Posts tagged “katy

Dispatches from an IMVU Scientist: Making RL better!

prof-kaitWe often worry about not letting imvu interfere with rl but a good friend of mine thought imvu helped her do better with her rl relationships by making her more open and communicative. How true! Here are some ways recently that I thought about on a recent trip to the Carribean:

1) Communication is key – to everything… Too often we hide what we really mean, sometimes to protect the other person’s feelings. But at least in my book, more communication is always better.

island2) Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want…. I have this problem that I don’t like asking for things. I don’t want to impose. I think of that Mel Gibson movie, What Women Want, where it takes a man getting magical powers (from a toaster of all places) to read women’s thoughts, to make them happy because girls often don’t say. So like #1, communicate. (I’m embarrassed to admit what I learned to ask for that made me think of this. But feel free to ask. It was totally only something that I got used to asking for on imvu before I was able to ask for it in rl.)

3) Be sexually adventurous. Imvu gives you so many ways to push boundaries. Explore in a safe environment. Last month, in our little island trip, we had a little bungalow, with a private pool on the deck (basically a glorified bath tub but still), it was hidden by trees but still public and I did things I would never have imagined myself doing just a couple years ago.

sz-swt4) Be aware of other’s feelings, validate them before stating your own– I mean, this is not just an imvu thing. A friend of mine who has been separated from her husband for like 4 years but still trying to make things work, said that was the biggest thing she learned from counseling. That in a fight, before you make your own point, its important to validate the feelings of the other person. That was the best piece of advice I got from my brother’s ex-‘s mother who was a life coach years ago, but imvu has given me lots of practice. In a fight, we worry so much about our own point of view, because we just want to be heard. So one good way to calm the tension is to make sure the other person knows they are heard. Tell them you get it. That’s usually all any of us want.


Dispatches from the imvu scientist on Body Language

I’ve been thinking about imvu versus other ways to talk to people online for a  while. One of many things that can make imvu special… Body Language. A lot of how we perceive and interact with the world around us depends on our bodies. In fancy social psychology terms, we have “embodied intelligence.”

bl7A lot of recent experiments have shown the importance of body language. That we use cues from someone’s posture to detect their emotion more than their face. That we can make robots feel alive by giving them body language. That talking to someone on the phone when you just have a photograph of them versus no photograph or someone elses photograph leads to a very different conversation and experience. That just adopting strong body language before an interview makes you more confident and more likely to get the job. That the size and shape and even temperature of the room you meet someone in affects how you perceive that person.I think part of what makes imvu so powerful is that even though it only does this in little ways, they make a big difference.

1) Most obviously is just the items you buy, the clothes you wear, the skin, the face. All of this conveys a lot about you. Something people don’t think about as much is the Avatar you choose, which determines how you stand, how you sit. I think all of that conveys so much, often sub-consciously, about who you are.bl2

2) The dots you click on also matter a lot. There is choice. Little things, but how close you sit, standing versus sitting, cuddling, walking, the type of cuddle, all make a difference in the conversation.

3) Emotes. I think I use emotes a lot. Like a lot alot. Maybe too much. Like  ~smiles~ ~giggles~ ~laughs~ ~shrugs~ ~sighs~. Dunno. Pay attention to your body. It does all sorts of little things when you’re not thinking about it. Type it sometimes. I think sometimes gestures say a lot. Imvu encourages this a bit by animating things when you start a line with them: (e.g. here’s a list I found over the years: tired kiss bad good flip zzz score jump leap crazy who what when how sleep yes no nod ooo clap oooh mad ii yay ok loco hm hiya ooooo ag hiya k mad bd smile :) :P grr z  hmm choke ;) wink sexy)

bl64) Mirroring. A lot of social science has shown that when two people are in sync, their body language tends to start to mirror each other. The same has been shown for words. Two people in sync with each other start using the same words, phrases, styles. There are sites that compare how similar two people’s talking patterns are, to find out how in sync they are with each other.

