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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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29 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Caer's description here in most ways nicely summarizes what I had in mind when I talked about a sort of paradigm shift in the way in which we use local and IM to connect to people. For certainly my first 3 or 4 years in SL, the way it most often seemed to work, at least in the circles within which I moved, was that one moved to IM, where appropriate, after one had engaged, at a much more general and public level, with the larger community (at a club, or social hangout, or store, or whatever). It's not that I dislike IMs -- they are a tool that have a really important and absolutely necessary function -- but rather that that function has changed.

The older way sequence of connecting, from local to IM, made sense to me, and was (and still is) more comfortable. When someone who has been participating in local IMs me, I already have at least some sense of who they, what they are like, what their communication style is, and so forth. And they are presumably IMing me (if they initiated) because something I've said in public interests, or maybe triggers them.

The analogy of "whispering in someone's ear," or speaking in a lower voice, is reasonable, except when that is how first contact is initiated. Imagine yourself in a crowded bar: someone you've heard nothing from, nor had any previous engagement with, comes up to you and whispers in your ear. Or even sits next to you and moves close enough to you that you can hear them speaking in a non-public voice.

That is the way that a cold IM feels to me. Intrusive, uninvited, presumptuous, and maybe even a tiny bit alarming.

Ultimately, this isn't about IM vs. local, nor is it about "good" vs. "bad": we've heard from people here who have apparently always relied on IMs because that is what they are comfortable with, and from a few others who don't even seem to see much of a difference between the two. What it is about is the impact that this shift might have had on sociability in SL.

All of the above. The bolded part is what sets off the red flags. That is exactly what it feels like when someone I don't know IMs me out of the blue.

Quote

To me (but evidently not, I'll concede, to everyone here) the leap straight to IM that seems more common these days represents a kind of loss: a loss of community engagement and sociability, as well as, to some extent at least, a kind of intrusion on my personal space. What I'm not hearing is what is gained by skipping local and proceeding directly to a "cold" IM. What are the advantages of this?

There aren't any advantages that I can see but plenty of disadvantages. 

I know etiquette changes over the decades but that doesn't excuse the rudeness of people cold IMing someone they don't know. Does it never occur to anyone that the polite (correct) thing to do is ask the person in open chat if it is ok to IM them? I'm not talking about PC here. I'm talking about good old fashioned manners that parents are supposed to teach their children but apparently no longer bother to do so. If you can't be bothered to use good manners, I can't be bothered to deal with you, much less want to be your friend.

Edited by Selene Gregoire
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On 10/17/2019 at 12:40 PM, Jace2112 said:

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.

This is the flip side of the equation: I think it's totally valid and even understandable to be intimidated by local chat, particularly if it has a sort of cliquish feel to it. I think it's important to acknowledge that, for some people, local chat can actually be a more uncomfortable way to connect.

On 10/17/2019 at 12:40 PM, Jace2112 said:

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!

And this casts some light on the unacknowledged elephant in the room: gender.

I might be wrong about this, but I suspect that much of the resistance to out-of-the-blue IMs that one hears from women is a reflection of the fact that most of these tend to come from men, and most of those seem to be romantic or just plain sexual overtures. I'd say that 90% of the cold IMs I receive are from men, and probably 95% of those are attempts to chat me up. (What's 95% of 90%? Oh, ok. 85% sounds about right.)

Jace, I'm actually really sorry that you don't get IMs from women. And I'm even more sorry that you are worried that simple, friendly approaches to women are likely to be misconstrued. It's not much consolation that there are reasons for both of those phenomenon, having to do with the way that men and women are socialized differently. Either way, it sucks. I wish it weren't so.

 

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10 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

But I am unquestionably more wary when someone does so, and, in general, less open. On the whole, if you want to connect with me successfully, you're chances are much improved by not taking this approach.

But how is a person supposed to know that? Unless, perhaps, you have it in your profile, and if you do, and people ignore that, that's a different matter. But if you don't, and are less open to people who initiate a conversation in IM, you might be missing out on knowing some really incredible people. 

