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


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For me, I think I am split about 50:50 between local and IM. I like chatty clubs with plenty of local banter, and will always participate in the local chat. I am lucky to have found several like that - Chiaroscuro and Adventures of Dust being my two favourites. Bellisseria events also tend towards active local chat.

I am usually happy to accept IMs too, though I see that as serving a different purpose. For example, my missing arm is often a starting point for an IM conversation, and personal things like that are not always appropriate in local chat. Only the person who asked really wants to hear the gory details. The other people present might be squeamish, or just had breakfast or something.

In a one on one conversation with a friend, I frequently find that we're carrying on two separate simultaneous conversations, one in local and another in IM. But I am kinda weird like that.

 

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Second Life has changed a great deal in the 11+ years I've been here in some pretty obvious ways. The technology (and especially the graphics) are markedly better, while "creation" has shifted away fr

If it's in a club or someplace where there is an actual social event going on, I think it's up to the host or hostess to keep local chat alive. Throw out a topic, and if it's something interesting, I'

I'm not a chatty person. And I don't like people. The two may be related.

Posted Images

While I like chatting in local what makes it more difficult in my experience is ...

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  (____@)      \
   (__ o)  _        \
                  \       \
    THUMBS UP DJ!!!

This is a sure fire way to kill the conversation.

            ,        ,
           \y ,--.y/
           /,---.  )\
          / (((\\)\ \        I'm
          \ \\-_/ / /       The 
           \ i      i /        Kind 
            (_)=(_)          of
              )  .  (           Girl
            /\---/\         Your
           /   )-(   \    Momma
          /  /     \  \  Warned
         / ,"       ". \     You
        / /            \ \ About!
       /-)              (-\
     / ^!              !^ \

Especially when people constantly spam them.

                                    .::::.                   
                                  :::::::::::        
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                .:::::'     ':::::::::.:::::       '::. 
              .::''              '::::::::::::         :::...
        ..''''':'                    ':::::.'       SEXY!!!

It really makes it hard to send and receive messages.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Orwar said:

   I'm not a chatty person. And I don't like people. The two may be related.

I am going to 2nd. that mate. lol I am the same exact way. I seldom go out anymore in to social settings on SL and when I do to be honest it is people I have already known for some many years on here which most of those people I usually visit talk on voice. It's not very often I even type on here anymore unless I am in a public place or I get a random IM asking me to come hang out. Most times I am only even on to either hang out with the SL family or help friends with something on the business side of the house and then I log straight back out and go do something else. For some reason now days I just get bored on here and have a really hard time finding anything really worth while to do. I used to be part of a Star Trek RP sim once upon a time ago and then there was drama so I had to kill all that noise real quick fast and in a hurry. Now I just go play Star Trek Online the mmo for my Beam Me Up Scotty fix. Lmao!!!! :D

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I have major social anxiety so trying to converse in local chat is torture for me. When I'm at a public venue, I don't have the nerve to interact or speak with others in local or private chat first. I'm also a loner, so most of the time I go to an event to enjoy it on my own.

i will of course politely respond if someone speaks to me in local chat. Same when someone sends me a message. The most comfortable way for me to become friends with another is speaking one on one. 

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21 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

When I'm in a group setting, meaning there's more than one other person with me, I'll exclusively use public chat. Although I'm nefarious, IMing someone conversationally in a public setting just doesn't feel right.

I very much want to agree with this, because it corresponds so closely to my own feelings about how we should communicate . . . in RL. There is not much that is worse than being face-to-face with someone who is busy on their phone when they should be interacting with you and others actually present.

Is this necessarily true, however, of SL? While it will be obvious that someone in RL is not giving you their undivided attention, you might never know that that's the case in SL -- if you don't know it, is it "rude"? And is there really a difference between trying to manage discussion in local while simultaneously communicating in IM, and communicating with two or more people in IM at the same time? How much does "physical proximity" (whatever that means in a virtual environment) matter when the mechanics of communicating in local, and in IM, are virtually identical (which is not the case, obviously, in RL)?

21 hours ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

I have scared people away from both venues by addressing them in public chat, in what appears to be a curious inversion of privacy.

That is, when you think about it, odd -- but also again a reminder that applying the protocols we use in RL to SL may be problematic?

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17 hours 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.

Totally true about chatting in local chat sometimes feeling uncomfortable.  Many times in SL crowds you see a lot of chat going on in local, and it is hard to step in and join the string of chat.  On the other hand, however, if you are a male and send an IM to a female, this sometimes is misconstrued as hitting on them.  As a male in SL it is very rare indeed to be IM'd by a female   So just like in junior high school as a guy, you choose carefully who to send a random IM in a public place.  Some of the responses are scary!

 

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16 minutes ago, Jace2112 said:

As a male in SL it is very rare indeed to be IM'd by a female.

