I am looking for suitable candidates to interview as case study material for a new book I am writing for the Science Museum here in London, to be published globally by Wiley early next year.

The book, Being Virtual: who you really are online, will be an exploration of identity in the digital age. The particular focus will be virtual identity, how we expose or disguise ourselves online in places like DaniWeb as well as immersive 3D virtual worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft, social spaces like MySpace and so on.

If you have an interesting story to tell about your life online, please PM me ASAP. I want to get all my interviews finished by the end of the month.

You will get a credit in the book if you do not want your real world identity to remain secret, if you do that is no problem. DaniWeb will also get a credit of course.

I want the book to be shaped by the very real adventures that people have had in the virtual world, and the real world consequences of the same.

For those who do not know me, as well as being an admin and staff writer here at DaniWeb I am also a freelance writer with 20+ books under my belt, a Contributing Editor of the biggest selling monthly IT magazine in the UK (PC Pro) and a former Technology Journalist of the Year and IT Security Journalist of the Year. Perhaps more importantly, I was an early explorer of online communities and virtual worlds some 20 years ago through MUD, Bulletin Boards, Usenet and the emerging Internet. Struck down by Viral Encephalitis in my early twenties, I spent a year in hospital and many years in a wheelchair as a result. Having lost my wife, my kids, my job, my house, my independence and ultimately my identity I ventured online and rediscovered myself there. Ever since I have been involved with virtual communities either as a user or adviser, participating and behind the scenes helping them to grow. I love the whole virtual world thing, and am very excited about writing one of the first books that will take a serious but accessible look at the virtual identity question.

OK, enough waffle. Here are some of the areas I want to cover, so if any sounds like you get in touch. Even if you do not see yourself in the list below, but think you could add something to the book get in touch and let me know what.

  • Teenagers using virtual worlds to create a social circle rather than the real world, or to compliment one in the real world.
  • Teenagers flirting with virtual friends.
  • Mums swapping an average first life for something more exciting in second life.
  • Middle aged men reliving their youth online.
  • Older folk, the so called ‘silver surfers’ who have discovered the freedoms of virtual lives. Indeed, the older the better – I would love to talk to the oldest person with an active virtual identity.
  • Gender benders, the people who change sex when in the virtual world.
  • People who have fallen in love with another virtual character and got married online, but have never met in real life.
  • People who have fallen in love with another virtual character, met up in real life and either gone on to get married or have been disappointed to discover the real person could not live up to the virtual one.
  • People who have experienced, from either side of the situation, the break up of a real world marriage as a consequence of a virtual affair.
  • People whose virtual identity takes a darker path than that of the real world, prompting them to become virtual Mafia bosses, thieves, violent criminals and so on.
  • People who have found virtual worlds to be an enabling technology, freeing them from the physical shackles and real world prejudices of their disability.
  • People who have set up business within a virtual world.
  • People who do not hide behind a virtual identity but instead use it to express the real them in a much more open and honest way than they ever could in the real world.
  • People who have found work within a virtual world.
  • People for whom one virtual identity is just not enough, and juggle multiple virtual personalities.
  • People who have been the victim of identity theft and are prepared to talk about the experience from start to finish.
  • People for whom the virtual existence begins when they switch the computer off and are faced with ‘real life’ as it were.
  • People who have learned the hard way that there are real world consequences for virtual actions, and equally people who have been surprised by unexpected but pleasant consequences also.
  • People who discovered the Google Effect: that everything you have ever done online is ultimately traceable back to you, maybe resulting in the loss of a job, the failure of a job interview, the break up of a relationship, a costly settlement of a legal case, and even the attentions of an online/offline stalker.

Sorry for the long posting, but hopefully it gives you a good idea of what I am looking for and could be the message that leads to a certain amount of fame or infamy on your part.

No doubt when the book is published, given the Science Museum connection and the marketing push that is being promised, there will be an opportunity for the most interesting of interviewees to tell their story to the broadcast and print media as well...

joshSCH commented: Happy Independence Day! =p +15


..Ironic that you want people with virtual acquaintances considering this IT community is virtual :p

No irony at all, that is exactly why I am asking here :)

Talking of which, only one response so far. Do none of you guys and gals have any interesting experiences within virtual communities/places that you'd like to talk about and see written up in a book?

I'd like to help.. but I haven't really experienced any of those things in your outline..

Although you have experienced how easy it is to be misunderstood and how easy it is for tempers to flare in the virtual world, which all adds up to a potential interesting and worthwhile chat for the book if you are up to it...

hah.. I don't mind.. And actually, when I was younge, I used to lie about my age, and go to MSN chatrooms to chat with other people.. I don't actually remember much (can't have been that long ago..) lol but I do remember chatting with some chicks who I in turn got their SN.

[edit] I don't know how interesting it would be..

Ah google translate . . .