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Scylla Rhiadra

Public Chat or IM? Has a Culture Shift in SL Made It Harder to Meet People?

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2 hours ago, janetosilio said:

I said all that to say, I remember when SL was much more social and inclusive and I noticed when a shift towards an IM culture started. People started putting “I don’t respond to local” etc. I’m ok with both to be honest. I think it’s a generational thing.

Before someone gets all upset, allow me to explain.

For boomers and Gen X’ers, people tend to be large group oriented. School was a whole class thing. The internet was just starting to come into its own and chat rooms were large group experiences. Forums were a thing and that was how people met and communicated. People tended to stick with a conversation, because a pc could only run one program at a time.

Enter Millennials and Gen Z. School became small group oriented. Texting and sexting became a thing, im’ing and quicker methods of communication became preferred. Emojis, text speak, etc. conversations are more fluid. ie someone will say something and pick up the conversation 20+ minutes later (something that happens frequently in text). People tend to be more tabbed out, on SL....watching Netflix or playing video games all at the same time.

Obviously, it’s not just younger generations doing this. I’m just saying what became the norm as time and technology have passed.

It's an index, probably, of the particular way that my mind works (and maybe yours!), but I really like this answer: it echoes my own feeling that the changes in technology are impacting not merely upon the tools we use, but upon the actual way that we socialize. I do think that there is a connection between changes in digital communications outside of SL, and the culture within it.

But while I'd agree that this is part generational, it's probably more complex than that, because even Gen Xers like myself find themselves sucked into the vortex of new technologies. Yeah, I'm comfortable on a forum like this, because of my age, but I also use emojis, multitask between platforms on my phone and laptop, etc.

2 hours ago, janetosilio said:

I like people talking in local. It makes the world seem more alive.

YES! For me, anyway.

2 hours ago, janetosilio said:

But at the same time, what I’ve noticed is people tend to still talk in local, but it’s less inclusionary. People will say something like “ Oh, I just jump right in!” That doesn’t work for everyone and again, I think this is a generational thing. Younger generations tend to not just jump into conversations.

And here's where the changing tech and generational differences do come into play, maybe. Unlike Twitter, or even Facebook, where conversation is "open," the apps most in use by younger people now tend to define their audiences and communities on platforms like Whatsapp. There's no "jumping in" because it's never truly public to begin with. It's more like group chat in SL.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
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3 hours ago, BelindaN said:

In the beginning..... once I'd got the confidence to say anything, I operated in local, at newbie sims. On the odd occasion I wanted to ask something of a particular Avi I would use  IM. Most of my IMs were incoming at that stage.

Belinda, do you think that new residents find it easier to plunge into a community if there is a lot of open, public chat? Or is "public speaking" when one may feel an outsider a bit too intimidating?

The first places I really frequented in SL were really chatty social spots. It took me a bit of time to wade into public chat, but I think it was a lot easier to immerse myself that way, than it would have been to IM someone. In fact, I doubt that I ever would have IMed someone, left to my own devices.

I wonder if there is a way in which the slow eclipse of public chat might be seen as almost a retention issue?

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Local chat has two huge flaws for me. 

First, it's cluttered. People, objects, scripts, system notices, server messages... Can barely get a word in sometimes. 

Second, and more importantly, it's local. We start moving or teleporting, and we're gonna be missing more messages than we're getting. Moving and talking is fine in RL where the world loads at the same speed for everyone. Not so much in SL when I have to stop every 10 seconds 'cause your toaster is struggling to load that couch. 

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4 hours ago, Rolig Loon said:

When I get together with friends, we are all in local chat

Where you're with multiple friends, that makes sense. Do you use local chat when you're with only one friend though?

Once upon a time, I think I would have. Now, I'm not so sure.

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Just now, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Where you're with multiple friends, that makes sense. Do you use local chat when you're with only one friend though?

