing a maturing persona and an increasingly transparent existence. This increasing transparency has helped her achieve a stronger voice outside Second Life, a passion for causes such as Relay for Life and cancer awareness, and a more developed creativity, both musically and artistically. It has 253

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also helped her address her stage fright as Jaycatt has to become a more frequent performer in real life. Analysis of Observational Data How subjects respond to questions about embeddedness and interdependence is based on their perspective and is included in their individual segments. Observing them in a concert setting with their fans and then watching them as they perform reveals a lot about them as well as their level of subjectivity with regard to their music. My original assertion assumed that individuals who perform virtually have a tendency to become more embedded in their virtual personae because of the feedback system. As I observed more concerts and coded interactions from these observations, I realized that the issue of embdeddedness and subject-object orientation is more complex and opens opportunities for further research. Categories or codes for performance observations were specific : Artist interactions with fans Fan comments directed at other fans Fan comments directed at artist Mention of researcher / study Mention of tipping artist/venue Mention or display of RL identity Mention sale of product 254

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Performer comfort with researcher Promotion of group/other shows Theme/vi be of show These categories were designed to reveal a frequency among subjects in their interactions during a performance and possibly to establish a trend in the level of transparency-a move toward more of an objective position-a subject might have. The use of venue hosts greeters managers and assistants prejudiced this data in being useful. These additional people (used primarily in the cases of Louis and Ganjo) caused statistics to be inflated for almost all categories. These shows were rife with large frequent graphic gestures that remained on my computer screen for several seconds as all chat does only to fade and be replaced with additional large graphic gestures. In several instances at the shows of the two full-time performers my computer screen was so blocked by these gestures appeals for tips for both the artist and the venue prompts to visit the artist's website and requests to join subscriber groups for either the artist or the venue that I could not see the performer and aside from the data-gathering function the video was useless for anything other purpose. Other than Louis and Ganjo performers in this study did not use managers or assistants. In fact in the other performers shows there was very little mention 255

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of tipping Rather there were tip jars prominently placed that were often combined with an information board free gifts from the artist and a link to the performer's website. In noticing this disparity after several concert observations I asked JueL why she did not talk about tipping. She said that most people who attend shows in Second Life at least at her shows-know that tipping is customary ; the tip jars are prominently placed and an artist will thank people for tips which in turn might prompt others to tip. In the end JueL said she did not see a large difference in the amount of tips received whether she mentioned tipping or not. What is more significant for JueL is how she couples her real-life name with her Second Life name Several times during a show she will mention that she is Suzen Juel in real life and the name Suzen Juel is prominently placed all over her venue. This transparency is at a high level for any artist and is unusual even for Second Life. The only other subject who had this level of identity coupling was Louis Volare who has music vendors with cover art from his CDs and a large banner with the cover art from his latest CD prominently displayed on the stage. Louis has gone so far as to include his real name as his nickname above his avatar name. Arimo only mentioned his real name once at the beginning of each show ; Niko did not mention his real name at all; and Frogg & Jaycatt have links in their profiles to information that might reveal more but a fan will have to work to fmd it. 256

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While Frogg & Jaycatt were ultimately positive about being in the study, Frogg was concerned that the mention of a study or of a researcher might affect the amount of tipping at the shows. As a result signs were prominently placed but no mention of the study or the researcher was made even when I was sitting in their studio with them. Louis Ganjo and Arimo did not mention the study during the first concert observation but made several mentions during the second one. Juel and Niko were the only two artists to mention the study and the fact that the concert was being taped in both instances. The data presented in this section were not the entirety of the data collected; there were several interview questions regarding the mechanics of Second Life performance: How often did the subjects perform per week did they sell product what percentage of their show was covers vs originals how closely did their performance in real life resemble their performance in Second Life etc.? These questions were meant to establish how much the avatar persona was seen as a business conduit as opposed to a unique virtual individual. Responses from these individuals revealed two trends. First, if the subject performed physically as well as virtually the performances were similar in both environments with the exception of fees charged and the percentage of covers vs. original work Second Life wages are still far below what a performer would receive to perform in real life and several subjects mentioned that tips were better when the set mix favored covers over original works. Niko mentioned singing 257

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tunes that everyone knew, and it appears that strategy is still the more profitable way to perform in Second Life. Second, the more data I collected, the more it became apparent that what Turkle (2011) said was correct: we are no longer a population ofmulti-taskers; instead, we are multi-lifers. This observation was apparent even with Niko as well as Frogg & Jaycatt, who were supposed to have the greatest degree of separation between their real and virtual lives. Niko commented that he was not trying to keep Second Life people from his real life; it was the other way around. Jaycatt told me that most people he knows do not even know he plays an instrument, less knowing that he plays one in a virtual world. Louis mentioned that he does not tell people in his real life about Second Life because there is already enough competition in virtual performance; he does not want more competitors in the space. All these subjects have multi-lifing in common. For them, their Second Lives are not an alternate reality; these lives are one facet of composite identities. Their avatar identities are as valid a role-based identity as any other they assume. It is possible that this multiplicity is why the issues of embeddedness and transparency are difficult to determine. For these subjects, life has truly become art, a pixilated existence in another world. 258

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CHAPTER VII DISCUSSION When I began my academic journey, a pearl of sage advice I received from one of my professors was to choose a topic that would keep my interest and make me want to get out of bed every morning. In a word, I had to be passionate. Using the frameworks of Erikson (1968) and Kegan (1994) were important to me personally and academically because I saw myself in these frameworks. When I looked at Erikson's eight phases of identity development, I not only understood what had happened as I developed an identity as Flameheart, I better understood how my identity developed prior to entering Second Life. Looking at a sequence of stages might be too restrictive for some, but for an emerging academic who came from a technical background, looking at a progression of stages was something I could understand-akin to project management-and could help me pinpoint where my own early identity development went amiss. Without understanding my own identity conflict prior to entering Second Life, I would not have been able to understand that Second Life was an identity do-over for me, and I would not have been as able to readdress real-life phases that were less than ideal. 259

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While I had an established cultural footprint when I created Flameheart, I still had to become something of a child again, progressing through-albeit at a faster pace-establishing trust, constructing an identity through a series of experimentations (and embarrassments, as anyone who has deleted their house by mistake can attest), and the willingness to accept feedback about my new identity from those around me. One might think there was no risk in this; at that point in time, very few people knew my real identity. This safety was not the case; in a virtual world, reputation is everything. As much as I had to learn to trust, I had to be trustworthy. I was experiencing, virtually, my adolescence all over again. My own experience was a fast-forward of Erikson's theory where I could compare the progression of my maturing identity as Flameheart to my identity outside Second Life which, over time, began adopting many ofFlameheart's positive attributes. These virtually tested attributes migrated into my own role based personae as a parent, a friend, and a scholar. The affordances of a three dimensional space such as Second Life enabled me to re-visit critical stages in my own identity development in a way that could not be accomplished physically. In Second Life, I received feedback from people around the world as we all pursued common interests. A comparison of my own identity journey to that of the subjects in this study revealed that we were all invested in our Second lives; much time and energy were spent developing who we were and our places in the music 260

