The Great RL/SL Divide

There’s something to be said for the level of anonymity that can be achieved via SL. There’s also the inevitability of the two worlds colliding, particularly when you start meeting people who don’t care for that anonymity. Getting to know the real them can get even the most hardcore RL/SL separatist to divulge personal information.

I’ve been thinking about the box’s last words to me the other night, which in turn made me think about recent events and conversations from what seems like eons ago about this supposed separation between the physical and the virtual. I did a pretty good job of keeping my RL out of SL for my first few months, but when I started making friends with people like Phoenix, John, Vamparo, Slick, Lunah, and yes, the box*, that pretty much went out the window. While the box sometimes has this creepy vibe, I think it’s not so much because he’s creepy, but because he’s so intent on taking what he gains in SL out into the physical world. I talk to Lunah on msn, know a few people’s real first names, have shared that with one person, and will answer questions truthfully if asked (with a few exceptions). I don’t have an RL picture in my 1st life tab, but one person does know what I look like. My attitude toward SL anonymity changed after I started hanging out with Phoenix and John, who like to use voice whenever possible and are completely upfront about everything, sparing little detail. At first I found voice off-putting, namely because I found that people who annoyed me in text generally annoyed me more on voice. Plus, I have yet to actually go on voice. For a long time it was due to a lack of equipment, but now that I do have a working mic, I’m finding that talking (and inevitably laughing my ass off) at the hours I would probably isn’t the best idea with the light sleeper in the room. Then again, I do laugh just as much whether I’m talking or not. Dilemma! Being a part of those voice gatherings has grown on me though. Hearing a person’s voice and their manner of speaking can have a profound effect on all further text chats. Text chat is notorious for mixing up sarcasm for seriousness and vice versa, but when you spend some time on voice with a person, it becomes so much easier to decipher these tones in text. I now keep voice on so I can listen to people in public places. The grid is a bit noisier when you travel with voice activated, but it certainly can make things more interesting. Try hanging out at an infohub with voice activated and you’ll see what I mean.


~ by Portia on December 17, 2008.

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