Yes, unless we are out of chat range.  When I'm using Firestorm, the text field for local chat is always right there, easy to use.  It takes an extra step to open an IM, so why would I bother?  When I  use the standard LL viewer, the interface makes local chat slightly harder to use, but still one step easier than opening an IM.  I'm lazy.

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1 minute ago, Rolig Loon said:

Yes, unless we are out of chat range.  When I'm using Firestorm, the text field for local chat is always right there, easy to use.  It takes an extra step to open an IM, so why would I bother?  When I  use the standard LL viewer, the interface makes local chat slightly harder to use, but still one step easier than opening an IM.  I'm lazy.

You're quite right about the text field for local chat, of course. In fact, on occasion I will accidentally enter something intended for IM into that -- precisely because it's easier to use.

I do use the chat window for local, though, because local "fades out" so quickly on the screen otherwise. I like having the permanent transcript in front of me. Which mean, I suppose, that there is, for me anyway, very little actual difference between the interface for local and for IMs.

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95% IM, 5% local chat for me. Local only if it's a group of people I know and want to interact with at the same time, usually at either my or their places. In any other case I don't even look there anymore after all these years.

Most of my reasons already mentioned in this thread, but here:

I'm not a big fan of small talk in general, RL or SL, if there's no actual conversation then I'd rather not talk/chat at all. And something more usually takes longer and/or might touch some non public-friendly topics, so IMs just work better for this. I or the person I talk to can also do something else meanwhile if conversation is in IMs, rather than standing/sitting still at one place for (sometimes) hours.

Usual local scripts, objects etc  spam was already mentioned, but I'd also add another thing to it - multiple "chat groups" within chat range. It's a nightmare, really. Like a few (or even two, if they are not terribly slow at typing) groups of people talking about their stuff in local. So instead of trying to sort through all this stuff that you're most likely not interested in, why not just stick to IM?

Edited by steeljane42
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4 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

Not quite to your point, Scylla, but more and more often it seems others I interact with don't speak in open chat. Most of my chatting with others comes from arriving at a customer's land to discuss a custom job where, in the past, we'd immediately start conversing in open chat -- but now they persist in IM.  It's a bit disturbing to me, as it seems they are not acknowledging we are now in a shared space, and I very much like to imagine SL as a world. But there could be other reasons they keep to IM's.

Bolded: I think one reason people insist on IM's is because they want to have a log of what is said. That's been my experience because I've ask them to speak in local and that's the response I've gotten. For a business I can understand but if it's just chatting, I much prefer local chat unless I'm talking with my guy then I enjoy the private time together

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It seems I wrote a post and forgot to hit the submit button at some point...

I wonder if a person's preference has anything to do with introversion/extroversion? I'm honestly just not all that comfortable talking in local chat unless I'm with people I'm really comfortable with.

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10 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

It seems I wrote a post and forgot to hit the submit button at some point...

I wonder if a person's preference has anything to do with introversion/extroversion? I'm honestly just not all that comfortable talking in local chat unless I'm with people I'm really comfortable with.

This is true for me, if I know the people then I'll chat in local, but if I'm at a club and I don't know anyone, I won't even speak unless I'm spoken to. Usually I'm the one getting IM'd but I won't even initiate an IM unless it's someone I know

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Chat is my preference for public places, especially clubs or hangouts.  The thing that let me come out of my shell and get to know people at the Forum Cartel Hangout all those years ago was all of the talk going on in chat. As a newbie, especially an introverted one, I'm not sure I would have ever continued to hang around there and get to know people if all of the conversations were in IM.  It was the chat amongst others, without me having to participate at first, that let me get a feel for the folks and eventually feel comfortable joining in.

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15 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

I wonder if a person's preference has anything to do with introversion/extroversion? I'm honestly just not all that comfortable talking in local chat unless I'm with people I'm really comfortable with.

For me this is true, but it is the local chatting of regulars, over time, that gets me to that comfort level.  I'm actually introverted enough that private conversations with strangers scares me more than listening to public chat and occasionally answering a question or offering something to the topic.