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community. How profound the consequences of this journey might be for others is a subject for future research Kegan s (1994) framework also reflected my less-than-ideal development. Erikson's (1968) theory explained a lack of trust based on early childhood experiences; Kegan s framework revealed that this mistrust created a need to protect myself; in his terms I was embedded. This lower order of consciousness followed me through adolescence and grew into what Kegan termed the Big Assumption. My tendency to see the world in subjective terms was poured into Flameheart as an initial aspect of her identity. Just as Castronova (2005) suggested the ability to craft myself in any manner I wished without regard to the perspective of others was a basic tenent of virtual worlds; for the first time in my life I was normal. Everyone was just as embedded as I was A unique aspect of multiplayer environments Second Life included is the mandate for interaction It is inherent in the design and in order to accomplish anything one must interact -a lot. In my physical life I had received enough underwhelming feedback about my nature to cause me to be something of an introvert. Second Life forced interaction activating the feedback system that made it impossible to exist in a vacuum. Flameheart s early days were rocky but over time (time being a key factor) I was able to develop to higher orders of consciousness for the first time in my life. I could understand how others viewed m y behavior but now I also understood why I was that way. Again having a 261

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transformational progression through levels was something I understood; it was akin to advancing through grade school. By the time my dissertation proposal was approved I had spent over four years in Second Life ; my experiences as Flameheart not only enabled me to develop a balanced virtual personality but my identity outside Second Life also reflected this same evolution. I now could appreciate the perspective of others see myself through their eyes and adopt a system of inner governance and values that was the same in the virtual world and outside the virtual world. Having a more objective perspective the higher orders of consciousness as Kegan (1994) described them appears to be a foundational step for multi-lifing creating a consistent transparent identity across boundaries. In Second Life it is now possible to add another name to an avatar no matter how long residents have been in the environment; some people are adding their physical names to their avatar names as Louis has done As other virtual environments have been developed (Inwordz for example) new residents can choose the first and last name for their avatar Many individuals choose to port their identity from Second Life ; others choose their real names. There is an increasing level of transparency emerging in virtual spaces, making virtual life a different figured world in which one acts, but not a different of alternate life. As the data for this study were collected and coded I wrote about all subjects including my own recollections of our first meeting and my specific 262

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experiences with each person. Subjects in this study were asked probing questions that caused them to reflect on their own journeys and any changes in their identities outside Second Life. They shared personal stories from their childhood spoke affectionately about their avatars and talked about how their virtual experiences transformed them. In a few instances the stories they shared became so emotional they had pause all while being videotaped. When the movie was made about the subjects (Frogg & Jaycatt as one case) they viewed a composite oftheir real and virtual lives from the perspective of an outsider. It was at this moment that I realized how courageous these subjects were. They had allowed someone from outside their virtual world to meet with them physically to listen to their story and to share a meal with them. They trusted me to tell their stories and approved the use of their given names in the process. It made my recollections and Second Life memories trite in comparison and as a result I was challenged to become as transparent as they were in the construction of my own narrative. Study Findings and Erikson Comparing the data collected to normal psychosocial development (Erikson 1968) it appears that all subjects have mastered the social tools necessary to exist as performers on the virtual stage (Phase 4: Apprenticeship vs. Work Paralysis). Growth beyond that stage is more a function of the time spent performing virtually to the same group of fans over time than it is determined by the real-life role of the performer with some exceptions. 263

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Phase 5: Identity vs. Identity Confusion Erikson (1968) classifies this phase as Adolescence the last stage of childhood. In this stage of development, the child moves from the identity of a child to that of a competitive apprentice with and among age mates (p. 155). It is a time for trying-on roles in an effort to establish a unique sense of self. Erikson says: This period can be viewed as a psychosocial moratorium during which the young adult through free role experimentation may fmd a niche in some section of society a niche which is firmly defmed and yet seems to be uniquely made for him. (p. 156) This behavior can be anything from alternating physical appearances to peer groups and musical tastes in an effort to present oneself as a distinct individual. Erikson's assumption was that a satisfactory transition to adulthood required the individual to settle on a unified sense of self and a consistent self-representation a resolution of a search for identity. Arimo Teixeira faced a real-world identity conflict prior to his entry into Second Life. The product of two very distinct cultures Arimo favored his father s Native American/Mexican roots in both appearance and habit creating a direct conflict with his Finnish mother. In an effort to make Arimo more European, he was sent to boarding school in Europe taking him further from his paternal grandparents the primary caregivers Arimo trusted. This identity conflict was 264

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also reflected in Arimo s music which was a blend of styles that while technically correct did not accurately reflect Arimo as a unique individual. As much as Mario's culture influenced his identity outside virtual worlds, Second Life afforded Mario the opportunity to create Arimo and to openly address these identity conflicts through a music and vocal platform about the plight of indigenous populations in America. In Second Life Mario learned to be Arimo Arimo s appearance reflects Mario s Aztec/Mexican heritage (commonly known as Mexica) and Mario openly shared stories from his father and grandfather during his concerts. This development is consistent with the comparative study by Comeliussen and Rettberg (2008) that while focused on a different virtual environment (World ofWarcraft) mentions play as akin to work in the development of a persona that will meet the social expectations of a peer group. Arimo wants to be seen as an intellectual Mexica, however his use of a tip jar that resembles the very stereotype he is trying to distance himself from is evidence that this conflict still exists Arimo claims that Pancho his tip jar, has a tendency to drink run around with the women and dance all night long. Participation in this study has caused Arimo to become reflective about his music and his culture. He has decided to revisit his Chicago roots to develop his own style of Blues. Originally, he billed himself as a fusion Americana artist with a Blues persona: the Blue Bandito As Arimo and I spent more time talking and I 265

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gained status as a confidante and friend I suggested that he change his image along with his newfound style rebranding his style as Bandito Blues and even identity coupling his real name as Bandito Blues Torrez or B.B. Torrez. Within 24 hours Arimo had a Facebook post that included not only his new image, but also his name coupling. He has regularly posted notices for shows in this manner since then and has even begun to regularly sit in with other Blues musicians in jam sessions in the Chicago area. Arimo s willingness to use my suggestions reinforced my identity as his friend and made me realize that he valued my feedback. Phase 6: Intimacy vs. Isolation In this phase Erikson (1980) builds on the healthy sense of self that hopefully was accomplished through early childhood and young adolescence to include equally healthy social relationships as part of mutual intimacy Where a youth does not accomplish such intimate relation with others and I would add with his own inner resources in late adolescence or early adulthood he may either isolate himself and fmd at best highly stereotyped and formal interpersonal relations (formal in the sense of lacking in spontaneity warmth and real exchange of fellowship) or he must seek them in repeated attempts and repeated failures (p 101) These relationships are not necessarily sexual ; they occur through the exchange of thoughts ideas and personal stories that create transparency between two people. 266

