What does your Second Life profile say about you?

Like nearly everything else I do, I created my Second Life profile with a goal in mind. I have a ‘target market’. I’ve crafted my profile to appeal to people who like to do and talk about the things we might be mutually interested in.

It works. My profile acts as ‘chat-bait’, and strangers will often start conversations with: “You have a very interesting profile” or “You seem to do a lot of things in Second Life!” Typically, I enjoy those conversations even if they’re fleeting. Some of these conversation starters become longer-term acquaintances and friends.

My profile (including all my tabs) is comprehensive, professional, up to date, and a good place for me to share my interests and the projects I get up to. If I had to classify it, it’d be a bit more like a CV (Curriculum Vitae, or résumé), than say, a casual social media profile. I don’t expect everyone to write their profile the way I write mine, but I do wonder what people are thinking when they write their profiles.

When I consider the purpose of profiles, I think it’s fair to say that profiles are more for people who don’t know you already, than for those that already do.

There was once a time when people grew to know each other slowly. Today, we have profiles.

If I don’t already know you, I might see you nearby. I might see you come up on radar, read a message from you in a group chat or local chat, or get an IM from you. At that point, I will read your name and decide whether to learn more about you.

If I open your profile, the first thing I’ll see is your picture, which answers my question: “how do you represent yourself?” If the profile picture you’ve chosen elicits a negative emotional response in me (for whatever reason), I’ll close your profile right there and then. Yes, I can make snap judgements like that, and I know they are not always right. If I see something interesting however, I’ll read your Biography (or About).

Like it or not, many people will judge you by your profile well before they recognise the real you. In a way, I can see value in reading profiles with shoddy, offensive, negative or threatening information – it’s much easier for me to dismiss you as someone I may not want to get to know better, saving both of us time and energy better spent elsewhere. In fact, I’ll often invest more time and energy with a newbie with a sparse or empty profile than with the type I’ve described above. At the very least, they’re not repelling me away.

The downside of my approach however, is when the profile does not accurately represent the person behind it. I don’t mean the person at the keyboard, I mean the person who you are projecting with your avatar. The difference is subtle, but exists.

When I approach virtual worlds on a “What You See Is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) basis. I have little interest in the typist at first; this interest grows over time. Instead, I take great interest the avatar, which to me represents the total of their choices, preferences and abilities to date.

For example, if you describe yourself in your profile as a “bitch”, then I interpret that you are (and I use my definition of what that word means to me, not yours). If you describe yourself in your profile as “an optimist”, then I will take you at face value, until you show otherwise. My personal list of profile turn-ons and turn-offs is long, and probably the subject of a future post.

This may sound like a rather literal approach to profile interpretation, but my experience tells me that I’m not alone in making assessments on the basis of the information I’m told, until your actions provide new information on which to make a new and better informed assessment.

Sometimes, a profile may get in the way of that further assessment. Sometimes it opens the door. What does your profile say about you?

25 thoughts on “What does your Second Life profile say about you?

  1. My profile? The one that reads… ‘I DON’T DO SL SEX. Je ne fais pas de sexe SL. Ich tue SL Geschlecht nicht. Não faço o sexo SL, Я не делаю секса SL. No hago el sexo SL. Ik doe het geen geslacht van SL. Δεν κάνω το φύλο SL. Non faccio il sesso di SL. 私はSLの性をしない. 나는 SL 성을 하지 않는다 لا أفعل م الجنس. Expectations of sex will result in instant muting.’ 😉