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18 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

But how is a person supposed to know that? Unless, perhaps, you have it in your profile, and if you do, and people ignore that, that's a different matter. But if you don't, and are less open to people who initiate a conversation in IM, you might be missing out on knowing some really incredible people. 

They can't know that. And yes, I may well be missing out on new friends -- except mostly I'm not, because I don't actually cut off people who've cold IMed me. And, on at least two recent occasions I can think of, that's been a good thing.

Again, I don't think this is about "right" and "wrong": it's about different communication styles, and different rules for sociability.

I'd hope that an awareness of the existence of different ways of thinking about how we engage would cut both ways, and that those who simply assume that a cold IM is standard procedure might reflect on this assumption, just as those who assume that an IM out of the blue necessarily means someone being rude and intrusive perhaps moderate their judgement too.

Maybe that's been the main value of this thread: to demonstrate that there are different styles of connecting, and that we shouldn't, any of us, leap to judgement about different ways of doing so?

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
OMG typo. A bad one
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8 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Jace, I'm actually really sorry that you don't get IMs from women. And I'm even more sorry that you are worried that simple, friendly approaches to women are likely to be misconstrued. It's not much consolation that there are reasons for both of those phenomenon, having to do with the way that men and women are socialized differently. Either way, it sucks. I wish it weren't so.

It's not surprising really when you consider how often a woman is raped in the US alone (one every 2 minutes or so).

Quote

 

On average, there are 433,648 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States.

Ages 12-34 are the highest risk years for rape and sexual assault.

As of 1998, an estimated 17.7 million American women had been victims of attempted or completed rape. 

 

And there is more:

Quote

Sexual violence also affects victims’ relationships with their family, friends, and co-workers.

  • 38% of victims of sexual violence experience work or school problems, which can include significant problems with a boss, coworker, or peer.
  • 37% experience family/friend problems, including getting into arguments more frequently than before, not feeling able to trust their family/friends, or not feeling as close to them as before the crime.
  • 84% of survivors who were victimized by an intimate partner experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.
  • 79% of survivors who were victimized by a family member, close friend or acquaintance experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.
  • 67% of survivors who were victimized by a stranger experience professional or emotional issues, including moderate to severe distress, or increased problems at work or school.

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence

 

Yes, it sucks that the younger male generations have to deal with the fallout from privileged white males ruling society but think of how much more it sucks for those of us who have to live with it on a daily basis because we are not male or white or privileged. Does it make me fighting mad? You're damn right it does. Livid, white hot anger that would destroy the world if it were to ever be released.

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7 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

I'm not likely to change -- at least not right away -- because IMs at close range still feel a little creepy to me, personally.

It's interesting, though, that I feel that my own expectations and practices have changed somewhat, presumably in response to the way that sociability in SL has evolved.

Yesterday, I was chatting in IM with a mutual acquaintance. We were not in the same sim, so IMs were the only option for chatting, but it suddenly occurred to me that my friend would enjoy the sim I was currently visiting. So, I sent her a TP, and she joined me there.

What is sort of interesting is that, when she showed up, and we were in "physical" proximity and local chat range, we stayed in IM, rather than moving to local.

Well, ok, it was simply more convenient to continue chatting as we had been. BUT a few minutes into our conversation there, another person appeared, and wandered around in the background, well within chat range.

I don't think it occurred to either of us to move our conversation, which certainly wouldn't have been inappropriate for local, to public chat where the new arrival could hear it, and maybe even join in. I'm not sure what she thought, but possibly what she saw is two people silently, and uninvitingly, chatting to each other.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, of course: we might have been having a private discussion we didn't want to share, after all.

But somehow, I suspect that 8 years ago I would have made some attempt to be more inclusive, or at least have greeted the new arrival.

 

(Full disclosure: I actually derendered the new person, because I was trying to take a pic, and she kept getting in the way. How's that for unsociable?)

