Avatar evolution - tangential rant - importance of looking good - a solution found - pros and cons - conclusion.
Recently, the time has come to do some avatar maintenance. In keeping with my old augmentationist / experimentalist self, my first Second Life avatar stayed more or less the same for about 6 months. Of course, I invested valuable lindens in a semi-decent skin and hair, got some clothes and pretty much called it a day for a while.
Tangent: WHY!! is it so hard for a male avatar to prim primp? I'm sure that not all males choose a sexy, big-breasted skimpily dressed female avatar as their SL personification - why, there must be at least a couple of dozen guys that picked a male avatar. Shopping for male stuff is almost as depressing in SL as in RL - there I would be, pockets bulging with Lindens (almost 80!), patiently zooming over displays and displays of gorgeous female wear and looking for something that would fit me. I see market potential here, my dear SL creators! Grateful donations in the form of prim hair graciously accepted.
After a few months of wandering around SL, attending interesting events and meeting more and more cool people, a couple of things became apparent: (a), my avatar was boring; and (b), looks matter in Second Life even more than in RL. A casual avatar-disparaging comment by a dear SL friend, made while commenting on my Facebook photo clinched it: it was makeover time. But make over into what?
Well, if tails, horns, starfleet uniforms or robots are your thing, you're in luck - you can hardly rez a prim over your shoulder without hitting a shop selling one or all of these. If your tastes are a bit more (less?) exotic, it gets trickier. After a long search (30 minutes RL - that's like 12 hours SL time), the die was cast, the Lindens spent and IYan transformed. Enter - the cat.
ExtroVirtual tinies are incredibly cute and there is a wide selection. While I knew the avie was diabetes-inducing, I wasn't prepared for the extra dimension of fun it brought to the SL experience. It's such a joy watching it scamper around on its tiny feet, and the cuteness doubles while in flight!
Of course, it wouldn't do to look TOO cute, so I shopped at Bitter Thorns (love the store!) and changed the kitty into cyber-cat:
The drawbacks of having a Tiny avatar are seldom having a place to sit (except at exceptionally gracious hosts), people stepping on you (not that much, fortunately - and there are free WATCH OUT FOR THE TINY signs available at the Extrovirtual store) and an inability to use certain scrips/animations (like dancing). The interaction with other avatars, on the other hand, is much improved - it seems like everybody loves a Tiny! The greatest fun is when several Tiny avatars gather for some big-people pushing, as demonstrated by my friend Ally the tiny warthog :)
Of course, tinies will not do for business, although I've tried it. The problem is that the tiny paws of Extrovirtual avies aren't animated while typing, which makes text chat much more difficult; plus, some people might have a problem with discussing business with a foot-high cat.
So: do the tiny avatars solve the boring avatar problem? Yes and no. There are many occasions when I use my main avatar, which is still pretty boring; but the occasional entrance of my Tiny cheers me up and makes my main avatar cooler by association. If you're asking yourself whether to join the Tiny Army, my answer is - YES!