Over the last few months, I have been in various positions that I had to explain what it is that I “do”. Sometimes I have had 10 minutes to tell those around me what my research ‘focus’ is, where I am coming from, and where I am (hoping?) to go; but at other times, it is a 10 words or less, 2 minute ‘elevator spiel’. The “HI, I am Kelly, and I am interested in identity in mmorpgs – specifically the player/avatar (re-titled Plavatar today!) relationship and elements related to this process”. If I have an extra minute, I might be lucky enough to actually state that I do not think that, in terms of digital identity, that identity is solely located in the individual – (or the player) – that it actually exists in the relationships (with others or objects etc.). That identity is in the processes and not the end result (this is in my thesis …). But I rarely have time to get this far.
And honestly, this only covers what I have actually done so far. When do I get the opportunity to talk about all the open-ended paths and talk dark forests of questions that plague my future research? (Besides with my advisor… and does anyone actually talk about what they haven’t done yet?)
Recently, at AoIR, I met several people who could offer up some potentially intriguing conversations – but I have not yet mastered the art of contacting these people outside of the conference space and strike up a conversation with the hopes of working towards a fruitful exchange in terms of research ideas, directions and fresh perspectives. Any suggestions?