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6 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Maybe that's been the main value of this thread: to demonstrate that there are different styles of connecting, and that we shouldn't, any of us, leap to judgement about different ways of dong so?

That's it exactly. Sure, some people set out to be offensive, and if that's the case they're likely going to do it in either manner. I know there have been instances where I've ignored an IM (and yes, I know that's rude but there is usually a good reason for it) and have been called out in local for being a word that rhymes with witch. 

Just like in the real world, when you initiate contact with a stranger, no matter the method, it's a risk. 

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6 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

Caer's description here in most ways nicely summarizes what I had in mind when I talked about a sort of paradigm shift in the way in which we use local and IM to connect to people. For certainly my first 3 or 4 years in SL, the way it most often seemed to work, at least in the circles within which I moved, was that one moved to IM, where appropriate, after one had engaged, at a much more general and public level, with the larger community (at a club, or social hangout, or store, or whatever). It's not that I dislike IMs -- they are a tool that have a really important and absolutely necessary function -- but rather that that function has changed.

The older way sequence of connecting, from local to IM, made sense to me, and was (and still is) more comfortable. When someone who has been participating in local IMs me, I already have at least some sense of who they, what they are like, what their communication style is, and so forth. And they are presumably IMing me (if they initiated) because something I've said in public interests, or maybe triggers them.

I preferred this, too, but that SL seems to no longer exist. So, I have tried to let go of what I prefer and adjust to how things are now, personally. That is just me, though.

7 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

The analogy of "whispering in someone's ear," or speaking in a lower voice, is reasonable, except when that is how first contact is initiated. Imagine yourself in a crowded bar: someone you've heard nothing from, nor had any previous engagement with, comes up to you and whispers in your ear. Or even sits next to you and moves close enough to you that you can hear them speaking in a non-public voice.

That is the way that a cold IM feels to me. Intrusive, uninvited, presumptuous, and maybe even a tiny bit alarming.

If I were going to engage someone on a one-to-one level in a bar or club, I would start out with a lot of things that are not so easy in SL, such as making eye contact, smiling, perhaps talking to a staff member close to them, a lot of things like that to see how they respond. And really, hope they noticed me and made the first move, lol. If they seemed interested and I was going to try to talk with them, though, sure, I would not get right next to them and whisper, I would try to stay out of what I could judge as their personal space, and talk loudly enough for them to hear me from that distance, even if the people right around us could hear, too. And so forth...to get closer and quieter or leave them along, based on their non-verbal and verbal responses, iteratively, lol. I guess I could emote that in chat in SL, but that would also seem pretty creepy to me. SL is such a crude simulacrum of RL that (to me) many things are far harder and more frustrating here than there. Probably I am just no smart enough to know how to handle it in SL, or am too lonely or impatient. I mostly come here to interact with people, though, and if I can't get that, I about may as well not be here. Sighs..

That leads to the part I denoted with red, though. I feel I have NO RIGHT to force MY needs on other people. And I can see how people can feel the way you describe when they get a random, cold IM. As I said in another post, for some people this could definitely be scary. And for others, at the least rude or annoying. I have heard people say that, well, if you are in a public place, you are making yourself susceptible to interaction. I personally don't agree with that in principle (I have shut up about 'street photography' on RL photo forums, though...), but I guess via my behavior, I must implicitly agree at some level. Now that I think of it, in the past I have often asked someone in chat if I can IM them, but have not done that in a long time. As I said earlier, I really need to rethink all this. I do try to be sensitive to context, such as what kind of place I am, but I should be more aware of how the other person might feel about me IMing them, and weigh that more heavily than my own needs.~

24 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

To me (but evidently not, I'll concede, to everyone here) the leap straight to IM that seems more common these days represents a kind of loss: a loss of community engagement and sociability, as well as, to some extent at least, a kind of intrusion on my personal space. What I'm not hearing is what is gained by skipping local and proceeding directly to a "cold" IM. What are the advantages of this?