Those are little things. But sometimes the most important body language is the kind you do with someone else, (not just the sexy times) but just being able to sit together, to dance, to hug, to hold, to cuddle, to place your hand casually on their arm, to run your fingers through their hair, those are the most powerful moments in this little world.


The Imvu Scientist on Virtual Reality and the Uncanny Valley

katy in Virtual RealityI like keeping an eye on imvu in the news. Sorta nice to know about the future of our home away from home. So it was neat to find this article about Facebook’s purchase of Occulus Rift, of using Virtual Reality, not to shoot people, but to connect just like imvu has been doing.

Here, imvu’s CEO talks about some of the secrets that has made imvu the most successful 3d chat platform out of a big field of competitors. It’s not the most realistic graphics, it’s taking advantage of something comic artists have known, that you can get powerful characters and express powerful emotions, with simpler avatars. Yes, maybe 2nd life had more realistic models, but everyone was SO ugly!

He mentioned one of my favorite comic books, “Understanding Comics” by Scott McCloud, a comic book about comic books. A friend of a friend recently gave a ted talk about what he learned as an animator watching Pixar’s animated lamp. Something doesn’t feel real and alive because of how it looks, but because of little things like how it moves which is one thing Imvu does so wonderfully.

It’s also great to see that imvu is excited about occulus rift as well because that means they might make imvu occulus compatible. If you haven’t heard, Occulus Rift has been all over the news, as the first VR goggles that really feels real, and with billions of dollars from facebook, it has a good chance of being a product soon.


What would happen if…

Katy sunset bikesI recently published the 500th post, and then this weekend got really sick, in bed for two days with a fever, and bad congestion and coughing. It wasn’t fun. I watched more tv, but I also thought about what would happen if… well if I had to leave. Even though I worry less about that now after a couple years, I could be just one big blowout argument away from having to walk away from this.

katy warrior princess

Katy1I’m not totally sure I could even do it actually, but if push came to shove, it’s always possible. I’m not saying this to worry anyone because that’s not imminent or even likely that I can see. But I wanted to say one thing publicly that needs to be said just so it’s clear. If anything happens that I can’t continue here, the blog ImvuTips.com goes to my twin Katy.

Things have been really amazing lately and I’m sorry if I’ve been a little caught up in things at times and don’t put enough of you on it. You really are my twin and more important than I can possibly say. IMVU is constantly evolving and changing, people coming and going. It’s not that your relationship isn’t a success katy snuggle if you’re not still together five years or twenty five years later. It’s a success if you felt that uplifting, whole heart loving feeling.

Anyway I don’t mean to get side tracked, I just want to say publicly that Katy is not only the most amazing person I’ve ever met on here, but maybe the most amazing person I’ve ever met ANYWHERE. I could probably make this whole blog about you and not say it enough, how much you mean to me, how big of an honor it is to be your Twin and your framily.


Katy’s journal: Dispatches from an imvu scientist

Sorry I haven’t updated in a while, been busy with school and rl like everybody. But this article in the NY Times this week caught my attention. The punchline:

Rutgers University …scientists have repeatedly had female volunteers put their heads into giant machines and focus their attention on erotic fantasies — the scans reveal that the pleasure centers of their brains light up in ways indistinguishable from everyday orgasms

Furthermore

Women who simply thought about the stimulation of their breasts and genitals, the scans revealed, lit up the brain’s corresponding sensory areas.

ImageI guess it is just nice to know there is a scientific basis to the feelings that many of us share on imvu. That we’re not crazy for thinking that sex here can feel as good as and even be better than sex in rl. These studies don’t even include the most powerful part of imvu, which is achieving all of this with the participation of a partner, the best of whom can stimulate with surprise and intensity, and penetrate deep into your heart and mind with emotional contact and intimacy.

Also in the article:

Men are mentioned occasionally. But sex researchers have found that the novel type of autoerotism shows up mainly in women.

