Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The self online

Increasingly our presence online includes the visual - some sort of visual presentation of the self. I’ve recently been looking at this in three different contexts and thinking about the similarities and differences. Firstly in academic blogs, when the author wishes to be visible she/he will typically show a more or less friendly ‘talking head’ shot see this blog, Vic, Dr Joolz, and Simply Clare (Dr Kate has a slight variation on this theme). Secondly MSN pics – these usually show a ‘me with friends’, ‘me laughing’, ‘me partying’ and so on. Of course video chats offer other possibilities and the screen-grab above shows Hannah displaying a new item from her wardrobe to her jealous sister (AKA: *Some Morrocan has done a cover of my song!*). Thirdly, as we know, in virtual worlds how our avatar looks and dresses attracts attention. I was interested to note yesterday how children working in the Barnsborough environment were concerned about the gender of their avatar and offered onscreen tips on how to select a more appropriate one. But not only that, our teachers too were trying on different bodies, checking each other out, rotating etc…. ‘how does my bum look in these dungarees’! As in life, so online?

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