I personally see no advantages whatsoever. But it seems to be how things are these days if you want to interact with other people. SL just is not going to go back to the way it was, which makes me really depressed if I think on it, so I try not to.

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45 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

What I'm not hearing is what is gained by skipping local and proceeding directly to a "cold" IM.

Typically when I'm in a space where people are talking in local it is at a music event or perhaps a town hall meeting, or a dance party. In all those situations there are typically 30 to 60 people present. Typically we are all geographically spaced out so much so that it's not uncommon to need chat relays so people can hear others speaking. In these situations, it seems to make more sense to IM a person directly if I want to break the ice and compliment the person rather than shouting across the room. In RL I'm pretty much a wall flower. I don't like big groups or parties. I'm more likely to hang back and look for the fastest means of escape. In SL I have the luxury of being able to peruse the room reading profiles and to speak with a person directly to send them a compliment. I'm not really understanding the reference of "cold" IM. To me if I'm in the same area where the person is then the IM is not out of the blue. Out of the blue is for me when someone messages and I've had absolutely no contact with them whatsoever. Anytime I get a message like that it's typically a spammer sending phishing links or a blanket TP to a music event. Those annoy me, but if someone takes the time to read my profile when we are at the same event and then messages me to say something nice I take that as a compliment and welcome a conversation with the person. So for me, with my RL shyness, it's a real plus to be able to communicate without having to go through the chit chat that most often occurs in local chat.

43 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

I think the lesson here is to try not to be offended by whatever method someone tries to initiate a conversation because we're all different. 

Instead be offended by the content of the method. 😝

Emphasis mine. This is what it boils down to - content. A beautiful rose is a beauty whether a person hand picks it and delivers it to you or orders it from a florist for delivery. I'll take those roses either way and be happy.

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8 minutes ago, Selene Gregoire said:

Yes, it sucks that the younger male generations have to deal with the fallout from privileged white males ruling society but think of how much more it sucks for those of us who have to live with it on a daily basis because we are not male or white or privileged. Does it make me fighting mad? You're damn right it does. Livid, white hot anger that would destroy the world if it were to ever be released.

Yes, absolutely. Sexual violence and harassment, not to mention just good ol' fashioned misogyny, are very much a part of the "socialization" of which I spoke. It's why I don't leave my drink unattended in bars and clubs, and it's why, back when I was dating, I was damned careful about how I connected with new people I was meeting.

And, before anyone chimes in to helpfully remind us that there is no such thing as "rape" or physical violence in SL, I'd like to point out that there is no shortage of sexual harassment here. And, more to the point, that the kind of trauma that an experience of sexual violence can leave on a person will often echo through every aspect of their lives, forever. And that includes virtual social engagement. So, a bit of understanding and sensitivity is called for, please.

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26 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I might be wrong about this, but I suspect that much of the resistance to out-of-the-blue IMs that one hears from women is a reflection of the fact that most of these tend to come from men, and most of those seem to be romantic or just plain sexual overtures. I'd say that 90% of the cold IMs I receive are from men, and probably 95% of those are attempts to chat me up. (What's 95% of 90%? Oh, ok. 85% sounds about right.)

The other wrinkle is that some of us women are gay, and do the same thing to other women that you are ascribing to men. I do think women are far less aggressive about it, but even IMs from women have that same potential to be unwanted.

I guess I need to rethink the whole 'chatting up,' thing, too, of which I am most certainly guilty. Again, it does depend on context, such as the setting ('meating' place vs a store, for example, lol), but I shouldn't be scouring SL for hook-ups, and especially not assuming others are, even at a place where that is common, but not the main focus (such as women-only clubs). Once again I am bluntly confronted with my deficiencies as a decent human being. I definitely need to recailibrate things. I think I am getting way OT and probably should STFU, though, lol.~

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3 minutes ago, Blush Bravin said:
1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

What I'm not hearing is what is gained by skipping local and proceeding directly to a "cold" IM.