    I think that’s enough to get the message across! 🙂

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    1. That’s an interesting choice. While I can guess as to why you might want to mention that in your profile, why did you choose to make it your whole profile? Surely there is more about you that you’d like to project apart from that one perspective translated in several languages? What about your blog? Or the subject of your blog? I’m not telling you how to write your profile, but I am wondering why you think that message should have such primary importance?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The profile pre-dates the blog, and comes from a time when ‘no’ meant ‘yes’ in the minds of every male avatar I’d meet. (‘Blurred lines’ before Robin Thicke got around to it! 🙂 ) and I felt I need a clear message out there. Of course, I still encounter the odd male who actually sees the profile *sigh* as a challenge of sorts. Oddly, I’d not thought about my profile until you brought the subject up and read my own again. It’s not something I actually consider on a daily basis. But on the basis of you having raised the topic, and me re-reading a profile that must be five years old now, I really, really have to re-think it; it’s long overdue.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I think that happens a lot Ella, many people I’ve spoken to wrote their profiles soon after their first entered Second Life, and many wrote them under the influence of their early experiences. I check my profile frequently because I like to keep it current, and I’ve also standardised it across my many digital faces (WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, G+, etc) so that when I make an update in one place, it’s a straight copy paste to all the other places.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. As usual, you’ve got me thinking about an element of our Second Lives we often don’t consider, or forget about. I’m now giving great consideration as to how I might like to re-present myself in my profile. Thanks for pointing the way in this regard! Without your post, I don’t think I’d have looked near my profile! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I know what I tried to make clear with my profile, but I don’t know if I’ve succeeded: That most of what I do in SL is business (and how to contact, depending on what the customer needs), that I like creating images using SL as a canvas, and that I don’t take myself too seriously.

    What I wonder is, have I achieved so? What do others think when they read what I’ve written?

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    1. Asking total strangers might be a good approach to discovery that. One thing I know for sure, is that some people will misinterpret whatever they read or see. There have been countless times people have made a false impression of me – by what I’ve written in my profile, how I might behave in public, how I speak or how I might dress. With that said, I think for those of us that want to project an authentic image, it behooves us to take the time to communicate clearly and comprehensively to achieve whatever purpose we set out to achieve.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Humour is often a great icebreaker, and if you’re aiming to make casual acquaintances, probably more effective than my approach. My problem is that when I have the time to try to be funny, I’m typically not 🙂 But when I’m in the middle of a fast chat, I’m right up there with the one-liners. Perhaps that’s why some people quote humourous chat exchanges in their profiles – it’s hard to beat the spontaneity of the present moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Although I do not check profiles often, usually only when I need to find a landmark or how to contact a creator in case of a question – and occasionally when I get an IM from a stranger, I put some sort of effort in mine.

    I made sure all links to my online presences are there, not that people need to find me online all the time, but those profiles/platforms tell more about me, which would not fit in the profile. And I think it also makes it clear I am quite an active SL Resident.

    Even though I mention that I am Dutch and live in The Netherlands twice (in both SL and RL sections, and one obscure pick with a Dutch song!) still one of the most used ‘icebreakers’ in my IM is : “Nice profile, where are you from? ”
    I am always unsure if they don’t really read it or that maybe “Dutch” is such a difficult thing, it totally goes over their head. It does make me sigh and think: why do I bother about the profile ?!

    Anyway, as I said last night in the Salon on this topic, I asked a friend – who admitted he had not looked at my profile in at least 2 years when I told him the theme – what he thinks it says about me and his comment was this:
    ‘It tells me… don’t wait for this girl to strike up a convo, you will have to make the first move.
    And not a prude, so adult themes acceptable to bring in to the convo…… (partly cos no Dutchies are prudes, and partly cos Elysion Adult in picks).’

    Sure he is not a total stranger, but I trust him to be able to be objective and tell me what it tells him :). I wasn’t suprised, as this is exactly what I meant with my profile!
    The total stranger would perhaps ask me where I am from……I may need to give that a try!

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  4. Becky, maybe we dont use the word Dutch because it’s an English word (just gessing here…)
    For your info: The official name is Nederland or The Netherlands in your language.
    “Holland” comes from the old days where Nederland was devided in different parts and one was called Holland.

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  5. I feel that every profile is a direct reflection on our personal makeup. Whether that is a direct intention or not is up to us as the creator. Many people have the attitude with their profile creation as they do with a visit to the dentist: let’s just get this over with quickly and keep the pain to a minimum.
    Knowing, like I do, how most people tick, I like to keep my profile to simple bite sized pieces of key information. Each sentence says something about me either explicitly or ambiguously. That is also by design. I believe you can attract or repel (or at least determine for yourself who you will engage with) based on your profile makeup alone. Key pieces of information that are clearly listed that are overlooked or ignored probably speaks louder to me than the ones that are readily acknowledged. It tells me who is most likely detail oriented or who is probably self absorbed.
    I like to avoid blatantly negative things being placed in my profile but if it is examined closely one should be able to ascertain what would most likely be a poor way to approach me. No small deed goes unnoticed with me 🙂
    Overall, I feel that a well thought out profile is a crucial tool in navigating your way through SL. Will you get where you wish to go without it? Most likely yes but it doesn’t hurt to lay down a popcorn trail or look to the stars for a little guidance.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The first thing I do when meeting someone new is to check out their profile, it is a good way to start to see what kinds of things they are interested in. Of course you have no way of knowing if they are always telling the truth or not in the profile, so talking to them helps and asking around to see if others may know the person in question.