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As these interactive exchanges occur, they reinforce each individual's identity; without this transparency, there are only impersonal exchanges, leading to a sense of isolation. If an individual has not achieved a healthy sense of self prior to this phase, the sense of isolation can make an individual feel like a perpetual outsider. One might speculate that it is just this type of outsider personality that is drawn to video games and multi-user domains in an attempt to isolate oneself from the challenges of intimacy. This isolation may be partially true because social media enables multiple connections to be made simultaneously without the same level of depth as physical personal connections. At the same time, the frequency of interactions in an environment such as Second Life demands some level of engagement and exchange, creating a feedback system that may lead to conflict resolution and a healthier self-image, particularly over time. In this study, transparency was best observed by the interactions between performer and fans, how frequently performers coupled their real and virtual names, and what personal details performers shared with their fans. Niko and Ganjo seemed to be less transparent than other performers, considering their real life role class. Niko Donburi, the older of the two performers in terms of time performing in Second Life, historically maintained any details about his personal as life separate from his virtual life. This level of anonymity should not be surprising for someone who does not perform in real life, however, Niko shared very little about his faith, his profession, and his family during concerts, 267

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information that may not necessarily give his identity away but increases transparency. This lack of transparency was interesting; in our interviews it became apparent that Niko was not deliberately trying to isolate his real life from his Second Life fans. Rather he was trying to isolate his Second Life from people in his real life particularly those who might disapprove of his virtual identity as a musician. As a result of his participation in this study however, Niko had a dramatic change of heart. He decided that his faith as a Roman Catholic is significant enough to him that he became more transparent about who he is and brought this statement of faith into Second Life. He approved the use ofhis real name in the video that was done about him and has now begun to perform Christian concerts as Niko coupling his real and avatar names. He recently launched a Lenten tour beginning at the House of Flames chapel and then touring religious buildings throughout Second Life. Niko mentioned that he feels reborn and that this new direction has given him the sense of purpose he had lost as Niko s previous work became obsolete. Considering that he is a full-time musician with CDs to sell Ganjo is less transparent than he might be. I was surprised that he did not want to be live video streamed for his Phase 2 concert observation, given that he performs in front of audiences regularly. This transparency might have been different if his real-life role was as a front man or lead singer. Ganjo has some real-life information on his 268

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profile but does not include his entire real-life name only his first name and last initial. He has a website listed on his profile but his fans would have to go to the website if they wanted to see a highly abstract photo of Gary. Next to Arimo Gary has been performing the least amount of time and his level of transparency might increase as he performs longer. His composite video which included clips of him performing from his home studio had over one hundred views on YouTube (h ttp :// youtube.com ) in the first week. Fans have commented on the video and have repeatedly thanked me for making it. This exposure may help Ganjo with any image issue he might have and may also lead to greater transparency. In our second interview I asked Ganjo if his position as the fifth of ten children might have something to do with his hesitation to be a more prominent personality. Ganjo responded that he liked the role of the middle child because he could get lost and practice with his instruments while his parents attention was directed toward the other children. In contrast, Louis V olare is highly transparent with his fans both in his spiritual mission and in the promotion of his music but has isolated himself from the greater Second Life music community. I asked all the study subjects if they ever went to other artists concerts ; Louis replied that he did not. This isolation may be a reflection of Louis' real life. He lives alone in what he describes as a cabin in the woods and while he was willing to conduct our Phase 2 interview and concert observation via Skype video he would not allow me to travel to his 269

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home to meet with him in person. My experience with Louis is that he interactive from a business perspective; in all fairness, Louis' isolation could be part of a performance persona that makes a clear distinction between performance and personal identities. Phase 7: Generativity vs. Stagnation Erikson ( 1968) considers this phase Middle Adulthood, a time of either accepting one's place in a society and giving back in terms of energy and recreation, or stagnating from boredom and complacency. These descriptors seem self-explanatory, but they do not reflect the nature of maturation in virtual worlds. Second Life has been described in this study as an example of time compression. Residents need only log in to have equal access to locations, purchasing, and music; it is a perfectly competitive environment. At any given hour, music lovers are able to choose from among several live concert options, with all performers hoping to earn tip revenue-in addition to their fee-and add fans to their group. In technology terms, it is an innovate or die environment, demanding an ever-increasing amount of energy to remain prominent in the eyes of residents. JueL has continued to re-create herself and may even be more present as a Second Life icon than she was when she first entered the space. She is more mature; she is more confident about her gifts and what she can offer; and she is using that developed state to market herself, as JueL and as Suzen, using social 270

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media. She also hosts a weekly acoustic showcase for musicians, new and mature, to help maintain an interest in music that has not been overridden with backing tracks or other electronics. In the time I have known her, this energy has translated to an increased performance schedule in real life in addition to her Second Life activities. In contrast, Frogg & Jaycatt may have adopted an if it ain't broke, don't fix it mentality toward their virtual performance. There is very little personal information on their profiles, and they do not actively market themselves. Their concerts have had very little change over the time I have known them; even the venue has remained the same and looks dated compared to other performance spaces. This lack of energy is reflective of their real lives as well. In his own estimation, Frogg would consider himself an underachiever; Jaycatt has a day job and is comfortable with the twice-weekly shows they have. This situation is unfortunate because they are both talented musicians and are capable of performing physically as they do virtually. As a duo, they are a very unique act and would most likely be able to develop a loyal following in the college town where they reside. Even if they chose to only perform virtually, better marketing, a new set list, and a redesigned venue would improve their ability to attract new fans. 271

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Study Findings and Kegan As mentioned earlier in this study characteristics that comprise a sense of embeddedness for a performing musician have been difficult to determine. It has been suggested by the researcher that embeddedness or subject orientation accompanies a sense of taking what happens to an avatar as something personal. Kegan (1994) describes subject orientation as embedded in or driven by one s impulses. In overlapping the frameworks of Erikson and Kegan (see Appendix A) embeddedness or first-order consciousness is typical in the early development of an individual corresponding to Erikson s earliest phases of identity development. In these early stages an individual cannot separate himself or herself from his or her perceptions about how the world is organized. Socially the individual does not consider the interests of others or recognize that they may differ from the actor (Kegan 1982). From a Second Life perspective, this embeddedness is often the perception people have when first entering the environment unless they have experience in other virtual worlds. With a highly customizable avatar appearance, the ability to live any lifestyle one chooses at a fraction of its real-world cost, and any number and type of relationships one might desire within easy reach it is little wonder why most virtual-world newcomers-myself included spend their early virtual existence in an embedded state 272