Typically when I'm in a space where people are talking in local it is at a music event or perhaps a town hall meeting, or a dance party. In all those situations there are typically 30 to 60 people present. Typically we are all geographically spaced out so much so that it's not uncommon to need chat relays so people can hear others speaking. In these situations, it seems to make more sense to IM a person directly if I want to break the ice and compliment the person rather than shouting across the room.

This makes sense to me.  Thank you.  It hadn't occurred to me, probably because I spend very little of my time in venues where there are 30 to 60 people present.  From a purely practical perspective, using IMs to avoid being lost in the cloud or local chatter is logical. If I find myself in one of those places, I'll consider it -- if I see a friend that I really want to talk to.

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5 hours ago, AyelaNewLife said:

Definitely agree with this. No matter what my approach regarding IM or local with the person I'm right next to inworld, chances are I'll have several other conversations ongoing in IM. The outright hostility to an IM some have shown in this thread is... honestly mindblowing.

Yeah ^that

IMs aren't always a preconceived pants portal, unless you're hanging out places where such actually is (most places aren't, ftr). I promise you, there isn't anyone in sl who is so important than anyone and everyone that sends them an IM, no matter the subject, wants to sleep with them.

Hearing people say that just makes me feel even less inclined to talk to anyone I don't already know, ever -because...ugh, why the hell do I want people thinking that about me? I assure you....if I send you an IM, even if I really, really, really, really like you, or you're a really, really, really nice person...I don't want to sleep with you, ever. (I have no idea why that notion actually made me mad, but it did). 

Had to take some words outta that text

 

And Ftr, I STILL prefer local to IM, unless it's a busy place, we're talking about something others don't need or want to read, or we're nowhere near each other. I just don't quie get the assumption that all IMs are automatically evil people looking to sleep with you. I have a strong feeling that's directly related to the fact that I don't automatically (or at all) assume anyone does (hubby notwithstanding, he's allowed to be a perv, it's welcome 😛 ) 

 

Edited by Tari Landar
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30 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

But how is a person supposed to know that? Unless, perhaps, you have it in your profile, and if you do, and people ignore that, that's a different matter. But if you don't, and are less open to people who initiate a conversation in IM, you might be missing out on knowing some really incredible people. 

I actually meant to mention this in one of my earlier posts, and forgot. Someone has mentioned setting IM so that only Friends can IM you, but that seems too coarse a tool. Perhaps put 'Please talk to me in chat before IMing.' or even 'I do not IM with people I don't know' in your profile?

Then again, I have 'Lesbian' as the first word in *my* profile, and while I guess that might cut down on men wanting to scene with me or have sex with me (which is pretty much the same thing in the end), I still get IMs from guys. I used to ask them if they read my profile, and of course they said no. *That* is the really rude part of cold IMs, to me, not trying to get to know someone as much as possible before IMing them. I don't even mind someone IMing me if I am 'busy,' I just tell them I am 'busy' (though I usually don't bowlderize it that much, lol). But as we have all seen in this thread, the reaction to IMes is highly idiosyncratic. :)

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Any time two people interact a kind of dance occurs. Some people don't know how to dance very well, and others don't even recognize there needs to be a dance to demonstrate each person is sensitive to the other. I'd say the latter doesn't have appropriate boundaries, and if they don't know how to dance how would they know when they're stepping on your toes, or how would I know if they even cared if they did?

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22 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

It's interesting, though, that I feel that my own expectations and practices have changed somewhat, presumably in response to the way that sociability in SL has evolved.

Yesterday, I was chatting in IM with a mutual acquaintance. We were not in the same sim, so IMs were the only option for chatting, but it suddenly occurred to me that my friend would enjoy the sim I was currently visiting. So, I sent her a TP, and she joined me there.

What is sort of interesting is that, when she showed up, and we were in "physical" proximity and local chat range, we stayed in IM, rather than moving to local.

Well, ok, it was simply more convenient to continue chatting as we had been. BUT a few minutes into our conversation there, another person appeared, and wandered around in the background, well within chat range.

