Thu, 12 Feb 2004 20:14:34 GMT

Virtual Friends in Virtual SpacesThe Orkut communi …. Virtual Friends in Virtual Spaces
The Orkut community continues to grow with many academics and researchers that I am familiar with. I tend to look at other people's friends to see who is on Orkut, and I came across a “person” called Gollum, complete with a LOTR picture. I was amused – but truly fascinated by the number of friends this virtual person had.

Lisbeth makes some interesting comments about Gollum and how he even wrote a testimonial about her. Fictional characters are not allowed on Orkut – though I would argue that some of the profiles that people post can be deemed as fiction. I mean, we are presenting our physical selves in a certain way in the virtual world – aren't we all ficticious to a point? What is real and what is imaginary? Which self are we presenting?

Torill notes that Gollum has been removed from Orkut: “He was active, had a sense of humour and a lot of friends, what more does a person need to be real?” Very true. If we are presenting ourselves with a pseudonym – isn't that fake/pretend as well ? There is a real/physical person behind Gollum – where is that person? Will the real Gollum please stand up?