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As people phys i cally develop a healthy personal identity they also move from seeing themselves as the center of their perceptions to a sense of a bigger world and system that defmes roles and rules The individuals also realize that other people may not share their perceptions yet these perceptions become the basis of interaction and personal experience. This maturation enables deep relationships and intimacy, corresponding to Erikson s (1968) Adolescent phase. Just as the adolescent will physically try on roles to ultimately settle on a unified sense of self, a virtual individual will migrate from one group to another in an effort to forge associations that most closely fit the individual s interests Individuals may change skin type hair and accessories to best match their emerging virtual personality and to position themselves in favorable social standing. There is an acknowledgement of a system that makes rules but personal relationships better define the individual's place within the system. While there is a greater acknowledgement of others perceptions are still more subjective and self -centered Kegan ( 1994) considers the fourth stage of consciousness one where perceptions shift from subjective to objective The individual sees himself or herself as able to consider both sides of a situation simultaneously and his corresponding perception is a result of this interpersonal balance as opposed to his perceptions alone. Not only are his feelings dependent on mutuality for their origin they are context specific and are bounded within the context (Kegan 273

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1982). In a workplace situation, this level of consciousness would mean leaving workplace activities at the workplace and not adopting them personally. In Second Life it may suggest the ability to keep one or more virtual narratives in play balancing them with a real life. Each life is given its proper context, and what happens in one context does not necessarily migrate to the other. Higher levels of consciousness become more objective, with rational agreement concerning morality and trust at the heart of interactions. Rather than rote obedience to the rules of an external system the individual becomes his or her own system of values, governed by an internal obligation to uphold one s contractual commitments. There is an attained identity equilibrium that is no longer dependent on societal norms. For purposes of this study this level of consciousness, object orientation includes a high level of transparency and is accompanied by a greater sense of commitment to members of a community a willingness to be held accountable for one s actions and the acknowledgement of the self as one of many players on a global stage. It is a blending of real and virtual selves into a recreated whole where the distinctions between the selves are blurred. The individual is more of a unified whole across the real and virtual boundaries. Using these parameters in comparison with study fmdings the researcher has suggested levels of subject-object orientation (see Figure 28). 274

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Louis Volare Frogg & Jaycatt Juel Resistance Arimo Teixeira Ganjo Mokeev Niko Donburi Embedded: Transparent: Subject-Orientation Object-Orientation Figure 28. Subject-object orientation among study subjects. In comparison to Kegan s levels of consciousness Louis appears to be more embedded in his avatar persona than the other performers. This level of embeddedness is unusual given the length of time that Louis has been performing in Second Life. This level of subjectivity might be because Louis is in Second Life in order to perform as a revenue stream and to sell CDs. He is driven by this desire as well as a need to share his mission of peace. Louis has little interest in becoming more of a participant in the Second Life music community and as a result has not progressed to more subjective levels. Arimo is resolving his identity conflict by experimenting with roles and musical styles in Second Life in an effort to fmd a unified whole. At this time he acknowledges others but engages them more frequently to further his mission 275

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than to create reciprocity. This situation may change as he spends more time in Second Life as a performer. Trust has also been an issue for Arimo in the past due to the actions of an overzealous fan ; this lack of trust might keep Arimo more subjective than he might otherwise be. Frogg & Jaycatt and are moderately transparent, given the real-life roles of each person. They are recognized members of the Second Life music community but do not have the same level of community interaction they had in the past. They still perform shows for charity (Along with Juel they are involved in Relay for Life.) and interact exceptionally well with fans; Jaycatt s real-life commitments keep the duo at a physical-virtual balance that works well for him but not necessarily for Frogg. Ganjo Mokeev has established a close network of fans and is reciprocal and charitable but is less transparent than one might expect for a full-time musician. His willingness to have his real-life image on the video that was produced as well as having his real-life and virtual names coupled in this study suggests a higher level of transparency than was observed at his performances. Fans will have to work, however if they want to know more about him personally; the website holds more information than is shared at his concerts JueL and Niko are the most transparent subjects in the study. JueL has allowed her fans to know all but her home address; she is a vibrant member of the music community, performs for charitable events and continues to promote the 276

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Second Life music community. Niko may not have been transparent which has recently changed however his level of transparency is expected for someone who keeps his real life separate. Niko has contributed to the Second Life community at large through his subdued faith mission : performing faith-based songs at free concerts (no charge to the venue and no tipping). He also uses his legal talents to volunteer in virtual worlds regarding copyright issues Study Findings and Conceptual Framework The conceptual framework for this study assumed an iterative process of inputs innovations and outcomes. It suggested that the inputs of real-life Identity (cultural footprint) subject-object orientation and real-life role influenced the identity an individual crafted as a virtual persona. The conceptual framework then assumed that the process of interactions over time produces feedback that will either affirm the identity the individual has crafted leading to more transparency and maturation over time or be negative causing another iteration of identity development in the hopes of more positive feedback. This iterative cycle is part of what Boudreau s (2008) comparative study considered the intricate web of negotiations that occur between the player and their avatar that includes not only internal play patterns and role identity but also interactions with others (p. 73). She also pointed out that interactions between the participant and the environment the affordances are significant in the development of an avatar persona. Affordances were important in this study because live music 277

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performance was a unique affordance of Second Life over other virtual environments. The framework also assumes that once a set of highly favorable attributes has been developed based on iterative feedback over time those attributes may migrate to the real-life identity of the individual. This migration is consistent with the Proetus Effect developed by Y ee Bailenson Harris and Neilson at the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford. Other real-life benefits of this process as revealed in the data include an increased level of creativity on the part of the performer; greater stage presence (less stage fright); and income as all but one performer charged a fee to perform. Compared to the findings this framework agrees with the development and maturation of the subjects at the focus of this study. The iterative process of interaction and feedback over time was central to the study while the real life role of the subject was inconclusive about its weight in the identity-formation process. Subject Reflections Once the data for this study had been collected and analyzed I contacted each of the subjects asking them if they had any reflections about being in the study and if they developed a changed perspective about their identity as a result of being included. Of those people who responded Arimo and Niko had significant real-life transformations in who they saw themselves to be 278

