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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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31 minutes ago, Tari Landar said:

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

 

No, I don't "hang out in places like that" and I still get those out of the blue IMs that 999 out of 1000 are some random guy looking for pixel bumping. Standing on my own parcel in a private region and no one else is on the region. Nor do I belong to any of the "pixel sex" groups that exist. I never have. I'm not in SL for sex. Never have been and never will be.

Point being it doesn't matter where you hang out or what your groups are, there are still those who think it's ok to IM someone out of the blue when it really is not ok by any stretch of the imagination. Don't even get me started on the ones who go through a store group's membership list and IM all the female avatars just to proposition them.

Edited by Selene Gregoire
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27 minutes ago, AyelaNewLife said:

 

"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.

Those are my words and they were not hostile in the least. You chose to take it as being hostile by reading far more into it than what is actually there. 

All too often people read other's posts using their own "voice" and giving emphasis and emotions to the words of another that simply do not exist.

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24 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

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.

Exactly. Thank you.

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The only thing this thread has accomplished for me, is reiterating my belief that I should never talk to anyone, ever

Yay

 

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11 minutes ago, Tari Landar said:

The only thing this thread has accomplished for me, is reiterating my belief that I should never talk to anyone, ever

Yay

 

I guess?

Do you know of many contexts in RL where it is always entirely "safe" and "comfortable" or "easy" to meet new people? Parties, bars, clubs, coffee shops? Really?

Interpersonal communication is always a little fraught, surely -- and can be particularly painful and difficult for those who are excessively introverted, or shy, or have problems with communication. It's always, it seems to me, a question of negotiating the "rules," understanding the context, and reading the demeanour of the person whom you are meeting.

It makes it, surely, a little easier if we have a bit of insight, going into such situations, of how differently others may function socially, or how their expectations may differ from ours?

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1 hour 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?

It's never been this either/or kind of thing that you're presenting. I'm not the most chatty in local, in part because the more ill I got the harder it was to keep up and there were always people who were more out-going, quicker, already knew the others. By the way of thinking you're presenting, no one should have said a quiet hello to me until after I'd spoken enough for them to have a sense of me, and I shouldn't have said anything to anyone either.

When I went into a place with local chat, I'd do my best to participate. My natural preference is to get a sense of a place before I say much though, so even if I was healthy and quick-minded I'd still be on the quiet side to start out with. And I just can't compete in the back and forth well enough for others to get any real sense of me in local. I simply don't have that gift.

Those side conversations in IM would always help me acclimate and get my bearings, get a sense of who the people there were, which would help me figure out more things to say in local. That's an enormous advantage for me and probably some others too.

If there was local chat going on, I'd always say hello and a thank you for the invitation, or whatever was appropriate, at a minimum. Depending on how the group flowed, whether they made room for me in the conversation or carried on (which was the more common experience), I might say more or not. But if IMing someone with a compliment after that was seen as a faux pas, weird, rude, intrusive or speaking on the phone to someone next to me, well I guess we never would have had the chance to get to know each other inworld.

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1 hour ago, AyelaNewLife said:

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

It seems to me that maybe "hostility" is a rather loaded word?

I also think that you are perhaps confounding attitudes towards the tool itself with how people feel it should most appropriately be used? I'm going to venture a guess that there is no one in this thread, whatever their attitude towards IMs as a way of meeting people, who doesn't frequently use IMs themselves, or believe that there are appropriate stages in a relationship or contexts when IM becomes more acceptable or natural.

What I think the "hostility" that you detect here is, is some disagreement about expectations, as well as concerns about personal space and the impact of IMs upon this. I don't see one or another view as being more "right" than the other (although I do think that the slow and maybe subtle eclipse of public chat has had a broad impact upon community and sociability in SL).

What I see instead is a display of different models for meeting people. And because context is so important, these are pretty nuanced. A somewhat reductive "IM vs Local" characterization of this discussion maybe misses the point.

Edited by Scylla Rhiadra
Because grammar. Sometimes inclusive language is HARD
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3 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

It's never been this either/or kind of thing that you're presenting. I'm not the most chatty in local, in part because the more ill I got the harder it was to keep up and there were always people who were more out-going, quicker, already knew the others. By the way of thinking you're presenting, no one should have said a quiet hello to me until after I'd spoken enough for them to have a sense of me, and I shouldn't have said anything to anyone either.

I agree, Bitsy, and I apologize if I've made this sound too much like an either/or. Elsewhere above, I've noted that this is about communication styles, and that there are people who, for various reasons, are uncomfortable with using local rather than IMs.

