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Or am I?

Conversations I had today in-world (after a multi-year absence) with two old and very dear friends in Second Life left me thinking about how we use "voice" -- or more accurately, for most of us, text -- to establish "who we are" here. There are a few ways that we can self-fashion here: through clothes, obviously, and profile, and AO, but surely the most important is the distinctive "voice" that we project through text. And these vary, sometimes enormously, from context to context.

On the forum, for instance, I tend, most often, to use measured prose, that is, I hope, relatively lucid and "casual," but not colloquial. It's somewhat like the voice that I use, for instance, for emails in RL. (There are, of course, exceptions to that rule.)

But in-world, the way that I self-present can, I think, vary widely. It's obviously different from how I "speak" here, if only because it's produced in shorter spurts, and is most often in response to an ongoing, dynamic conversation. But I've noticed that, while I will often "speak" in relatively long and complicated statements, the context of close friends, or at least certain kinds of close friends, tends to have me speaking in shorter, more breathless messages. I'll use more single word messages. I'll be sharper or more sarcastic. I'll use all caps (a LOT, apparently). I'll "banter." Around men (I'm boringly hetero), I'll be a bit . . . manic. Not giggly (I don't giggle) but . . . without the kind of authoritative and calm voice I use elsewhere. (And that's not because I am looking for a hook-up, because I'm not.)

That last phenomenon is for me to figure out. As a feminist, I find it interesting, if not troubling. But the questions I want to ask people here are:

  • How do you use text to establish your personality and/or authority?
     
  • How many different "voices" do you have? What are the contexts in which you use them?
     
  • Are you consciously using a voice that projects a different version of yourself than you think represents your RL self?
     
  • Obviously, if you're doing RP, you're employing a different voice. But do you think there is a relationship between how you speak OC, and the way in which you formulate speech in RP?

Or, ignore the above, and just tell us something about who you "are" here!

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Well, I can confirm the authority. I'm not here very much anymore, of course, but my very strong sense is that you have an immense amount of authority. Sort of a beloved aunt or den mother. But S

Ceka, honestly, you have (for me) one of the most expressive and distinctive voices here. It's one I've had a long time to get to know, and one that always makes me smile. And part of that is most def

You would've gotten on well with one of my Statistics professors.  The text for the class was written by him, which you might think would portend a very dull class (couple that with the actual subject

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16 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Grrrrl!!!

I am always the same except RP and stickers used on the forum.

0193143D-E77C-41F1-9673-9734E712C4B7.jpeg

It's a little odd that LL has never introduced features like emoji or gifs, stickers, and embedded video into in-world IMs. That could make for wild conversation. But maybe they want it to replicate real world conversations?

Mind you, there is chat spam.

Do you "sound" the same in RL?

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18 minutes ago, iamyourneighbour said:

Context based, if I am talking to people I know I don't even bother to add caps or comma.

Stuff like greeting new tenants or trying to buy 10000 sqm I would definitely structure my words and sentences better. 

Weirdly, I am ridiculously careful about caps and punctuation, pretty much always. That probably DOES say a lot about me.

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1 minute ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

It's a little odd that LL has never introduced features like emoji or gifs, stickers, and embedded video into in-world IMs. That could make for wild conversation. But maybe they want it to replicate real world conversations?

Mind you, there is chat spam.

Do you "sound" the same in RL?

Voice? I’m a neutral sounding gay/bi man, neither “femme” sounding or “butch”. But I write in the same “voice” in all contexts.

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8 minutes ago, Sylvannas Zulaman said:

If the person I'm talking to doesn't creep me out, I'll be nice and chilled, but if it's the opposite, or even if I'm just not really interested in talking I'll use short sentences.

As a sort of passive-aggressive way of warning them off?

Not being judgy: I probably do the same thing. I think it likely works.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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2 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Voice? I’m a neutral sounding gay/bi man, neither “femme” sounding or “butch”. But I write in the same “voice” in all contexts.

I actually think you have a very distinctive voice here. Although part of that is probably a function of the content you post?