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Rather than a change in his cultural identity Arimo had a shift in his identity as a musician : Since our last interview and video stream I have been in a reflective state of mind. There was a sense of loss that I have come to realize Second Life has been a place for me to have complete creative freedom with my music. It also has been my test market for my different style of music. In real life my music is classified into genres much more strictly than in Second Life The music I performed live in real life was mostly Spanish style Classical guitar. Second Life gave me the opportunity to experiment with and develop my music In some ways adapting my music in real life was more difficult due to strict labeling of music genres. My music has grown in all the ways I had wanted it to But by moving ahead we also leave something behind yet it is still with us and a part of us. Thus I began to feel the loss of something that had been with me my entire life. When someone asked me what I played it was easy to answer "Spanish Guitar" even though I was trained in other styles of music as well. Now it is much more complicated to label myself and my style of music. This creates an identity crisis in itself. Once we have developed our identity we have no choice but to move forward. For example recently after attending a local real life Blues club I realized that I am not a Blues Musician. But I am an admirer of blues music and it does inspire and influence my music. On 279

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another note I have always known that I am not exclusively a "Spanish Guitarist" but again it has influenced my music So here I stand, after creating a monster that only I can name. There is no other choice but to play my own music in RL now. It is an exciting and yet a scary place to be. As long as I had known Niko he kept his true identity separate from his virtual persona. I was among an elite group of friends who knew both his real and virtual identities, creating an atmosphere of trust between us. His willingness to participate in the study as well as to reveal at least for the study-details about his background profession, and real identity made me feel responsible to present his information from the perspective of a trusted friend as well as a researcher. At the same time Niko had his own reflections concerning his involvement: But one of the byproducts of participating in a study is that participation sometimes causes the subject to change or at least causes the subject to consider the issue being studied That became true in my case. Going through the questionnaire taking part in the interviews, doing the shows .. all combined to start me questioning what exactly had the relationship between my first and second lives become? Was Niko more the real me and Tre merely a real world identity I have adopted? After all Tre is not my real name but is rather a nickname that I began to use once I entered law school so as to create a distinction between myself and my 280

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father. Until that time, everyone called me Nick. Nick= Niko. So you see, the roots ofNiko go deeper than you might have originally anticipated. I've come to realize that Niko and Tre are not separate identities but rather opposite sides of the same coin. They are both me. It probably sounds obvious to everyone else, but I kept them compartmentalized to such an extent that they essentially became different people. On my calendar, for instance, it wouldn't say that "I" had a concert at a certain day and time, it would say that "Niko" had one. That sort of division of identity had to stop. What had once been a good idea had become limiting. Moreover, I came to see that if I could combine them, the creativity that I have in my music could be used in my professional life; while the attention to detail and thoughtfulness that I used as an attorney could be of benefit to my creative side. As a result, I've started to unify my two identities. I've let those in my first life know a bit more of my activity in my second and have let my virtual friends know a bit more about who I am in the physical world. I'm still not comfortable enough to have my real name above my head in Second Life, nor would I expect to be introduced at a legal seminar as "Niko." But inside, where it counts, I've come to realize that with life 281

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being as short as it is I'm better off living one full life rather than two divided ones. Reconsidering Initial Assertions As a co-constructed portrait narrative this study attempted to compare the experience of the researcher to the experiences of the subjects. My own identity formation was similar to that of many subjects I also began playing the piano and had my fist recital before the age of 10. I played several instruments through high school but by the time I reached college I realized I did not have the same need to create music about which JueL had spoken. I did however have a natural curiosity about how things worked in an age before there was an Internet mobile phones or even computers. Later in life my mother reminded me about how I used to take watches apart with her eyebrow tweezers in order to see how they functioned. I was a geek before geeks had a name. Technology along with its use in business and education has been my area of passion : my need to in JueL s terms as opposed to my want to. It only made sense that upon entering a world where creativity is only limited by one s imagination I should choose to use my technology skills for music as the former spouse of and now the mother of performing musicians. It is this interest that birthed the House of Flames received positive feedback and migrated into my real life as a business. 282

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My identity is another matter entirely. Like Frogg, I was ridiculed for my last name and my appearance when I was a child. Just as Arimo suffered an identity conflict between parents of very different cultures, I was the product of the divorce of two cultures, identifying most closely with the least-favored heritage while living with the opposite parent. This conflict led to significant self value issues with no resolution, and in a fashion similar to JueL, I became an adult rebel without a cause. These attributes were embodied in Flameheart; in my real life, I changed my hair color to match hers; my license plates reflected my new identity; and people in my real life began to call me Flame. It was almost as if I were living a preferred virtual life instead of my real one, just as other researchers such as Castronova, Turkle, Gee, and McGonigal have suggested. When I joined Second Life, new residents could choose a last name from a pre-determined dropdown list, adding the first name of their choosing (as long as the name had not been taken by someone else). After approximately six months as Flameheart, I noticed another avatar in Second Life that had my real-life last name. Sure enough, my last name was on the dropdown list. I made an avatar with my real name thinking I might use this avatar for more academic purposes. I was still Flameheart and was not ready to forfeit that identity. It was almost two years before this new avatar appeared with any regularity. By the time I began logging into Second Life as Debe Wise the avatar, I had matured. Flameheart had become as I described JueL: confident of what she 283

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had to offer more tame in her delivery and knowledgeable in the realization that she was one small actor on a global virtual stage. Debe was more involved in academic circles and the arts, preferring to spend an evening dancing with an interesting partner rather than negotiating performance fees with an embedded musician. In addition there was a level of transparency with Debe that never existed for Flameheart. Even if no one else knew Debe Wise was my real name I did. During this study it was Flameheart who acted as the researcher. It was Flameheart who had developed relationships with most of the musicians in the study; it made sense to conduct the interviews as her even though most of the subjects knew about Debe Wise the avatar. Using Flameheart again was similar to Arimo going back to playing the Blues this time with a different lens. Flameheart was the avatar I poured my identity into, the good and the bad. It was as Flameheart that I began to resolve the identity conflicts I brought into Second Life. Debe Wise the avatar might make an occasional appearance but it will be Flameheart who holds the grand opening for the new House of Flames Performing Arts Center with the subjects in this study performing the first six nights and telling fans about their experience. Limitations and Implications for Future Research This study was designed as an inquiry into the identity-crafting processes of virtually performing musicians the interplay of their physical and virtual 284

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identities within the space of Second Life, and the possibility that positive virtual identity attributes might migrate into the personalities of the performers outside of the environment. Limitations of the study include focusing on a population that may be more technologically sophisticated than the general population of Second Life. While successful virtual living requires a minimum hardware requirement for any user, performance in Second Life requires far more: sound mixers, a separate streaming computer, and an array of concurrent interactive activities. Another limitation in the choice of performers for this study is due to the fact that unlike other specific groups such as victims of domestic violence and military amputees, both of whom have group memberships in Second Life, performers earn an income as a result of their participation and might be more motivated to interact with other residents. This study has implications for two different areas of future research. First, the study revealed the significant role of Second Life as a tool in changing the behavior of the participants outside of virtual spaces. Several of the subjects offered examples of an emboldened voice, better stage presence, and creativity. As much as I am fascinated with how particular identity phases were revisited by some of the participants, I realize much of the change was attributable to the subjects' ability to envision him or her self as an avatar persona. This embodiment facilitated the development of an ownership and an accountability in the interactive activities of the avatar-a progression from a subject to an object 285

