Something I’ve been wondering: are you people real?


I recently learned about an online “world” known as Second Life.  In that place, you create an “avatar” for yourself, selecting a name and physical characteristics for your Second Life self.  Then, in the form of your avatar, you go bopping around this alternate universe.  You
can go dancing, hang out in coffee shops, meet and even “marry” other
users, start businesses, buy land, and build, in digital form, objects
of all sorts which you can keep or sell.  Second Life has a thriving economy in both pretend money and real U.S. dollars.  According
to an article in the (real world) newspaper, an Associated Press
reporter is assigned exclusively to cover Second Life. 


got me thinking, how many people on Xanga are there as themselves, and
how many have invented an entirely fictional second self?  After all, as an anonymous blogger you can say all the things you think, but would never say in real life.  Or you can say things you don’t think at all, just to see how people respond.  Or
you can stalk your ex by inventing an unlimited number of bogus
identities and interacting with him/her as all those different people,
when he/she thinks he/she is rid of you.   Not that I would know anything about that.


Me, my transvestite_rabbit site is pretty much true to life.  I admit, though, not everything I say is strictly true.  I
got into trouble with my daddio for implying, in my last post, that he
was indifferent to my chicken poxy plight on that long-ago Thanksgiving.  While the story as a whole is true, that conversation never happened, I made it up for effect.  Sorry Dad.

Also, you may have noticed that I’m pretty outspoken in blog form, while my husband
rarely posts or even comments.  But anyone who knows us in Real
Life will tell you that I’m very quiet and he’s quite chatty. 
Even an honest online persona doesn’t tell the whole story.


But what about you?  And you?  I
have never met anyone from Xanga (except the ones I knew before I
dragged them kicking and screaming into this little community). And I
foolishly bypassed an opportunity to meet up with S__Diddy at a metal concert recently.  So for all I know, he is a figment of my imagination, and so are the rest of y’all. 


I went to Second Life with the intention of making myself an avatar, but I immediately got stuck by the name choice.  It’s a big responsibility, choosing a name for a character that will live a life of his/her own.  I can’t do it on the fly.  What would you name your avatar?  Or are you an avatar yourself?


And why, when there’s a whole big real world out there, do we need a second, phony one on the internet?  I think it’s about community.  Our big cities are so crowded, and yet so anonymous.  Right this moment I’m sitting in a busy coffee shop, where I will converse with no one.  But I’m talking to you, my Xanga friends.  Are you for real?

Comment on comments and messages: Nothing I love more than Christian spam.  Thanks Pastor Doug, or whoever you REALLY are.




40 thoughts on “

  1. What a fascinating post! I have never read or heard about “Second Life” before, but I can certainly see the appeal. I honestly have barely enough time for my real life, so I know I’ll never create an avatar or “play” there in that other “world”, but I can easily understand why people would want to. For me, if I were to do it (Again, I have no stinkin’ “spare time”, so it is never gonna happen), it would be fun to live a life that’s more what I imagined mine would be- you know, without the mistakes I’ve made, LOL! I think you’re right , though- it rings true, what you wrote about “community”. I felt very connected in San Diego, but it’s been much more difficult to feel connected to other people here in Vegas. I “get” why people would do this. Me, though? I’m for real. What I blog is what we live. It wouldn’t even occur to me to make up a fake family and fake life. Very interesting post, though. Thanks for (as you often do) making me think! Lisa

  2. I just pinched myself and it hurt, so I assume I am real.  And the way my life has been lately is NOTHING like a life I would make up for myself, so yup, about as real as a person can get.  Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I often get a kick out of reading your comments on Mad’s blog, so it’s nice to “meet” you finally – that is, IF you are really real and this whole entry isn’t just the figment of someone’s imagination. 

  3. I actually think of myself as Yorel now sometimes. Weird. I have met several Xangans before that I’d not previously know. They are always friends of Xangans that I do know. Nice people, too. As for the second life… I scarely have time for the first one.

  4. I think my online persona is like a cardboard cutout of my real-life persona. I would scare people online if I really let loose! So it’s not that I lie. I try to tell the truth. It just isn’t the whole truth about myself. I mean, I’ve seen people blog about everything from their cheating boyfriend to their urinary tract infections. I’m just not that open when I blog. Nor do I want to be…

  5. P.S.  Hope you don’t mind, but I just “boosted” this entry, because I think it is such a relevant topic.   I have no idea what boosting an entry does, but I just did it….hope it’s not too painful for you. 

  6. Perhaps an alternate life would be a better escape for me, than blabbing about the one I’ve got.  But I’m sure that I’m not nearly creative enough for that.  I don’t even write fiction well.  And I’m like the least private person I know.  I think what you see on my xanga is very close to what you’d hear me saying, if we hung out. . .yeah, I really DO talk about myself too much. 