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8 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I actually think you have a very distinctive voice here. Although part of that is probably a function of the content you post?

Thank you, I’ll take “distinctive” as a complement! I post on “most” threads and try to stay positive except when responding to bullies. My sense of humor (or lack thereof) gets me into trouble.

P.S. I crossover Real/First life a lot. My avatar has my RL tattoos, and some similar outfits to some I have in RL. 

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23 minutes ago, Love Zhaoying said:

Thank you, I’ll take “distinctive” as a complement! I post on “most” threads and try to stay positive except when responding to bullies. My sense of humor (or lack thereof) gets me into trouble.

P.S. I crossover Real/First life a lot. My avatar has my RL tattoos, and some similar outfits to some I have in RL. 

Yes, it's a compliment!

I get very clear mental images of people here on the basis of their writing. Sometimes it's influenced by their avatars, and sometimes not. Phil Deakins (whom I've known from the forums forever) to me projects a personality that is totally at odds with his avatar!

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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32 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I get very clear mental images of people here on the basis of their writing. Sometimes it's influenced by their avatars, and sometimes not. Phil Deakins (whom I've known from the forums forever) to me projects a personality that is totally at odds with his avatar!

This - especially the last part. 

I write inworld mostly the same as I do online, except for hitting enter more frequently, rather than typing paragraphs.  I write inworld and in the forums in much the same way that I do for casual emails.  In all of those I tend to still attempt to properly use caps and at least semi/mostly correct grammar and phrasing - but it is casual, unlike my prim and proper work emails.

Edited by LittleMe Jewell
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7 minutes ago, LittleMe Jewell said:

This - especially the last part. 

I write inworld mostly the same as I do online, except for hitting enter more frequently, rather than typing paragraphs.  I write inworld and in the forums in much the same way that I do for casual emails.  In all of those I tend to still attempt to properly use caps and at least semi/mostly correct grammar and phrasing - but it is casual, unlike my prim and proper work emails.

Lol

Poor Phil. I'm sure his mesh ears are incandescent right now, they're burning so brightly.

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2 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:
  • How do you use text to establish your personality and/or authority?
     
  • How many different "voices" do you have? What are the contexts in which you use them?
     
  • Are you consciously using a voice that projects a different version of yourself than you think represents your RL self?
     
  • Obviously, if you're doing RP, you're employing a different voice. But do you think there is a relationship between how you speak OC, and the way in which you formulate speech in RP?

Absolutely different "voices" depending what I want to do. Cadence is something I believe people can pick up.

Casually, I like to use shorter lines
so that people don't get too bored
and start typing a reply
which is something they will do if one is writing a long screed
unless they have turned on talking dots...
which of course needs a TPV because the LL view viewer is broken...
I think it can sound likely sound breathless or excited or playful
depending on the cadence I've use.
(This one likely sounds breathless - well it does in my head)

 

/me looks at them kneeling and places a hand on their head "However...
When I am in a more dominant position and expecting my subs to listen to my words and obey what I say
I completely replace my in-voice head with one that is slower, and - I think - more commanding as a result"
/me moves to my chair and sit, looking at them still kneeling "And by using emotes in front to increase the image
along with longer sentences, I think the result is quite different. It's certainly one that seems to work".

 

In roleplay, well, that is likely to spread to a paragraph and take upwards of 5 minutes. But roleplay is yet another set of voice.

Edited by Callum Meriman
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48 minutes ago, Callum Meriman said:

Absolutely different "voices" depending what I want to do. Cadence is something I believe people can pick up.

Casually, I like to use shorter lines
so that people don't get too bored
and start typing a reply
which is something they will do if one is writing a long screed
unless they have turned on talking dots...
which of course needs a TPV because the LL view viewer is broken...
I think it can sound likely sound breathless or excited or playful
depending on the cadence I've use.
(This one likely sounds breathless - well it does in my head)

 

/me looks at them kneeling and places a hand on their head "However...
When I am in a more dominant position and expecting my subs to listen to my words and obey what I say
I completely replace my in-voice head with one that is slower, and - I think - more commanding as a result"
/me moves to my chair and sit, looking at them still kneeling "And by using emotes in front to increase the image
along with longer sentences, I think the result is quite different. It's certainly one that seems to work".