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orientation-which is much different than that which occurs in social media outside of 3D spaces This affordance makes Second Life (as well as other virtual worlds) particularly effective at simulating real-life, narrative situations. The second area of future research is to study how virtual worlds such as Second Life act as global communities where cultural and geographic barriers are all but dissolved. In this study several of the subjects mentioned how their music might not have been heard if it wasn t for the affordances of Second Life. What if that affordance was expanded to include populations that have customs rituals and music that are considered indigenous or regional? Is it possible that the sharing of these events in a virtual space might help create a tolerance and acceptance for global customs rituals and beliefs that are different than ours? If this global acceptance begins with music and an understanding of experience of the performer the processes that help us to be accepting of the music of other populations might be a foundation for a tolerance and acceptance of other social issues and the opening of a global virtual dialogue. I would be honored to be part of that process. 286

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Wise, D. L. (2009) Synthetic world order [Review of the book Synthetic worlds : The business and culture of online games]. Learning Media and Technology 34(2), 185 189. Yee, N. (2006). The demographics, motivations and derived experiences ofusers of massively multi-user online graphical environments Presenc e: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments 15(3) 309-329. Y ee N. (2007). The Proteus Effect: Modification of social behaviors via transformations of digital self-representations (Doctoral dissertation Stanford University). Dissertation Abs tracts International 68 06. Yee N. & Bailenson J N. (2007). The Proteus Effect: The effect of transformed self-representation on behavior. Human Communication Research, 33 271-290. Yee N., & Bailenson J. N (2009). The difference between being and seeing: The relative contribution of self-perception and priming to behavioral changes via digital self-representation. Media Psychology 12 195-209. Yin R. K. (2003). Case study research: Design and method Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications. Zull J. (2002). The art of changing the brain : Enriching the practice of teaching by exploring the biology of learning. Sterling VA: Stylus Publishing. 298

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APPENDIX A. OVERLAPPING FRAMEWORKS AND INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Appendi x Table 1 O v erlapping frameworks of Erikson and Kegan Overlapping Fra meworks of Erikson and Kegan Approximate attained age & Related Research Early Childhood/Preschool (up to approximately age 5) Research Question I : What real life identity factors contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity? School Age (6 to I I years) Research Question I : What real life identity factors contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity? Adolescence ( 12 to 1 8 years) Research Question I : What real life identity factors contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity? Research Question 3 : How i s the real life identity of the participant changed as a result of virtual world participation'? Erikson Kegan: lntrapersonai-Affective Phase 2 : Self-certainty (self t ' ord e r consciou s ness estecn1) vs. Sci f -consciousness Can : Distinguish between inner sensation (appearance in the eyes of others). and outside stin1ulation. Cannot: Phase 3: Rol e Experiment a tion Distinguish one s impulses from vs. Rol e Fixation. oneself; that is. is embedde d i n or driven b y o n e s impulses. Phase 4: Apprenticeship vs. Work 2"d orde r Consciou s ness Paralysis. Can: Phase 5 : Identity vs. Identity Confusion. 299 Drive. regulate. or organize impulses to produce enduring dispositions and identify qualities of sclf(ld e ntity formation). Cannot: Internally coordinate more than one point of view: distinguish ones need from oneself: ide ntif y enduri n g qualities of the sel f a ccordi n g t o Inne r psych olog ical m a n i fest ations. 3rd Orde r conscious ness Can: Internalize another s point of view in what becon1es the co-construction of personal experience. enabl i n g deep relationships. Cannot: Organize own states or internal ports of self into systen1atic whole: distinguis h sel f from one"s r e l ations h i p ; see the self as the author o f o nes inne r psychological life.

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B. INTERVIEW QUESTIONS Research Question 1 I. What real life identity factors contribute to the crafting of a virtual identity? 1. At what age did you begin to play music? 11. Did you begin playing music on the same instrument you play currently? 111. How many other family members also play an instrument? IV. How did your family respond to your musical interests? v. How does your significant other respond to your musical interests? v1. Have you formally studied music? v11. At what age did you first perform publically? vm. If we were to meet for the first time at a cocktail party and I ask you to tell me about yourself (the short version) what would you say? IX. How accomplished a musician do you consider yourself? x. What do you base that self-assessment on? XI. What caused you to join Second Life? XII. How long have you been in Second Life? XIU. Is Second Life the first virtual world if its type that you have been involved in (user-created content 3D social networks) XIV. Have you been involved in other MMORPG-type environments? 300

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Sub-Question xv. If so, which ones? xv1. How long did it take for you to feel technically comfortable navigating in Second Life? XVII. How did you choose the name for your avatar? xvm. What do you estimate the age of your avatar to be, compared to your actual age? XIX. How would you describe the appearance of your avatar, compared to your actual physical appearance? xx. Is the avatar you perform with the only avatar you use (have you created alts )? XXI. If you have created an alt, how does that alt differ from your performance alt? II. As a performer, how embedded are you with your avatar identity? 1. Do you own land in Second Life? What is the land used for (club residence etc.)? 11. How many hours per week on average would you say you spend in Second Life? 111. Is this level of participation in (terms of time) consistent for as long as you have been in Second Life? 1v. Did you enter Second Life specifically with the intention of performing? v. Have you performed virtually in other environments? v1. How long did it take you to become comfortable with the technology required to perform in Second Life? 301

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vu. How many times per week do you perform in Second Life? vm. If you are no longer performing in Second Life how long did you perform before leaving? IX. If you are no longer performing in Second Life what caused you to leave? x. Do you charge a fee to perform in Second Life? xi. What is your average fee (in Lindens)? xu How did you arrive at that fee structure? XIn. Do you use an avatar-agent in Second Life? XIV. How is that agent compensated? xv What percentage of your total income is received from performance in Second Life? xv1. How do you market yourself in Second Life? xvu. Is your real life name used in any of your marketing materials? xvm. How much of your performance set is original music vs. covers? XIX. Do you encourage your fan base to know your real life identity? xx. Do you have your real life identity information on your profile? XXI. Do you sell CDs DVDs or other products in Second Life? XXII. How do you promote the sale of these items to Second Life participants? 302

