A nice pile of pixels told me that I don't write enough on this blog....
I am gearing up for the Spring 2007 ACHUB conference being held inworld on March 16, 17, and 18. I will be unveiling the riveting results of my 30 day exploration as an undercover adult entertainer in SL.
Oh, stop. It wasn't that bad.
I felt a wee bit like Johnny Depp on 21 Jump Street. Well, ok, he has a lot more money than I do, but, conceptually, it was kinda the same. For 30 days, I watched text chat to see if gender discourse patterns could be connected in any way to the communication theories of Jurgen Habermas (see...I told you...once a nerdy chic...always a nerdy chic).
I hunted around SL to find one club that was adult but not TOOO TOOO adult (if ya know what I mean). And, after careful "research" (um, ok...me breaking rules to see if the club enforced them) and watching the chat for a few weeks, I finally selected Aerolite Dance Club.
I was actually interviewed for the job (it was entirely too much like applying for a position in a college...there was a committee...can you imagine?). I received training. I had scheduled hours. I had specific duties. I had to tip the house 20% of my Linden.
In a vacuum, it might seem like it was a silly escapade, but, I certainly learned a lot. I wanted to know if better text chatters received better tips. This was true. I wanted to see if women chatted better than men with clients and with one another by relying on Lifeworld communication strategies. Seeing as I couldn't verify REAL gender, this point was hard to prove from the start. I also didn't see a connection to Lifeworld strategies. It was, really, the same old-same old system style.
The Barbie with Brains project taught me some things I hadn't set out to learn. For example, I had always assumed that the "dumb blond" myth was perpetuated by the working class; inworld, I discovered that no one in the virtual working class ever treated Desi poorly (one of two customers were...um...inappropriate, but that had less to do with hair color than their view of women playing that role). In fact, the only ones that treated Barbie (Desi) poorly or "stupid" were professionals (shop owners, academics, etc.). While I am not credentialed to say this...and certainly this exploration isn't grounded in standard research practices...my theory is that the Barbie myth is perpetuated by the affluent class...not the working class.
So, my 30 day study ended, and I didn't want to continue it. I don't have the resources to turn that exploration into real research, but I do hope someone can. If you want to learn more about the project, come to the ACHUB conference or watch the movie presentation.
I officially resigned at Aerolite, and now my wee little avatar has come to a place where she has to choose. Do I keep the Barbie avatar? Do I ugly her up?