As a male, its even rarer to get an IM from another male. The only times I have ever recieved IMs from someone I didn't already know, were times they thought I was a girl. As soon as they find out I'm not, the response is always the same...

*crickets*  *block*

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38 minutes ago, Gregorian Chant said:

I don't mind either way, chatting in local chat or IM.  But if you want to get my attention, IM is more effective because chances are good I might miss your text in local chat in a sea of gesture spam.

Gesture spam tends not to happen at all in the clubs I visit frequently. And lively conversation does.

These two three things are not unrelated.

Edited by Matty Luminos
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1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

While it will be obvious that someone in RL is not giving you their undivided attention, you might never know that that's the case in SL -- if you don't know it, is it "rude"?

That's a very good question.  As I said earlier, though, what matters to me is what I feel for myself.  If I am using IM in a group of people, I feel that I am being rude to the other people around me.  That's enough to discourage me from starting an IM conversation and enough to make me feel uncomfortable if someone else starts it.  If I get an IM from someone at a distance while I am sitting with friends, I feel compelled to say, "I'm in the middle of something.  May I get back to you?"  If i really do have to continue the IM, I will almost always tell the people around me, "Sorry, I just landed in an IM.  Excuse me for a minute."  To my mind, then, the question is rarely whether other people think I am being rude, but whether I do.

Edited by Rolig Loon
typos. as always.
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6 minutes ago, Matty Luminos said:

Gesture spam tends not to happen at all in the clubs I visit frequently. And lively conversation does.

These two things are not unrelated.

Sounds like the type of places I'd like to visit.  Gesturbators are the main reason I haven't set foot in clubs in a long while.  But they don't only happen in clubs; these canned gesture loving yahoos can be found in other public places.

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1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I very much want to agree with this, because it corresponds so closely to my own feelings about how we should communicate . . . in RL. There is not much that is worse than being face-to-face with someone who is busy on their phone when they should be interacting with you and others actually present.

Is this necessarily true, however, of SL? While it will be obvious that someone in RL is not giving you their undivided attention, you might never know that that's the case in SL -- if you don't know it, is it "rude"? And is there really a difference between trying to manage discussion in local while simultaneously communicating in IM, and communicating with two or more people in IM at the same time? How much does "physical proximity" (whatever that means in a virtual environment) matter when the mechanics of communicating in local, and in IM, are virtually identical (which is not the case, obviously, in RL)?

That is, when you think about it, odd -- but also again a reminder that applying the protocols we use in RL to SL may be problematic?

There is, I think, a significant difference in perception of "public" encounters between RL and SL. In RL, there are no invisible back channels. If you're not present, everybody knows it. SL is rife with back channels, and all of us are looking, and presenting, through peep show windows into some virtual scene that may barely have our attention (or have too much of it). This is not so much a WYSIWYG environment as WYS/WYS-IWYW. Nevertheless, though I've no idea whether anyone is paying attention to me, other than by what they "say", I still feel a desire to be present in the moment as I want to see it, even if there's little actual reciprocation.

It is problematic. We've all encountered (or been!) someone who paid too much attention and was ultimately disappointed to discover they'd over-invested in someone that returned less interest that we'd originally imagined. We're not immune from that in RL, but there are plenty of vaccines (eye contact, body language, etc) to control that imagination.

*What You See /What You Show - Is What You Want

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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On 10/16/2019 at 2:15 PM, 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.

I think that this is very much to my point, Luna: what you are flagging here, even if it doesn't relate to making "new friends," is the "culture shift" I spoke of in the thread title. It seems to me that IM has become the default mode of communication now (although clearly, as per many of the responses above, it hasn't entirely eclipsed local yet). And if that is the case, it does have implications for, as you note, our sense of SL as a shared space, as well as as a community. And, to return again to the thread title, I wonder if it doesn't sometimes make it more difficult to meet new people, or at least to make informed choices about whom we pursue for a closer connection.

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56 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

That's a very good question.  As I said earlier, though, what matters to me is what I feel for myself.  If I am using IM in a group of people, I feel that I am being rude to the other people around me.  That's enough to discourage me from starting an IM conversation and enough to make me feel uncomfortable if someone else starts it.  If I get an IM from someone at a distance while I am sitting with friends, I feel compelled to say, "I'm in the middle of something.  May I get back to you?"  If i really do have to continue the IM, I will almost always tell the people around me, "Sorry, I just landed in an IM.  Excuse me for a minute."  To my mind, then, the question is rarely whether other people think I am being rude, but whether I do.

I think that this is a completely valid response.

I multitask like mad in SL -- it's actually pretty rare, I suspect, that all I am doing at any given time is responding to a single IM, or engaging only in local chat. I'm sometimes chatting with multiple people, or setting up a photo, or shopping, or working on my out-of-control inventory.

And, although usually I suspect that my divided attention is probably not too obvious to those with whom I am speaking, I'll admit to feeling a certain residual guilt about it, because this is definitely not the way I behave in RL.

