Quite a stir in the twittersphere on yesterday’s news of Ener Hax’s account being disabled by Facebook. You may know that I am partial to Ener, after all, we are partners in virtual world endeavors.
Ener became the the clear “spokesperson” of our inbound marketing efforts. I think of her as the Erin of Esurance (both have pink hair) or as Danica Patrick of GoDaddy.com (both go around in circles fast). When I first started setting up the social networking accounts two years ago, everything was being set up as iLIVEisl (I live in simulator lands).
I simply followed the advice laid out by Maki of DoshDosh.com. Wonderful tips, links, and strategies to increase your web presence. From Cafepress and Busted Tees to Twitter and Facebook. It quickly became clear that Ener Hax had more traction than an abbreviated phrase.
Plus, as a pink haired and winged avatar, Ener Hax is easier to form a connection with. A few years back, Ener was content with only existing in Second Life. But as the internet presence grew, she embraced that aspect and grew it exponentially.
The “campaign” I was aiming for was to increase Second Life land sales of the iliveisl estate and promote the eLearning conferences I speak at. Using virtual worlds as an alternative to 3D animation applications (Blender 3, Maya, Studio 3D Max) is something I still practice and well received as a presentation.
However, the shutting down of her Facebook account ignited an interesting discussion of what it means to be an avatar.
Is Ener Hax, as a virtual identity, a real person?
There are very real assets tied to the name. The 12 sims in Second Life are, as well as all of the objects being created for our Reaction Grid endeavor.
There are real world items and business that belong to that virtual identity, to an avatar. Not only does Ener Hax make real money but the reputation associated with her is valuable. Ener Hax also does custom projects and deals 100% as an avatar in them.
Is the line blurring with identity? Or is an avatar simply an alias like a “doing business as” identity?
Facebook does allow avatars to have pages, but they have to be fan pages (which is what I wanted to initially set up – they do not have the 5,000 friend limit).
5,000 sounds like a lot, but over a six month period, Ener had 3,800 friends. 90% of which are avatars. Also, Linden Labs is looking to connect Facebook to Second Life. The decision to disable avatar accounts puts limits the value of integration.
I build as Subquark Hax in-world, not as David Miller. Subquark has a certain credibility level in virtual worlds and not many know my real world name, nor does it matter. There is less room to bs about your skills in virtual worlds. Either you can build and script or you can’t. A simple right-click on an in-world object will reveal its creator.
As my rockstar, Ener Hax has capitalized on this Facebook issue and turned it into positive press and deeper web reach (I am slightly biased, as you can tell). Her Twitter efforts were magnified in the past 24 hours and now she has a bonafide Facebook fan page.
Here is a passionately written sample of how the avatar community has commented on this: http://foo.secondlifeherald.com/slh/2010/01/is-facebook-killing-avatars-again.html
They would like to interview the once shy and quiet Ener Hax because of all of this. So unwittingly, Facebook seems to have done us a favour!
Rock on Ener Hax!
I particularly loved your tweets to M Linden last week asking him to have the courtesy to address you.