Managing Your Second Life Brand

October 15, 2007 at 6:11 pm (Life, Relationships, Second Life) (, , , , , , , , , )

Brands

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you probably know by now I tend to focus my literary lens on the interpersonal relationships many of us experience within Second Life and the implications those relationships have on the lives we lead outside that virtual universe. So lest you think today’s blog title is totally whacked, let me assuage your fears: this is not yet another blog about marketing your SL scripting, clothing, animation, DJ, or in-world building business. What I’m talking about here is your personal brand–the “you” you want to present to the SL world.

Some of you may secretly scoff at the relevance of this notion. But for those of you who spend any time at all “SL profiling” you know what I’m talking about. What is SL profiling you wonder? Is that like racial profiling? In a sense, yes. It is the act of perusing a prospect’s profile to see who or what he or she is all about. We do this in search of some common ground–something to reference when initiating conversation perhaps. And–sigh–we also probably make judgments about those folks based on this info too. That’s why I say it is a bit like racial profiling, or the act of making assumptions about a person based on their race.

Our SL profile is one of the few tangible ways we allow the essence of our personality to shine through to those around us in this virtual environment. Like sunlight poking through window blinds meant to block it out, the information in our profiles often reflects the true individual behind the keyboard. Even if our presence in SL is purely role-play, our profile captures that through the groups we belong to. The same holds true if we’re live music lovers, BDSM buffs, funk fanatics, or sex-crazed Second Lifers.

When building our profiles, we often include people, places, philosophies, or even photographs we find meaningful. Some folks include famous quotes or song lyrics that resonate. In my profile, for example, I include a quote from Dr. Suess that has functioned as my personal mantra for many years. In my tab about my RL, I include a photo of a tattoo on my back that I share with my SL avatar. Many people choose to include gushing tributes to their lovers and friends in their “picks” tabs. I do that too, to a degree. However my picks also feature people and places that have captured my attention. All these details combine to illuminate more of the shimmering personality that hides behind my avatar image.

Knowing your profile provides a perfect place to package yourself by the information you do choose to share, I encourage you to take your time when constructing the contents. Include elements of your persona that make you unique. I’ve seen countless profiles that include things like “looking to meet new people and have fun.” Excuse me, but Duh. Most people don’t visit SL to be loners who look for lameness. Instead consider incorporating an amusing aphorism or pose philosophical questions that prompt others to respond. Because, as they say, sometimes you only have one chance to make a first impression. And the personal brand you project in your profile could make the difference between a happy hello or a glib goodbye.

Stay tuned to a subsequent blog where I will explore the concept of profile politics.

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