Due to a busy week in RL, I’m a little behind in my NaNoWriMo 2012 progress. Today, however, I hit the 25% mark and the week ahead is clear for some solid writing. Here’s the exerpt that crossed ‘AFK, Again’ its quarter-way mark, an examination of some of the different categories of profile that can be found in SL. Which type are you?
What profile type are you? (NaNo 25%)
There are different categories of Second Life profile. The Empty Profile (EP) is, as its name suggests, a largely unpopulated document, sometimes a single avatar snapshot in the main tab and a single group in the group list – but often not even that. It’s completely understandable for a newbie – who perhaps doesn’t even realise that such a thing as a profile exists – but, after a month or so, starts to look suspicious. An Empty Profile is often thought to be that of an alt that hasn’t been invested in.
Empty Profiles complaints are often one of a number of rants to be found on the Aggressive Profile (AP): a collection of gripes and assertions usually also including the aforementioned ‘By saying so here I have a right to copy and paste your IMs wherever I fucking chose to’ declaration. Usually it gets worded along the lines of, ‘Don’t bother IMing me if there’s nothing in your profile; if you can’t be bothered to complete this then I can’t be bothered to find you interesting’ (but, in most cases, without the semi-colon and correct apostrophe usage). Other issues often raised in the Aggressive Profile include a refusal to interact with anyone who looks like a newb, the promise of unimaginable consequences if you – the reader – should dare to think of ‘messing’ with a particular friend (usually someone given the honorary title of ‘sister’ – or, more commonly, ‘sis’) – it’s comforting to know that, in the twenty-first century, the way people feel most secure about expressing platonic love for someone is to threaten violence against anyone who might upset them – and a dramatic statement of disinterest in ‘drama’.
In direct response to this is the Anti-Aggressive Profile Profile (or the AAPP), a profile category which takes issue with the statements to be found in most APs. AAPP picks can include, for example, a defence of newb-looking avatars (‘Are you a person who believes that beauty is only skin deep? Then stop fucking hitting on noob avies and start looking below the surface’), a strongly worded retort to the ‘By saying so here I have a right to copy and paste your IMs wherever I fucking chose to’ declaration, and a challenge to the dislike of EPs which asserts that (a) belief in the possibility of reducing the complexity of a human being to a few lines in a profile tab only demonstrates the utter superficiality of the person complaining (sometimes, a cross-reference is made to the noob avatar defence here), and (b) at least empty profiles spare you from having to read through endless collections of inane quotations.
Which brings me to the Somebody else’s Quotations Profile (SEQP), a profile type bookended with quotes read someplace (or copied from someone else’s profile), from which one is supposed to infer something meaningful about the avatar driver. A variant on this is the Ironic Quotations Profile (IQP), a profile which contains either a quote about the meaninglessness of quotes or a fictional quote which cannot possibly be true to demonstrate comically the unreliability of quotations (my personal favourite being the Abraham Lincoln quote: “The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their validity”).
Then there’s the Promotional Profile (PP), the content of which is dedicated to the promotion of the resident’s interests: their shops, products, clubs, venues, events and any online fiction they’ve written.
The Shopper Profile (SP) is essentially a collection of favourite shops – or, at least – those which offer some sort of incentive for listing them in your profile.
The Poetry Profile (PoP) attempts to map out the personality of the resident in picks via a selection of poems; subsets of this category are the Rhyming Poetry Profile (RPoP) and the Own Poetry Profile (OPoP).
The In love Profile (ILP) also consists of a number of subsets, each representing a different way of declaring love for one’s partner. These include ILMP, profiles saturated with virtual wedding stuff (wedding pictures, key dates, transcripts of proposals and marriage vows, copious use of the word ‘hubby’) and ILSP, where the partner is described in length as the ultimate soulmate (usually involving poetry or song lyrics; there’s significant overlap between ILSP and PoP). Over time, ILPs are often transformed into either DPPs (Damaged Person Profiles) or NMoRPs (No Mention of Romance Profiles).
How profiles change over time is an important factor. Static profiles hardly ever change, month to month, year to year. Dynamic profiles change according to virtual life changes – new friends, partners, things to be angry about, etc). Feed profiles are changed constantly, as though the very thought of entries remaining the same from one week to the next is appalling. They are like twitter feeds, constantly being updated with new content like a Twitter feed or a Facebook page. So an EP-s is a static Empty Profile – one that never changes, a PP-d is a Promotional Profile that gets updated when there are new things to promote and a ILP-f is an In Love Profile that gets changed the very instant a partner says something adorable.
And so on. I employ most profile types across my portfolio of alts. The Second Life tab text for my primary avatar reads, “Private Investigator, manager of the Step Stransky Second Life Detective Agency. Discrete enquiries undertaken. See picks for office address.”
Which means that one thing I had learned about Hewson so far was that he didn’t read profiles.