Mar 24, 2008

Is That Really You Talking?

After months of avoiding it, last night I gave in for a short while to the Voice feature of Second Life. Donning my headset, I enabled the chat along with my friends mtd1952 Timeless and Merry Felwitch, along with a new guy, Charlez Caproni. An odd experience for me, to say the least. Hearing MTD and Merry for the first time since I started back in November 2007 was surprising. Not because they didn't sound like I expected - and I honestly had no expectations - but because suddenly it became more like a phone call, all be it rather distorted and fiddly.

The mechanics of "push to talk" and having voices clash felt awkward. I also felt like we tacitly acknowledged we had to take turns in order to be heard. The lack of non-verbal cues such as eye contact and facial expression also made it feel odd. It wasn't unpleasant - just unusual.

The other thing that gets in the way of my using voice is that I have a family who sleep! My computer is located such that it wouldn't be long before someone would be telling me to be quiet. Maybe it's also significant that I am not much of a phone person anyway. In RL, I do a LOT of face-to-face teaching and talking so that's really more comfortable for me. I can run online presentations and use Skype happily on a one-to-one. But I think I'm not ready for a significant amount of SL chatting. I'm sure there will be occasions when it makes sense, however replacing my Typonese with Voice is a long way off.

If nothing else, I am more certain that MTD is a guy and Merry is a gal. Although you can use voice changing software - apparently - I understand that it is obvious; so you really can't be a guy pretending to be a gal.

And another thing: I suddenly felt my real-life self beginning to replace my Second Life persona. Sure, Sigmund Leominster and "me" have things in common, but I don't want SL to be just a copy of RL. After Voice would come video, and then Siggy is gone and "I" am there - which I don't want. My Second Life is precisely that; a Second Life.

Best to try keep the two apart as much as possible for as long as possible. At this moment in time, the podcast is voice enough for me.

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