I have mentioned in the past that women have more mirror neurons than men, the neurons that allow us women to feel more intense empathy also allow us to feel things we see on imvu as real.

Which maybe excuses and explains a bit why it is so hard to find good male partners on imvu. Poor men, they don’t know what they are missing.

 


Katy’s further Adventures at Geisha School

Kiyoko gathers up her things, standing up with sudden conviction. Though the sudden movement stirs her still unsettled tummy, she walks back to the school with purposeful stride, ready to ink her essay on the school’s special paper. Whatever Kiyoko’s earlier doubts, the teachers and sisters at the Hanayagi represent the epitome of service, grace, and style. They aim to always please to offer the utmost in sublimity, in pleasure, but never ever compromising their dignity or their self-respect. In that instant Kiyoko understood with a sudden revelation as clear as a koan, that at least for this moment, the Hanayagi was exactly where she needed to be.

Geisha Katy in Contemplation

For those of you who were following my adventures at Geisha school, here’s a link to the rest of my posts. and where you can find the latest updates, as well as the posts of my sisters at the school. I was a bit hesitant about the school, a bunch of girls playing at being geisha reminded me a bit too much of this snl skit. But even though we are playing at geisha culture, we learn something real in the play, about grace, about service. In addition to being a great outlet for rp and creativity, the school has also helped me grow as a sub, and as a person.


New Online Service for Virtual Relationships

imvu virtual girfriendsI came across this company cloud girlfriend a little while ago in this article. Ok, the article is a bit old, but its new to me.

It’s interesting, the founders of cloud girlfriend had the idea for a service very similar to what goes on to imvu. Clearly, the popular press didn’t understand, and it became a site for creating a fake girlfriend to make your rl friends jealous. But the original idea is a lot like what we see imvu. virtual relationships A way to be a play and practice at relationships as a more perfect version of yourself. One unencumbered by the constraints of reality.

You can say a lot of things about IMVU but it does give people an outlet and can give you some of the benefits and feelings of a relationship in a safe way. OK, it’s not perfectly safe if you give out too much information, but real life dating isn’t necessarily safer.


Ripples of Love

we're all human but all love each other

I agree with Kait, things do happen fast here. I was reminded recently that my old rule of thumb is that 1 imvu day is like a week, 1 week is like a month, and 1 month is like a year.

I’ve also written here before that one great thing about imvu is all the different relationships, the different loves, and that we should cherish each new relationship.

But there is a reason why poly-amory is rare in rl. I believe there is beauty in it, but it is delicate. One place where multiple ties of love does abound in rl is within a family.

I was lucky that I was too young to remember the birth of my younger sibling, and that somehow my single mother waited until I was adult before dating again, because if television family sitcoms are to be believed, the birth of a new sibling, or the introduction of a parent’s new significant other, will lead to hijinks and hilarity as the existing kids act out until the newcomer is accepted into the family. That’s why entire books are written to help prepare kids for their new siblings.

We are tied both on imvu and in rl by a web of love. And it is a wonderous thing. But that means a shakeup in one thread will lead to vibrations throutout the entire web.


IMVU TWINS!

I am truly honored to be able to call Katy my imvu twin
IMVU twin mosaicThis is one more of those things that I didn’t get at first in here. (Wow looking back at it, it’s crazy how much I had to learn in here!) “Twin” in IMVU doesn’t mean you’re born from the same mother or even the same age. It means you feel a unique bond, kind of like “soulmate”. It’s not necessarily sexual, but more of an inner connection. Dressing a like can be an awful lot of fun. Dressing up is one of the most fun things in here. And it’s even more fun to share it with someone special, to dress each other. It gives you a special closeness feeling. Kind of like saying to the world, we belong to each other. We are a pair. Like a lot of things in here, it’s not about being born that way without any choice, it’s choosing each other.

