Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keep Quiet

“Your world. Your imagination.” This is SL’s motto and it’s pretty clear that residents make use of their imagination through fantastic bodies, wardrobes full of sl-couture clothes, partying into the wee hours dressed as vampires or foxes…this kind of thing. And so why would one want to ruin a perfectly good fantasy with real life details. Voice enabled chat fairly recently became available to users. Stick in your ear buds, post a microphone, and with one easy click you have another way to thrust yourself into the metaverse. While voice will benefit the academic/professional side of sl, it can be a drawback in social situations. For example,

I went to a party and my pal Colleen asked if I was listening to the chat around us. I thought voice was something I’d have to download and risk blowing my hard drive on but no, a change in preferences and suddenly I could hear the snuffling and coughing of my fellow avatars, right there, as if they were in the same room with me. Since I had no mic I eavesdropped (which everyone knew). While I’m captivated by the technology of Second Life that allows it to be so immersive, do I really need to listen to my fellow avatar, dressed in a maid’s uniform holding a kitty and dancing a super cute and sexy can-can that she’ll “brb – gotta take out the garbage”. Another fellow, who I had had my eye on, appeared to be – through his sounds anyway, an old geezer in a smoke stained upholstered rocking chair, eating from a bag of ranch Doritos. What I thought was an aloof cool, through his avatarian presentation, was really a voyeuristic human, breathing heavy and making comments to the ladies nearby that he liked watching their skirts rise as they danced. The others giggled and shot him down, saying “Now, now, dear” but still…the thing about text conversation is that you do have to think before you type, lest someone be offended. With voice, there’s no chance to amend your belches. Predictably, I’ve disabled the preference.

(credit to the image maker whose name I did not catch)