    My profile shows what I do in SL and the real life tidbit that I am a US Marine. My picks and classifieds are related to my businesses in SL, except for one for my 2 close friends and my real life girlfriend who is also my SL girlfriend. My real life tab gives real life tidbits about me.

    I always laugh when I see the profiles that have the “no drama” reference. Usually those people are the ones causing the drama and starting it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Having got my twitter, blog, flickr and Google+ updated, linked together and consistent, and having gone through my blog to perfect its SEO since moving off wordpress.com – I never thought about revising my profile.
    Durrr.
    But I agree – what you say will affect who responds and how they do it.
    And it’s now done!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My profile on Second Life is a lot different then I sometimes want to portray or live by and that it was a year ago. Why is that? Well, I have so many haters on Second Life and have been linked to a bunch of liars. I once worked in Second Life, which was quite an experience in and of itself. So I now have a scapegoat reference. Which actually has proven to be quite the ice breaker. I received an instant message not so long ago, regarding scapegoat reference I have on my profile.

    The person found it unique and said, that it made her snort her coffee. I, in turn replied, “sorry I made you snort your coffee,” and told her “do you see?! I am always being blamed for something.” She giggled and said, “good one.” So, I think my profile is just kind of indication of where I am currently, as it relates to MY Second Life. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. I am finding a lot of people on Second Life don’t go by who you really are, but make judgments on things they hear, which may not be factual. Also, I find that people are not as humble on SL and can do it, because they are behind a computer screen.

    I always cared about my reputation, but I don’t anymore. I care more about having character mostly, and not about people who go by what they hear, and who are misinformed. You either like me or you don’t. I have always treated people with respect, who have given or not given it to me. So if my profile will repel people, because they didn’t like what they read, or they are misinformed by friends, then so be it. On the other hand, I think I attract down to earth people usually, not the arrogant or fake people.

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    1. This is funny, especially the story of being the scapegoat reference. What really caught my attention about your comment was this:

      “I always cared about my reputation, but I don’t anymore. I care more about having character mostly, and not about people who go by what they hear, and who are misinformed.”

      I could not agree more with this statement! Just the other day I was told by a friend that some people were saying less than positive things about me to them. In the past, I might have quizzed this person: “Who was it? What did they say? etc.” Instead, I just said to them, “Oh well, everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether it is close to the truth or not. I really don’t care.” Or something like that.

      Now, that might seem contradictory to the way I’m describing how people judge in this post. One might think I’m telling everyone to write their profile in such a way that it invites only the most positive judgements. I’m not actually. To me, if you have a goal, then consider how your profile influences that goal. That’s all. If you don’t care what others think, then it really doesn’t matter at all.

      Where we might differ (and that’s totally ok!) is that I have a goal with my profile, which is to spark interesting conversations with others. I like to talk about the stuff I am interested in, not about what others might think of me (e.g. your scapegoat reference), so I focus on that. With that said, your profile seems to also be eliciting comments and conversations. I think perhaps we might just want to talk about different things, that’s all.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Like

      1. Yes, I currently don’t have specific goals in SL, that I would share. I do have them, but I don’t mention them. I tried to add more positives, but also, Second Life only allows a certain amount characters. I also have this quote in the beginning, “If you’re reading this…
        Congratulations, you’re alive.
        If that’s not something to smile about,
        then I don’t know what is.”
        ― Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head, (which I personally think is a bit positive.) To indicate to people how life is precious, and more important than my profile. I am thinking of removing the scapegoat references, and adding my blog and Flickr link, like I used to have. You’re welcome! Thank you for replying, we can only learn from each other. I love that your posts, are not issues that are discussed usually. 🙂

        Like

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