Sunday, May 18, 2008

Voice - How Do I Hate Thee

I like to talk as much as the next person. But iSL I prefer to text. Prefer is not strong enough... I dread and loath voice. Dread and loath too strong? Maybe. Here are some of the reasons that I prefer text to voice:
  • I don't get the "social cues" that people give with just voice. I feel like my voice is just going off into the void. With text, we use a whole different set of social cues to convey attention, interest, appreciation, doubt. With text you have to be direct to convey those states. I like being direct.
  • I like the anonymity of sl. I enjoy imagining who a person is based wholly on the content of their words, not on their looks, age, weight, ethnicity, accent, voice. While almost everyone has a nice avatar, not everyone has a nice voice. Hearing a person's voice is usually disappointing.
  • Text is a communication equalizer. Sure, some people are at the disadvantage of not being efficient typists. But there is no urgency with text. When you get it out, it will be "heard." Text users expect comments to occur out of order. Voice demands speed and aggression. Only those who are aggressive get to speak, and those who are slow to process their ideas give up when the conversation has switched directions.
  • I am more thoughtful about what I write than what I say. I can edit as I go. Because I am not alone in this, text conversations seem to have more meat (or tofu if you prefer).
  • In SL there are just so many technical complications. We don't all have equal equipment, connections and don't all understand the intricacies of the audio settings. Getting people to toggle mics on and off, control the volume of individual speakers and making it work well is a hassle of questionable worth.
So are these "reasons" rational or psychiatric? I also avoid talking on the phone.

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