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xxm. How does the price for these items compare to the price outside of Second Life? XXIV. How would you describe your typical fan base? xxv. What is your most memorable performance experience? xx:v1. Did the experience described above affect your real life as well as your virtual life? Research Question 2 III. How is the real life identity of the participant changed as a result of virtual world participation? 1. How many role-based identities do you have in your real life (father son brother, coach employee etc.)? u. Do you perform for compensation in Real Life? 111. Do you perform at all in Real Life? IV Do you encourage your fan base to come to your real-life gigs? v. If you perform in Real Life is that compensation 100% of your income (you are a full-time performing musician in Real Life)? v1. Do you sell CDs DVDs or other products? vu. How do you promote the sale of these items? vm. Is your Real-Life performance set similar to your Second Life performance? IX. How much of your performance set is original music vs. covers? 303

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x. Are other members of your immediate family involved in Second Life? XI. If so are they logged in to Second Life at the same time you are? XII Does your Second Life involvement replace time you would normally spend with family members? XIU How emotionally tied would you consider yourself to be with your avatar identity? XIV. What if anything does your involvement in Second Life add to your real life? xv. What causes you to continue to have a presence in Second Life? XVI. If you were to describe the interplay of your real and virtual identities as a song title, what would it be? xvii. Phase Two Research Questions XXII. What has the creation of your performance avatar help you to accomplish in Second Life as a voice? XXIU. What has the creation of your avatar enabled you to accomplish in real life? XXIV. How has the existence of your avatar changed life for you personally? xxv. Could you still accomplish these things without your avatar? xxv1. How has your avatar changed over time? 304

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xxvu. Do you think you and your avatar are interdependent? xxvm. Who in your physical world knows about your Second Life identity? C. DATA COLLECTION PROTOCOLS 1. Interview Protocol Project: Performing Musician Identity Study Time of Interview: 11: 15 SL T (Second Life Time Pacific US) Date: 06/01/09 Interviewer: Flameheart Sol (Deborah Wise) Interviewee: Juel Resistance Position of Interviewee: Both Interviewer and Interviewee are seated on sofa Description of Project: This is an interview with Juel Resistance who is a performing musician in Second Life. It is a sample of the types of questions that may be asked as part of the research study of Deborah Wise (Flameheart Sol in Second Life) and serves as a test of data collections techniques to be used as part of the methods for the study. QUESTIONS: [11: 16] Flameheart Sol: OK .. you got the information on the study and you agree to participate? [11:16] JueL Resistance: ifyou listen to www.radioparadise.com i heard most of the stuff i LOVE on that station [11: 16] JueL Resistance: yes [11: 16] Flameheart Sol: OK ... this is a test to prove that I have multiple ways of collecting data for my study (11: 17] Flameheart Sol: which is on the formation of identity of SL performing musicians 305

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[11: 17] Flameheart Sol: so I will ask you a series of questions from some of those I am developing for the study [11: 17] JueL Resistance: ok [11: 17] Flameheart Sol: what is important is that you give me feedback if you think a question isn't important or you have questions about it [11:18] Flameheart Sol: ok. .. first question ... what caused you to come into Second Life to begin with? [11: 19] JueL Resistance: I was very interested in Virtual Worlds since I started with one called TSO (the Sims online) a friend in there introduced me to SL. .. .Ilasted about 4-6 months and quit because SL was MUCH MUCH more complex than TSO. 6 months later or so .. .I returned as a friend in here ... said there was Live Music (this was in 2005 Now ... frrst time was 2004) ... So I joined up .... eager to see how it works and got involved right away. [11 :20] Flameheart Sol: So your other involvement was the Sims Online. Any others? [11 : 21] JueL Resistance: Just TSO, then this. I started TSO in 2002 I think .... and absolutely Loved the connection I could have with people from all over the world ... and of course the Creative side of Me LOVED to build and texture ... the Social aspect was overwhelming at frrst. .... [11 :21] Flameheart Sol: you have been here since 2004 then? [11 :21] JueL Resistance: Yes my first Avatar was JueL Edison [11 :22] Flameheart Sol: How did you choose the name Juel Resistance? [11 :22] JueL Resistance: I had no intention of returning to SL so I deleted my account.. ........ .later I recreated JueL Resistance [11 :22] JueL Resistance : JueL is my grampa's name (Jule) he passed away of Alzheimers about 11 yrs ago .. he was an artist/musician etc .... my inspiration for it alll..gave me my first guitar introduced me to music in many way [11 :23] JueL Resistance: Resistance was a name I toyed with for HOURS before finally saying YEP that's the one ... resist' 306

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[11 :23] JueL Resistance: I liked the 'sound and flow' of it, when put together. [11 :23] JueL Resistance: yes paid [11 :23] Flameheart Sol: what type of account does your avatar have (paid)? [11 :24] JueL Resistance: Premium [11 :24] Flameheart Sol: how many hours per week would you say you spend in Second Life? [11 :24] JueL Resistance: whatever they call it now lol [11 :24] JueL Resistance: That varies A LOT depending on time of year and real life projects ..... right now ..... maybe 5-6 hours a week [11 :24] JueL Resistance: Used to be MUCH more. [11:24] Flameheart Sol: what caused the decrease? [11:25] JueL Resistance: Lots ofthings. 1. the economy in Real life is pretty crappy and gigs aren't as prosperous as they once were. 2. it's Summer I have a Giant garden and 3. I have 3 art projects I'm working on inRL [11 :26] Flameheart Sol: great...one more question for now, then I can turn off the camera ... [11 :26] JueL Resistance: There are days .... .i put in quite a few hours in here .... with the build too (11 :26] JueL Resistance: ok [11 :26] Flameheart Sol: how does Juel Resistance compare to who you are in real life .. age, physical appearance, personality, etc .... [11 :27] JueL Resistance: JueL is about as close to me as I can get her to be. She is 63 inches high, as I am in rl, she is petite and freckled as I am ..... A vatars tend to be a bit more youthful than our real life selves i think ..... the 'fme details' of ourselves are often left out in teh avatar ...... as far as Personality, this is me. 100% [11 :27] Flameheart Sol: thanks! 307

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Challenges to data collection: 1) Lag on the sim ... I saw that some ofthe messages I typed didn't show up on the screen until several second after I typed them, and other messages came up right away, giving the appearance of the questions being out of sync. 2) While my communication box was closed, I was getting messages from groups that would appear on the screen in-between texts from Joel. It will be important to put myself into "busy" mode when I am interviewing. 1. Observational Protocol Project: Performing Musician Identity Study Observational ProtocolWise Identity Study Event: Joel Concert-Gwampa Castle (underwater club) 06.01.09 Length of Activity: 60 minutes Descriptive Notes Reflective Notes Stage is set underwater with a lot of Having trouble with movement and camera animation ... fish, etc. Good-sized crowd for controls. Think all the animations might be someone who has been playing in Sl for 4 contributing to "lag" years Juel had a great connection with the crowd. Performance meter was 2407; about half of Pushed her 5 song LP that can be paid for performance capacity.** remembered to set via PayPal myself to busy in order not to be disturbed by instant messages. Juel did a lot of talking and not a lot of Had a difficult time with camera because of playing but had great crowd presence. Tried lag (assume it was caused by the to pan crowd but some were not completely animations). People were not rezzing rezzed (appearing grey), which would make for poor video. Also saw someone in the crowd who was topless; stopped shooting video after 20 minutes. 31 people in attendance. Juel also When a SIM (simulator) is overwhelmed, it mentioned lag and ultimately it caused her can cause a "crash," effectively booting all client to crash; she maintained the audio people on the sim out of Second Life feed and talked through the relog (forced logout). Juel crashing is all too common an occurrence in concerts but it usually happens because of capacity. This venue crosses four sims and was nowhere 308