 

In roleplay, well, that is likely to spread to a paragraph and take upwards of 5 minutes. But roleplay is yet another set of voice.

Hmmm! Most people here seem to be suggesting that they use a uniform voice with only sort of marginal changes, like caps or length of sentence. I have no reason to doubt them, but your experience is closer to mine.

How conscious are you of shifting voice? I think I'm sort of conscious-unconscious. I'm aware I'm doing it but don't really think about why or how.

Also interesting is that you distinguish your Dom voice from RP. But that's probably a whole other thing!

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9 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

How conscious are you of shifting voice? I think I'm sort of conscious-unconscious. I'm aware I'm doing it but don't really think about why or how.

It's fairly subconscious.

I really do try to constrain my dominant voice to just a small number of people. With them, I make a conscious choice to start using it, from there it sticks. As for my non-dominant casual voices, one for friends, one for club, one for strangers... the situation, mood, and avatar I am in sets the tone, manerisms, and cadence I use. That's mostly subconscious, although I am sometimes aware of it, especially if I want to make a point.

As an example of making a point; to deal with some club drama I might let my dominant voice to take control. Or if someone is hurting to really soften myself to be non-threatening, open, small, and fluffy.

On the other side, after a few hours talking to other people they are invariably assigned a unique head-voice as well. When their cadence changes I hear the emotion, and experience suggests it's fairly accurate. I've certainly observed most people will use a different cadence subconsciously, so once you know them you have the empathy to decode that small change. Consider: How many times does one ask a sad friend "Are you ok?" after sensing something in change of cadence of words, even if they don't say it in words?

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I probably use two 'voices' when I'm here, or any other time I'm 'talking to myself': one voice takes pains to be serious and maybe even a bit formal, one is casual. Because I love the sight of my own words so much I checked my profile for a couple of recent examples.

Serious: "I recently started getting back inworld pretty regularly after being almost entirely absent for about five years. I kept in touch with some friends via one method or another, and I kept in touch with SL mostly via forums. But I just couldn't seem to take the time to get inworld. It took a spell in the hospital to bring me back. Not that a near-death experience gave me a Second Life vision or anything; I wasn't in serious condition..."

Casual: "Took me a long time to get past Clover's kitty pictures up there; I kind of got fixated on this one. I think if you can look at this without smiling or having an 'aww' moment or whatever you want to call it, you might not be mammalian."

I wouldn't use things like 'kind of got fixated' or 'aww' or even 'whatever' when I'm being serious. Also, when I'm casual I indulge my habit of leaving prepositions off sentence starts, as in "Took me a long time..." instead of "It took me a long time...".

When I'm inworld I go with short sentences or at least single-sentence comments, just as several people have already described. In an active multi-person chat scene like the Atomic Palace on a Saturday night (shameless plug for a friend's place) you have to be brief or the conversation will pass you by. Also I swear a lot; can't do that here.

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1 hour ago, Callum Meriman said:

It's fairly subconscious.

I really do try to constrain my dominant voice to just a small number of people. With them, I make a conscious choice to start using it, from there it sticks. As for my non-dominant casual voices, one for friends, one for club, one for strangers... the situation, mood, and avatar I am in sets the tone, manerisms, and cadence I use. That's mostly subconscious, although I am sometimes aware of it, especially if I want to make a point.

As an example of making a point; to deal with some club drama I might let my dominant voice to take control. Or if someone is hurting to really soften myself to be non-threatening, open, small, and fluffy.

On the other side, after a few hours talking to other people they are invariably assigned a unique head-voice as well. When their cadence changes I hear the emotion, and experience suggests it's fairly accurate. I've certainly observed most people will use a different cadence subconsciously, so once you know them you have the empathy to decode that small change. Consider: How many times does one ask a sad friend "Are you ok?" after sensing something in change of cadence of words, even if they don't say it in words?