I don't think it occurred to either of us to move our conversation, which certainly wouldn't have been inappropriate for local, to public chat where the new arrival could hear it, and maybe even join in. I'm not sure what she thought, but possibly what she saw is two people silently, and uninvitingly, chatting to each other.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with that, of course: we might have been having a private discussion we didn't want to share, after all.

But somehow, I suspect that 8 years ago I would have made some attempt to be more inclusive, or at least have greeted the new arrival.

 

(Full disclosure: I actually derendered the new person, because I was trying to take a pic, and she kept getting in the way. How's that for unsociable?)

This is something disconcerting to me, for sure. I have gotten used to it, but when I am IMing with someone at a distance, and we join up in the same place, I always immediately switch to local. I find that pretty much noone else does this, so I have adjusted to it. But it still seems weird to me, and very inconvenient if we are walking about looking at things, because I have to keep switching between the IM window and clicking in chat thingy so I can move my avi. It's just how things are, though, so I just deal.

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A guy messaged me out of the blue once. We were in different sims, and all he said was "I bought a camera".  Apparently we had spoken before, but I didn't remember the conversation. I felt frightened, like "oh no, what am I going to have to deal with, hopefully not another person who has no boundaries whatsoever".  But, I simply said "oh"?  And he went on to talk about the camera, and come to find out he was autistic. Autistic people often don't know how to 'dance' but this does not mean they want to invade another. So I learned a little lesson that day, not to be quite so alarmed by what felt like a strange IM.

Edited by Kiera Clutterbuck
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1 hour ago, Selene Gregoire said:

Where?

"When people IM me in a public place, I respond through open chat, even ask them why IM instead of chat. Then after the first few interactions if they haven't gotten the clue I'll just move on.."

"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."

"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."

Not sure what else you call this but outright hostility towards IMs.

Edited by AyelaNewLife
Formatting is hard
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6 minutes ago, Caerolle Llewellyn said:

I actually meant to mention this in one of my earlier posts, and forgot. Someone has mentioned setting IM so that only Friends can IM you, but that seems too coarse a tool. Perhaps put 'Please talk to me in chat before IMing.' or even 'I do not IM with people I don't know' in your profile?

Then again, I have 'Lesbian' as the first word in *my* profile, and while I guess that might cut down on men wanting to scene with me or have sex with me (which is pretty much the same thing in the end), I still get IMs from guys. I used to ask them if they read my profile, and of course they said no. *That* is the really rude part of cold IMs, to me, not trying to get to know someone as much as possible before IMing them. I don't even mind someone IMing me if I am 'busy,' I just tell them I am 'busy' (though I usually don't bowlderize it that much, lol). But as we have all seen in this thread, the reaction to IMes is highly idiosyncratic. :)

To me, this is a good way to weed out the people that are best ignored. I have a couple things in my profile that I would hope people read before messaging me, the big on being that I don't respond to text speak. I will not respond to someone who can't type actual words, and the number of people who still message me with "hru?" makes me want to scream. 

But it's also a good way for me to know that someone hasn't bothered to find out what I'm about before messaging me and is only fishing for a hookup. 

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15 minutes ago, Blush Bravin said:

<snip> ...if someone takes the time to read my profile when we are at the same event and then messages me to say something nice I take that as a compliment and welcome a conversation with the person. So for me, with my RL shyness, it's a real plus to be able to communicate without having to go through the chit chat that most often occurs in local chat.

I have actually IMed people whose profile stated that they never talked because they were painfully shy, or they were too weird and noone liked them, and so forth. I just felt so bad for them. I have engaged them across up to a hour or two, and in some cases followed up with them over days or weeks and tried to help them. I have to say it never really seemed to be of much help to them. But I am glad to hear that at least someone who is shy welcomes contact and gets something positive from it. :)

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7 minutes ago, Kiera Clutterbuck said:

A guy messaged me out of the blue once. We were in different sims, and all he said was "I bought a camera".  Apparently we had spoken before, but I didn't remember the conversation. I felt frightened, like "oh no, what am I going to have to deal with, hopefully not another person who has no boundaries whatsoever".  But, I simply said "oh"?  And he went on to talk about the camera, and come to find out he was autistic. Autistic people often don't know how to 'dance' but this does not mean they want to invade another. So I learned a little lesson that day, not to be quite so alarmed by what felt like a strange IM.