Really, I'm less interested myself in the individual case, precisely because everyone is going to have their own reason for a preference. And, again (as I've said above) context is everything. This is far more nuanced than I've perhaps made it sound in the excerpt you've quoted.

What really does interest me more is the overall impact that a larger cultural shift has had. I suppose that, as an individual, you have contributed to that shift. But you've got, as you say, good reasons for choosing the model you have. I am not here to criticize you, as an individual, for your choices, but rather to consider the broader impact upon community and sociability on this platform. And that's why I ask about "advantages." Is SL -- not you, as an individual, but the community as a whole -- gaining in some way from a broad shift away from local to IM as the default way of connecting and engaging?

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47 minutes ago, Selene Gregoire said:

No, I don't "hang out in places like that" and I still get those out of the blue IMs that 999 out of 1000 are some random guy looking for pixel bumping. Standing on my own parcel in a private region and no one else is on the region. Nor do I belong to any of the "pixel sex" groups that exist. I never have. I'm not in SL for sex. Never have been and never will be.

Point being it doesn't matter where you hang out or what your groups are, there are still those who think it's ok to IM someone out of the blue when it really is not ok by any stretch of the imagination. Don't even get me started on the ones who go through a store group's membership list and IM all the female avatars just to proposition them.

Wow. Just wow. And I had never heard of using group lists to spam people with IMs before, especially to proposition people. I would hope people who did that would at the least get kicked from the group...

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23 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I guess?

Do you know of many contexts in RL where it is always entirely "safe" and "comfortable" or "easy" to meet new people? Parties, bars, clubs, coffee shops? Really?

Interpersonal communication is always a little fraught, surely -- and can be particularly painful and difficult for those who are excessively introverted, or shy, or have problems with communication. It's always, it seems to me, a question of negotiating the "rules," understanding the context, and reading the demeanour of the person whom you are meeting.

It makes it, surely, a little easier if we have a bit of insight, going into such situations, of how differently others may function socially, or how their expectations may differ from ours?

I can fully understand some mindsets around the idea that IM may not be the most welcome way to initiate a conversation, and the reasons behind some of those mindsets. Most of those make perfect sense, even if they may not be MY ways, I get them. And no, I don't know of any single way or place where anyone is entirely safe and/or comfortable meeting new people. Even people I know who seem to meet new friends everywhere, have their moments too. I appreciate seeing others' opinions on those things.

What I can't wrap my head around, and don't appreciate, is the mindset that gives one idea that anyone and everyone that ever dare send an initial IM, is looking to get in someone's pants. Such would require a level of self importance that I can't wrap my head around. I am not immune, or ignorant to the the issues that can plague one after having very bad, horrid, haunting, damaging rl experiences that make associations with others difficult on a good day (no one needs anyone's personal history to understand this, well no one that has a modicum of intelligence doesn't need to). People do have different preferences as far as communication is concerned. That's what I have always thought, and I have been careful in my interactions with people because of it. But to assume you're so damn important and awesome that everyone who even says hi wants to sleep with you, that's some...I don't know how to put it nicely without insulting people I really don't want to insult.  Maybe someone else can better explain it, since clearly I'm not the only one wondering wtf, lol. 

 

I just don't want people automatically assuming the worst of me at all times for no damn good reason, it's far more rude than my merely saying "hello".  People automatically assuming the worst of people might have way more to do with why people communicate less than ever, too, god forbid someone offend another person with a greeting ;) 

 

Edited by Tari Landar

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2 hours ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

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 flipside of this - mentioned by Jace - is one of the reasons why I so rarely initiate any IM conversation with female avatars outside of what might be required for my job in SL (for those that dont know, I'm a CSR for a major mesh head brand and often dealing with queries in IM is easier than doing so in open chat where other conversations can add to someone's confusion).

That flipside is that - despite not even being interested in women - because I see so many women complaining about men only sending IMs as an expectant precursor for a roll in the hay, I feel obliged every time to offer an upfront disclaimer before the actual text of my IM if said IM is merely conversational or complimentary rather than work-related: "Absolutely not coming on to you, but I just wanted to tell you that I think your avatar looks incredibly unique. Just thought you'd like to know that someone appreciated the work that you put into it. Have a great day!" etc.

Edited by Skell Dagger
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4 minutes ago, Skell Dagger said:

That flipside is that - despite not even being interested in women - because I see so many women complaining about men only sending IMs as an expectant precursor for a roll in the hay, I feel obliged every time to offer an upfront disclaimer before the actual text of my IM if said IM is merely conversational or complimentary rather than work-related: "Absolutely not coming on to you, but I just wanted to tell you that I think your avatar looks incredibly unique. Just thought you'd like to know that someone appreciated the work that you put into it. Have a great day!" etc.