Wow. This is a really detailed, and (for me, anyway) pretty accurate account of both using and hearing different voices. (Except for the dom voice: I don't have one of those. I just get screechy.)

I'd love to know how often I misread people's moods from their words. I know I occasionally have. And occasionally, people misread ME, although I don't think generally I'm very subtle. For instance, when I get sulky (VERY VERY RARE), you'll know it.

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6 minutes ago, Dillon Levenque said:

I probably use two 'voices' when I'm here, or any other time I'm 'talking to myself': one voice takes pains to be serious and maybe even a bit formal, one is casual. Because I love the sight of my own words so much I checked my profile for a couple of recent examples.

Serious: "I recently started getting back inworld pretty regularly after being almost entirely absent for about five years. I kept in touch with some friends via one method or another, and I kept in touch with SL mostly via forums. But I just couldn't seem to take the time to get inworld. It took a spell in the hospital to bring me back. Not that a near-death experience gave me a Second Life vision or anything; I wasn't in serious condition..."

Casual: "Took me a long time to get past Clover's kitty pictures up there; I kind of got fixated on this one. I think if you can look at this without smiling or having an 'aww' moment or whatever you want to call it, you might not be mammalian."

I wouldn't use things like 'kind of got fixated' or 'aww' or even 'whatever' when I'm being serious. Also, when I'm casual I indulge my habit of leaving prepositions off sentence starts, as in "Took me a long time..." instead of "It took me a long time...".

When I'm inworld I go with short sentences or at least single-sentence comments, just as several people have already described. In an active multi-person chat scene like the Atomic Palace on a Saturday night (shameless plug for a friend's place) you have to be brief or the conversation will pass you by. Also I swear a lot; can't do that here.

I think this actually describes pretty well the way that I modulate my voice on the forum (although not in-world: I have more variations there, I think). I can get pretty silly here, too . . . although, when I do, it is most often very deliberate and somewhat akin to roleplay.

PS. What's Atomic Palace?

PPS. I'm sorry you didn't join Maddy today, and come by to say hi!

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Just now, Scylla Rhiadra said:

PS. What's Atomic Palace?

PPS. I'm sorry you didn't join Maddy today, and come by to say hi!

PS: It's a club and if I say any more I really will get called out for advertising in the wrong forum. Deservedly.

PPS: I begged Maddy to send me a TP but she ignored me. It was awful ;-).

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5 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

How do you use text to establish your personality and/or authority?

I think you and others here would be the best to say if and how I've established my personality, and whether I speak with any authority. Nobody loves me more than me, so I'm a poor judge. That said, please don't tell me. I have a fragile ego.

5 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

How many different "voices" do you have? What are the contexts in which you use them?

I don't know if I have voices. If I do, then there's an endless supply, but within a limited range, freely intermixed as needed, with little to no conscious effort. It's easy for me to fly off the handle in a mock tirade that, if I do it right, makes everyone laugh. It's much harder for me to be soft and supportive, as I thought Mom needed during her stroke recovery. That was an oops! The more "Maddy" I am, the more "Mom" she is. If I ever gently hold your hand and quietly tell you I love you and everything will be alright, you're dying. That's how mom read it when I tried that "voice" on her. I'll never do that again, unless I want to scare a loved one to death without going to jail. I've never really needed to pull out a soft side to deal with anyone's suffering before, and I'm bothered a little by my inability to do it. I do think I could pull it off with people who don't know me.

Professionally I'm pretty much the same, though when I say "You don't know what the hell you're talking about" there's probably more truth in it, at least enough to get me labeled "high maintenance" by a corporate VP some years ago. Nobody gets mad if I convey a high enough affection to truth ratio. I'm relentlessly analytical, even when being absurd. I refrain from absurdity when it doesn't help, but otherwise you should never trust anything I say. The trick is for you to know when I'm trying to help. I don't make it easy.

5 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Are you consciously using a voice that projects a different version of yourself than you think represents your RL self?