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1 hour ago, anniepany said:

Bolded: I think one reason people insist on IM's is because they want to have a log of what is said. That's been my experience because I've ask them to speak in local and that's the response I've gotten. For a business I can understand but if it's just chatting, I much prefer local chat unless I'm talking with my guy then I enjoy the private time together

My regular chat is logged also.  The only difference is that I'd have to search all of the chat logs looking for all conversations with a specific person if I needed to look up a past conversation -- but Windows Grep makes that easy enough.

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4 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Interesting point!

Actually, gesture spam aside (and yes, I hate it with a passion too), it always seems somehow rude to talk in public while a live musician is playing. It's like you're not paying attention to their music?

Such local chat that I usually hear at live music events tends not to be about actual conversation anyway: it's most often people complimenting the musician, commenting on a particular song that they like, and so on.

I have a select few musicians that I frequent often and for a such a long time that many of us have come to know each other as friends and not just fans of the musician. So in those times while our conversation may focus on the music it does lead into more intimate conversations that are taken to IM rather than in local. My best friend in SL manages a few musicians so we often talk in IM during concerts but we also carry on public conversation in local as well. 

I think it really depends on the nature of the relationship and the number of people in a group that determines which is a better avenue for the conversation. If you are with a small group of close friends then it certainly makes more sense to have the convo in local, but if you've gone to an event with a good friend and there is a large crowd then it would make more sense to talk in IM if the nature of the conversation is personal. In my case, I see most of my good friends at live music events and that's where we tend to catch up with one another so I will be watching local and participating but I'll very likely have one or more PMs going as well. 

I am an avid profile reader at events when I go solo. In those cases, if I see something particularly entertaining or insightful in a profile, I'll shoot the person a quick IM with a compliment on the profile. I've done this for years and haven't ever had anyone take my message as a come on and in fact have ended up having some really great conversations with people that have developed into friendships. I don't think local is a good avenue for that kind of conversation. 

In conclusion, I honestly think both avenues are useful social tools. I don't think one is superior to the other. Local chat and private message are just tools. I wouldn't use a hammer to screw in a screw or a screwdriver to drive a nail. For me it's just a matter of using the right tool for the job. 

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3 hours ago, anniepany said:
8 hours ago, Luna Bliss said:

now in a shared space, and I very much like to imagine SL as a world. But there could be other reasons they keep to IM's.

Bolded: I think one reason people insist on IM's is because they want to have a log of what is said. That's been my experience because I've ask them to speak in local and that's the response I've gotten. For a business I can understand but if it's just chatting, I much prefer local chat unless I'm talking with my guy then I enjoy the private time together

I just go with the flow, as they are customers so I let them guide me and choose what's most comfortable.  Many don't even seem to see the local chat...not sure what's up...could be a difference in viewer settings?

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3 hours ago, anniepany said:

Bolded: I think one reason people insist on IM's is because they want to have a log of what is said. That's been my experience because I've ask them to speak in local and that's the response I've gotten. For a business I can understand but if it's just chatting, I much prefer local chat unless I'm talking with my guy then I enjoy the private time together

Do they not know they can log local chat too? lol

 

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8 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Belinda, do you think that new residents find it easier to plunge into a community if there is a lot of open, public chat? Or is "public speaking" when one may feel an outsider a bit too intimidating?

The first places I really frequented in SL were really chatty social spots. It took me a bit of time to wade into public chat, but I think it was a lot easier to immerse myself that way, than it would have been to IM someone. In fact, I doubt that I ever would have IMed someone, left to my own devices.

I wonder if there is a way in which the slow eclipse of public chat might be seen as almost a retention issue?

I don't think there's a hard and fast rule to this. Once I broke the ice I was ok in local but my preference has always been IM.

I avoid crowds mostly in RL, and most of my chats there are one to one.

Retention here is more than this. What makes individuals happy here is just so varied, that there can never be a one size fits all.