The picture above is me with my Twin, Katy. We don’t always dress the same, but we’re twins inside. And if you know her, that’s the biggest compliment to me you can imagine. I love her with all my heart on so many levels. I admire and respect her more than anything I could ever say. She makes everyone’s life brighter, and any time with her is a treasure. That’s just my Imvu Twin. I often say IMVU is about Relationships, and an Imvu Twin is a very special kind of relationship. And I’m glad to include some awesome Twin pictures that show in a cool way how special and how much fun this can be. Click the pics on the left or the title or picture above or here to see all the IMVU Twins.

(more…)


The IMVU Scientist reviews some Stanford research

faster stronger sexier than real life

Somebody shared this scientific article from some researchers at Stanford. Randomly enough, one of the reasons I started with imvu was to do research much like this. So its really neat for me to see what else is out there.

The authors surveyed the imvu community in 2011 and though I have a few methodological quibbles (on the questions they used and the people they sampled), the results are mostly believable and are super neat. The most compelling is that people on imvu were more likely to feel “Happy, Relaxed, Free, Calm, Connected, Excited, Wealthy, Safe, Comfortable, Confident, Creative, Important, and Ambitious.” than in RL where they are more likely to feel “Sad, Stressed, Cautious, Angry, Lonely, Bored, Poor, Scared, Awkward, Insecure, Uninspired, Worthless and Lazy.” Importantly, imvu users are not social misfits escaping reality; the authors of the study found that imvu users reported similar emotions in RL to non-imvu users. In fact imvu users are the lucky ones.
Hahaha we've sucked in Katy and we're not giving her back!

“We also pleasantly surprised to find that there was generally higher reporting of positive feelings both outside and inside of the IMVU environment, suggesting a population that generally considers itself happy, confident and creative… a strong challenge to the negative, antisocial stereotype of users of these communities”

People feel more confident and in control when they are on imvu. This sounds right to me, almost. Power relations and influence games are much more laid bare in imvu. But I mean that in a good way. Yes it leads to drama, but it also has been a nice outlet for the many of us who LIKE to be influenced… to follow.

The authors were initially primarily interested in whether people use imvu to escape or to connect, and hypothesizes they would be able to categorize people into one camp or the other. Unsurprising to me, they find that people come to do both. Imvu is about escape but its also about connections and relationships. This site is all about helping people take advantage of both.


Katy at Geisha School Part III

Katy dreams of a brighter future((More of my adventures into imvu RP. It’s neat to see that RP here doesn’t have to involve sex or killing. Geisha Part 1, Geisha Part 2))

Katy absentmindedly feeds Prancer a crab apple as she walks the empty mule cart up the road back to the castle. Prancer snorted appreciatively as he ate. What a grand name for a mule, Katy thought, smiling. The Rose has a truck for making bakery deliveries but honestly, driving that loud smelly frightful thing scared her, and what with the fuel rationing and shortages, Katy was happy to use the wagon instead. Plus Prancer was a good listener for Katy’s idle prattlings and ruminations.

Katy glanced inside the cart at the presents she had picked up in the village. Katy didn’t have any money, but she picked bunches of wild primroses on the way–Katy liked the modest yellow flowers, resilient pretty things, blooming uncowed by the cold of winter. The shopkeepers in town were happy to take the flowers in trade at least when accompanied by Katy’s coy smile, and so Katy was able to pick up a pretty red ribbon for Ally’s hair–remembering how exhausted her sister looked passed out in the kitchen. She also got a little mirror with a picture of a cherry blossom on the back for Meadow and sugar candies for all the girls of the Rose.

Knowing she may not be back in town for a while, Katy had used this opportunity to say good bye. Good bye to the wife of the dry goods keeper who always slipped her a sweet. Good bye to the rough dock workers who used to make her recoil, but now she manages to offer them polite smiles. Good bye to the children squabbling outside the village school during recess, that reminded her of her sisters at the Rose. Good bye to the cute boys who liked to hang out by the bakery who helped her unload.