As I said, any voices I have are used automatically. I use an appropriate style, and put some effort into clarifying whether I'm serious or silly, but it's all still me. I can switch back and forth on a dime and hope people follow it. Like Callum, I read (to the best of my ability) the situation to determine where to set the dial. It's all done subconsciously, based on context, limited to my comfort zone. During my years in community theater, if I was to play a role that wasn't substantially me, I'd have to imagine being someone substantially different. I found that difficult, so I only played characters within my range.

5 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Obviously, if you're doing RP, you're employing a different voice. But do you think there is a relationship between how you speak OC, and the way in which you formulate speech in RP?

No. And this is why I don't generally RP. I don't want people who're lovingly inhabiting a role to endure me ripping the playbook out of their hands and running roughshod over it. I adore cartoon violence and I will not be denied in the world's best platform for it. Sure, I can type "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?" as well as any other Romeo (harder in RL where I'm still "straight"), but the "light" in my version is a kerosene camping lantern I've accidentally hurled into Juliet's bedroom while swatting mosquitoes.

You're an accomplished goof yourself. You bring it to the forum in different ways and you can turn it on and off as quickly as I. You've used alts to banter with yourself and I recall you've done dialogs to bring the spontaneity of banter to a single post. While that may be a calculated thing for you, it's natural for me. Do you remember your "How to talk like a boy" thread? You thought it would be a challenge. I didn't. Whether you think it is, or you think it isn't, you're probably right.

17 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I'd love to know how often I misread people's moods from their words.

Every time, Scylla. Every damn time. That's why people remember you.

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8 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I think you and others here would be the best to say if and how I've established my personality, and whether I speak with any authority.

Well, I can confirm the authority. I'm not here very much anymore, of course, but my very strong sense is that you have an immense amount of authority. Sort of a beloved aunt or den mother.

But SEXY. A sexy aunt or den mother. With authority. And sexiness.

10 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I don't know if I have voices.

I think you have one of the most distinctive voices here. (And your avi matches PERFECTLY with that, btw.) It is a beautifully modulated voice, and pretty consistent . . . but maybe also for that reason a little scary? Because, although I've never seen you really cut loose (and I've seen you in situations where you had enough provocation to justify it), I imagine your tongue would lacerate. Really, all the more, because you've established such a reasonable and authoritative voice. God knows, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end. I have absolutely no problem believing that you have been considered "high maintenance": people think they have to work to earn your approbation. What they may not realize is that your generosity will preserve them from the lashing they probably deserve. (I can affirm this because there have been instances where I know that *I* deserved at the least a scolding from you. And you managed instead to reassure me.)

 

19 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

It's all done subconsciously, based on context, limited to my comfort zone.

Yeah, this is mostly me. Although sometimes I pay attention to myself. Today was one of those days.

20 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

During my years in community theater, if I was to play a role that wasn't substantially me, I'd have to imagine being someone substantially different. I found that difficult, so I only played characters within my range.

Again, this is me too. Which is why I never tried RP in SL, and why I failed so miserably at adopting a credible male voice as Richard Parkes, and had to resort to parody.

24 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

You've used alts to banter with yourself and I recall you've done dialogs to bring the spontaneity of banter to a single post. While that may be a calculated thing for you, it's natural for me.

In that context it sort of has to be calculated, for me anyway. It's a form of creative writing, in some ways. I actually prefer that to the sort of semi-conscious ways I can slip in and out of different voices, precisely because I have control when it's calculated and deliberate. I am mildly disturbed when I find that I am "adapting" to a context without being aware of it. I want to KNOW who I am being. And I want conscious control over it.

26 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:
58 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I'd love to know how often I misread people's moods from their words.

Every time, Scylla. Every damn time.

*sigh*

Yeah . . .

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All I know is that those who know me, (both geminis ^^), understand that if I make even one typo, that means I am emotionally, & mentally exhausted. I only have one voice SL/RL. Twin number twos voice is never heard in real life. Musically? yes, verbally? no -_- never. 

Edited by Maryanne Solo
Typo lol
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