Do you play poker online? If you don't then log into a game at a .net site like fulltiltpoker.net. The net versions (instead of the .com versions) aren't gambling sites, so you don't have to disclose financial information to look around. To play, you assume an identity from the avatars available. These days there are avatars in different races and different genders and ages, as well as animals and images from movies. What would an analysis of avatars and poker names tell us about how games work and how people construct themselves online? I've read that on poker sites men often register as women so that they will be underestimated as players and have an advantage. Makes me wonder if real women who register as real women do have an advantage or if it goes to real men who appear as avatar women. Makes me wonder what kinds of tracking the sites are using.
Some of the avatars have so much bling they look like Las Vegas gynecologists catering to the botox set. Some sites allow avatars to show a "range" of emotions that run from normal--hard to tell what's normal in the chicken avatar--to confused. These are the smiley face equivalents of the Wal-Mart price-cutting animation. Goffman wrote about the scripts people use in everyday life--the bank, the parking attendant, the people we work with. Maybe online banking would be enhanced if we could use an avatar during bill paying or asking about a problem. There's a chance to use the confused expression available on some poker avatars.Posted by bwahlstr at May 1, 2006 8:19 PM