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1 hour ago, Gregorian Chant said:

Sounds like the type of places I'd like to visit.  Gesturbators are the main reason I haven't set foot in clubs in a long while.  But they don't only happen in clubs; these canned gesture loving yahoos can be found in other public places.

Yeah, ^ that

I know there are ways to reduce the amount of gesture annoyance..but, ugh, why can't people just act like, I don't know, they would if it were a rl place, lol. 

I know, I know, lots of reasons, and the onus to be places that won't annoy me, and adjust my own settings so that I can is on me. But, meh...it shouldn't be. It wouldn't be in rl

"But this isn't rl"

sigh

This is why I spend most of my sl time by myself, lol. As much as I love the "not rl" aspects of sl-I really do, sometimes I wish more (not all) of them were more rl-ish. 

 

 

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I wonder if part of the reason is to do with LL's TOS; using IMs is at least a partial protection against having a conversation shared with others. Whereas local chat, being by nature public, does not have the same protection.

On the other hand, this has been in the TOS for years, and this trend is fairly new, so yeah, it probably is a cultural shift.

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9 hours ago, Cinos Field said:

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.

 

I'm very introverted in RL as well but I do the butterfly thing in SL when I'm in the mood for it.  All depends on my mood.  If I don't want to talk to anyone I'll log in as an alt and go exploring. I find if I use a non human avvie, then people pretty much ignore me. If I am feeling sociable I log in as me and chatter away.

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3 hours ago, Tari Landar said:

I know there are ways to reduce the amount of gesture annoyance..but, ugh, why can't people just act like, I don't know, they would if it were a rl place, lol. 

In a real place, the gesturebator is the one who ruins the concert with a long loud whistle.

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6 hours ago, Matty Luminos said:

On the other hand, this has been in the TOS for years, and this trend is fairly new, so yeah, it probably is a cultural shift.

In my experience, it has been this way for at least 6 years and hasn't changed any any aspect I can tell more recently than this.

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I haven't found this to be an issue at the events I attend, but they're not clubs. They're big events where people chat in the event group and use local at parties. The difference may come from not having a set gang of regulars, as a club would have. Some people turn up to everything and we often recognise each other, but it's a lot more fluid and there are always a lot of people I don't know. It wouldn't work to IM everyone.

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Until recently I DJ’d and did “club work”, so that gives perspective on my comments.

When Skype & voice clients like Discord became a “thing”, I noticed an odd phenomenon....  People (whom I knew not to be Bots) dancing or sitting in a club, completely oblivious to local chat and the IMs from other people. (I’d get IM’s from guests asking if resident X was a bot).

What was happening was that the tuned-out Guests were paying attention to their circle of friends on the voice client, and people outside their “bubble” had a hard time making contact.

Additionally (speaking as a 15 year resident who has seen “generations” of SL users come and go) I do think that talking to “strangers” has become so fraught these days, that this gives certain people anxiety about even trying. When “Saying the wrong thing” leads to consequences, it breeds reluctance.

Thats a “Life” issue, not a Second Life issue; I see that play out professionally in RL as well as here.

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On 10/16/2019 at 9:37 AM, Scylla Rhiadra said:

 

If I'm right, and there has been a sea change in how we socialize (generally) in SL, does that reflect a shift in how we do so in RL? Or merely a shift in the social function of SL?

The shift in RL happened before the one in SL. SL reflects the changes in RL after the fact

When SL was the "new frontier", most residents used local before ever jumping into IMs. IMs were reserved for things that you didn't want just anyone over hearing. Gossip, intimacy... all those things that call for privacy. Hence the original term of Private Messages (PMs, not to be confused with PMS). 

For me, that has not changed, nor will it. If you approach me in IMs for the first time, I am going to assume you want to say things you don't want other people hearing, which immediately sets off my red flags and I will shut you down in a heartbeat and likely not very kindly. I'm a rape survivor. Deal with it or stay away from me is how I feel about it. What I want and need are friends. The close kind, not the sex buddy kind. The friends that are so close they "might as well be family" friends. The ones who are there for you no matter what. The sort that don't just take his word that it's ok with me if you hop in the sack with him. Then there are the ones who accept you as you are...

Been looking for those kinds of friends for 60 years. Haven't found any yet. I don't think they exist any more, for me.

Edited by Selene Gregoire
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On 10/16/2019 at 1:09 PM, Ren Toxx said:

Or “this place is dead”, or “full of bots”, or “how boring!”, or... yeah. I actively refrain from engaging all the whiners who basically expect the rest of SL to be there for the sole purpose of entertainment, and on keen watch to start talking—no matter what about—the very second they arrive... lest we disappoint them!

(Funnily enough, a lot of them remain exactly as silent and as unwilling to start a conversation themselves, and only usually drop a disparaging comment right before a ragequit).

<insert appropriate verbage here>

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