Well second life is up to it’s old tricks of implementing new “improvements” to our sl experiences. What’s it this time? Have they decided to just dump all the adult triple X griders off the map into some alternate grid or universe like they do with youngsters on the teen grid? Nope! They’ve chosen to introduce to wonderful and creative world of Display Names. Can you just hear the sarcasm dripping like honey? I’m personally on the fence about this new “improvement” until i see how it would affect our lives so I’m cautious. Now if you’re scratching your head and wondering what the heck I’m talking about then you need to get better informed and I’m happy to help you out in that department. You can also view the video created by Torley Linden that goes on to explain how the Display Name feature can be used.
The Display Name feature basically allows you to change your name to anything that you wish up to 31 characters for whatever reason that you choose- whether it be to change or hyphenate your name after marriage, role playing, business purposes, or just on a whim. The only draw back- maybe they’re doing this to cut back on information overload- is that you can only change it once a week as I understand it. Now older residents are probably trying to pick their jaw off the floor and also wonder how that will work overall for the new and old. Well let me do a bit of explaining. The new residents will go about the registration and choose a username (which for older residents is the name that you signed on with (first name.last name)) and then when they log in they can create their display names. You won’t need your unique last name for your username so it’s entirely optional. Your display name will be shown in chat, IMs, build menus, overhead tag above your username, in the profile, during transactions, in Friends lists, and the CHOOSE RESIDENT window (also used when reporting abuse).
Some may be wondering why in the world the Lindens decided to go with this so called “improvement” now and some may already have their own thoughts on this particular subject. Their official reason was that “selecting a Second Life name is one of the biggest hurdles in the new Resident registration process” and is the most common reason that they abandon the entire registration. Long time residents are saying that this is Linden’s way of applying “correction tape” to the demand and request of being able to change your second life names. Maybe it’s a bit of both in the overall scheme of things- who knows? This nifty new feature will be implemented after careful and extensive testing on the test grid Aditi before it’s released and officially introduced to the Beta Grid for the 2.0 Beta Viewer. What does this mean for those that are running an older version of the official second life viewer or even the third party viewers? To put it simply nothing really changes and you won’t even see the display names so you may not even have to worry about it. Third party viewers are subject to change when the creators and scripters of that viewer decides to put that feature in so it has no bearing on the official 2.0 viewer and it’s changes. Also when logging into second life on the 2.0 viewer you can still use your second life name (user name) with the period or space. An expample would be if your name is Laura Lilibrook then you would enter Laura.Lilibrook or Laura Lilibrook to log in.
For business owners this could potentially be something great to use or something even more confusing depending on the way that you think and function. In the edit tab or the build menu when you click on your creations it will show both your display name and your username, which wouldn’t be visible if you used all 31 characters for your display name.
Now I personally have a few issues with this and I’m sure it’s probably been on the minds of a few others as well. Here’s what I’m thinking…
They say that it will be easier to find friends and recognize them with display names but I have to question them on this one. If you’re allowed to change it once per week after the launch- although while it’s still in beta you can change it multiple times- then what if they choose something entirely different from their user name- a username that you have identified with this person for all your time of knowing them? And what if they change it every single week to something different? How does that make it easier to find them or recognize them if you’re looking in your friends list? Sure you could scroll or hover your mouse over their name or check profiles to see their usernames but doesn’t it make it more troublesome, not less? I like being able to find my friends on my list at a simple glance with a hit of my tab button. Maybe you should think about this LL because I’m not sure where you got the idea it would be easier. Also what does this do for businesses or careers? If a model changes their name every week how do we identify her/him- with their username or their display names?
What if I find someone walking around with my exact name as their display name? They can chat with others, use that name for business purposes perhaps and even impersonate someone me or someone else! While it’s true that you can quickly find out of they are legitimately the person their display name claims them to be by checking their profile or inspecting them to find their usernames who wants to go through all this trouble and have to wonder all the time whether they are the real deal or not? This also makes me wonder about whether we will continue to keep and retain the unique identities that we have created and cultivated in second life.
Now there are some cool things that come with the name change that I can’t deny or overlook so I won’t even try.
You’ve probably seen so many people strutting their stuff with those huge titlers and sometimes it just made you go blind looking at them or confused you with all the text that blended in with the background or their bodies. Titlers are used for many purposes whether it’s just to be goofy and announce a preference, a nickname, or for business and advertising purposes. The display name feature eliminates titlers in a way and cuts down on some lag I suppose. So if you owned a business you could change your display name to Kookie Crumble of Kookie-Land Designs for example. Which is a nifty feature to have on hand although I wouldn’t say it was so dire in need that the display name feature should be created just for this.
Let’s say that when you first registered you thought it would be really cool to have a goofy and weird name but as you grew in second life you realized that it wasn’t so great to have a name with 20 characters or all numbers but you couldn’t change it. With the display name feature that is taken care of because while your username may remain all numbers you can quickly change it to whatever your heart desires.
What if you get married and want to take on the last name of your new beaux of the week like you would do in real life- for some people? The display name feature takes care of this as well and you’re quickly back in business with a new last name to reflect your new relationship and connections.
Linden Labs is working on putting in any feature that would make the display name feature convienient for the residents of second life to retain their current identities and to lose them if they so choose by not displaying them. While I’m not jumping for joy at this new feature and still have a few doubts on it I guess I’ll just have to wait and see how it will effect my overall quality of SLife. I personally use Emerald Viewer and unless they decide to change with the times like the 2.0 viewer I doubt that anything will be changing for me since I won’t even see the display names. But it’s something to keep in mind the next time you log in.
Want to have your voice heard then maybe you should vote on this new impending improvement launch. You can add your voice Here.
I’ve also included the video tutorial and introduction to the Display Name feature created by Torley Linden. Enjoy and let us know what you think or feel about this!