  7. I’m totally, 100% for real. I censor out the bad stuff… bad moods, inconveniences, and petty angers that I wish I didn’t have… but I’m pretty authentic here. Ocean Starr is my real name and everything. I don’t post anything on the internet that I would want to hide from any human on the planet. That’s my only rule- to remember that anyone in the world could read it all at any time.

  8. I’m 100% real too. I may indulge in hyperbole for comic effect, but my life is pretty much as you see it in my blog. I agree with yorel, though, that one tends to start to identify with one’s username. I saw a car with a license plate that said DAYLILY, and I was like, “Hey! She STOLE my name!”

  9. I think after reading someone;s thoughts or conversing with them for a while you can determine and make those judgments for yourself with some celerity. I have met a few xangans in person and they are all very real. It is about how they connect to us that makes us believe or not believe…

  10. This is such an intriguing post, I don’t really know where to begin with my response. I hope I can keep it to one paragraph or so. I’d surely not want to impose my loquaciousness on you. You bring up a very interesting dilemma; is this place we know as cyberspace inhabited? And if so, by whom, or what? Humans, or digital imprints of a type? Oceanstarr says “I’m pretty authentic here,” but PrimevalWench (me likes that id name) sounds like she may not have “a life at all” either in cyberspace or out. And then you have those like Anothermadhousewife who “blab” too much about their’s. Is blabbing here (cyberspace) or there (the real world) shedding any light on whether or not there’s Truth or truth to an existence? Does rootbound (me) exist outside cyberspace? Yes and no. His roots are there, here, and everywhere, entwined with and without existence, like the transcendent life of a spiritual nomad, who knows this Earth is not the final destination. You asked, “how many have invented an entirely fictional second self?” I think a lot of us have, and have had to, because fiction sometimes tells us the T-t-ruth. RYC: I did go shopping. But only around the block. And it was a pleasant experience. Peace out.

  11. Every so often I throw a line or two into my blog to give the illusion that mad and I are the same person but that’s the extent of my deception. (we are indeed two distinct people)

  12. xanga is where I unload what’s in my head. It’s all me, but not exactly how I am in real life. In real life I am not so confident, but I pretend to be. Here I show how afraid I can be with no fear of judgement. I cry sittingtyping more than I ever would IRL. sittingtyping is me w/out the facade I often times wear to face the world.

  13. I’m real although sometimes I change my name and once I gave myself a sex change but only Zebra_slut noticed. I had another blog that was a fake person but I got bored with making up stuff.

  14. Not real.  All lies.  I myself am only a persona of myself from a previous time.  Whne enough of the ‘real me’ shows through the cracks, even friends I’ve know for more than 10 years quit talking to me.  Real enough?

  15. 99% of my stories on xanga are true, I know hard to believe.  Actually 100% are true but 1% is embellished a bit.  Nothing like those authors who write memoirs and totally lie.  But The only way you would really know if I was telling the truth on xanga is if you knew me in real life.  Or you could stalk and investigate me, and then you would know I lead a very strange life, which I think makes 70% of my entires interesting. 

    I would love to do the aviator thing, it would be like playing the sims game which I love.  In sims though you can make other characters who you don’t like (your ex for example) and make them pee their pants and cry.  I wonder if you can do that with the second life thing.  I will have to check it out.

  16. Oh, okay.  I made the whole thing up.  I’m not really your mother.  You and your brother were never born.  You are a figment of my imagination.  I always wanted two great kids and three adorable grandchildren, so I invented them.   So sue me!

  17. Second Life just came up at one of my client “team” lunches. It’s odd to be on two teams at once…but I digress. Several of these guys were quite knowledgeable but none confessed to more than “playing around.” They are heavily into games though. Our discussion seemed to center more around whether advertising there might be worthwhile. Dell just bought an island so SLers could buy computers. I don’t understand having that much time free. I’m way too busy keeping real life straight and missing deadlines and appointments here! My stuff is real. I just keep personal details vague. I hope.