Yes, agreed -- and in fact I responded to Jace with an acknowledgement of that.

It's awful that we find ourselves in a cultural context in which men are afraid to connect with women because of that expectation. The cruder manifestations of pickup culture certainly do not impact negatively upon only women.

This is why I don't shut down IMs from men I don't know -- because I have made male friends, who are just that, good friends, by taking the time to ascertain what their actual intentions are.

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2 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

This is why I don't shut down IMs from men I don't know -- because I have made male friends, who are just that, good friends, by taking the time to ascertain what their actual intentions are.

Wait - you mean you judge people based on what they say and do, rather than pre-assigning them a set of negative expectations and acting accordingly? What heresy is this?!

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1 minute ago, AyelaNewLife said:

Wait - you mean you judge people based on what they say and do, rather than pre-assigning them a set of negative expectations and acting accordingly? What heresy is this?!

Only when I'm really tired and not thinking straight.

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38 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

 I suppose that, as an individual, you have contributed to that shift. But you've got, as you say, good reasons for choosing the model you have. I am not here to criticize you, as an individual, for your choices, but rather to consider the broader impact upon community and sociability on this platform. And that's why I ask about "advantages." Is SL -- not you, as an individual, but the community as a whole -- gaining in some way from a broad shift away from local to IM as the default way of connecting and engaging?

Is the participation of those of us who can't compete in free-flowing chat, whether due to disability, temperament or both, not an advantage to the community?

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2 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

Is the participation of those of us who can't compete in free-flowing chat, whether due to disability, temperament or both, not an advantage to the community?

Given the nature of some of the open chat I've heard in some clubs I have to agree  :)     (not that if you spoke this would be true however).

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5 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

Is the participation of those of us who can't compete in free-flowing chat, whether due to disability, temperament or both, not an advantage to the community?

Of course it is. I don't think I've suggested otherwise.

What I have said, and I'll stand by it, is that a general move towards IMs and away from local has changed the dynamic and nature of sociability and community engagement in SL. That need not -- and in my view, does not -- imply that someone using IM is not also contributing to community. But the model has changed.

I have said this several times above, but maybe it needs to be reiterated: I don't think this is or should be about the "right" or "wrong" way of socializing. There is no universally "right" way of doing it: we choose the modes we do because they are comfortable and work for us, as individuals. But those choices, valid and justifiable as they may be, still have impacts upon the way in which we engage with each other. YOU are not personally responsible for that, and I'm not for a moment going to "blame" you or anyone else for that matter for the fact that most clubs and social spots no longer feature much general chat. But that is the effect that cumulative shift towards IMs has had.

I think we all -- and I include myself in this number, because this discussion has been very illuminating, and I've shifted my own attitude somewhat as a result -- need to stop thinking about this in such adversarial terms. It's not "IM vs local."

What would be helpful is to think about ways in which we might be able to leverage our recognition that people have different styles of communication into approaches that acknowledge that.

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50 minutes ago, Caerolle Llewellyn said:

Wow. Just wow. And I had never heard of using group lists to spam people with IMs before, especially to proposition people. I would hope people who did that would at the least get kicked from the group...

They usually do if an owner or mod happens to be on. I've never seen a case where they weren't.

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17 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

Is the participation of those of us who can't compete in free-flowing chat, whether due to disability, temperament or both, not an advantage to the community?

But it isn't a competition. 

When I find myself having to shout to be heard (competing) that is when the conversation ceases to exist and the shouting match occurs. That's not the sort of conversation I look for in others.

I get what you are saying though. In a room full of people you say something and no one even notices you spoke. So you repeat it a little bit louder. Still no response. Eventually you raise your voice to a level that can be clearly heard across the room and then everyone turns around and stares at you as if you had committed murder. Then you slink away to a dark corner somewhere and wait for a time when you can slip out the door unnoticed. Or just grab your hat and coat and out the door you go.

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3 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

 YOU are not personally responsible for that, and I'm not for a moment going to "blame" you or anyone else for that matter for the fact that most clubs and social spots no longer feature much general chat. But that is the effect that cumulative shift towards IMs has had.

 

1 hour ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I suppose that, as an individual, you have contributed to that shift.

Why is this blame question even going through your head and out your fingers in the first place?

I've absolutely changed my mind about finding it interesting to read about the different points of view. It's doing too much damage to me. I had no idea that what is essentially an accomodation for my disabilities was so looked down on or seen as harmful to sociability in SL. Creepy, rude, weird, intrusive, those words are going to stay with me for a long time.