I have gotten into sorta friendships with a few people like that. They have it really hard. I am not sure I really helped them much in the end, though. :(

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2 minutes ago, AyelaNewLife said:

"When people IM me in a public place, I respond through open chat, even ask them why IM instead of chat. Then after the first few interactions if they haven't gotten the clue I'll just move on.."

 

"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."

"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."

Not sure what else you call this but outright hostility towards IMs.

Well, two out of three of those don't look hostile to me at all, especially the second one.  Personally, I don't even notice that there's a message waiting in the IM window sometimes, until an hour later.  I'm like that with my cell phone in RL too.  At the end of the day I may remember to check whether someone has sent me a text message.  It's just not part of my habitual reflexes.

The third comment ... well, maybe hostile, but it looks more like a defensive reaction to me.  If I have been hurt in the past, I will certainly see "red flags" and shut down in a heartbeat.  That's seems pretty normal to me.

In any case, almost all of the comments on both sides in this thread have been thoughtful and enlightening. I've found it quite helpful.

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Just now, Caerolle Llewellyn said:
8 minutes ago, Kiera Clutterbuck said:

A guy messaged me out of the blue once. We were in different sims, and all he said was "I bought a camera".  Apparently we had spoken before, but I didn't remember the conversation. I felt frightened, like "oh no, what am I going to have to deal with, hopefully not another person who has no boundaries whatsoever".  But, I simply said "oh"?  And he went on to talk about the camera, and come to find out he was autistic. Autistic people often don't know how to 'dance' but this does not mean they want to invade another. So I learned a little lesson that day, not to be quite so alarmed by what felt like a strange IM.

I have gotten into sorta friendships with a few people like that. They have it really hard. I am not sure I really helped them much in the end, though. :(

Most likely you did help them. Many autistic people have trouble connecting with others because they can seem strange, not knowing how to 'dance', and so being able to actually connect with others is of benefit.  As it turned out, my autistic friend became angry with me because I was not technically astute enough regarding this camera  :(

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4 minutes ago, Beth Macbain said:

To me, this is a good way to weed out the people that are best ignored. I have a couple things in my profile that I would hope people read before messaging me, the big on being that I don't respond to text speak. I will not respond to someone who can't type actual words, and the number of people who still message me with "hru?" makes me want to scream. 

But it's also a good way for me to know that someone hasn't bothered to find out what I'm about before messaging me and is only fishing for a hookup. 

I rarely just ignore IMs, though, it is just not in my nature. Not saying what is right or wrong, just how I am (and that is very different from how most other people are, lol). The exception is if I am exploring sex sims, just passing through looking about, and some guy IMs me as I am leaving, or have left. I do just close those IM windows and more on, though I feel a bit bad about it. That's just me, though. :)

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3 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

Well, two out of three of those don't look hostile to me at all, especially the second one.  Personally, I don't even notice that there's a message waiting in the IM window sometimes, until an hour later.  I'm like that with my cell phone in RL too.  At the end of the day I may remember to check whether someone has sent me a text message.  It's just not part of my habitual reflexes.

The third comment ... well, maybe hostile, but it looks more like a defensive reaction to me.  If I have been hurt in the past, I will certainly see "red flags" and shut down in a heartbeat.  That's seems pretty normal to me.

In any case, almost all of the comments on both sides in this thread have been thoughtful and enlightening. I've found it quite helpful.

"I refuse to talk to people unless they choose my preferred method of communication" - if that's not hostile towards IMs, I don't know what is.

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