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near capacity. Glad I stopped recording. The off color Music turned "off color" songs are part of Juels act and works for her style and genre, but isn't appropriate for my audience. Juel's tip jar and info kiosk was not Tipped Juel 1500L functioning properly Tipped the venue 1 OOOL Challenges to data collection: questions being out of sync. 2) While my communication box was 1) Lag on the sim .. I saw that some closed, I was getting messages ofthe messages I typed didn't from groups that would appear on show up on the screen until the screen in-between texts from several second after I typed them, Joel. It will be important to put and other messages came up right myself into "busy" mode when I away, 2ivin2 the appearance of the am interviewing. 2. Participant Confidentiality Document: Performing Musician Identity Study "Life as Art: The Interplay of Identities Among Virtually Performing Musicians" Lead Researcher: Deborah Wise (Flameheart Sol in SL), Doctoral Candidate, Department of Education and Human Development, Educational Leadership and Innovation program University of Colorado at Denver,-mobile phone 720-394-4043, email: DEBORAH. WISE @ ucdenver.edu You are being asked to participate in a research study of crafted identity inside of Second Life among virtually performing musicians. The research procedure involves an initial interview that will last approximately 60 minutes. With your permission, the interview will be cut-and-pasted from the 'history' window of the Second Life interface into a password-protected database. This initial interview will be followed by an observation of a live performance, from both a real life and Second Life perspective. This includes videotaping both 309

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the performer in real life (with prior permission), and the avatar performer in Second Life. A follow-up interview of approximately 45-60 minutes will then be conducted, in an effort to clarify any previous questions or trends that have emerged during the previous two contacts. There will also be an opportunity (optional) to narrate a selection of personal photographs that chronicle how your real life identity as a performer was influenced. The only foreseeable discomfort associated with the study is the invasion of your privacy. There are no direct benefits from participation in the study. However, this study may help explain what real life factors contribute to the formation of virtual identities of performing musicians in Second Life and how their real lives are affected as a result of Second Life involvement. As these environments become more popular and more sophisticated there is a real need for us to better understand how they are similar to and different from our identities in the real world. Participation in this study is voluntary. You may refuse to participate or discontinue your involvement at any time without penalty. You may choose to skip a question as well as ask me not to include some or all of your responses in the text that I paste into my database. While your Second Life avatar name will be used (unless you specifically ask that it be withheld) no information that personally identifies your real life will ever be disclosed without your knowledge and I may aggregate your information into examples and stories that will blend the information of more than one individual. If you have any comments or questions regarding the conduct of this research or your rights as a research participant you may contact the University of Colorado Denver Office of Education and Human Development by phone at 303-315-6351. You can keep the notecard on which this information sheet appears Because there is currently no way to sign a notecard in Second Life by typing Flameheart Sol a message saying "I agree to participate in your study" you are saying that you understand this information sheet and consent to participate." 3. Participant Confidentiality Document: Public Concert Attendance Life as Art: The Interplay of Identities Among Virtually Performing Musicians Lead Researcher: Deborah Wise (Flameheart Sol in SL) Doctoral Candidate Department of Education and Human Development Educational Leadership and 310

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Innovation program University of Colorado at Denver -mobile phone 720-394-4043 email: DEBORAH. WISE @ ucdenver.edu You are being asked to participate in a research study of crafted identity inside of Second Life among virtually performing musicians This research procedure includes videotaping a live concert event capturing both the performer in real life (with prior permission) and the avatar performer in Second Life Your attendance at this public event may result in your avatar image or text chat being captured as part of the data for this study. The only foreseeable discomfort associated with the study is the invasion of your privacy as an anonymous Second Life resident. There are no direct benefits from participation in the study. However this study may help explain what real life factors contribute to the formation of virtual identities of performing musicians in Second Life and how their real lives are affected as a result of Second Life involvement. As these environments become more popular and more sophisticated there is a real need for us to better understand how they are similar to and different from our identities in the real world. Participation in this study is voluntary You may refuse to participate or discontinue your involvement at any time without penalty. Your attendance at this concert event is voluntary. You may choose to have your chat muted at any time by contacting Flameheart Sol at the concert. While your Second Life avatar name may be visible no information that personally identifies your real life will ever be disclosed (such as profile information). If you have any comments or questions regarding the conduct of this research or your rights as a research participant you may contact the University of Colorado Denver Office of Education and Human Development by phone at 303-315-6351. 5. Participant Confidentiality Document: Subject's Personal Photography Life as Art: The Interplay of Identities Among Virtually Performing Musicians Lead Researcher: Deborah Wise (Flameheart Sol in SL) Doctoral Candidate Department of Education and Human Development, Educational Leadership and Innovation program University of Colorado at Denver -mobile phone 720-394-4043 email : 311

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DEBORAH WISE @ ucdenver.edu You are being asked to participate in a research study of crafted identity inside of Second Life among virtually performing musicians. The research procedure involves your willingness to share personal photos that assist in representing what real life factors contribute to the crafting of a performance persona in Second Life. Your own personal narrative will accompany your photos and the only adjustments made will be in the interest of length. In an effort to protect anyone who might appear in a photograph with you, only photos chosen by you and your recorded narrative will be used. The researcher will "do no harm" in the consideration of the personal, social and political implication of use. The only foreseeable discomfort associated with the study is the invasion of your privacy. There are no direct benefits from participation in the study. However, this study may help explain what real life factors contribute to the formation of virtual identities of performing musicians in Second Life, and how their real lives are affected as a result of Second Life involvement. As these environments become more popular and more sophisticated, there is a real need for us to better understand how they are similar to, and different from, our identities in the real world. Participation in this study is voluntary. You may refuse to participate or discontinue your involvement at any time without penalty. While your Second Life avatar name will be used (unless you specifically ask that it be withheld), no information that personally identifies your real life will ever be disclosed without your knowledge and I may aggregate your information into examples and stories that will blend the information of more than one individual. If you have any comments or questions regarding the conduct of this research or your rights as a research participant, you may contact the University of Colorado, Denver, Office of Education and Human Development by phone at 303-315-6351 312