OK so I got sucked in...
When I signed up to SL I didn’t actually realise that the username you pick is not just a login name but is actually your resident name. They don’t make it clear that you can’t change it. Well, to be more accurate, it is your first name and you get this kinda hidden second name ‘Resident’. So with my project being Lostware I figured lostware (lowercase) would be a suitable username, and I would pick the name display name Rem.
But there’s this slightly messy situation whereby some people go by their resident name but if you pick a display name you then have two names above your head by default (you can hide one of them but this only affects what you see).
And really ‘lostware Resident’ isn’t much of a name. My name is Rem. I wouldn’t care that much but a lot of things in SL like transactions use the proper resident name, so it’s a lot more than just this username you log in with.
Really I think they need to be clearer about all of this when you sign up. Instead of just saying “pick a username” they should explain that this is also your resident first name, and also that you’ll get the second name Resident and that you cannot change this so pick it wisely! (And of course explain that if you want you can also use a display name which you can change).
Then the other day they announced that you can now change your resident name and pick a new second name from a list. Apparently this was how it was like 10 years ago but it was taken away and now it’s back. But it costs $40 US + VAT. And you have to have a premium account.
My first reaction was that this is extortionate. And I commented about it one Twitter and in some blog comments. Well maybe it is extortionate, but apparently they spent two years working on this feature. And then also I looked at the list of second names and I quite like the second name ‘Voxel’ (like a 3D pixel). And I already have a premium account. Aaaand it’s a one-off change. And I guess I’m a bit shallow because I care about such things.
In a sense what they’ve done is created a kind of exclusive club of people with proper names. And while on the one hand I hate that in principle, I also wanted in and can afford it. Like a Guardian reading socialist sending their child to private school. So what the hell, my name is now Rem Voxel.
I do kinda like the idea that I might meet other Voxels and that there’s a sort of family-type aspect to that. I get it.
I will have to earn some money in SL to pay it back! I have started making some stuff for my art space / club so will sell those and hopefully over time it will cover my costs so I don’t have to put any more real £££ into Second Life. Or as much. We will see!