Written early December, 2007
This may well be just another post about the appropriateness of using voice in SL, but I think some points need to be made, and I have not weighed-in on the subject here at all as to my own experiences and feelings regarding same.
When voice first made its appearance in SL, I thought great, this will be much easier. Having been used to Skyping in world with friends, I assumed it would be the same. Additionally, my typing is neither very good nor very fast, which would alleviate another issue for me. Technical problems aside, I soon came to realize that there were other difficulties with voice. First, the issue of everyone trying to talk at once. This is also a problem in the chat window as people overlap, however, you can go to history and recreate the thread if need be. This leads to the next drawback -the lack of a chat log. Oftentimes there has been an especially good chat about a topic of interest that I wanted to save for later perusal and more in-depth exploration. Unfortunately, when using voice, there is no chat log, so POOF! All is lost.
Finally, something that had occured to me, but didn’t have a direct effect until last Thursday’s ISTE social; the issue of chat bleed, and hearing/saying things that you would not choose to be overheard by others.
Those of you who know me well, understand that I am passionate, funny, sarcastic, and dramatic (I was a drama major after all) -especially on a rant, which in itself promotes drama. You also know that with friends, in any rant-based monologue, I will use *colorful* language. I do not do this in traditional chat, on my blog, on Twitter, or in any other public forum, it is inappropriate and easily misunderstood. What if, however, you have removed yourself from a group to another location to talk to friends and do not realize the extent to which your voice chat is infringing upon and/or upsetting to others?
That is exactly what happened at last week’s ISTE social; several of us moved away from the main group into one of the pavilions to talk , and after completing the better part a *colorful* monologue <rant>, someone from the other group came over and said it was really bothering some of them. OMG! I felt terrible on so many levels, I can’t begin to say, but at that point, what could be done? The people who don’t know me very well had a horrible impression, I bothered a group having an on-topic discussion, and although my words were not about anyone in SL, or involved with anyone in-world other than me, or even known to anyone in SL, they couldn’t know that -so the impression stands.