I gave you my experience and point of view but since it's not what you're interested in, I'll leave you to it. I honestly don't have any insight into this cumulative shift because my disabilities have effectively excluded me from most local chat for years now. Best I'm out of here.

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Bitsy I have frequently found that those who are the quieter ones, for whatever reason, are more interesting.

More often than not it seems those who do well in a group know how to put on an act better than those of us who are more introverted.

Now if all people (whether more introverted or extroverted) become REAL..then that energy can be amazing, even transformative, but this type of experience is so rare.

Edited by Kiera Clutterbuck
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22 minutes ago, Selene Gregoire said:

But it isn't a competition. 

When I find myself having to shout to be heard (competing) that is when the conversation ceases to exist and the shouting match occurs. That's not the sort of conversation I look for in others.

I get what you are saying though. In a room full of people you say something and no one even notices you spoke. So you repeat it a little bit louder. Still no response. Eventually you raise your voice to a level that can be clearly heard across the room and then everyone turns around and stares at you as if you had committed murder. Then you slink away to a dark corner somewhere and wait for a time when you can slip out the door unnoticed. Or just grab your hat and coat and out the door you go.

Fine. Pick another word for that sense of being unable to get your thoughts together quickly enough to keep up and join in before it's moved on and you're trying to get your thoughts together quickly enough for something else and it all gets increasingly exceedingly exhausting until you can't think straight enough to remember how to make a decent farewell. Whatever word you want for that, go for it.

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2 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

Why is this blame question even going through your head and out your fingers in the first place?

Possibly you might want to pay attention to the scare quotes I put around "blame." They are there for a reason.

2 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

I had no idea that what is essentially an accomodation for my disabilities was so looked down on or seen as harmful to sociability in SL. Creepy, rude, weird, intrusive, those words are going to stay with me for a long time.

I gave you my experience and point of view but since it's not what you're interested in, I'll leave you to it. I honestly don't have any insight into this cumulative shift because my disabilities have effectively excluded me from most local chat for years now. Best I'm out of here.

Bitsy, I'm deeply and truly sorry that you find what I have said so personally offensive and perceive it somehow as an attack. But I have to say, in my own defence, that you are engaging in some pretty selective reading of my actual comments and meaning.

What is it about this that you find offensive?

33 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I don't think this is or should be about the "right" or "wrong" way of socializing. There is no universally "right" way of doing it: we choose the modes we do because they are comfortable and work for us, as individuals.

Or this?

34 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

I think we all -- and I include myself in this number, because this discussion has been very illuminating, and I've shifted my own attitude somewhat as a result -- need to stop thinking about this in such adversarial terms.

Or this?

34 minutes ago, Scylla Rhiadra said:

What would be helpful is to think about ways in which we might be able to leverage our recognition that people have different styles of communication into approaches that acknowledge that.

Do you really want to argue that a general shift from local to IM is having no impact upon how we engage socially in SL?

Because that is, essentially, all that I am arguing.

As for my personal response to someone IMing me "cold," that's my response, at a visceral level. I'm not going to apologize for it, anymore than I am asking you to apologize for choosing, for your own reasons, the mode of communication that you have chosen. But I also don't let my visceral dislike of being IMed out of the blue govern how I respond to people who do that. I've already said above that I don't shut down men automatically when they IM me. In fact, I don't think I've ever simply shut down an IM, from anyone (and I've had some pretty abusive ones in my time).

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4 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

being unable to get your thoughts together quickly enough to keep up and join in before it's moved on and you're trying to get your thoughts together quickly enough for something else and it all gets increasingly exceedingly exhausting until you can't think straight enough to remember how to make a decent farewell.

I don't know if this is true for you, but I used to experience what you describe here. I discovered I was thinking too deeply about each thing a person said. There was no need for me to produce symbols and go into poetic mode over every utterance..lol  (making fun of myself a bit here).   You might be talking about feeling ill though, and spacey -- I've got an auto-immune condition where my mind feels foggy frequently, so I understand on that level too.

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23 minutes ago, Bitsy Buccaneer said:

Fine. Pick another word for that sense of being unable to get your thoughts together quickly enough to keep up and join in before it's moved on and you're trying to get your thoughts together quickly enough for something else and it all gets increasingly exceedingly exhausting until you can't think straight enough to remember how to make a decent farewell. Whatever word you want for that, go for it.

Would "daily basis" do for you? Because I go through that every day. Just not for the same reason you do.

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