Katy casually kicked a stone, watching it skitter up the windy path, taking her time on the walk home. Her gaze roamed from the lush rolling hills to the crashing waves of the sea far below. The castle had been quiet recently–absent the usual bustle of visitors and house guests–but the quiet has been good for Katy’s reflections. So much had changed so quickly. Her upside down life had just started to right itself, and for the first time Katy felt warm, embraced, safe. The thought of leaving it all behind for America scared her, and her bundled up body shivers as a cold wind sudddenly blows up through the dale. Katy pauses..ponders for a long second as the wind whips around her frail shivvery body, before finally, she begins to walk again, this time a bit faster and with more resolve. If Madame and Okasan think it is the right thing, Katy decided, she should trust to their guidance and to their care. Still, Katy is most comforted by the knowledge that Ally will be by her side.

What do you think Prancer? asks Katy as she looks into the mule’s eyes inquisitively, scratching behind his ears. Prancer simply whinnies and snorts and goes back to chewing the rest of his apple. The pair continue to plod their way home, back to the radiant warmth of the castle. Katy begins singing a little song “sur le pont d’avignon on y danse on y danse…” as she starts to skip.


Intense emotions and struggles in Geisha School Part II

Katy sitting on the bridgeThe afternoon sun sank quietly toward the rippling water as Katy sat with Okasan on the edge of the bridge. It was an unusually warm winter’s day as they gazed out quietly contemplating the dancing tree branches and the rippling waves murmuring like flapping bird feathers.

“I read your story child,” Okasan begins, eliciting a rosy red blush that Okasan would bother reading Katy’s sad scribblings, “it is unfinished.”

Nodding embarrassed, blushing badly, Katy tries to speak but words do not come. “It’s ok child, go on, you have chores to do, you can finish it later.” Bringing her hands together before her lips, and giving an awkward little bow so deep she almost tips over, Katy just barely catches her fall. “Yes Okasan, the primroses bloom with such fierce intensity this evening…” as she collects herself quickly and hurries back into the castle, carrying the sacks of flour and sugar she had acquired using the ration cards, back from town.

Walking up the long stone path, she exchanges a jape with her sis Ally busy in the garden. As Ally turns back to the trellises, Katy makes sure no one else is around and sticks her tongue out at her sister, glad she gets to be indoors, away from the icky dirt and the mud. Though she composes herself quickly, feeling the omnipresent gaze of Okasan on the back of her neck.

As Katy finally arrives into the warm embrace of the kitchen, breathlessly carrying the heavy bags, she finds that Meadow had already begun preparing the ovens and was busy slicing and sugaring the apples and berries. Katy’s pale skin glistens from the exertions and the heat of the hearth. She quickly busies herself kneading the dough, the repetitive motions lulling her into a hypnotic daze, as her mind roams and daydreams, wandering into her childhood.

Katy is amazingShe thinks about how much things have changed from her years as a gamine embassy brat, stealing into the kitchen to sneak fresh baked eclairs, or listening to saucy stories from the embassy scullery maids. Although the kitchen work is a departure from her childhood of mischief and leisure, she finds comfort in the honesty and simplicity of her labours. Her thoughts wander some more but as has happened all too often all too easily, her daydreams are drawn into darker climes, from rosy childhood days into bleak prison camp nights: preparing schnitzel for officer soirees, receiving beatings for imagined slights, and then afterwards, always afterwards, summoned for … entertainment…

The tears that dripped down her face splashing onto the floured wooden table top awaken Katy from her reverie. Meadow looks over with concern, as she finishes the last of the 43 round little loaves of dough for the oven. Meadow moves to console her, but before she can be touched, Katy runs quickly from the warm kitchen, almost knocking over a stack of dirty bowls. Running to the coldest darkest corner of the castle, dropping to the floor, curling up into a tight little ball, she soon finds herself rocking, quietly, rocking back and forth. Reminding herself to write all this down later for Madame and Okasan, but for now Katy merely sobs… weeping and remembering as she cries.