I have been using chat rooms and other written forms of electronic communication for seven years now, but every now and again the openness of the medium makes me giddy. I enter a chat room: what does that mean? I can be connected to the forum for hours without saying anything. I can evoke images of entering quietly or with a big cape-swirling flourish. I can write myself as a squirrel-fox which pads in and curls up around the ankle of a complete stranger, or enter with a huge sword and jovially hew a friend in half with it.
I know. I gross myself out with the Dungeons and Dragons of it too. But I love the freedom of it, and the possibilities for play. These things are still in the pidgin-culture phase– customs surrounding this communication are still made up as we go along– so there’s none of those restraining social structures that bug me.
I’m waiting, of course, for the day when we’ll all have avatars to represent ourselves visually. Though I don’t know… if I had known it was coming I wouldn’t have wished for TV and the way it makes everything be about appearance.