Earlier this week in Second Life I acquired an avatar shape in the form of a glowing, flying orb. One of the intrigueing things I find myself doing when I am in a 3D environment with avatars is look them in the eye, to feel more connected to the interaction going on.

In DigitalSpace Traveler avatars are heads only, but I look them in the eye and accept them as beings

So I wanted to check out what happens when I leave the humanoid form, and turned myself into an orb.
I met up with a creative designer from New York yesterday evening who did not seem to care much about my shape, to be able to communicatie. But he treated the text window as a stand alone chat application, and the 3D backdrop as wall paper in a sense.

Me as an Orb in Second Life

It did change the dynamics though of having a discussion with people who actually know me. In a conversation with Elmine Wijnia and Gerrit Eicker I changed into my fiery flying orb-self and continued to take part in the conversation. Both Elmine and Gerrit remarked that they treated the orb as an object in the room, not a living entity, and that my chat contributions seemed to come out of thin air.

For me it felt a bit strange as well, looking at the orb as ‘me’ but it did not change the experience of interaction. The form of avatar does change the way I navigate though. With a humanoid shape I tend to fly and walk in SL, but as an orb I only fly.