I found myself and my niche here, but those who don't, wont stay. 

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I generally prefer to chat with people I meet casually in chat.  I sometimes try to encourage people who go straight to IM to move the chatty talk to chat when I don't know them or when I am with a group but usually it is a lost cause.  Unless it is from a friend or someone I have initiated contact with previously, I don't respond to IMs from people who randomly IM me from somewhere else.  The people who seem to hate chat the most are of the variety "Hi, you look great in that dress...A/S/L please!"  🤨

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I actually put in my profile that I don't often respond to IMs.

I just don't open the window they're in for hours at a time. Even if I'm busy in a group chat, I ignore all the other flashing tabs.

But if I'm in a venue with people - I will see the public chat floating by, and I will respond if I have something to pester the discourse with.

 

 

The way I feel about it, why be in public at all in SL at least; if you're just going to have private conversations? If I go to a venue full of avatars it is because I want to see a lively interaction going on, and join it. People in IMs makes me feel isolated - even if they're IMing me.

 

 

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I like casual chat, but still I am sometimes wondering if they talk to me. Unless they use names. In RL, people who adress me, turn against me and look at me. It is not possible in SL, because of an AO or default random head movements.

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54 minutes ago, Pussycat Catnap said:

The way I feel about it, why be in public at all in SL at least; if you're just going to have private conversations? If I go to a venue full of avatars it is because I want to see a lively interaction going on, and join it.

You did answer your own question then. Different reasons and different defintion of "public". If I go to some public place it's most definitely to not see the lively interactions, but to see if there's someone who might interest me (good avi and filled profile helps) for whatever reason I might have, sometimes just to see what's going on. It just happens that popular places have most people around at any time and best place to find people if I feel like it, otherwise I wouldn't leave my region other than for shopping/visiting friends reasons.

It's pretty much same as in RL. Even if you go to a busy club/venue you most likely don't want to interact with just about everyone who is around, which is often hundreds, if not thousands of people. It's just RL doesn't have 20m "chat range" and you can have somewhat private conversation on public, but in SL - not so much.

Edited by steeljane42
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Probably five years ago I accompanied of friend to some sort of snobby club that took itself way too seriously.  I can't remember if the rules were posted or not when you landed but apparently you were not to speak in local at all.  And this place was packed like a can of sardines.  My friend and I actually did start a conversation inlocal simply because no one was talking.  One of those things where the silence was deafening.  Several people joined in with us and it wasn't an unpleasant conversation by any means. And then *poof* ee were both ejected and then banned, according to the hostess-guard dog on duty.  I was bewildered and couldn't understand why anyone would want to pay tier for a spot that discourages interacting.... 

Edited by Pixie Kobichenko
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11 hours ago, Beth Macbain said:

It seems I wrote a post and forgot to hit the submit button at some point...

I wonder if a person's preference has anything to do with introversion/extroversion? I'm honestly just not all that comfortable talking in local chat unless I'm with people I'm really comfortable with.

Almost certainly, but although I'm very introverted in real life, it's all flipped in virtual worlds. I'm a social butterfly and don't mind talking to anyone, or dozens of people at once... As long as it's one conversation, and not a dozen individual ones.

 

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normally i would use local chat unless i need to contact someone who is out of range or dont know where they are

or i need to IM store or land owner for help, thats usually the case i think

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The amount of traveling friends and I did in my early days is a big part of the reason why my default is IMs. I followed a RL friend who lives on another continent into SL so I came into a social setting. We did a lot of exploring, then a lot of hunting, then more hunting. :) We had his land group to use when there were more than two of us. So basically local didn't work because we were always leaving it behind :)  And of course talking about hunt prize locations in local wasn't cool.

My habit is that local is for group conversations in one place, and IM is for everything else. My friends and I are often in different locations, working on our various projects so IM just makes sense for it.

That leaving local behind probably plays a bigger part in my default than anything generational.

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