  18. Greetings!
    In Christ Jesus, you have a right to prosperity and access to all of God’s wealth.
    Just follow the instructions:
    (1)  [ Luke 6:38 ]:  Jesus said:
    “Give and it (whatever kind of thing that you gave)
    shall be given unto you in good measure, pressed down,
    and shaken together and running over,
    shall men give into your bosom”
    (2)  [ 2 Corinthians 9: 6, 7, 10 (AMP) ]:
    “Remember this:
    (6)  Whoever sows (gives) sparingly will also reap (receive back in kind) sparingly;
    and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
    (7)  Each person should give what he/she has decided in his/her heart to give,
    not reluctantly or under compulsion,… 
    …For God loves
    ( He takes pleasure in,  
    prizes above other things
    and is unwilling to abandon  
    or to do without)
    a cheerful (joyous, prompt-to-do-it) giver,
    whose heart is in his/her giving.
    (10)  And God Who provides seed for the sower and bread for eating
    will also provide and multiply your [resources for] sowing
    and increase the fruits of your righteousness, which manifests itself
    in active GOODNESS, KINDNESS and CHARITY.”…..____(“…………….-‘””””`-……………./“)___ ..(____……..____ /….(O…..O)….____ /……..___) (____………………(…………)………)……………____) ..(____………_____…..____/…../_____………____) …….(______/………..`-._____.-‘…………______) ……………..LET ME GIVE YOU A HUG ………………. God’s strength is behind you, His love is within you, and His arms are underneath you. So, you and He are more than sufficient for the days ahead of you. [Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV)]: “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Picture that in your mind: God sings for joy when He thinks about you! Best regards always Pastor Doug

  19. I’m me.  I’d have to say 100% boring as I am, lol!   I’ve had the good fortune to meet three Xangans, and they were all what I thought they’d be – very true to their online personalities.

  20. My name is Doug also, Pastor. Thank you for your best regards always to our dear rabbit friend. Now, as the rabbit assumes the dress and manner usually associated with the opposite sex, so too am I real and fleshly and a voluptuous hunk of man, as you see from my profile picture. Never think these are hastily chosen. I regard Second Life in much the same manner as I regard First Life, which can be summed up as “the world is tragic, but I can’t just kill myself, so I guess I’ll try to laugh instead.” This is how I get through my day.

  21. I’m nearly convinced that I am not real, but only a character in a dream that someone else is having.  Of course, if that were true, would I have bills to pay? 
    I’m intrigued by Second life but doubt I’ll have time to play, unless I get some low-level receptionist job that lets me play on the internet in between phone calls.

  22. Don’t you hate the long-winded assholes who leave comments? That guy up there ^ seems like a real dweeb. As for creating fake personas, I got that out of my system on AOL when I had an assortment of screen names that numbered close to twenty. I am who I am as Z_S and also who I am as SIAGT, give or take a personality quirk or two. I have enough alternate personalities that I could easily create four or five more xangas, but no ambition to keep them all going.

  23. Hey man… that Christian came over to my site after yours… seems like he spent some time criticising my worldview. He must really care about saving my soul… God forbid I be happy in my own way of thinking ahahhahahahhahaha

  24. thanks for the congrads!  as for me, and who i am, my xanga is but a mere reflection of who i am at any given moment.  as soon as i hit submit my mood may change and i am totally not the person on the page.  or then again just an expenaded version of that page…

  25. My Xanga is all me.  Well, part of me.  I think I’m more confident on Xanga than I would be face to face.  If I were speaking to you I’d talk really fast and flail my hands around a lot.  So on Xanga you can’t see my hands.  But I guess I could go leave a message on the other post with the voice thing.  Then you could hear that I talk really fast. 🙂
    I had never heard of Second Life until now.  I think dealing with the one I have is plenty.  But I will need to go check it out now. 

  26. I’m as real, and as anal, as you’d like me to be. And yes, I’m rather bitchy in “real life” and no, I’m not always as brave as I’d like to be – cockraches freak the shite out of me.

  27. I’ve often thought about the possibilities – I could be anyone here – I could be you, and no one would know.  But, I don’t have that kind of energy.  So, I am me, plain and simple. If I were to invent a new life,  I think I would have better hair, and I would know more about gardening.  Our knowledge limits us no matter who we pretend to be.  I could pretend to be a doctor, until it came time to do some doctoring – then I’d be screwed.  I suppose it is less about that, and more about being more attractive and outgoing in the fake world than we allow ourselves to be in the real world.  Which means, if we removed the barriers to that in real life – fear of X and Y mostly, then more people would run for president, or start interesting and innovative businesses, or write books without worrying that people will hate them. But, barriers exist, and by their very existence they justify themselves, somehow.
    The next time I’m up your way, maybe we could have coffee. That would end your never-meeting-anyone-from-xanga streak. Though, I’ve been there only once in 35 years, so it could be a while before I’m there again.

  28. I like to think of myself as a fig newton of my own imagination I’m not sure what “reality” really is, since my time in the 60’s bent my perception to an odd angle that I have never fully undone (why would I?). Since reality is not incredibly real, but only an accepted aggrement by the majority, how do I know if I am, in fact, real? A spiritual advisor I have known tells me that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. I like that. Perhaps even if I wasn’t always as you (or any one) would see or perceive me, wouldn’t my imaginative *me* be equally real? Oh my! I think I’ll worry about that tomorrow. Or, how did Horton put it? I am what I am…Peace. ~Paloma

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